Friday, September 25, 2009

Touchable Holography? Almost...

A New Projector Lets You Touch 3D Objects

It’s cool enough to have holograms, but what if you could actually touch them? Remember those uber-cool 3D projections in flicks like "Star Wars?" The University of Tokyo has turned this movie fantasy into a reality with its latest holographic projector prototype.

For added realism, it utilizes a pair of Nintendo Wiimotes for hand movement tracking and a technology known as (ready for it...) Airborne Ultrasound Tactile Display. This essentially adds tactile feedback to the hovering image via ultrasonic waves (the projected images float about 12 inches away from the display surface). So when that hand that you see in the picture tries to dribble that tiny ball, it responds like a real superball would.

Ultrasounds are then given so the hand can actually “feel” the impact. Experiements have shown that the ultrasounds can disrupt things from a distance, and if focused properly, they can create a sense of touch. At the end of the video is that hand underneath some raindrops, and it can apparently “feel” them.

This is definitely one of those “this could change everything” technologies, but it is still in its fetal stage. In other words, don’t be dreaming about having your own holodeck from Star Trek TNG anytime soon.

Though I'm not that old enough, I have seen some really great ideas go nowhere and some other stuff that seemed silly at the time become important developments. Technology can turn some corners that we didn't even know were there. Who knows, this technology might not amount to much in the area of gaming, but could turn out to have useful applications in areas we can't imagine. In the meantime ... hey, it's cool!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Invisibility Cloak - Myth or Reality?

     From Perseus’s helmet to Harry Potter’s cloak, the idea of an object that can render a person invisible has been a staple of fiction and mythology for eons. But for about the past year, physicists and materials scientists have been publishing papers that reveal real progress in turning science fiction into fact. And given the extraordinary work of these scientists, your children or their children might one day be able to pull off that trick as well. Let us now witness how the invisibility cloak comes within our sight.

Invisibility Cloak "Bends Light Around Itself"

A cloaking device that makes objects invisible is being developed by researchers, bringing the magic of Harry Potter into the world of science fact.  While Harry uses his cloak of invisibility to move about Hogwarts School unseen, electronic engineers at the University of Pennsylvania are working on a real invisibility shield called a "plasmonic cover."  The development, which works by preventing objects from reflecting and scattering light, could have widespread use in the military as it would be more effective than current stealth technology.  Although no final product has been made, the engineers claim their proposal "does not obviously violate any of the laws of physics."

Other types of invisibility cloaks have been developed before, but these mostly use the "chameleon principle" - colouring objects to match their background, enabling them to blend in and become camouflaged.  One such system involved using light detectors and emitters that project a replica of the image appearing behind an object on to its front surface.  Similarly, researchers in Tokyo are developing a camouflage fabric that uses a comparable principle where the background is projected on to light-reflecting beads in the material.  Such systems are, however, dependent on the viewer from which the object is being concealed being in the right position.

A report in the journal Nature reveals that the new system is far more ambitious, being both self-contained and reducing visibility from all angles.  In this sense it would be more like the shields used by the Romulans in the Star Trek episode "Balance of Terror" which hid their spaceship at the touch of a button.  Dr John Pendry, a physicist at Imperial College London, said: "The concept is an interesting one.  It could find uses in stealth technology and camouflage."

According to Dr Andrea Alu and Dr Nader Engheta, the engineers behind the project, the key is to reduce light scattering.  Objects are visible because light bounces off them; if this can be prevented and if the objects did not reflect any light, they would become invisible.  The "plasmonic screen" achieves this by resonating in tune with the illuminating light.  Plasmons are created when the electrons on the surface of a metallic material move in rhythm.  The developers claim a shell of this material will reduce light-scatter to the extent that an object will become invisible, if the light’s frequency is close to the resonant frequency of these plasmons.  In this way, the scattering from the shell effectively cancels out the scattering from the object.

Article Source:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) Robot Suit

A Robot Suit to Help the Disabled Walk, Climb, Lift Weights and more... Almost Giving You Ironman-Like Capabilities

Recently, a Japanese company presented a robotic suit, developed to help people who suffer from strike-induce paralysis or those who had spinal cord injuries. Cyberdyne Corporation called its latest invention HAL, which stands for Hybrid Assistive Limb. According to the company the suit was designed to "upgrade the existing physical capabilities of the human body".

The device weights 23 kilograms and includes robotic limbs along with a backpack that features the battery and computer system. Cyberdyne's latest invention is attached to the body and managed by thought. The technology works as follows: whenever an individual tries to make a move, the brain sends nerve signals to the muscles. The robotic suit then identifies these weak signals from the surface of the human skin with the help of a sensor that is attached on the wearer's skin. Then the signal is transmitted to HAL's power unit, signaling the unit to start moving in harmony with the limb of the wearer.

At the moment the latest invention from Cyberdyne can be hired for Y220,000 a month. The company claims that the device has various applications. For example it can help a person to perform every day tasks like walking, climbing up and down stairs and even lifting heavy objects. On a full charge the suit will function for about 5 hours. In addition, the wearer will not feel the heaviness of the suit due to the fact that HAL supports its own weight, Cyberdyne says. It is worth mentioning that a similar exoskeleton was developed by Honda. .

Cyberdyne's founder and CEO, Professor Yoshiyuki Sankai, initially developed the suit for mountain climbing. The company says that its latest invention can function in extremely cold conditions and at a height of 4,000 meters above sea level.

Article source:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Apple’s New Nano - World’s Smallest Camcorder

Every year at about this time, Apple hosts an auditorium full of reporters and reviewers in California to unveil the new holiday season’s iPod/iTunes line—and yesterday was it.

There were lots of refinements to the free iTunes software, to the iTunes store, to the iPhone’s 3.0 software (now 3.1), and to the iPods themselves.

So what was everyone’s reaction? I tell you, man, it’s all about your expectations.

Already, there’s been a lot of grumbling about what Apple didn’t deliver. According to the rumor blogs, there was supposed to be a new iPod Touch with a camera. The Beatles catalog was supposed to come to the iTunes store. There was supposed to be an Apple Tablet, basically a giant-sized iPod Touch.

None of it was there.

What Apple did unveil, though, was a new iPod Nano model, which has enough new features to last for—well, until *next* September.

It’s exactly the same size as the previous one: 3.6 x 1.5 x 0.2 inches. That is, it’s a wafer-thin, rounded-edged slab that comes in 9 metallic colors.

But it now has a microphone. And a speaker. And an FM radio. And a voice recorder. And a pedometer that counts how many steps you walk or run. And a camcorder.

It sounds like a lot to cram onto a (slightly larger) 2.2-inch screen. I’ve taken it for an 18-hour spin, and this is how it works.

Article source: The New York Times
To view the rest of this entry, click here.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Pen PC - The Future of Computers

Personal computer in a pen?

You will not be able to know what's ahead of you, until you have seen at least 4 pictures and read the explanation of what they are. Our future is here, incredible! What an age we live in? Now take a peak...

Are these pens?

It seems that these are pictures of several pens in the pencil holder. Now take a closer look...

 Pens with Cameras?

No way to conclude that you are actually looking at the computer. And a little transformation would result to this.

In the revolution of miniature computers, scientists have made great development with bluetooth technology. This is the forthcoming computers you can carry within your pockets.

Here's how it works:

The Pen PC has rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery and contains a tubular holographic storage device capable of storing terabytes of data, far exceeding the capacity of today's hard disks. A docking stand holds the pen pc in place. Using lasers and infrared technology, the PEN PC projects a screen on the wall.

It also projects a full-size keyboard onto any flat surface from where you can carry out functions you would normally do on your desktop computer. As you type on the laser projection, it analyzes what you're typing by the coordinates of that location. The virtual keyboard can be customized to any size, configured with additional keys + virtual touchpad.  The virtual keyboard is already in the market for certain cell phones and PDAs.


Can anyone say, "Good-bye laptops!" Lookslike our computers are out of date... again!!!

Image Source:

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Contact Lenses with embedded Electronic Circuits

Bionic Vision A Reality?

In movies like terminator, robots can do anything with their eyes. But bionic vision isn't just for hollywod anymore. Researchers at the University of Washington are now working on a project to make electronic contact lenses with a computer-like display. 

The lenses will create an image that is suspended in air about a foot or so in front of your eyes. Each lense is equipped with tiny electronics and antennas that could communicate with your cellphone, laptops, or other helpful gadgets. Since the images are semi-transparent, they would not block your line of sight. The electronic circuits were inputted through the use of nanotechnology.  Researchers say virtually anyone; gamers, pilot, doctors, or just people with bad eyesight could benefit from the technology. These lenses could be used to improve a ours vision or even to continuously monitor a person's health. It was first tested on a lab rabbit shown in the picture below. The researchers are still working on how to transmit power to the lens wirelessly.

If commercialized, the first generation of lenses would likely have low-resolution displays that probably could not convey much information. But as the technology improves, the possibilities would be seemingly unlimited, the researchers said. Drivers could read directions without taking their eyes from the road. Mechanics could get diagrams overlaid onto their equipment as they work. And virtual gamers could use the real world as a backdrop for their adventures. Watch the video here...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Shape-Shifting Robots Take Form

How would you like to have your very own shape-shifter? Perhaps a liquid metal T-1000 Terminator to help around the house. Or a universal tool kit that could reshape itself into any implement at the press of a button. For an astronaut in orbit, an army mechanic in remote terrain or even a homeowner trying to fix a furnace on a cold winter night, it could be just the thing.

Well, one day maybe. The traditional approach to building shape-shifting devices has been to use materials based on shape memory alloys, polymer sheets or nanoparticles. But these have proved difficult to control and have other limitations, so researchers have begun taking a different and less exotic tack.

Their approach is known as self-reconfigurable robotics, and it takes advantage of recent advances in robot hardware, communications and control

See a video of the modular robots reassembling when kicked apart...

Article written by Jeff Hecht of To view the original post, click here.


Geeeeez, it was like watching "Cell" of Dragon Ball Z reassembling himself after being hit by Gokou's Kamehame Wave. I know that in Hollywood movies, there were lots of shape shifters or characters who can reassemble themselves after being hit and smashed . There were Mystique of X-men and Sandman of Fantastic Four but I never thought that some group of people are already using the concept to develop robots which has the same capability. The modular robots in the video just looks like junk pieces bricks trying to put back its missing pieces... but wait till they apply the technology and the concept they used in making Androids. A little scary, though.
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