Unreleased Half-Life 2 Concept Art Leaked Online

Many years ago, Valve released the Half-Life 2 concept art book, Raising the Bar. Now, images from the publisher’s proof version of the artbook are appearing online, which is sure to please the many of the fans of the series out there.

The version of the book containing this before-unseen artwork is from a very limited production run of the book before the final edits and was made to the 300-page book for its final release and contains as many as 100 additional pages of art and concepts from across the Half-Life series. This highly prized piece of work was purchased online by a US fan of the game for just $45 and since then Russian Half-Life fansite “Half-Life Inside” have been posting small tidbits of the art from the gallery proof online. The new owner of the book also plans to scan and upload the rest, so there is still more to come!

Some of the art is not wholly new, with areas that were cut from the game such as the “Crab Synth” zone from Half-Life 2 had already been discovered by Valve Time, another Half-Life fansite. Outside of the additional art, the changes between the publisher’s proof and release versions of the artbook are minor, with the outstanding modifications including an alternate version of Half-Life 2’s Dr. Breen alongside a photograph of his modelling reference, Roger Guay.

It’s great to see that new secrets and information are still being discovered about the beloved franchise after so long and the art may just have a few “what if” stories to tell. If you’re looking to see the rest of the art for this work, check out Half-Life Inside, where scans will continue to be published and you might just be able to find the next clue for Half-Life 3.

Mysterious Prototype Neo Geo Game Discovered

26 years ago the Neo Geo was the original home of a number of fighting games that would go on to be long running series, such as the King of Fighters games. Another potential Neo Geo masterpiece may have been discovered by Neo Geo enthusiast Brian Hargrove, who purchased an unlabelled ROM board a year ago for the sum of around $750, in the hopes of discovering any chunks of leftover data he could play with.

Upon first inspection of the data dumped from the board, it appeared to be an early protoype of  Voltage Fighter Gowkaizer, a superhero fighting game developed by Technos. Dumps of the flash cards that came with the board seemed to contain nothing to do with Voltage Fighter, however. Eventually, Hargrove was able to get the game to boot up, despite two of the flash cards being dead. This revealed a character select menu for a perhaps never-before-seen Neo Geo fighting game.

While the data containing things that may have been able to identify the game, such as a title screen, is inaccessible, what is available is interesting. The game looks like it may have been related to a franchise such as Dungeons and Dragons. Many of the character sprites are rough at best, but all of the characters contain one of 3 alignments that often appear in D&D – Lawful, Neutral and Chaotic. Choosing different alignments appears to change the character’s sprites too, which could have provided interesting depth and choice to the game. Overall, the game appears to have been rather ambitious, and it has been noted that it appears more complex than many of Technos’ other games, which raises the question of who developed it.

There is always the chance that this game is just a hoax, created and uploaded to an old Neo Geo board by a joker. The amount of effort that must have been used to create the advanced sprites featured in the prototype seem to contest this though. A number of the characters in the game even seem almost entirely complete. It may never have been finished, but from what you can see of this game, it really makes you wonder what it could have been had it been finished.

Driverless Bikes Are Now A Thing Too

The term driverless isn’t anything new and it is probably most known in relation to cars and Google’s self-driving car project that’s been going on for years now. But we’ve also heard of driverless lorries coming to the UK, driverless pods in London, and even driverless Formula E racing as well as oversized quad-copters for personal usage, but driverless bicycles is one I haven’t heard of before.

The driverless bike, or i-Bike as it has been named, is the brainchild of Ayush Pandey and Subhamoy Mahajan, two students from IIT Kharagpur, India. The whole idea started with an idea that is as noble as the result is brilliant: The two wanted to build a simple vehicle that could help disabled people get more out of life by increasing their freedom. Now that’s an idea we all can get behind.

The i-Bike has autonomous steering, brakes, driving, and balancing mechanisms that can work completely on their own as well as aids to just help you with the part that might be troublesome for you.

Just riding a bicycle wasn’t the only problem the students tried to solve, parking and retrieving a bike can be equally challenging for a disabled person as bicycle locations by default rarely have much in disability friendliness. You wouldn’t expect them to ride a bicycle, so it isn’t out of bad intentions.

“We saw some differently abled people who could ride bicycles but had to face many problems when trying to take their bikes out from the parking space, as most such spaces are not disabled friendly. To tackle this problem we started working to make a bicycle that would be controlled wirelessly,” says Ayush, a fourth year Mechanical Engineering student

You can ride the i-Bike manually or you can get help from the dual locomotion technology. The autonomous driving is handled with the help of GPS as well as lasers and sonar based sensors to avoid obstacles in its path. The destination is set by an Android app that sends an SMS to the i-Bike. Upon receiving this, it will start its journey.

None of the techniques used is new as such, but this combination of them is awesome. It has a unique and affordable software architecture that enables it to follow specialised bicycle lanes as they are found in many countries already. It also offers live tracking and wireless control mechanism on top of all that.

What started as a team of two is now comprised of 13 undergraduate students from various departments of IIT Kharagpur, all working together and making up the i-Bike team. Since the project was started back in October 2014, the team has won several awards, most recently the innovation challenge organised by KPIT Technologies where they won first prize.

The trainer wheels that have been used for balancing can easily be retracted by a switch and the same goes for the steering aids that also can be turned on and off by the flick of a switch.

The i-Bike could solve many problems in urban cities and crowded spaces. Whether you want to prevent theft by sending you bike home, retrieve it where ever you are in order to get home, or just want to send it on a cruise of its own, the i-Bike can do it. It would also allow new options for bicycle sharing centres where you could rent a bike, drive where you need to go, and then send it back home again on its own. The same way you could order it back via your smartphone no matter where you are located, and you won’t even have to pedal yourself.

Once the team has the patent, they plan to collaborate with companies willing to start bicycle sharing centres in India – and hopefully this kind of technology will make it to the rest of the world too.

Sony’s Future Lab Shows Off First Prototypes

It hasn’t been long since they revealed their Future Lab program, a research and development-focused part of the company that would show off its prototypes in order to get input from the public. At SXSW, the department showed off some of their first prototypes including the rumored “Project N” wearable device.

N can be described as a neck-worn version of the Amazon Echo, admittedly with a few extra features. Like most voice-activated digital assistants, it is triggered by a phrase, in this case, “Listen up Arc!” and will await your commands, as well as synchronizing with a mobile phone for location data. Currently, it is able to tell you the weather, give you local news, local restaurant info as well as taking a photograph via a built-in camera that is hidden when not in use. It can even play audio back to the wearer in a limited zone around their head using directional speakers on the device though the quality isn’t excellent. For better audio quality, the Future Lab has you covered, offering “open-ear earphones”, which move the driver out of the way of the ear canal, providing audio through a small tube into the ear while also allowing external sound to be heard.

Other prototypes on show include two types of projectors. The first is a touch screen projector intended to be mounted above tables which turns them into interactive surfaces able to be controlled in 3 dimensions. The second was an aimable projector that can be directed to any point along a wall using a black wand-like device. The projector even contained an array of speakers able to make it sound like the source was the location that the image was projected.

Lastly was a controller with inbuilt advanced haptic feedback. The demo on show was simply a ball viewed through a touchscreen, however when the controller was tilted and turned, the user can “feel” the ball move around as if it really existed inside the device. While less exciting than the other prototypes, it seems like a solid choice for a feature to integrate into the next Playstation controller.

It is great to see a technology company willing to show off their prototypes so early on in their development, and the future of any of these products isn’t assured and may rest in the hands of the feedback they receive. We can only begin to dream what crazy technology Sony will dream up next.

AMD Chip Codenamed “Magnum” Spotted on Shipping Manifest

A strange entry has appeared on a shipping manifest at Zauba, with AMD’s codename “Magnum” relating to an FPGA prototype board, as well as DTV. This is certainly a strange entry, but what does it mean?

“PRINTED CIRCUIT BOARD ASSEMBLY-AMD MAGNUM FPGA PROTOTYPEBOARD FOR DTV P/N .102-B25432-00 (FOC)” reads the shipping details.

This is a very strange thing to be attributed to AMD, especially since they sold off their DTV division seven years ago to Broadcom, although it does fit with rumours in the industry that AMD wanted to do something in terms of FPGA. Although, what AMD are doing in the digital TV market at the moment certainly remains to be seen.

The pricing on the label leads us to believe this is a high-end product, perhaps something along the lines of the Nvidia Shield TV, as it would make sense that AMD would love to take the wind out of Nvidia’s sails in this market. It’s most likely something related to Zen hardware, however, there’s one more very obvious solution staring us right in the face, could this be for a new console? With Nintendo already shipping some development kits for their next console, this could be the first hints of the hardware development. Of course, this is all speculation, we don’t know what they’re working on, but AMD are without a doubt cooking up something!

What do you think it could be? Let us know in the comments section below.

Skarp Laser Razor Kicked Off Kickstarter Before Hopping To Indiegogo

The concept of a laser that has been bolted onto a traditional manual razor does somewhat make sense, after all, certain beauty gadgets have incorporated this technique before, I have been told. A US tech company by the name of Skarp Technologies hoped to cash in on this concept by launching a Kickstarter campaign with the aim of raising the all important funds required, and it worked, until Kickstarter kicked them off.

So what happened? I am glad you asked, well, backers who had pledged money through the fund-raising site received an email stating that the razor was “in violation of our rule requiring working prototypes of physical products that are offered as rewards”. This means that Skarp did not in fact have a working prototype available and thus had no way of demonstrating if their invention actually worked or was viable.

The company has since relisted the product, ok, idea of a product that has yet to exist on rival crowd funding site indiegogo. Will this be the death knell for this product after the recent negative PR? No, after checking the re-listing it has become clear of strong consumer interest and the current total in pledges as of writing so far is $113,919 (£74,742). Not bad considering this was raised by 790 people in 11 hours, the funding goal is $160,000 dollars so I assume this will soon be achieved, unless it is Indiegogo go-go off again, well that was an appalling pun.

Meanwhile, Skarp have promised supporters that this product will be indeed available in the spring of 2016. I hope Skarp are a legitimate company who are willing and able to fulfil any promises that have been made to backers, hopefully this concept has been designed with safety in mind and it will also perform as stated, when and if it’s built of course.

Quick addendum, the Laser Razor has now raised $120,076 by 828 people, at this rate by the time you read this the product would have reached its goal in around a day.

Thank you bbc and indiegogo for providing us with this information.

Valve Employee Proposes To Girlfriend Using VR.

We all now live in a technical universe whereby even the simplest things are now connected in some shape or form, talking of tech, virtual reality promises to be a substantial development for the consumer experience and not a scene from the original Tron. We have heard of many applications for Virtual Reality headsets, but a marriage proposal? Surely not, it turns out yes, yes it can be.

A lady by the name of Kelly Tortorice was having a pretty excellent day testing unreleased virtual reality technology at Valve’s headquarters in Bellevue, Washington US. I can possibly speak for everyone when I say, I need a new job doing that, anyway, while exploring various worlds within VR, a ring all of a sudden became visible. She reached out and grabbed it before taking off the headset to reveal her boyfriend on one knee in front of her with a real ring.

Below are the images, tech men would say, yes this is romantic, ladies on the other hand might not warm in certain circumstances to this expression of commitment. This clever stunt was the brainchild of boyfriend Chandler Murch who luckily also worked at Valve and was able to acquire the headset. This was made possible by control functions of the VR system, by holding the controller out in front of his girlfriend “Murch was able to line up the virtual ring and the engagement ring”

Kelly Tortorice said “yes” and I hope both will be very happy together, on a side note, I wonder what a Valve wedding would consist of? Possibly the case being a VR transformer or the Church hovering in mid-air, you could open a whole business dedicated to VR weddings, although it would be embarrassing if one half liked that sort of thing while the other half would call it “unromantic.”

Thank you theverge for providing us with this information.

Original image courtesy of oculus-rift

Japan Display Conveys Prototype 8K Screen Within a 17-inch LCD

Recent years have seen a substantial improvement of resolution within screens at a price point which has dropped significantly, from average consumer availability of 1080p Televisions to the new breed of 4K sets which are pushed to market at a decent price compared to previous developments. But as we all know, 4k is not good enough, we want even higher res, well some of us, for me, computer games and films benefit from the increased detail level, but I am sceptical when the time comes to implement a higher detail level for day-to-day TV.

Another disadvantage is in the form of a gigantic screen which is needed for 4K or even 8k viewing, well, maybe not considering a company by the name of “Japan Display” have announced plans for a 17.3 inch 8K screen. According to the prototype specs, this innovation runs at a smooth yet fast response rate of 120Hz with resolution stats of 7,680(W) x RGB x 4,320(H) pixels. The display itself is a familiar Liquid Crystal Display (LCS) module and is “based on low temperature poly silicon (LTPS) technology with true 8K pixels (RGB stripe arrangement), thus realizing high-definition (510ppi) images”

The compact yet powerful nature of the screen holds potential uses which include implementations within the medical environment and also fun aspects that include game and video image production. Below is a display image of the likely vision of the product and also full details of the prototype specs.

Display Mode LTPS TFT, transmissive IPS mode
Screen size (diagonal) 17.3-inch (43.9cm)
Resolution format 7,680(W) x RGB x 4,320(H)
Pixel density 510ppi
Luminance 500cd/m2
Contrast ratio 2000:1
Viewing angle >176degree(CR>100:1)
Frame rate 120Hz

The display will be exhibited at the “NHK/JEITA booth on October 7 – 10, 2015 during CEATEC JAPAN 2015 held at Makuhari Messe, Japan, in collaboration with NHK”.

One can only wait for further details of this exciting innovation in display technology, although, god only knows as to the price point which JDI have in mind, hopefully it will be reasonable, wait!, who am I kidding, you would probably need to sell a kidney for one of those. Sounds funny now, but remember those reports which circulated in 2012 which stated that a Chinese student sold an organ for an iPad, so no one do that.

Thank you j-display for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of sunetfon       

Next-Gen Intel NUC Takes Power in Small Size to a New Level

Intel’s NUC lineup is already pretty impressive all things considered. You get a lot of power in a tiny form factor and a variety of different models. With the release of Skylake, Intel is now prepping the next generation of NUC series that will be powered by Skylake-U low-voltage processors. The new tiny systems will draw just 15W while supporting M.2 drives and up to 32GB DDR4 memory.

It was more or less a given that Intel would release Skylake based systems, but up until now we’ve just seen slides mentioning them and no actual units. That has changed as they were spotted on Kingston’s booth at the IDF2015. The unit was of course loaded with Kingston HyperX Predator DDR4 SO-DIMMs and M.2 SSD drive.

On the rear of the board, we can see a mini-DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 1.4a connector, two SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit LAN, and the DC power. The system also has a wireless card with 802.11ac and Bluetooth that most likely is placed underneath the M.2 drive.

The front of the board features an Infrared receiver and a 3.5mm audio jack. It also features two USB 3.0 ports where the yellow one of them is designed for faster charging of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. There’s also a header for two USB 2.0 ports on the device, but that’s not pictured.

It isn’t fully clear yet what CPU was running in the demonstrated Intel NUC system, it could be either a Core i5-6200 or Core i3-6100U as both have a base clock frequency of 2.3GHz.

Thank You LegitReviews for providing us with this information

2D Side-Scrolling Final Fantasy: Re-Imagined Kicks Ass!

Final Fantasy VII is one of the most iconic and engrossing games I’ve ever played. It was and still is the hallmark of a truly great RPG. Of course, we’ve got the official Final Fantasy VII remake coming in the not too distant future, but how about we take a different fork in the road and reimagine the game as a 2D action packed side-scroller? I can’t say that thought ever occurred to me, but I’m very glad it did for someone, as this prototype game is freaking epic.

“We thought about how we can incorporate some of the FFVII game play elements, such as Materia and summoning of Guardian Force into a Hack and Slash genre. The result is what you can see above.”

The graphics look stunning and the developer has done a great job of making every character and enemy instantly recognizable from the original. Of course, this game is unlikely to ever be complete, as Square Enix would shoot it down in next to no time, but for a fan-made project, this is sure to get them some positive attention if they’re eager to demonstrate their skills.

The video is cool and I certainly can’t hear that music without being hit with a wall of excitement and nostalgia. Don’t worry, if you think this is one of those things you’ll never get to play, you’re wrong. Head on over to their site right now and try it out for yourself!

Extremely Rare SNES CD-Rom Drive AKA “PlayStation” Discovered

A lot of people don’t know that Sony wasn’t preparing to go into the console business all those years ago. Their PlayStation console started life as the CD-ROM add-on for the once king of the console world, the Super Nintendo (SNES). It was created to help give them the edge over Sega, who also experimented (badly) with CD-Rom drives with their failed Mega-CD.

The SNES PlayStation never saw the light of day in the consumer world, as Sony revealed the new hardware at CES 1991, only to find out Nintendo had slipped away to work with Phillips. Fool on Nintendo, as they backed the wrong horse, yet left their once loyal allies at Sony with a grudge. Sony got their revenge of course, they made their own console, the Sony PlayStation and it changed the world of modern gaming forever.

There’s been images and mock ups shared on the web before, but it wasn’t believed that there was a near-production model or working prototype in the wild; until today! As you can see in the images here, the console looks pretty neat and tidy, it’s still a standard SNES with cartridge slot, but features a drive tray for the CD-Rom functionality.

“My dad worked for a company, apparently one of the guys he used to work with, I think his name was Olaf, used to work at Nintendo and when my dads company went bankrupt, my dad found it in a box of “junk” he was supposed to throw out.” – said dnldbld on Assembler Games

Does he mean Olaf Olafsson, once president and chief executive office of Sony Interactive Entertainment, Inc?  What we really want to know now is does it work and what game, if any, were on the cart or any if any discs were also found.

 

NASA Launches 10-Engine Electric Plane

NASA is testing a 10-engined prototype battery-powered VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) aeroplane. The 10-foot wingspan GL-10 plane, codenamed Greased Lightning, is currently being put through a rigorous design and testing phase at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia, and is meant as the precursor to an even larger, 20-foot wingspan model, which may be an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

“We have a couple of options that this concept could be good for,” said aerospace engineer Bill Fredericks. “It could be used for small package delivery or vertical take off and landing, long endurance surveillance for agriculture, mapping and other applications. A scaled up version—much larger than what we are testing now—would make also a great one to four person size personal air vehicle.”

David North, a member of the GL-10’s engineering team, added, “We built 12 prototypes, starting with simple five-pound (2.3 kilograms) foam models and then 25-pound (11.3 kilograms), highly modified fiberglass hobby airplane kits all leading up to the 55-pound (24.9 kilograms), high quality, carbon fiber GL-10 built in our model shop by expert technicians.”

“Each prototype helped us answer technical questions while keeping costs down. We did lose some of the early prototypes to ‘hard landings’ as we learned how to configure the flight control system. But we discovered something from each loss and were able to keep moving forward.”

With initial tests promising – the GL-10 has passed its hover test, taking off vertically and hanging in the air like a helicopter – the biggest hurdle was to transition the craft from hovering to flying.

“During the flight tests we successfully transitioned from hover to wing-borne flight like a conventional airplane then back to hover again. So far we have done this on five flights,” Fredericks said. “We were ecstatic. Now we’re working on our second goal—to demonstrate that this concept is four times more aerodynamically efficient in cruise than a helicopter.”

The next test will assess the GL-10’s aerodynamic efficiency, and NASA engineers are optimistic that Greased Lightning will prove a success.

Thank you phys.org for providing us with this information.

IBM and FujiFilm Show That Tape Storage Still Has Potential

Most people would consider tape storage to be a thing of the past, but that’s far from the case. It is still the most efficient and cheapest-per-byte method of storing large amounts of data that’s infrequently used, and cloud storage comes to mind here just as general archives. IBM and Fujifilm together figured out how to improve upon the current technology for a whopping 220TB of data on a 10 x 10 x 2 cm big tape drive.

The new prototype Fujifilm tape packs 88 times as much data as current tape drives that can hold about 2.5TB uncompressed data on a cartridge. You shouldn’t however start saving up for this yet, as it most likely will take 5 to 6 years before it is ready for a mass production. It’s a big accomplishment none-the-less.

“The new technologies won’t come out in products for several years and may not be quite as extreme when they do, but the advances show tape can keep getting more dense into the future,” said Mark Lantz, manager of IBM’s Advanced Tape Technologies Group.

IBM is demonstrating the new technology this week at the National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas. “The tracks on the tape are narrower, the heads are smaller, and even the particles of barium ferrite that store each bit are finer. All are now measured in nanometers, so the movement of the heads has to be more precise, too. It’s accurate to within less than 6 nanometers, IBM says.”

Thanks to ComputerWorld for providing us with this information

 

LIVA Mini PC at CeBIT 2015

Today at CeBIT, we met up with ECS. They presented us with their new line up of LIVA mini PC’s. The main focus of today’s talk was on the newest addition, the LIVA-X. The LIVA-X follows the new method of using a single piece of pressed aluminium to give it a very high-end premium feel and finish to the product. It’s a little bigger than some of the usual mini PC’s, but this packs a punch. It has enough power to display on 2 screens, using the VGA and HDMI ports.

We were also presented with 2 prototypes which are still unnamed. They followed a similar design process as the LIVA-X, but they had a great connectivity package and some sleeker cases, appealing a great market with a brushed gunmetal case with perspex top and a soft white case; these could typically appeal to the male and female market segments.

We are very excited to see what ECS has presented us and for what they have up their sleeves for the future in terms of both mini PC’s ad motherboards. Any news or events, we will keep you updated.


Apple Watch has ‘Power Reserve’ Mode, Prototypes Disguised as Samsung Watches

The New York Times has published some new details about the upcoming Apple Watch. They suggest that the new device will have a ‘Power Reserve’ mode that keeps the clock face running even with minimal battery power left.

The news comes at a time when many are wondering just how long the device’s battery life will be. Apple itself has only suggested that it will need to be charged nightly, while rumours have pointed to a couple of hours being the time it will stay active. It’s worth pointing out however that these rumoured times are only under standard use conditions, in that the watch will only be in full use very briefly throughout the day. The device uses a mechanism that switches the display on only when you raise your wrist. If true, it appears that Apple is trying to ensure that it maintains its basic time-telling function for as long as possible.

There’s also some other tidbits of information from the article, such as the fact that Apple disguised the watch as a Samsung Galaxy Gear while in development. This is not uncommon for the company, as they’ve been known to do this with iPhones, most famously with the stolen iPhone 4 that was “left” in a bar back in 2010.

The Apple Watch will be released in April, with Apple holding an event next Monday to reveal further details.

Source: The New York Times Via: The Verge

Ford Reveals Two New Prototype E-Bikes

Ford recently revealed two prototype e-bikes at the Mobile World Congress that aim to make travelling around cities a bit safer. The two e-bikes are called MoDe:Me and MoDe:Pro and have a 200-watt electric motor, along with a 9-amp per hour battery. They are said to have a top speed of up to 25 km/h.

The bikes feature a rear-facing sensor that alerts the rider if a car is approaching quickly from behind by making the handlebars vibrate. Also, if you have an app open, it will also show the warning on the display.

There are also lights on the side of the handlebars and read of the bikes to warn a car’s driver of a possible impact with the bike, suggesting him or her to slow down in order to avoid it.

Both bikes are said to connect to Ford’s prototype app named MoDe:Link, currently compatible only with the iPhone 6. The app helps the riders plan their route and helps with direction by giving feedback through the handlebars, telling the rider when to turn. Blinking indicators are said to also automatically activate in order to inform other drivers of a turn being made by the rider.

Due to the bikes being foldable, the app can take the user to a bus or train stop, should it be quicker than any alternative. It is said to also display the cost of any public transport fees to the destination.

Other key features within the app include identifying bike-friendly roads and generate warning feedbacks regarding other potential hazards. To be noted is that the DoMe:Pro is designed for couriers, having the ability to be folded and stored in the back of a van, while the DoMe:Me is designed for regular commuters.

Thank you TheNextWeb for providing us with this information

WD Is Preparing World Fastest 4TB Hybrid Drive

Las Vegas is a busy place this time of year with the CES event. But there also are a lot of smaller events in the city surrounding CES and one of them is the Storage Visions Conference. Western Digital is presenting their new 4TB Hybrid Drive that utilises the SATA Express PCI-e interface to make the world’s fastest hybrid drive and bring down the costs per GB.

The demonstrated models are using 64GB SSD cache sizes, but WD said that the final models will be made available with up to 128GB cache. Having such a cache increases the data access rate for hot data significantly and improves the overall performance. The WD SATA Express 4 TB drive with 64 GB cache achieved a PCMark8 benchmark score of 4459 and these drives perform close to 10Gbit/s in striped RAID setups.

“WD is committed to working with the industry to push the boundaries of what you might expect from a traditional hard drive,” said Matt Rutledge, senior vice president, Storage Technology, WD. “By moving to PCI Express, the industry marries the world’s most popular storage bus with the world’s most popular computer bus. This union provides a solid growth path to innovate new capability, while preserving the ability to plug legacy SATA drives into new SATA Express based computers.”

I can not wait for these prototype drives to become a reality, bringing down the overall costs for fast storage – for everyone.

Thanks to WD for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of WD

Microsoft Lumia with Massive Camera Leaks

Photos of what appears to be a prototype Microsoft Lumia phone have appeared on a Chinese auction site.

The unconfirmed prototype has a very large camera in the back, somewhat akin to the Lumia 1020 with its crazy 41-megapixel camera. The device purportedly has 2GB of RAM and a 1080p 5-inch display. The phone is only referred to as the “Nokia RM-1052” on the casing, along with a plastic strip interrupting its aluminium rear.

The Verge points out that the device could be one of the remnants of the cancelled ‘Nokia McLaren’. This device was to feature Microsoft’s Kinect technology, with ‘3D Gestures’, so you could interface with the phone without touching it. So far there’s no confirmation of whether it really is a Microsoft Lumia prototype, but it certainly looks like one.

Source: The Verge

The Sony E-Paper Watch Revealed

Remember that Sony Watch we reported on a few days ago? The one that’s made with ‘e-paper’?  Well it has since been revealed. It turns out that it was in the public eye all along, as part of a crowdfunding campaign for a sort of secret part of Sony.

The FES Watch, as it’s known, has been designed by a company called Fashion Entertainments, now known as a subdivision of Sony. That company is part of Sony’s efforts to come up with crazy and innovative products, separate from their main product lines.

The watch itself, which will be available to supporters on the Japanese crowdfunding site Makuake after May next year, is completely covered in this ‘e-paper’ technology, that allows it to display simple differences in band styles, watch faces and more. It’s also said to last 60 days on a tiny button battery and reacts to the gestures of your wrist.

 

It’s not yet known when or if Sony will sell it widely, but it’s certainly an interesting concept.

Source: The Verge

Job Posting Reveals Apple Working on Virtual Reality

One of the best ways to get an idea of what Apple is doing behind the scenes is to check their job boards.

9to5Mac reports on a new posting that reveals that Apple is looking for a software engineer that can “create high performance apps that integrate with Virtual Reality systems for prototyping”. 

They say they need someone to work on the “next generation” of software – a sign that Apple is getting serious about Virtual and Augmented Reality. This certainly isn’t the first peep we’ve had from Apple concerning the world of VR, they’ve been granted a number of patents recently for the technology too.

Whatever Apple is doing with VR, we may never get to see it, because after all, Apple is a company that says no more times than they say yes.

Source: 9to5Mac

Customer Sent Rare iPhone 6 Prototype by Mistake

Love it or hate it, the iPhone 6 has been a big success for Apple. Sure there have been a few interesting (and somewhat amusing) hickups along the way, such as Bend Gate, but in reality there aren’t that many product launches that go without a hitch. One customer has suffered another mistake from Apple this week, although it looks like he may benefit from it more than Apple intended.

When eBay user “kimberlyk1018” renewed their Apple contract, they were accidentally sent a very rare Apple iPhone 6 prototype handset, which isn’t really worth anything to most people, but given the sheer number of Apple fanatics with deep pockets, this is a nifty collectors item and may even be of interest to those who want to tinker with the underlying hardware and software of the device.

The phone doesn’t feature iOS8, but instead has a developer mode, there are no FCC markings and the lightening port is red. The customer who got sent this rare edition of the iPhone 6 put it straight on eBay rather than return it to apple. The model being sold appears to be the 64GB iPhone 6 and is currently fetching a staggering $61,100 (US), interested?

What would you do if you got sent a prototype phone, contact Apple to give it back to them, or sell it for a quick profit?

Thank you eBay for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of eBay.

Lian Li Shows off New Wall-Mountable Open-Air Prototypes

Lian Li are trying out their newest prototype cases on Facebook, much in the same fashion they did with their DK-01X Desktop Case. This is an easy and great way to get customer feedback before finalizing a product. This time around Lian Li is teasing us with their newest prototypes of wall-mountable open-air cases.

The new series of cases is planned to have three sizes, mini ITX, micro ATX and ATX. They are all built upon the same principle with the only variation being size and a little bit connectivity. The case itself is made of brushed black aluminium, just like we’re used to it from Lian Li; a material that simply looks great. The top is covered with a tempered glass panel that gives you a great view on the components. This being an open-air case, it has no additional locations to mount case-fans.

The PC-05 measures 400 x 349 x 138mm and supports one slim optical drive as well as two 3.5-inch and two 2.5-inch drives. If the user doesn’t need the dedicated GPU there’s room for two further disks of choice. It has two expansion slots and no system fan. The Front panel has two USB 3.0 and HD Audio ports.

It supports graphic cards up to 200 mm and SFX power supplies up to 125 mm length. The maximum height for the CPU cooler is 80 mm.

The PC-06 features a similar layout, just a bit bigger. It measures 450 x 500 x 153 mm. There will also be a sub-model to support Water cooling called the PC-06S. The S model will have support for up to 360 mm radiators and increases the width from 500 to 546 mm.

The drive support is a little different with three 3.5-inch and one 2.5-inch bays. Without a GPU it has an additional three bays of choice. The front panel has been expanded to 4 USB 3.0 ports, otherwise it’s the same as the smaller version.

This version supports graphics cards up to 290 mm and ATX power supplies up to 170 mm length. The CPU cooler can be 95 mm in this case. There aren’t many components you can’t mount in this case with space like that.

The PC-07 is the biggest of the three and allows for full-sized ATX motherboards. It measures 500 x 524 x 153 mm and there is a water cooling model here too. The PC-07S measures 500 x 570 x 153 mm.

This version supports up to three 3.5-inch and one 2.5-inch drives, and an additional three drives when no GPU is used. It uses the same front panel as the micro ATX model and supports the same sized components.

Sadly we haven’t seen any photos of the PC-06S water-cooling model yet, but these three normal ones look amazing and so does the PC-07S rear shot below. Considering the amount of hard drive space you can get when not using a dedicated GPU, these cases would make for some great server display-cases on your wall. And with the use of a GPU you got a great looking gaming system at hands.

Thank you Lian Li for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Lian Li

This 300w 3D Printed Wind Turbine Fits in Your Backpack

Portable energy generators are nothing new, we’ve seen hand wound, solar and wind power generators, not forgetting some of the more “traditional” ones such as diesel and petrol electricity generators. Each of these comes with a draw back, ones like the solar generators aren’t powerful enough for good levels of power generation, at least when the technology is scaled down to something you can put in your backpack. Diesel generators have the power, but are again to bulky and heavy to move and also require fuels, so they’re not exactly green friendly tech.

Omni3D think they have the solution with their AirEnergy 3D generator. The 3D printed wind turbine is capable of fitting in a backpack, but is able to produce up to 300W of power. That’s enough to charge all kinds of devices and for hard to reach areas that are eager for some renewable power sources, this could prove very popular indeed.

Omni3D are currently running this through a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter and the first models are expected to ship in February.

Thank you Kickstarter for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Kickstarter.

Microsoft Create 3D Depth Sensor from Single-Camera Smartphone

Microsoft are tinkering with camera technology once again. Their Kinect technology may not be a smash hit with consumers as they once hoped it would be, but the underlying technology is not something they’re about to give up on.

Using a simple mod that can be added to any smartphone or web cam the team were able to create a working prototype of their motion sensor. It’s capable of detecting fine movements, facial animations and more, even under a multitude of lighting conditions and it’ll do it at a significantly reduced cost compared to solutions such as the Kinect.

“We present a machine learning technique for estimating absolute, per-pixel depth using any conventional monocular 2D camera, with minor hardware modifications,” said the team, “our approach targets close-range human capture and interaction where dense 3D estimation of hands and faces is desired.” they added.

It’s an impressive party trick for a single lens camera and this could pave the way for some pretty advanced tricks in the smartphone market over the next couple of years. Especially given the current rise in popularity for VR tech in all its shapes and forms.

[youtube width=”800″ height=”450″]http://youtu.be/n89EsXM69d4[/youtube]

Thank you Wired for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Wired.

Check Out These Retrotastic Prototypes For Many of Today’s Top Gadgets

 

Companies like Apple, Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft are name to many of the biggest gadgets we use on a daily basis, but they all had to start somewhere. The first prototypes these companies made may now be sleek and well refined products, but their original incarnations were anything but. Just look at the first ever mobile phone created by Motorola (above), it weighed nearly 5lbs and was nothing short of massive!

Apple may not have based their iPhone from this model, but even back in 1984 they were on the right track for creating a touch screen phone device.

And they tried again between 1984 and 1990, although I think it is safe to say that these devices didn’t take off as well as their current product ranges.

This is one of my favourite bits of gaming trivia that I know very well, the Sony PlayStation was in fact a product built for Nintendo, effectively intended to be a CD-Rom based upgrade to the SNES. A bitter business deal later and Sony went solo, and they’ve likely never looked back since.

The original Xbox was actually X shaped. Although admittedly this was just a snazzy design for showing off the hardware, which is a good thing, just look at how deep that box is! Hardly TV stand friendly, that’s for sure.

And lets not forget the more recent prototype for the Wii U controller, amazing what you can do with a bit of super glue and a screw driver!

Thank you ShowTechn for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Showtechn.

Deuce Stated to be “Tennis Crossed with Street Fighter” Prototype Game

If you know and like Rust, the survival video game by Facepunch Studios, then you should know that its developer have just revealed a new game prototype by the name of Deuce, which is stated to have a tennis crossed with Street Fighter gameplay.

“Deuce is an arcade style tennis game with a focus on unique characters and courts,” stated programmer Ian James.

Facepunch Studios is said to be working on several projects similar to Deuce, such as the arcade space shooter game by the name of Riftlight.

“So far I’ve got four special moves working to some degree. These are: Ice (freezes opponent on returning the ball), Tornado (sends the ball flying in a random direction), Teleport (switches the ball position mid flight) and Fireball.”

A sneak peek at Deuce’s design shows a Mexican character in a sombrero or luchador mask and a hillbilly American with a shotgun. The developer states that each character is planned to have their own matching location, having only a tennis court surrounded by rusting trailers showed off so far.

Facepunch has also assured that Deuce’s announcement will have no negative impact on Rust’s development. Garry Newman, Facepunch’s boss, stated that only 5 out of Facepunch’s 25 staff members had been taken off Rust to work on ‘other things’.

A commenter has also asked if Garry’s Mod, Rust and Riftlight have been cancelled prior to Deuce’s announcement, where Newman reply the following: “And Half-Life 3 sorry”.

Thank you Eurogamer for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Eurogamer

Flexible Screen From LG Could Make Roll-Up TV’s A Reality

The latest display technology from LG could pave the way for a TV unlike any other. We’ve seen flexible displays before, but this is the first I know of that can be rolled up into a tube of just 3cm in diameter. Just imagine having a 100″ TV that rolls up on a blind just like a projector screen, but with all the advantages of not actually needing a separate projection unit!

Currently the technology only goes as far as an 18″ display, and I imagine it would cold you one of your kidneys to be able to afford something this crazy, but the prototype is certainly the first steps in making this a commercial viability and roll-up screens do show a lot of promise, especially when it comes to finding ways of accommodating big screens into our living spaces.

The screen only has a resolution of 1200 x 810px at this time, but LG say that the screen can be rolled up without being turned off, and the picture wont distort even when it is rolled-up tight! Not sure what use it is having a TV switched on and distortion free while its rolled up like a camping mat, but it’s an impressive party trick regardless.

LG are moving fast with this product and say that a 60″ Ultra HD roll-up panel will be released in 2017, but I suspect it’ll still be a few more years before it’s cost falls in line with its practicality.

Thank you Telegraph for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Telegraph.