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Tag Archives: Hardware

Wacom Inkling Digital Sketch Pen

Wacom Inkling Digital Sketch Pen (Images courtesy Wacom)
By Andrew Liszewski

Wacom, makers of the finest PC drawing tablets you can buy, have decided that even their smallest solution, the Bamboo, isn’t small enough for digital artists on the go. So they’ve created the Inkling. A digital pen that captures your sketches, drawings and presumably even notes, allowing them to be later imported into Photoshop or Illustrator as raster or vector graphics.

The fact that it gives you access to your drawings as vector versions is pretty exciting, even letting you separate your artwork into multiple layers while you’re creating it. And while the ability to use it with any kind of paper or notebook is certainly convenient, we’ve found that approach has unique problems of its own. (Read about my issues with the EPOS at the bottom of this review.) But perhaps Wacom has overcome the issues associated with these kinds of sensor + pen capture devices, and maybe the Inkling will be well worth $199.99 when it’s available this October.

[ Wacom Inkling ] VIA [ Ubergizmo ]

RotoSub’s R-ANC Technology = Self-Silencing Cooling Fans

RotoSub's R-ANC Technology (Image courtesy RotoSub)
By Andrew Liszewski

If you’ve ever been driven completely mad by the sound of one of your PC’s cooling fans (anyone? no? it’s just me then?) you’ll certainly appreciate the improvements a Swedish company called RotoSub has made to them. While it can’t eliminate the sound of the air rushing through the blades, their R-ANC (Active Noise Control) technology effectively deals with sounds generated by the fan’s mechanical moving parts, which typically are the annoying culprit.

Normally, noise cancelling technologies use a microphone and a separate speaker to generate sound waves that are out-of-phase with the sound being eliminated. And as the two signals combine, they effectively cancel each other out. From what I can tell the R-ANC technology works in a similar fashion, except that instead of a speaker, the noise-cancelling out-of-phase signals are generated by the blades themselves as their ‘angle of attack’ is modulated ever so slightly. The company’s website doesn’t do a great job at explaining how the technology works, but the demonstration in this video below certainly shows it’s effective.

And in case you were wondering, that whole plastic tube setup in the product shot above is just part of their demo system that makes it easier to hear the noises being cancelled. The R-ANC equipped fans will be no different than the fans currently used in desktop computers and other electronics, save for using a touch more electricity in the process.

[ RotoSub's R-ANC Technology ] VIA [ CNET ]

QUMA Motion Capture Puppet

QUMA Motion Capture Puppet (Images courtesy SoftEther)
By Andrew Liszewski

Instead of poking, pulling and adjusting a 3D character in your CG software using a mouse or stylus. The QUMA (pronounced Cooma), from Japanese company SoftEther, works kind of like those 3D wooden mannequins that artists often pose when sketching the human body. Except that the QUMA connects to your PC over USB, and the majority of the puppets’ joints feature sensors that not only detect when they’ve been moved and adjusted, but also translate those movements to the character in your 3D software.

For stop-motion artists who are used to manipulating a physical character it’s probably a great way to transition to the virtual CG world. And even for experienced CG artists it seems like a very quick way to rough in a specific pose or gesture on a character. Pricing and availability info for QUMA has yet to be announced, though SoftEther does have an SDK available for 3D software companies wanting to ensure their particular package is compatible. (You may just want to write those plugins yourself SoftEther.)

[ QUMA Motion Capture Puppet ] VIA [ TechCrunch ]

Vodafone’s Webbox Keyboard Brings Easy Internet To Emerging Markets

Vodafone Webbox Keyboard (Image courtesy Vodafone)
By Andrew Liszewski

In an attempt to make getting online as easy and affordable as possible for people living in emerging markets, Vodafone has created the Webbox, which is an all-in-one, plug-and-play keyboard computer. As you can see it’s completely lacking a display of any kind, and that’s because it’s designed to plug into any television using its built-in A/V cable, kind of like a modern version of the Commodore 64. And by taking the display costs out of the equation, the Webbox, which is now available in India (it was originally launched in South Africa) only costs around 5800 Rupees, or about $130.

Internet access is provided by a Vodafone SIM card supporting 2.5G and EDGE data networks, and according to TheNextWeb, the cost of the device includes 12GB of data usage. (We’re assuming that’s not monthly.) In addition to browsing the web using the Opera mini browser which minimizes the data load, the Webbox also includes apps for checking email, text messaging, an FM radio, a photo album, a music player, calculator, calendar, games and even a basic text editor. A built-in microSD card slot presumably serves as the devices main storage, which is handy because whatever’s not stored in ‘the cloud’ can be easily shared, in theory, by swapping microSD cards with other Webboxes.

[ Vodafone Webbox ] VIA [ TheNextWeb ]

Seagate GoFlex 1.5TB Portable Drive Reviewed. Verdict: Perfect Match of Size and Speed

By Paul McCollum

Portable hard drives have been an indispensable tool for data backup on the go. Seagate has stayed in the forefront of this market for a number of years and the company has recently outfitted their drives with the GoFlex interchangeable interface adapter to make their drives future-proof. The latest 2.5″ GoFlex model has 1.5TB storage, and the choose-your-own connector drive now comes with the USB 3.0 adapter and includes a standard mini-USB 3.0 cable. Other connection kits including eSATA and Firewire 800 which can be purchased separately for maximum performance based on your available connections.

The 1.5TB FreeAgent GoFlex is vast and fast but gives up some of its svelte form to pack on the extra gigabytes. The extra bulk is only noticeable in comparison to other drives of the same ilk but under most circumstances, you will never notice the 0.25″ or so of extra thickness. Performance metrics put this drive well above USB 2.0 drives and significantly above previous USB 3.0 drives. Performance data and other details are all covered in an in depth review at Everything USB.

[ Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex 1.5TB Portable Drive Review @ Everything USB ]

iDVM Multimeter Wirelessly Connects To Your iOS Device

iDVM Wireless Multimeter (Images courtesy Redfish Instruments)
By Andrew Liszewski

If you’re keeping a tally, you can now add Voltmeter and Multimeter to the list of things that Apple’s iOS devices can do thanks to Redfish Instruments’ new iDVM digital multimeter. As you can see it’s completely lacking the traditional B&W LCD of your standard multimeter because it instead connects to an iOS device via an ad-hoc wireless network, using its large color screen to display measurements and readings. There’s also the added bonus of being able to keep a log of readings over time, and geo-tag where the measurements were taken making it handy for repairpersons who make service calls.

The accompanying iDVM app is available for free on the iTunes App Store right now if you’d like to take it for a spin, while the hardware is expected to shop on June 1 for $220.

[ iDVM Wireless Multimeter ]

Dr. Cool Router Cooler

Dr. Cool Router Cooler (Images courtesy Evercool)
By Andrew Liszewski

In the same way I’m mostly certain the beverage ‘Dr. Pepper’ has never spent a single day in medical school, I have my doubts this ‘Dr. Cool’ contraption from Evercool even has a single diploma hanging on its wall. But since the website does claim it “has extensive knowledge in the cooling field” I’m inclined to trust it when it comes to cooling my… laptop? Nope. Tower? I’m afraid not. This device is actually designed to cool your router. As far as benefits go the only real tactile advantage they give for using it is prolonging its life, but then you don’t have an excuse to constantly upgrade to a model with the latest and greatest wireless standards. So no thank you!

[ Dr. Cool ] VIA [ SlashGear ]

IDEAL 0101 Hard Drive Puncher

IDEAL 0101 Hard Drive Puncher (Image courtesy PC Pro)
By Andrew Liszewski

You probably already have a paper shredder at the office for disposing of confidential documents, but since those often choke on something as small as a forgotten paperclip, you need something with a little more oomph if you hope to do the same with discarded hard drives. Like the IDEAL 0101 HDP from Duplo, which promises to pierce an unneeded old drive with up to 3 tons of force. PC Pro recently had one dropped off for testing, and they were kind enough to shoot a short video of the slow, agonizing carnage.

I wouldn’t go as far as to say the drive is left completely unreadable, I’m sure there are some data recovery facilities who could probably still pull a file or two off of it. But for the average office the damage it does is adequately fatal. I particularly like the ominous green light that comes on, the terrible cracking sounds and the fact that the now deceased drive is unceremoniously dropped into a bin below, like Sweeney Todd’s victims. At almost $3,300 (£1,995) it’s not the cheapest way to destroy a drive, but at the least there’s some perverse satisfaction to watching it do its thing.

[ IDEAL 0101 HDP ] VIA [ PC Pro ]

Oscium iMSO-104 Turns Your iDevice Into An Oscilloscope

Oscium iMSO-104 (Image courtesy Oscium)
By Andrew Liszewski

Instead of dropping $1,000+ on a dedicated oscilloscope, a new app/hardware combo from a company called Oscium promises to provide the same functionality via your iPod Touch/iPhone/iPad for just $297.99. Not exactly dirt cheap, but the solution appears to be far more affordable and flexible than a standalone unit.

In addition to the company’s free iMSO app, which you can download and try out for free before buying, the iMSO-104 basically consists of a breakout cable that attaches to your idevice’s dock connector and allows you to attach various leads and probes for doing whatever one uses an oscilloscope for. The first batch of iMSO-104s has already sold out apparently, so if you want one you’d better order soon to get in on the second batch which will ship on May 20 now.

[ Oscium iMSO-104 ] VIA [ SlashGear ]