Sweep Looks to Bring LiDAR Technology to Everyone

LiDAR is a technology normally reserved for those with a lot of money, but a group has taken to Kickstarter to give you access to the technology for a minimal price.

Sweep is an impressive device given its low spec stats and reduced price model. With a range of 40 metres, the device can be used both indoors and outdoor for everything from security sensors to detect when someone enters a room, to a drone detecting when someone enters your garden.

Featuring 360 scanning capabilities you can even use Sweep to map out a room, giving you the dimensions of a room with ease, something useful for people who want to remodel a room and don’t want to use a tape measure or laser distance finder to map out every single indent and outlet.

Given its low-end target the technology is going above and beyond, providing support and example projects for people looking to use the system on the Raspberry Pi, Arduino and other systems.

With an expected delivery date for the first products in the fourth quarter of this year, you could soon see the technology used in other projects with prices going as low as $249 for the device.

Offering something for almost a quarter of the market price for something is going to have a lot of interest and with the project already meeting half its Kickstarter target with 26 days to go, it could soon become a reality.

Oral-B Genius: A Toothbrush With Apps

We love technology, sometimes a little too much. The internet of things exposes a whole new way to look at the world, with cameras being viewable from all over the world and “smart houses” causing major problems with each glitch. So what could become “smart” next? How about your toothbrush?

Welcome the Oral-B Genius, a new toothbrush that not only helps you clean your teeth but also points out all those bad habits you might have when it comes to brushing your teeth. The recommendation is that you brush your teeth for at least two minutes a day, at least twice. Some people aren’t as patient as that and either rushes through it or miss out on the morning or evening brush every couple of days. The SmartSeries by Oral-B looks to help people increase their brush time by making it an experience they want to do, letting you see the news or your daily calendar on your phone while you brush.

Not only does the toothbrush connect to your phone to give you all the news and weather but the inbuilt pressure senses give you a warning when you push that little bit too hard on your teeth. The latest model, the Genius, contains all this and more. The added feature is the use of the “Position Detection Technology” that lets the app know where in your mouth you are brushing, telling you where you are overfocusing and where in your mouth you need to spend more time.

If this wasn’t enough for you the phone has to calculate your teeth’s position. The solution they found was to use the smartphone’s camera to identify your face and then calculate your teeth based on the image and your brushing data.

Didn’t feel bad about occasionally skipping brushing your teeth? I wonder how long it is before the app’s updated with a guilt feature, anything that reminds us just how bad we are for not caring enough about our teeth.

Razer Orichi Mobile Bluetooth and Wired Hybrid Gaming Mouse Review

Introduction


Razer is one of the most recognisable gaming brands on the market, having a huge range of mice that are suited for virtually any kind of gaming environment. Their latest mouse, the Orichi, is certainly a bit different from the usual crop of Razer gaming mice, but that doesn’t mean we’re not expecting great things from it. The Orichi features a compact design, making it ideally suited for those who travel a lot. Having a huge gaming mouse isn’t always ideal when you’re playing on a notebook, or even if you just have limited space, or simply prefer a smaller mouse. The benefits are obvious, as a smaller mouse is lighter and much easier to store, but has the cut-down size affected the performance.

Bluetooth technology is great and virtually any modern laptop comes equipped with it, meaning you’re no doubt already capable of quickly connecting the Orichi and getting into the action. Of course, when it comes to gaming competitively, there are many who refuse to use wireless tech, but don’t worry, as the Orichi comes with a dual function and can be used in a wired mode for lightning fast response times.

“Engineered with Bluetooth 4.0, the Razer Orochi is designed for portability and is the ideal companion for gamers who are always on the move. Switch conveniently to the wired mode to experience gaming-grade performance, control, and accuracy at a blistering 1 ms response time.”

Equipped with an 8,200 DPI laser sensor, wired and wireless modes, extra long battery life, 16.8 million colour RGB lighting and more, the Orichi is certainly well equipped. Let’s jump in and take a closer look at what it has to offer.

The packaging follows the usual Razer theme of black and green, as well as a nice image of the mouse on the front of the box, and a few major features detailed along the bottom.

Around the back, we can see more features, such as the dual function wired/wireless, fully programmable buttons, RGB lighting and the ambidextrous design.

In the box, you’ll find everything you need to get you ready to play. There’s all the usual documentation, some cool stickers, a protective carry pouch, USB cable and two Duracell AA batteries.

Razer Announces Naga Chroma With 16,000 DPI Sensor

The Razer Naga has been an incredibly popular choice for MMO enthusiasts requiring a huge array of programmable side buttons. Given the success of this device, Razer decided to launch the Naga Epic Chroma which features RGB lighting, a 1000Hz polling rate and 12 buttons. While this is a fairly recent mouse, Razer wants to up the ante and offer a similar model with an improved 16,000 DPI sensor.

As you can see from the technical specification, the Naga Chroma utilizes an ultra-precise sensor with a lift-of cut-off distance as precise as 0.1mm. Additionally, there is 0 interpolation and up to 50 G of acceleration.

Other notable features include fully customizable RGB lighting, a braided cable, and tilt scroll wheel.  In terms of pricing and availability, the Razer Chroma will cost $79.99 and should start shipping from November 16th. I’m not entirely sure who needs a mouse which supports extreme sensitivities, but the overall package is pretty impressive. 

On another note, I expected the price to be slightly higher considering the sensor’s huge range and Chrome lighting. I can see this selling incredibly well among MMO and MOBA players. The mouse is also aesthetically pleasing and should suit palm, and claw grips.

Are you currently using a high-DPI mouse?

Revolutionary New Smartphone Sensor to Detect Pollution Levels

People could soon be using their smartphones to detect air pollution, thanks to a potentially life-saving breakthrough sensor by researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia.

Apparently experts at the university have developed the first low-cost and reliable method of detecting nitrogen dioxide the type of air pollutant that has been linked to more than seven million deaths worldwide each year, according to the World Health Organization. Research has uncovered that the gas could increase the risk of respiratory disorders in children with the elderly being most at risk. The Projects leader Professor Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh, from RMIT’s Centre for Advanced Electronics and Sensors, said the negative impact of nitrogen dioxide could be prevented by access to personalised, highly selective, sensitive and reliable monitoring systems that could detect harmful levels of the gas early. Kalantar-zadeh stated the following

“The revolutionary method we’ve developed is a great start to creating a handheld, low-cost and personalised NO2 sensor that can even be incorporated into smartphones, not only would it improve the quality of millions of people’s lives, but it would also help avoid illness caused by nitrogen dioxide poisoning and potentially even death.”

The main contributors of nitrogen dioxide are the burning of fossil fuels, particularly in coal-fired power stations and diesel engines such as those highlighted in the recent emissions scandal, which can impact on the health of people in urban areas. The professor goes on to state:

“A lack of public access to effective monitoring tools is a major roadblock to mitigating the harmful effects of this gas but current sensing systems are either very expensive or have serious difficulty distinguishing it from other gases, the method we have developed is not only more cost-effective, it also works better than the sensors currently used to detect this dangerous gas.”

The sensor operates by physically absorbing nitrogen dioxide gas molecules onto flakes of tin disulphide, not only would this be a great solution for smartphones but apparently it can outperform any other nitrogen dioxide sensing solutions on the market! To create these sensors the researchers transformed tin disulphide into flakes just a few atoms thick. The large surface area of these flakes has a high affinity to nitrogen dioxide molecules that allows its highly selective absorption.

Toshiba is Apparently Selling Their Camera Business to Sony

There have been rumors circulating from Bloomberg, the Japan Times and Reuters regarding the sale of Toshiba’s sensor business to Sony. Apparently, the deal is worth $165 million and part of Toshiba’s large restructuring programme. The image sensors are paramount to Toshiba’s LSI semiconductor business and provides the technology for smartphones and traditional cameras. However, Toshiba’s position in the smartphone market is extremely weak and only used in a couple of handsets; the most luxurious model is the HTC One M9.

In contrast to this, Sony controlled about 40 percent of the $8.7 billion image sensor market last year, compared with about 16 percent for its next biggest competitor, according to Techno System Research. Compared to their other business ventures, the sensor market is extremely promising and a profitable endeavor. As a result, this particular sale makes sense given Sony’s financial success and Toshiba’s fragile position. Additionally, Toshiba needs to try to restore faith in their company given the recent executive profits scandal.

Sony even provides the sensor technology to a large quantity of Chinese handsets, while keeping their flagship technology for the Xperia series. It’s an interesting course of events, as Sony’s mobile sales were quite poor and it looked for some time they could exit this particular market.

Canon Produces Record Beating 250-Megapixel Sensor

Canon has unveiled an astonishingly detailed, 250-megapixel APS-H CMOS sensor which features a signal readout rate of 1.25 billion pixels per second. The 19,580 x 12,600 resolution set a new world record for a camera of its size and is nothing short of an engineering marvel. According to Canon, the sensor can even detect the lettering on an aircraft from 18km away. Additionally, it’s predicted the camera will record video which is 30 times sharper than the 4K standard. This simply mesmerizing given the beautiful crispness 4K video exhibits.

The sensor isn’t geared towards mainstream usage but designed for security surveillance or other industry applications. Although, consumers should be able to procure 50 and 75 megapixel cameras in the next two years. While mobile phones contain fairly usable cameras, they are still no match for a DSLR. As a result, it seems photography companies are exemplifying the benefits of a DSLR over compact cameras. Honestly, I cannot see compact cameras remaining that popular if mobile sensors improve dramatically in low-light conditions.

In terms of picture and video quality, the future is very bright and I’m not entirely certain if the human eye can fully appreciate video quality 30 times crisper than 4K. Whatever the case, Canon is making huge technological strides and giving professionals the best tools possible to create stunning content.

Do you own a dedicated camera?

Thank you Digitalspy for providing us with this information.

Your Smart Home Appliances Are Not as Safe as You Think

Are you a proud owner of smart lock? How about motion sensors, temperature sensors, bulbs or other Internet of Things gadgets? Well, if they’re made by ZigBee, chances are your house is vulnerable to hacking, according to a paper revealed at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas.

ZigBee, a company that specializes in IoT smart appliances that supplies big name companies such as Samsung, Philips, Motorola and Texas Instruments, is said to have implemented just enough security measures to pass the requirements to ship, which means that security measures are almost non-existent. Hackers are said to easily be able to sniff out exchange network keys, gaining access to the entire network and all smart appliances.

The security experts say that the main cause for the lack of security is due to the companies, who want to quickly ship out the latest tech, make it communicate and interact with everything, all while keeping prices down to a minimum. As a consumer, I get the bit to keep prices down, but if I have to pay a bit extra to prevent someone opening my door or fiddling with my lights, I think that would be an option all of us may opt for. In the end, security is more important than cheap product, don’t you think?

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Architect’s Toy Box

Apple May Ditch the Home Button in Next-Gen iPhones

Apple introduced a revolutionary smartphone design when it first came out. Back then, phones had an abundance of buttons, but the company wanted to make it more simplistic. Thus, they came up with the Home Button.

Apple’s Home Button is used on both iPhone and iPad devices to minimize applications, bring up the multitasking menu, activate Siri and other user specific actions. But now, Apple is rumoured to ditch the Home Button too.

According to a report from Digitimes, the Cupertino giant is integrating the Home Button functions in its display by developing a touch and display driver integration (TDDI) chip. This means that the Home Button will now be displayed on the screen, rather than having it as a physical button.

We’ve seen the company make the same move with the trackpad on its latest MacBook series, so it’s highly likely that we will see the same approach on its mobile devices too. However, we are fairly certain that the latest iPhone models being released this fall will not bear the TDDI technology.

In addition, the company is working to integrate the fingerprint sensor directly on the display too. This means that your smartphone’s display will be able to read and interpret your fingerprints as well.

As always, Apple is not going to officially confirm rumours outside of their annual conference, so we might see the company announce the new tech next year. Until then, we might even see other manufacturers taking the same ‘all-display’ approach. As far as I know, the old Nokia N9 is a good example of such a ‘buttonless’ smartphone (except for the volume physical buttons of course).

Thank you Digitimes for providing us with this information

Meet the Camera That Uses Light to Power Itself

If you think solar panels are the only thing that use photons to produce power, you might need to read this. Scientists from Columbia University seem to have developed a camera that uses light to power itself.

The camera appears to have been developed in the university’s Department of Computer Science by researchers Shree Nayar and Daniel Sims in collaboration with Mikhail Fridberg, the head of ADSP Consulting in Sharon, Massachusetts.

As for the camera itself, it looks like it uses a simple pixel circuit where its photodiote is used to measure light as well as convert it into electrical energy. This has been made possible by a sensor architecture, which first captures and reads the image and then is used to harvest energy for the sensor’s power supply.

To test it out, the researchers used off-the-shelves components and made two models. One was made using a single pixel based on the design at hand and used it to capture scene images. The next one was made as a fully self-powered camera that outputs 30×40 pictures, using a supercap power supply rather and an external source.

The fully fledged camera was then used to take images in environments with light measuring in at around 300 lux. This resulted in the camera harvesting enough power to keep the supercap above the minimum needed for the camera to take an image per second… forever.

In order to test this out in different lighting environments, the scientists used an adaptive algorithm used to adjust the framerate of the camera based on the voltage of the supercap and the environmental brightness. In the end, the final results got the researchers hyped about the future of fully self-powered solid-state image sensors.

What does this mean for future camera models? Well, post probably it would mean infinite battery life! Or this could even lead to a way to power up your handheld gadgets that feature a camera? Who knows! What we do know is that it is awesome!

Images and videos courtesy of Columbia University

Apple Buys Depth Sensing Camera Producer

iPhones, they’re the technology equivalent of Marmite. You either love them or you hate them.

Apple has now given more people a reason to love them. Depth sensing cameras may be on their way! The $651 billion dollar company has just bought the Israeli company, LinX.

According to Wall street journal – the acquisition of the company was valued at around $20 million dollars, a tiny amount of Apples’ market worth. LinX were primarily focused on phones and tablets and can not only offer cool effects such as background blurring that you can get on high-end DSLR’s but can also get a much better performance in low light; you’ll be able to take much better photos of dark areas without having to utilise the flash.

Apple may plan to use their technology in all of their devices, the development of the depth sensing camera  has made it a much thinner device than a standard camera module. The Mac Air may be even thinner next time!

Apples’ extension into Israel has been a large one, the companies chief executive Tim Cook stated that Israel is the largest research and development center outside of the U.S with over 700 employees.

TechCrunch received the following from Apple: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans” 

Apple doesn’t seem to want to share their plans with us at this moment in time. We can only hope something awesome comes of it!

Thanks to Business Insider for the information

Images courtesy of  wired

Optical Nanotechnology Sensor Claimed to be as Good as a Dog’s Nose

Researchers for the Oregon State University have created a new technology by combining optical tech with nanocomposite thin-films to develop a new type of cheap sensor, which is said to be fast, highly sensitive and able to detect and analyse a wide range of gases.

The sensor is said to be suited to detect carbon dioxide and may find potential use in industrial applications or systems designed to store the gas underground.

However, there are many other applications for the sensor. The researchers have filed a patent on the invention and are working in collaborating with a variety of industries to perfect and help commercialize the product.

“Optical sensing is very effective in sensing and identifying trace-level gases, but often uses large laboratory devices that are terribly expensive and can’t be transported into the field,” said Alan Wang, a photonics expert and an assistant professor in the OSU School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.”By contrast, we use optical approaches that can be small, portable and inexpensive,” Wang said. “This system used plasmonic nanocrystals that act somewhat like a tiny lens, to concentrate a light wave and increase sensitivity.”

The sensor works by having a metal-organic framework of thin films which can quickly absorb gases within material pores and be recycled by simple vacuum processes.

After the thin-film captures the gas molecules near the surface, the plasmonic materials act at a near-infrared range, help magnify the signal and precisely analyze the presence and amounts of different gases.

Detecting gas can also find its use in the explosive diffusion industry, with further applications seen in public places with high risk of terrorism and explosive use, such as airports or border security.

However, a lot of gases required to be monitored in the lab before the sensor can do its job in the field. Other fields that might find potential use for the technology include healthcare, automobile engines and prevention of natural gas leakage.

Thank you Phys.org for providing us with this information

Robot Butterflies Could Fool Anyone Into Thinking its The Real Thing

Festo appears to have created a robotic doppleganger that looks and acts as a real butterfly, but you won’t see these things in open spaces just yet.

The company is said to have revealed a small swarm of the robotic butterflies flying laps around its headquarters. When you think of robots moving around, you immediately think they are equipped with sensors to detect objects, but this is not the case for Festo’s design.

In order to keep the lightweight, small and airborne, the company used twelve cameras placed around the room, which kept track of each butterfly using a unique infrared mark on each one.

The cameras are said to have provided data to a central computer, where the information was processed and instructions given to each robot on where to go. While the complex system did showcase how the robotic butterflies could move and act as the real thing, they do not seem to be quite ready to tackle open spaces just yet. Still, it is a step forward.

Thank you Gizmodo for providing us with this information

Volvo Cars Will Be Able to Talk to Each Other in the near Future

Have you ever thought that cars can talk to one another? If not, prepare to be amazed. Volvo apparently is working on a new technology which allows their cars to “talk to each other” in real-time, delivering warnings to drivers about black ice conditions or disabled vehicles on the road.

It seems the technology is currently being tested in Sweden, where the cars are said to be gathering data from their wheels in order to detect and determine if they are encountering black ice. Once the black ice is detected, the car transmits a GPS location to a Volvo server, which in turn sends the data to other vehicles nearby.

Drivers of those cars see a small warning icon on the dashboard to alert of the black ice ahead. The icon gets bigger as the car approaches the dangerous area, said Erik Israelsson, project leader for safety at Volvo, during a demonstration at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

It is said that the system is also implemented to activate the car’s hazard lights, sending an alert to nearby cars when they are activated to notify other drivers of potential hazard lying on the road ahead.

Technology such as this one seems to be a keyword in the industry, having scientists working on even more complex systems. However, compared to others, Volvo’s vehicle-to-vehicle system is said to be coming out as soon as next year, having it be implemented in the successor model of XC90 SUV.

Thank you Computer World for providing us with this information

Apple Patents Mouse With Scanner and Display

Apple has been given a patent for a mouse that includes a built-in scanner and display.

The patent details a mouse with special sensors that can scan its surface, transferring the image to a screen embedded within the mouse itself. The added sensors would also help with tracking, making it an incredibly accurate pointing device.

The built in “chromatic sensor” would allow a user to scan a document simply by dragging the mouse over it.

Apple’s patent applications are certainly not always evident of future products – the company is famous for designing and prototyping an array of weird and wonderful devices, that it quite often simply throws into oblivion.

If this did become reality, I guess there would be no more waiting around the office photocopier, eh?

Source: TechCrunch

 

Sony Introduces Plane Phase Detection Auto-focus to Smartphones

Everyone who’s in the market for a top notch smartphone always has to consider the shooter that comes attached to it. Most people are after a rear facing camera that gets a great shot, and Sony today announced huge strides in improving camera optics performance for the smartphone market. The Japanese based company announced it’s new Exmor RS IMX230 stacked CMOS imaging sensor – built specifically for smartphone cameras.

Sony’s recent press release gave a little insight into the new image sensors technology. The new sensor will come set for action with a 21-megapixel stills shooter, and will be the first CMOS smartphone image sensor to feature an onboard image plane phase detection AF signal processing function. What does this all mean exactly? Well, Sony’s new smartphone sensor will be able to utilise up to 192 auto-focus points in an image – which should dramatically improve focus on high speed or moving subjects in an image. Improved snap time generally means fantastic image processing, and it’s exciting that high end camera functions are finally trickling down into smartphones. For those who ever shoot scenes with moving objects, such as a sports games for instance, the new Exmor sensor should be right up your alley.

On top of this, the new sensor is also capable of shooting High Dynamic Range still images as well as video. The breakdown is that the lens takes information from two exposure examples and creates a singular image that looks to merge the best of both lighting into one superior coloured image. Video wise, the Exmor RS IMX230 sensor produces 120FPS clips at 720P resolution, 1080P at 60FPS and 4K video at 30FPS. We can expect Sony’s handsets next year starting late April to start shipping with the new sensor.

Thanks to Phandroid for providing us with this information.

Toshiba Launching 20 Million Pixel CMOS Smart Phone Sensor

Ever since the Motorola Razr’s debut in 2004, the phone industry has been all about making your devices thinner, lighter and faster. Thanks to Toshiba, we can now possibly see slimmer phones being produced due to their new 20 million pixel sensors as announced recently. How is a phone generally engineered to be razer thin? Often things like size of casing, thickness of battery and placement of components is taken into account – but what about your phones camera?

This sensor release by Toshiba isn’t their first 20 million pixel variant, but this one can be labeled as ‘new and improved’ – offering a frame rate increase to 22 fps, maximum supported resolution of 5384 x 3752 and an overall claim of an 83% performance boost alongside it being thinner than previous editions. Said to be sitting at only 6mm in thickness, this new camera technology may see our next generation of phones as wide as a broadsword, but thinner than a hair on your head.

On top of these factors, Toshiba have claimed that digital zooming through this new sensor will provide “almost no perceived loss of image quality” and will be shipping out as of February 2015.

We haven’t however, received any information as to which manufacturers will be taking up Toshiba on their new offering, but we’re very interested to see who takes up this slimming opportunity.

Image courtesy of  PR Newswire

Ford Working With Intel on Bringing Face and Gesture Recognition Technology to Cars

Automaker Ford and chip maker Intel apparently have started looking into how people can interact with their gadgets even more. With smart watches and virtual reality already on the way, the two manufacturers apparently are looking into making their own innovative technology, but for automobiles.

“Project Mobii” is the name of Intel and Ford’s little project, having it stand for Mobile Interior Imaging. The project itself is not that “small” either, having a team formed from ethnographers, anthropologists and engineers working to achieve a “more personalized and seamless interaction between driver and vehicle.”

What all of this means is that Intel and Ford are experimenting on new ways people might interact with cars in the future. Cameras could be connected and allow owners to check the car remotely via an app, or gestures might be able to control a car’s features, such as a sunroof or windows, or even have the car implemented with facial recognition software in order to identify the driver or give certain permissions to family members.

Though the project is being worked on, this does not mean we will see sci-fi cars on the streets anytime soon. Intel and Ford have apparently made it clear that the project is currently just for research and exploration purposes for now.

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

New Technique Allows Screen Embedded Sensors In Smartphones

Given that modern smartphones are now mostly made up of screen, it’s getting harder to integrate extra sensors and features without adding in extra buttons, often located around the edge of the screen, or on the device. In the case of Apple, their main button now acts as a finger print scanner and provides a multitude of other functions, but what if they could do away with that button altogether, yet still keep its functionality?

Researchers at Gorilla Glass and Ploytechnique Montreal may have a solution that would allow sensors to be integrated into the screen itself, allowing things like temperature sensors, finger print scanners, heart rate monitors and more to be stealth mounted into the glass. They’ve figured out a way that lays a new type of wiring technique that is similar to that of a regular electronic sensor into the screen, allowing it to relay data to sensors that are built into the phone. Doing away with the need for an external (to the display) switch or sensor.

This has the potential of being a massive technical innovation for smartphones, not only freeing up space for more screen without the need for a bigger handset, but also streamlining the device overall while adding extended features and functionality.

Thank you FastCodesign for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of FastCodesign.

Nanoparticles Could Lead to Cheaper , Lighter and More Flexible Solar Cells

When hearing the name ‘Colloidal Quantum Dots’, minds fly away to science-fiction scenarios and technologies far from reach. Actually, the name has been given to a new form of solid nanoparticles.

It is said that the newly discovered nanoparticles could eventually contribute to the creation of cheaper, lighter and more flexible solar cells. A few examples were also given, having the nanoparticles in question considered to make better sensors, infrared lasers, remote controls, LEDs and even satellites.

The colloidal quantum dots were discovered at the University of Toronto by a group of scientists led by researcher Zhijun Ning and professor Ted Sargent, having the group achieve more efficient light absorption in the material by solving a problem in which a type of semiconductor would lose its electrons when exposed to the oxygen in the air. In the end, the group came up with the new material which remains rich in electrons despite being exposed to the oxygen.

The scientists find a lot of potential in the colloidal quantum dots, having been stated that they could eventually be added to inks or paints. Considering the latter, roofs and other buildings could eventually become solar panels themselves, leading to cheaper solar power and electricity.

However, the technology is not yet fully understood and tested. Considering its potential though, a lot of indie entrepreneurs should be extremely eager to get their hands on the new technology and flood the Kickstarter campaigns with new ideas and gadgets.

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

New Windows v2 Kinect Available For Pre-Order, Shipping to Start on the 15th of July

Microsoft’s team of engineers designated for the Kinect have announced that developers can finally pre-order the new Kinect for Windows v2 sensor from Microsoft’s Store at just $199. Microsoft has also stated that customers who pe-order the new Kinect now will be able to receive it ahead of general availability, stated to be a few months away.

Information gathered from Microsoft’s Store indicate that customers pre-ordering the new Kinect during the pre-order phase will receive the device somewhere after the second half of July, having the company start shipping the new batch on the 15th of July. Microsoft is also said to plan a release of their public beta software development kit for the devices as soon as the first new Kinect devices start shipping.

In terms of specs, the new Microsoft Kinect is stated to come with increased depth-sensing features, full 1080p video support, improved skeletal tracking and enhanced infrared technology. The company also states that the v2 sensor will also start shipping in July to whomever participated in the Developer Preview programme, though not a lot of developers were accepted into it.
Microsoft also hopes that the pre-order option will address the sensor’s demand before it is made available to the public.

Microsoft also mentioned that the new Kinect is available in limited quantities spread throughout 23 regions, including the US and UK, being priced accordingly based on the respective region’s currency.

Thank you Tech Spot for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Tech Spot

Sony Unleashes the A7S w/ 4k Video

Sony has brought a third model into the new A7 family named the A7s. Like it’s older brothers, the A7s maintains the super small form factor that houses a beast of a full-frame sensor.

The star of the show is its new full-frame 35mm sensor pushing 12.2 megapixels that is capable of providing the user with improved ultra low-light performance when shooting both pictures or even in movies. Now remember not to focus on that pixel count because just like the A7 and A7R, Sony is banking on boosting individual photoreceptor pixel sizes.

In terms of ISO it has a staggering range of 50-409,600. So imagine having the incredible ISO ranges of high end DSLR’s like the D3S or the D4 but in a small form factor that is more comfortable to bring along with you where ever you travel. Sony is using its BIONZ X processor to be able to stream 4K video through its HDMI port.

This is one little beast and it looks like Sony is out for blood for any other competitor in this category of products. Let’s just hope that the price point is some what reasonable.

 

Thank you to Slash Gear for providing us with this information.

 

PAPAGO! P2 Pro Dashcam Review

Introduction


The usage of dash cams hasn’t boomed yet. It’s still some what in its infancy. There are many different versions that can be found on retailers like Amazon or Ebay that are really cheap and don’t really provide the necessary quality and feature sets to really make them relevant. But that’s about to change. Let me introduce you to Papago!.

Papago! has been in the GPS industry for over a decade. With all of the experience they’ve gained they have built a very strong following in countries like Taiwan, China, Russia, South East Asia, Japan, and Australia. And with their recent expansion into the United States they’re not only looking to follow others to bring another novelty dash cam into the market, they’re looking to dominate it.

Pulled directly from their website, “PAPAGO! Inc. has devoted itself to offering better services and driving technology for every consumer”. So let’s see how well they live up to that devotion.

Papago! was gracious enough to send us their P2 Pro Dash Cam. As you can see from the images below, the packaging is very simple and clean. No fancy marketing graphics. Just straight to the point.

Once the box is ripped open you can see that it includes the user manual, adjustable windshield mount, screws to secure the dash cam, power cable, and of course the dash cam itself.

CoolTouch-E and CoolTouch-R Fan Controllers Released By Aerocool

Aerocool Advanced Technologies announced two new single-bay fan controller CoolTouch-E and CoolTouch-R. Both are said to use a touch-panel, hence allowing users to directly interact with the display to make adjustments and changes more naturally. The back side of the CoolTouch fan controller can support up to four case fans, while all important information are presented well sorted on the display in the front. To match most on-market PC chassis, CoolTouch-E and CoolTouch-R are available in both black and white edition colors.

All interactions with the new CoolTouch fan controller seem to be handled by pressing on the designated area on the touch-screen. Users are also able to change the background-color of the LCD touch-panel anytime by pressing the “color” button. Both CoolTouch-E and CoolTouch-R report to offer various background colors: red, green, yellow, blue, light blue, purple and white.

The CoolTouch-E is equipped with a big 100 x 25 mm display, which covers most of the fan controller’s front panel. Each of the four case fan channels can be controlled individually by choosing the preferred channel and then adjusting the fan speed in steps between 0, 50, 75 and 100 percent, while each channel supports fans with a consumption of up to 20 watts. The CoolTouch-E indicates weather a fan is spinning or not and allows users to stop fans by pressing the power button. All common types of fan connectors are supported by the CoolTouch series, including the standard 3-pin and 4-Pin PWM as well as 4-pin Molex connectors.

The Aerocool CoolTouch-R uses a slightly smaller 85 x 25 mm LCD display with touch-support and is said to offer additional functions. Besides the four case fan channels, one temperature sensor has been integrated, allowing users to monitor the temperature of the CPU Cooler, HDD, Chipset, VGA card or the temperature inside the chassis. The sensor can be placed anywhere inside the PC chassis using the supplied adhesive stickers, having temperatures display both in Celsius and Fahrenheit formats. It also provides a built-in card-reader and the USB 3.0 port, located on the right side of the panel, supporting most common storage media types such as SD/SDHC/SDXC/MMC/RS MMC and miniSD are supported by the card reader.

Both the Aerocool CoolTouch-E and CoolTouch-R are available in-stores at an estimated price of 24,50 EUR and respectively 32,50 EUR

Cisco Systems To Shift Focus On ‘Internet of Everything’

Cisco Systems is said to have focused on the Internet of Everything (IoE), which basically connects everything to everything. From people, to mobile devices, smart gadgets and homes, transportation networks, data, processes, a world where every device capable of connecting to the internet will be connected and synced with each other. The number of estimated connected devices is said to be 15 to 25 billion by 2015, and will drastically show an increase to 50 billion by 2020.

“Cisco has led customers through every Internet transition over the last 30 years,” said Blair Christie, Cisco Senior VP and chief marketing officer, in a statement. “The Internet of Everything is perhaps the most promising of these, creating unprecedented opportunities for organizations, individuals, communities and countries to realize dramatically greater value from networked connections between people, processes, data and things.”

The Internet of Everything has been implemented by Cisco to cope with employees’ needs, where everyone has been bringing their own devices to work, and all needed to work properly in the working environment. And this is a good thing, since IoE services offer long-form content, location-based and profile data, sensors-collected data, as well as home/control/automation features available at home and in the workplace.

Thank you Tweak Town for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Tweak Town

Sony Allegedly Working On 54MP Full Frame Sensor

Most times, megapixels do not count in terms of picture quality, but there are cases when you want to print large-scale photos without losing quality. It seems that the guys at Sony are taking this into consideration and are working on a 54MP full frame sensor that will be released in 2014.

Take note though that devices carrying the sensors will not be available until 2015 or 2016 due to production costs being very expensive, so it might take a while before Sony figures out a way to lower costs to produce it more efficiently. According to the rumor, the sensor will feature 2,460 focusing points, with the focusing area covering about 78% of the entire sensor itself.

Given the current information, we have to assume that this sensor will probably be targeted towards the professional photographer and we’ll be able to see these sensors on high-end digital cameras that will appear in two years time, or even less if Sony figures out a way to mass produce the sensors at a reasonable price in the meantime.

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

Roccat Kone Pure Optical Mouse Review

Introduction


Roccat have produced some of the coolest and best performing peripherals we’ve ever tested here at eTeknix, going from the Roccat Kone XTD gaming mouse which I personally regard as the best mouse on the market, to their smaller Kone Pure and the hybrid Savu, all of which won eTeknix awards for their incredible performance and extensive features, amongst many other great reasons. So naturally we’re going into this review with pretty high expectations of both Roccat and the Kone Pure Optical gaming mouse.

The Optical sensor is a big deal for some gamers, laser is wonderful to use and incredibly accurate across a wide range of surfaces, while also being capable of extremely high DPI in excess of 8200. Optical is typically capable of lower DPI settings of around 4000 and doesn’t work on some surface types such as glass and aluminium. Both types of sensor have theirs benefits and while I lack the words to describe how, optical feels different to laser and the way it tracks is really a matter of taste compared to laser. Roccat know that a lot of gamers love optical sensors and would rather have one over crazy high DPI laser sensors, which is why they’ve released the Pure Optical mouse.

The mouse is really well equipped with a high quality sensor, 1000Hz polling rate, a super low response time, a fast tracking speed, built in ARM CPU, on board memory for profiles, macros and most importantly of all zero angle snapping and prediction.

Technical Specifications

  • Pro-Optic Sensor R3 with up to 4000dpi
  • 1000Hz polling rate
  • 1ms response time
  • 10.8megapixel
  • 30G acceleration
  • 3.8m/s
  • 16-bit data channel
  • 72MHz Turbo Core V2 32-bit Arm based MCU
  • 576kB onboard memory
  • Zero angle snapping/prediction
  • 1.8m braided USB cable

The packaging is exactly what we have come to expect from Roccat, designed just like the box for the rest of their range and there are a bunch of clearly labelled product images on the box that detail the main specification.

Around the back of the box we have a more detailed run down of the mouse features, such as the 7 programmable buttons and the solid 2D Titan wheel, 16.8 million colour LED customisation and Roccat Easy Shift[+] features.

The box folds out to give us even more details, as well as our first sneaky peak at the mouse its self.

The mouse comes hard-wired with a high quality braided USB cable. In the box I also found an easy to understand quick installation guide.