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Tag Archives: Technology

Maglev Keys Could Mean Slimmer Keyboards

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When you’re trying to make a product smaller, every little bit you can shave counts. Keyboards on laptops are already pretty thin but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t be thinner. A Taiwanese manufacturer called Darfon is working on keyboard keys that use magnetic levitation rather than mechanical switches, membranes, or springs to keep the keys apart from their base. In this way you can achieve thicknesses that are a fraction smaller than before, while also allowing you to fine tune how much resistance each key gives you. Anyone that spends a lot of time on a keyboard will tell you that this (more than the reduced thickness) could be a massive selling point.

There’s no word on which laptop manufacturers ordered this technology, but word is that we’ll start seeing pop up on the market in the second half of this year. Which, well… is now.

[ C|Net ] VIA [ Engadget ]

Turns Out Snapchat Doesn’t Delete Your Pictures Forever

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Been using Snapchat to send some racy pics because you thought they’d be deleted forever after a while? Think again. It turns out the company recently settled with the FTC regarding these specific claims. That’s right, all those videos and pictures you thought were gone forever could actually be accessed using easily obtainable third party applications, after their “expiration date”. As a matter of fact, some of these applications have been downloaded millions of times! The very feature that made Snapchat special turned out to have been non-existent to any mildly motivated individual.

As part of the settlement, Snapchat has to “create and implement what the FTC has called a “comprehensive privacy program,” and it will be monitored by an independent company for the next 20 years.” So you might want to hold off on sending anything too sensitive until the company’s fixed this.

[ FTC's Press Release ] VIA [ Geek.com ]

So This is a Vibrating Pill That Can Cure Constipation

Vibrating Pill

 

In a nutshell: constipation sucks. Aside from being unbearably painful, it’s also leaves you feeling queasy, gassy, and uncomfortable for most of the day. There are a handful of medication available to treat constipation, but if you’re not big on ingesting chemicals to alleviate the symptoms, then here’s an alternative: a revolutionary vibrating capsule by developed by Vibrant which is currently being tested by a team of researchers headed by Yishai Ron.

The vitamin-sized pill is programmed to start vibrating six to eight hours after it’s swallowed. Instead of dissolving, it vibrates as it moves down your system. Eventually, it will pass the lower intestine, where it will theoretically induce movement to push waste down and prevent constipation from rearing its ugly head. A study done on 26 patients who had bowel movements only twice a week tried the pill and noticed an improvement with their pooping habits thereafter.

What do you think?

[ Vibrant ] VIA [ Damn Geeky ]

BKON Craft Brewer Means Speed, Painful Price Tag

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When it comes to making tea or coffee, it seems the options are endless. If heaping a spoonful of instant into a cup of hot water isn’t your thing, you can opt for single-serve machines. These are great, but since laying eyes on the BKON Craft Brewer, we’ve realized that they’re really just amateurs. The BKON means business, as it’s able to crank out a cup of tea or coffee a minute for an hour. It also stores up to 200 recipes and lets you browse them through its touchscreen. It uses a process called RAIN technology, which is their patented vacuum extraction method that allegedly beats regular extraction by allowing for lower temperatures (which avoid bitter flavours) and faster brewing speeds.

Yeah, this is a fancy machine, and it’s one that’ll make your wallet cry: $14,000 is the asking price. You better have some deep pockets or a serious need for it, because we’re going to stick with our Tassimo.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Uncrate ]

“Shoot Now, Focus Later” Camera Maker Lytro Releases Illum, A New Model With Fancy Lens

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Lytro made a huge splash two years ago with the introduction of their “light field photography” camera, which captured images that could be refocused after the fact. It was groundbreaking innovation, although its functionality has since then been replicated in smartphones with software trickery. The Illum being released now, however, raises the bar again. Aside from it’s slick futuristic looks, it packs a new 30 to 250 mm lens with a f/2 aperture across the range which contains only 13 pieces of glass, in contrast with an equivalent lens from Canon that contains 22. The result is a lighter, smaller lens that captures equally splendid pictures thanks to the complexity of its sensor and advanced algorithms.

It’s a futuristic camera that opens up a world of possibilities not previous available to photographers. Owning one will obviously cost a pretty penny, and in this case it’s $1,599. That’s a lot of dollars, but you’re also getting a lot of camera.

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[ Product Page ] VIA [

These Little Blocks Could Herald Self-Assembling Structures

Self-stacking robotic blocks

The folks at MIT are always cooking up some interesting technology, and the latest we’ve come across is the self-stacking M-Blocks. Each little cube contains a radio, a printed circuit board, a flywheel that can spin up to 20,000 rpm, and magnets that line the edges. With these, the cubes are able to move around on their own and stack themselves in all kinds of different configurations. Heck, they’re even able to make small leaps!

Currently only a proof of concept, it’s possible that the guts be one day miniaturized enough to allow for more complex structures to be built using only an assembly program and the self-stacking building blocks themselves. Human intervention barely required.

“These proof-of-concept robots are the first step in a project that will hopefully lead to the development of modular robot blocks that are cable of generic lattice-based self-reconfiguration.”

Couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

[ Popsci ] VIA [ Gizmodo ]

This Is An Atomic Watch, Really

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There’s really nothing quite like the National Institute for Standards in Technology (NIST) new F2 atomic clock when it comes to precision in time-keeping; at most it’ll be off by one second… every 300 million years. And while the watch you’re looking at above isn’t quite as precise, it is powered by the same kind of mechanism behind the NIST-F2. It’s called The Cesium 133 and as the name implies, uses the precise decaying properties of the Cesium-133 isotope to keep an extremely accurate track of time. It’ll lose a second every 1,000 years, which should be enough to keep you punctual within your lifetime, and a few generations down.

Of course no one really needs this kind of precision, but for the geeks out there it’s a fun piece of technology to wear on your wrist. You likely won’t be able to get one though, since it looks like only 10 are being made. It’s probably a good thing too since you’d have had to spend $6,000 to get one.

[ Project Page ] VIA [ Geek.com ]

Would A Transparent Hood Be A Feature You Want?

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Say you’re off-roading and it’s critical to know exactly where your wheels are landing; common sense says that experience is paramount and that if you don’t know exactly where your wheels fall, maybe you shouldn’t be going into treacherous terrain. But a little bit of visual encouragement never hurt anyone, and Land Rover seems to think a grille-mounted camera system coupled with a Heads Up Display should do the trick for those of us with more guts than skills. With this system you’ll be able to virtually see right through your hood, straight to the road below, along with a visualization of where your wheels are and are pointing. That big rock you shouldn’t roll over? It’s right there.

It’s an ingenious solution, though it’s one that’s only at the prototype stage at the moment. It’ll be shown off at the New York International Motor Show next week, but there’s no word on when or if it might actually make its way onto new models.

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VIA [ Engadget ]

Thermo-Electric Element Will Harness Your Body Heat To Power Your Gadgets

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Your body is using up energy every second you’re awake. Some of that energy is translated into your muscles moving, and some of it is lost as heat. Researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have developed a wearable strip of material that can easily be woven into clothing and can convert your body heat into usable electric power. A thin strip about 4 inches in length can produce 40mW of power, which isn’t much, but is enough to power a semiconductor chip. Increase the strip to 20in.-40in. and suddenly you’re looking at 2W, which is enough to charge your phones or other electronics. The material is made from fibreglass, which makes it flexible, unlike current ceramic-based thermo-electric solutions. It’s also claimed it has a 14-fold efficiency improvement over other methods. According to Professor Jo Byeong-jin, the lead researcher, this technology could be commercialized within the next 2 to 3 years, pending “issues concerning element integration process optimization and mass-production.”

Gadget-charging jackets with thermo-electric strips woven into the sleeves? Yes, please!

[ Press Release ] VIA [ DamnGeeky ]