- latest science and technology news stories

This blog discusses the experiences of a consulting professional currently working at EmPower Research, a firm that provides decision support services to clients through offices in NYC, San Francisco and Bangalore, India.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


The best gadgets of CES 2008 (Apologies for the late posting but these are too cool to miss out!)

More than 20,000 new gadgets and technologies from more than 2,700 companies
were on display at the Consumer Electronics Show.

The BBC News website's take on the devices and gadgets that caught the eye
throughout the show.


The lightweight and small Eee PC from Asus has been one of the tech hits of
the last 12 months and more than 350,000 machines have been sold in the past
thee months.

It has won admirers for its four gigabyte solid state hard drive, small form
factor and attractive price. It runs the Linux operating system, but can
also run Windows XP.

The company has now announced new models - 7, 8 and 9 inch - but crucially,
they will have Wimax built in - giving it increased wireless capabilities.

In truth, there are not that many Wimax-enabled areas anywhere in the world,
although 70 different countries are trialling it.

But Intel is betting heavily on Wimax as the winning next generation
wireless network and so Asus has taken the plunge - at least, in North

The entry level Eee with Wimax will cost about $999, according to reports.


If you have ever wondered what it feels like to fly a fighter plane or drive
a formula one car, now is your chance.

TN games has designed a wardrobe for gamers that recreate on screen action
in the real world.

The vests are based on technology that was originally designed for use by
doctors to remotely examine patients.

The vests, connected to the computer by USB, consist of a light weight air
compressor that pumps air into bladders.

A version designed for first person shooters contains eight cells that are
able to recreate the direction and force of bullet fire.

Another version recreate the G-forces felt whilst driving and flying.

When the player accelerates, the cells inflate in the chest. Faster
acceleration causes the cells to inflate quicker, whilst braking causes the
back cells to activate.

The firm has also designed sleeves, leg covers and a helmet that plug into
the vests to deliver what it says is a "full body gaming experience".


One of the problems of recording TV programmes on to video tape was that
when watching them back the viewer had to fast forward through the adverts.

The same is now true of programmes recorded digitally through a TV tuner in
a PC.

But a company called VideoReDo has developed a piece of software that
automatically strips out the adverts.

A trial download of the TV suite software which includes the ad remover is
available for free.

It works by looking for clues that what is on screen- such as the black
screen between adverts - before cutting out the relevant section.

The original version of the software - which includes a video editing suite
- is nearly three years old.

But the newest version incorporates useful features such as the ability to
record the edited programmes to DVD.

According to the firm the next version, out later this year, will let users
encode the video to a format suitable for viewing on iPods.


Children's toys went hi-tech at this year's CES.

Woowee, the company behind the best selling Robosapian robot, launched a
series of robots packed with gadgetry.

Its wi-fi enabled Rovio robot packs an omni-directional webcam which can be
controlled remotely using any web accessible device, such as a cell phone,
PC or games console.

The wheeled robot also features a stripped down GPS system that allows it to
locate itself and navigate around its environment.

The company has also launched a new version of Robosapien.

Tribot is a three wheeled machine controlled by a tilt sensor that is able
to tell jokes, read stories and play games.

The firm's line-up also included machines that dumped the cold, hard
exteriors normally associated with robots in favour of fur and cute

Known as the Woowee Alive series, the cute animals, which include pandas,
polar bears and tigers all feature animated faces, and realistic noises
activated by touch and tilt sensors.

The lion cub also has other lifelike behaviours - leave it on its own for
five minutes and the cub purrs itself to sleep. Pick it up by the scruff of
the neck and its legs go limp.

Other hi-tech toys included a flying robot packed with infra red sensors to
allow it to fly autonomously.


Millions of people around the world miss out on the joys of radio because
they are hearing impaired.

But a new initiative by National Public Radio, technology firm Harris
Corporation and Towson University aims to change that.

The consortium is developing radio for the deaf, a counter-intuitive
sounding system that translates speech radio into text in real time.

At the moment the voice to text conversion has to be done by typists but
could one day be automatic.

The information is then broadcast alongside the voice transmission and
displayed on a screen on the radio.

The consortium will transmit the first live broadcast at CES using a
prototype radio that has a screen large enough to display big swathes of

They expect the first commercial radios to be available to wards the end of
this year.


The number of wires running behind the television has been reduced by one.

LCD TV manufacturer Westinghouse, working with networking firm Pulse-Link,
have shown off what they say is the world's first integrated wireless HDTV.

The 47-inch television looks like any other but has an in-built receiver
that takes a signal from an ultra wideband transmitter plugged into a high
definition DVD player.

The setup at CES was streaming the James Bond film Casino Royale from a
Samsung Blu-ray player.

The firms claims that the secure connection has no lag and is able to stream
a range of high definition formats including the highest resolution TV
format available today, known as 1080p.

The first sets are aimed at business but the technology will soon make it
into the home when the technology becomes cheaper.


The mobile phone has changed the way people communicate, but a consortium of
Japanese researchers and companies are banking on the device to do much

The P2P Universal Computing Consortium (PUCC) has developed a set of
networking standards that allow mobiles to remotely control domestic
appliances from afar.

At CES the consortium showed off an iPhone application that allowed a user
to control a flat in Tokyo.

The user could switch lights on and off, control the air conditioning and
even turn the washing machine on.

The technology is already available in Japan where users of the NTT DoCoMo
network can keep an eye on their home from afar.

The consortium has also shown off healthcare applications including a
wireless nappy for use by bedridden patients and a heart monitor that allows
a doctor to monitor a patient from afar.

Later this year the group will release software that will allow anybody to
build applications using the standards.

No virus found in this outgoing message.
Checked by AVG.
Version: 7.5.519 / Virus Database: 269.21.7/1331 - Release Date: 3/16/2008
10:34 AM

No virus found in this outgoing message.
Checked by AVG.
Version: 7.5.519 / Virus Database: 269.21.7/1331 - Release Date: 3/16/2008
10:34 AM

No comments: