Stretchy Robot Shows off Octopus-Like Skin

While some may be impressed by the upcoming flexible displays targetted at consumer electronics, a team of engineers at Cornell University have developed a far more exciting version inspired by the octopus. Published today in Science, a report describes the development of a “skin” capable of high levels of flexibility, the ability to change colour, illuminate and even sense pressure.

Compared to that of a cephalopod, a human’s skin is relatively uninteresting, however as this study shows, these researchers were capable of identifying multiple ways of achieving the numerous properties of octopus skin with technology. The engineers focused on making artificial “skin” that can light up as well as react to touch while simultaneously handling being stretched to several times the original size. So far, three proof of concept designs for the technology has been shown off, with a common element being the use of thin rubber pixels which can be arranged in strips, grids or even covering the body of a robot. These pixels are each made up of five individual layers with flexible silicone on the outside, covering two transparent electrodes all on top of a central luminescent phosphor layer which colours based on electrical stimulation.

As shown in the video, the technology is already capable of staying illuminated even while being stretched like gum. In a sheet, it is capable of being bent out of shape in many ways and even being rolled up tightly. Finally, a robot seeming somewhat reminiscent of a caterpillar illuminates in multiple colours as each of the air chambers it uses to crawl inflates.

The possibilities of this technology appear to be endless, presenting the ability to make soft robots capable of displaying information across a skin of screens. One application identified by the researchers is providing the ability to illuminate in different colours “in response to mood or the tone of the room.” As is clear from the video, the technology is currently somewhat limited and there is a way to go in making the technology higher resolution, capable of a wider palette of colours and thinner before it could have a place in consumer electronics. For now, maybe they could make us a light up Stretch Armstrong?

Image credit to Cornell University

Lian Li Enters the Peripheral Market With a Giveaway


It isn’t often that we as the press get taken by surprise, but today is such a day as Lian Li revealed their entry into the peripheral market with their first ever mouse and keyboard. Usually, we already expected a launch, got hints, teasers, and heads-up notifications, but Lian Li chose to take us all with a surprise this time. To top it all off, Lian Li launched a giveaway for this at the same time.

Very little is known about the new Lian Li peripherals yet and there aren’t any official product pages online yet, but we do have eyes to spot some things based on the limited information. The new line of Mice and Keyboards is called the TerminAL series and comes in a total of 6 colour options: Black, Silver, Gold, Blue, Green, and Red.

The keyboard is a brushed aluminium keyboard with a flat design, but that’s about the information that we get now. There is no mention of switch types, whether it’s mechanical or membrane, and whether it has some extra and unique features.

The TerminAL mouse features two thumb buttons beside the normal left and right mouse button and a scroll wheel. Anything else is up to anyone’s guess right now.

 

We shouldn’t forget about the promotion either, the one where you can be the first one to own one of these new sets in the colour of your choice. The giveaway can be found via Facebook or Lian Li’s blog site. All you have to do to participate is to cast a vote on which colour option you like best.

“We will be giving away three of each color for a total of eighteen combos. Cast your vote anytime from today, March 1st to Friday, March 25th for a chance to win your preferred color! Winners for each color – one per color, six total winners – will be announced every seven days until the end of the event.”

Ceres Looks Amazing in NASA’s New Fly-By Video

NASA released a beautiful new video that shows a fly-by of the dwarf planet Ceres, so if you came here hoping for a video on the Danish beer named Ceres, you’re out of luck. This is however much better and shows a very close fly-by of this tiny planetary object. The new video is composed out of images made with NASA’s Dawn spacecraft and the simulated flyover was made by the mission’s camera team at Germany’s national aeronautics and space research center.

Before any of the conspiracy theorists come out and try to tell that the photos used to make this video have been manipulated, I can tell you that they have. The colours have been enhanced to make it more pleasant to watch and to show the subtle differences on the surface materials. The original non-enhanced photos would be quite boring to look at and scientists believe areas with shades of blue contain younger, fresher material, including flows, pits and cracks.

The images were captured during a phase that lasted from August 2015 to October 2015 where the spacecraft orbited Ceres at an altitude of just 1450 kilometers. Ceres is the largest object in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, but it wasn’t Dawn’s first stop. Dawn has previously orbiting the asteroid Vesta for 14 months back in 2011 and 2012 before it arrived at Ceres in March 2015.

While the photos for the video were taken from a very low orbit, the spacecraft is currently flying even lower while it is on its final mapping trip at about 385 kilometers height from the surface. That’s closer than the international space station is to earth.

“The simulated overflight shows the wide range of crater shapes that we have encountered on Ceres. The viewer can observe the sheer walls of the crater Occator, and also Dantu and Yalode, where the craters are a lot flatter,” said Ralf Jaumann, a Dawn mission scientist at DLR.

AMD Displays The Benefits of HDR Colour @ CES 2016

CES 2016: Display resolutions, and the quality of panels used have progressed at a blistering pace. The advent of IPS 8-bit and even 10-bit screens for professional photo editing has made TN technology seem so outdated. While TN still has an quicker response time, IPS panels are starting to catch up and even come in high refresh models. Furthermore, the advent of quantum dot displays and OLED panels results in a more vivid, and vibrant image which almost defies belief. Today, AMD showcased the massive difference between a High Dynamic Range and SDR TV. Unfortunately, it’s quite difficult to capture the Milo HDR demo and relay in quantitative terms how much better the HDR image is.

On the left, an LG 55EF9500 OLED TV was used, while the right picture is displayed on an LG 4600 LED TV. In simple terms, HDR produces enhanced luminance, and formulates a much sharper image. As a result, blacks are much darker, and there’s a greater contrast between colours. Hopefully you can see from this comparison shot, the enhanced detail and sharper focus.

Ultra HD Blu-Ray Release Date Revealed

More and more people are upgrading to a 4K capable TV or monitor these days, and with services like Netflix and Amazon Prime offering content, albeit a limited library, ready to stream 4K movies and TV shows, it’s easy to see why. The prices of 4K TVs and monitors have been falling steadily and it now makes perfect sense to go for 4K vs a standard HD set if you’re upgrading.

Of course, streaming isn’t a viable option for everyone, mostly due to bandwidth limitations. I personally don’t have fast enough internet for streaming in 4K, so disc based media is certainly the way to go. I’m also a bit of a movie and home cinema buff, so streamed content, with its limited bitrates, compression and more, are simply a deal breaker for me; although perhaps not so for everyone else.

Ultra HD Blu-Ray has been a long time coming, with the format only having been finalized this year and Samsung revealing the first consumer model player at IFA this month. All the major studios are behind the new format and have helped shape the standards for it, but when can we expect discs to hit the market?

The new format will offer up a greatly improved resolution, wide colour space, HDR, HFR and much more, helping future proof the discs for quite some time and providing formats that we now often see used in the cinema, right in your own living room. The first discs are now expected to launch in January, with many of the major studios and networks pushing the Ultra HD discs on the same day they release the HD Blu-Ray.

Thank you AVForums for providing us with this information.

Aqua Blue PS Vita Launching In The US This November

The PS Vita has been somewhat disappointing over its life and so have recent handheld consoles in general, the emergence of mobile phone and tablets have transferred the consumer base onto a more multi-tasking devices. In the US at least, the PS Vita will be launching with a new colour scheme which might entice fans of the handheld to buy into the experience, or more likely it’s just a money shaming gimmick.

The colour in question will be Aqua Blue which will stand out considering US buyers have been limited to either Black or White options up until now. The basic device will be the same, there won’t be any hardware improvements and under the shiny colour will still be the second generation Vita which is currently out on the market. The Recommended Retail Price will be $199.99, so $200 dollars then.

Below is two further screenshots of the handheld, as you can see, it’s quite striking but other than that, it’s the same. Sony have informed fans that it’s better to pre-order the console as of now, as it “won’t be around for long” It will be interesting to note how this device fares within the market considering game developer support is slowly losing interest in the PS Vita, it remains to be seen how sales will fare.

How Were Photos Transmitted Before The Internet?

The simplicity of sending your favourite JPEG is as easy as one or two clicks, but in a world before the Internet, yes there really was a whole globe that was not connected in cyber space, how did they send photos to each other?

Below is the answer, the United Press International UPI Model 16-S, scanned black and white photos and sent them across the globe via phone lines. This archaic yet interesting device was used by various news outlets from the 1970s to the first half of the 1990s. The way this machine worked was to slowly scan a black and white photo which spun on a small drum using a laser, before the analogue data was sent line by line over phone lines. This was sort of high-speed Internet of the 1970s.

This process was time-consuming considering it took around nine minutes to send a black and white photo. This sounds incredibly long, but this was considered a lot quicker than when colour images were introduced taking the time to send each image to around 26 minutes.

These types of first generation tech should be preserved for the future, they may not have been hi tech considering today’s super fast connections, but the learning opportunities which exist within them are perfect to inspire budding inventors and students alike. It’s amazing to think how tech has involved within a relativity short period of time to enable images to be uploaded and sent in a matter of seconds. Just imagine how the likes of Facebook and Flickr would have operated without the option to send photos from across the world to friends and family quickly and reliably.

As a society, we take tech for granted and it always places life’s invents into perspective considering 25 years ago this machine was considered revolutionary.

Thank you petapixel for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of writeincolor

Philips to Display Company’s First 34″ Curved Monitor at IFA

Philips has announced the latest additions to their monitor line-up and intends to showcase the new models at the IFA trade show in Berlin. Included is Philips’ first 34-inch curved monitor which opts for a 3440×1440 panel and ultra-wide 21:9 aspect ratio. Unfortunately, there is no specific details about the panel type used but I would presume it’s either an AH-IPS or VA screen. From an aesthetic point-of-view, the monitor’s curve adds a sophisticated touch and the edge-to-edge glass allows for an extremely narrow border. However, I’m not overly fond of the stand which seems rather cumbersome and might not have any adjustability.

The next major upgrade in backlighting revolves around Quantum Dot technology. Quantum Dot supported monitors can produce a higher colour gamut by more than 50% compared to traditional LEDs. Additionally, QD monitors consume 25% less power and cost a fraction of the current LED based panels. Philips is probably the first company to push this technology into the mainstream market and readying a 27-inch QD IPS-ADS Adobe RGB monitor.

There are a number of other products on the show floor such as the Ambiglow Plus Base. This unusual feature forms a halo of light which syncs with the display image. Furthermore, the base’s illumination can be adjusted to suit the your mood or fit in with a room’s lighting levels.

Do you think Quantum Dot technology will make a noticeable difference in monitor image quality?

BitFenix Prodigy M Colour Series Micro-ATX Chassis Review

Introduction


It’s been two years since I first reviewed the BitFenix Prodigy M, but today, I’ll be revisiting this now classic Prodigy chassis design to take a look at the latest Colour series from BitFenix. Colour choices are always a welcome addition to any range and from a consumer perspective, having more choice is no bad thing. Colour coordinating your build becomes a lot easier when you can pick something that suits your needs and preferences. Today I’ve got the Prodigy M Red, as well as a few other bonus goodies from BitFenix to help with the build, such as the BitFenix Fury PSU, a 120mm Spectra Pro red LED fan, a BitFenix Alchemy white LED strip, as well as a red side panel window.

Prodigy M Colours available

  • Midnight Black
  • Arctic White
  • Fire Red
  • Atomic Orange
  • Vivid Green
  • Cobalt Blue

As you can see, this is the original Prodigy shape and design, the only real difference is the colour, which is obviously red.

The SofTouch treated front panel and the handle/stands on the top and bottom blend nicely with the soft finish of the red paintwork.

The black trim fits rather well, especially since most gaming hardware is in red and black these days; this should be one of the more popular colour choices.

The back of the chassis is still finished in black, which suggests the core of the chassis is the same across the whole colour range, with just the exterior panels being swapped; makes sense really.

The top ventilation cover.

Behind which you’ll find the dual 120mm fan mounts.

The bottom of the chassis comes with a heat guard, although this can be removed if you wish to install fans in the base of the chassis.

If you don’t want extra fans here, you can opt for mounting hard drives directly to the base of the chassis.

Adobe Revealed Some of its Features Coming in the Next Premiere Pro Update

Adobe has announced a few of its upcoming product updates ahead of NAB video conference, which include an animation tool, a new mobile app and some updates to Premiere Pro.

There seems to be a new colour correction panel in Premiere, called Lumetri Color, that looks and works exactly like the correction tools in Lightroom, giving users the ability to save highlights and shadows, tint and saturate colours, sharpen and brighten photos and much more.

The new Lumetri Color is said not to replace the dedicated colouring tools or other addons such as Magic Bullet Looks. Instead, it aims to make a more user-friendly approach towards new users and have it more accessible and user-intuitive compared to the current colouring tools.

Adobe is said to also be working on an iPhone app named Project Candy, with which a user can take a photo and analyse its colour make-up and apply that to a photo or video just like a filter. The app’s filters are also said to work in After Effects and the mobile app Premiere Clip.

Another feature that is said to increase or decrease the length of a project by 10% is named Time Tuner, a feature that helps automate what some TV networks have been doing with reruns.

In addition to the latter, the preview release of Character Animator is said to be present in the new Premiere Pro, a tool used to easily animate cartoon characters by quickly analysing character art imported from various sources and then animate it based on what the app sees an actor doing over a webcam.

Adobe also announced some updates for After Effects, Audition, SpeedGrade and many others which will come with the latest update. The company is said to release the new update in late spring or early summer.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this informaiton

Images of Late Soviet Union Computer Mouse Surface, Would Have Cost $300 in 1990

It looks like someone has stumbled upon a rare late Soviet computer mouse. The device is said to have been produced in 1990, but was modelled in 1989, as the documents state. The design is very weird and it comes in red colour (as it would be expected from that era).

The price for this type of mouse is also staggering, coming in at 285 roubles, which was equally translated in US dollars. This would have meant that the mouse in question would have cost around $300 back in the ’90s.

The box states that “It is the most comfortable graphic input device. You can move a cursor or piece of graphics across the screen, paint or use in business”. It even comes with its own serial number written in pen and was under a warranty.

Another odd thing about the mouse is that it comes with its blueprints in the box. But given its price tag, it would be nice to have in case something broke and a piece was required to fix it.

Lastly, the size of the mouse looks pretty realistic compared to a modern mouse, except you can’t really connect it to any modern PC or laptop due to its huge and outdated connector.

Here are the images of the mouse:

Thank you English Russia for providing us with this information

Image Too Blurry to Identify Someone in a Security Footage? Fujitsu Has the Answer

A new image-processing technology has been developed by Fujitsu, who claims that it now can be used to track people even in heavily blurred footage from security cameras. The company states that this tech is the first of its kind that can detect people in low-resolution imagery where faces are indistinguishable.

The technology is said to use computer-vision algorithms in order to analyse the footage and recognize shapes such as head and torso, which remain even if the image is distorted or multiple people in a frame overlap. The algorithm is then compared with footage from different cameras and determines if an individual is the same person by focusing on distinctive colours of a person’s clothing.

Fujitsu said that an indoor test of the system has been performed, having been able to track the paths of 80% of the test subjects. The company also claimed that detecting people’s movement could be useful for retail design, reducing pedestrian congestion in crowded urban areas or improving evacuation routes for emergencies.

Thank you PC World for providing us with this information

Razer Peripherals Chroma Range Adds Full Spectrum Colour Customisation

Razer are preparing to launch their new Chroma series of peripherals, although I use the term “new” with a pinch of salt as these new peripherals are in fact their current range with a new lighting kit installed. The new Chroma series allows full-spectrum colour customisation lighting on a range of Razer peripherals such as the DeathAdder gaming mouse, BlackWidow ultimate Keyboard and the Kraken 7.1 gaming headset.

The lighting can be tweaked on a per-device basis, or even synchronized via the Razer Synapse software, allowing colour flow and change effects between your devices to match, perfect for those who like to customise their desktop appearance, but also like to keep everything nice and uniform. This also means your keyboard won’t be flicking from red to yellow while your mouse is going blue to green.

“Our new range of peripherals that feature Chroma customizable backlighting is another step towards full personal customization and to interconnect our gaming tech,” says Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder and CEO. “Chroma represents more than just multicolor, it opens up limitless personalization options for gamers to play with and we even have a Chroma Software Developer Kit for game developers to integrate their games to provide even more customization in the future.”

  • Spectrum cycling: Slowly cycles through the entire spectrum of colours for a subtle yet visually stunning look.
  • Breathing: Gently pulses in a colour of choice every 7 seconds, replicating the steady breathing pattern that is distinct to all Razer mice.
  • Static: Pick any colour from the selection of 16.8 million options to illuminate the ear cups on your Kraken 7.1, the scroll wheel and Razer logo on your DeathAdder or each individual key on your BlackWidow Ultimate Chroma
  • Custom (For BlackWidow Ultimate Chroma only): Effortlessly set the colour for each individual key on your Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Chroma through Razer Synapse with your mouse cursor, and create your own kaleidoscope of colours that is unique to you.
  • Custom – Preloaded Templates (For BlackWidow Ultimate Chroma only): Preloaded custom lighting templates optimized for FPS, MOBA, MMO and RTS games that give you the unfair advantage regardless of which game you’re playing.
  • Reactive (For BlackWidow Ultimate Chroma only): Lights up upon actuation and stays lit in short, medium, or fast mode for a trailing effect, that makes the Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Chroma brighter the faster a user types.
  • Wave (For BlackWidow Ultimate Chroma only): Animates all colours in a continuous wave of rainbow lights, for a truly energetic and vibrant display of constantly changing colours.

The Chroma SDK will allow game developers to take advantage of the multitude of lighting options available for Chroma-enabled devices. For example, custom lighting alerts can be created that flash red when a player is killed or when a base is under attack. The Chroma-enabled Razer peripherals will be available starting September 2014.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of TechPowerUp.

ADATA Launches its Stylish HV611 USB 3.0 External Hard Drive

ADATA has just announced the launch of its latest portable HDD solution featuring the latest USB technology, the HV611 USB 3.0 External Hard Drive, coming with simplistic design, vivid colours and unique puzzle patterns, as well as a compact size.

The company states that the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface clearly makes a difference in the efficiency of data transfer compared to similar external HDD solutions featuring USB 2.0 technology. Also, ADATA emphasises de HDD’s unique stylish interlocking shiny and matte puzzle piece lines present in its design, which the company considers to be an eye-catching ‘magnet’ along with the bright blue LED indicating data transfer status.

In terms of specifications, the HV611 is said to have a standard 2.5″ SATA HDD size, measuring in at 115 x 75 x 15 mm and weighing in at 151g, while operating at USB DC 5V. Customers who desire to purchase the HV611 are said to also be eligible for free downloads from ADATA’s proprietary OStoGO and HDDtoGO software, as well as receive a 3-year warranty for the product at hand.

The HV611 is said to come in capacities of 500GB and 1TB, having them available in four colours: black, starry white, shining blue and hot pink. In terms of pricing, the 500 GB version is said to have a recommended £41.99 set by ADATA, while the 1 TB version is said to come in at £55.99.

Sharkoon Announces its White ATX Vaya II Value Model

After its succesful release of the Vaya II Value model earlier this year, Shakroon has announced another model ready to join the Vaya II Value family, adding a white option to the case series.

Sharkoon states that the Vaya II Value white offers not only an additional colour option, but also various features at a fair price-performance ration. The case measures in at 470 x 205 x 437 mm, having it been given a white finish to the interior. Tower coolers with a maximum height of up to 16.5 cm now have more room and can easily be installed, thanks to the Vaya II Value white’s side panels, as well as providing more room for graphic cards with a length of up to 26.5 cm. Also, power supply units of up to 28 cm can be installed on the case floor, having the Vaya II Value white coming with a pre-installed PSU dust filter which adds extra protection.

In terms of cooling solution, the Vaya II Value white comes with a pre-installed blue 120 mm LED fan with a mesh hook, giving users the option to add an optional 80 mm or 120 mm fan on the back panel. In addition to the latter, the Vaya II Value white offers an installation opening for CPU coolers, as well as three openings for water cooling solutions and cable management.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlraMJqP9oU&list=UUZDF61oirm_2Onzy-AxT8ng[/youtube]

The Vaya II Value white features four 5.25″ drive bays for optical drives and an externally accessible 3.5″ drive bay, while Sharkoon provided the interior case with four 3.5″ hard drive bays and additional support for a 2.52″ SSD or HDD which can be mounted on the case floor. All optical and disk drives can mounted easily and efficiently with the help of Sharkoon’s quick fasteners. Also, the Vaya II Value white offers two USB 3.0 and two audio ports on the front panel, as well as an acrylic side panel.

Sharkoon’s Vaya II Value white comes with a suggested price tag of €34,99 in authorised retailers.

D-Link Announce a New Line of ‘Colourful’ Routers

Over the last couple of years we have been watching consumer electronics become more ‘stylistic’ for the home with less of the harsh lines and eye-sore designs that was once associated with technology at one time. There are, however, on or two product groups that are still deemed to be an eye-sore in the home and routers, which we all need to get on the internet, are deemed to be one of the worst things we have to look at. When you look at the OEM products that your ISP sends you, it’s not really going to be winning any design awards any time soon.

As one of the bigger names in the consumer and OEM networking markets, D-Link are looking to change the way in which we see our networking hardware in the home, with a new range of ‘designer’ routers that bring colour to the home and break away from the typical box shape that is associated with the humble router.

Available in red, teal, black and white, the cylindrical routers will offer up the latest 802.11ac network capabilities with 433Mbps speeds on the 5GHz band and 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz band, alongside four Gigabit Ethernet ports and a single USB port for sharing media and printers on the network.

Daniel Kelley, the VP of D-Link marketing give as statement saying, “Wi-Fi routers have never had the reputation of being the most aesthetically pleasing products in the home, and we set out to change that with our color routers. With the launch of our new line of AC750 Wi-Fi Routers, customers not only get a powerful home network capable of supporting the most demanding applications, they also have a stylish device they can proudly display on the desk rather than buried underneath it.”

Whilst I can see where D-Link are coming from, the cylindrical design that they have chosen only reminds me of the new Mac Pro that was featured earlier in the year and how it resembled a trash can. Whilst I get that we need to come up with a more contemporary design, there are a number of other shapes that can be chosen, rather than one that looks like a bin.

The new AC750 routers are available now with an exclusive price of $79.99 at Amazon. If you feel this is a good design then please let us know below, or alternatively tell us what you feel would be a more suitable style to bring to the consumer market.

Source: Press Release

Roccat Kone Pure Color Gaming Mouse Mini Review

Roccat are an extreme gaming brand who have forced themselves into the market in a big way. They are one of those companies who seem to be making all of the right decisions and it paying off. It all goes back to their roots of the company being aimed at gamers and being developed by gaming enthusiasts including the owner Rene.

Their initial product release consisted of the Roccat Kone; a mouse aimed at general gaming, allowing you to get the very best performance from your gameplay with a 3200 DPI pro-aim gaming sensor, a tracking control unit and 128KB of onboard memory allowing you to save gaming profiles and macros for your desired functions.

With the Kone being an extremely successful product for Roccat and propelling them into the very crowded market, we found Roccat developing on its successes and releasing the Kone[+] which incorporated a 6000 DPI pro-aim laser sensor while still keeping the fundamental aspects that made the Kone an industry leader.

With Roccat not being content on ending things there, the Kone Pure was born and offered the same Kone form factor that gamers love, while reducing the size of the mouse down to 91% of its original Kone[+] size, making it more versatile with its new sleek look and design while also improving some of its key features, including the increase to an 8200 DPI pro-aim laser sensor (R3).

As you can see, Roccat has relied on its roots and stayed true to it as they developed further upon some already amazing products, but with all of this development, what becomes the next logical step in the Kone life cycle? How about some funky new colours?

To celebrate 5 years of Kone awesomeness, Roccat have developed some limited edition colours of the Kone Pure to spice things up from the original black colour scheme. To add with this, we find the following colours being added to the range:

Phantom White

Inferno Orange

Hellfire Red

Polar Blue

As you can see, the new colours certainly breathe a new lease of life into the product and look absolutely fantastic. We even reviewed the “Inferno Orange” edition a little while ago and saw it leave with our Editor’s Choice award, showing that we really liked it then, and love it even more now.

We even stopped by with Roccat’s Tim Krause to take a look at the new colours and what it means for Roccat.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i90iXQV9FTM[/youtube]

As you saw in the video, we do mention a giveaway, and if you’re interested in finding out exactly how to win one, we invite you to click on the button below: