Thursday, January 19, 2012

You can ride a dinosaur! via photoshop.

Because there are obviously a lot of people out there who can't use photoshop and are too lazy to try, there's now a website that offers what you can learn to do in less than an hour - photoshopping you riding a dinosaur.

There is seriously a website that, for $49.95, will photoshop you onto the dinosaur (or woolly mammoth) of your choice, and send you a poster size print of it.

That's it really. I Just found it hilarious that people would pay nearly 50 bucks for this.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The secret weapon of the US Army? Cyborg bugs.

This is both pretty creepy but also pretty incredible technology-wise. Basically, DARPA is creating cyborg beetles.

The official name of the project is the “Hybrid Insect Micro Electromechanical Systems”, or HI-MEMS, and its purpose is to locate dangerous obstacles, such as mines, or locate hidden nuclear weapon caches. Basically a recon bug.

The project is currently still at an experimental phase, but the plan is to harness all the senses the insect has at its disposal — so instead of attaching tiny cameras to its back, its sensory organs and optics will be used. The interface will allow the insect’s movement to be controlled remotely, allowing the controller to direct the bug wherever to do whatever they want.

In terms of power, the system is powered by fat, instead of chemical batteries, and, failing that, thermo-electric converters, piezoelectric generators and even “broadband energy scavengers” could be used. The technology itself is “tightly coupled” to the insect as it grows, with the idea being that as the little guy develops, it will create, and strengthen, the bonds between the electronics and organic tissue.

If this works, it will be a pretty incredible leap forward in terms of technology. Harnessing a living (and growing) creatures sensory inputs and converting it to a form that can be seen on a screen or readout, not to mention being able to control the creatures movements - it's just another step to the possibilities of human augmentation, and the ethical and moral minefield that awaits.

I can't help but wonder at their choice of animal though. Should they be spending so much money on augmenting a creature that can be taken out by a $5 can of bug spray?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chance that there's alien life out there just got bigger.

We knew our galaxy was big, but it just got a whole lot bigger - an international team of researchers have discovered that our galaxy contains a minimum of 100 billion planets. And a number of these are apparently smaller planets like Earth, rather than larger gas giants.

According to Stephen Kane, one of the authors of the study at NASA’s Exoplanet Science Institute in Pasadena, “not only are planets common in the galaxy, but there are more small planets than large ones. This is encouraging news for investigations into habitable planets.”

Basically, the estimate for the number of terrestrial planets has risen to about 10 billion.

This, in addition to the increasing number of planets in the 'Goldilocks Zone' - the area in the solar system where the planet is close enough and far away enough from the sun for life to occur - dramatically raises the chances that there is life out there somewhere, or if we eventually manage to get that far out into space, that there are habitable planets.

Of course, as to whether said alien life has progressed to our level, or are instead huge blue cats with funky hair remains to be seen.

via Hubble

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Behold! The Shopping Trolley of the Future!

Although we still don't have hoverboards or flying cars, something else is about to get a futuristic upgrade - the humble shopping trolley.

Carindale IGA in Brisbane is about to get the new-and-improved shopping trolley, following in the steps of IGAs in NSW and Victoria. It will feature an LCD screen and control panel, and the trolleys can be used to locate items in the store, scan products as they are purchased for a running tally, or use a list pre-loaded on a website. It can also inform you of any specials, as well has track which aisle you're in instore and make appropriate reccomendations.

I just hope they've fixed the steering and handling. Trying to maneuver the standard trolley around a packed supermarket is akin to trying to do a precision driving course with a bus with flat tyres. On ice.

via Gizmodo

A Dedicated Gaming Tablet? Meet 'Project Fiona'

So the CES (Consumer Electronic Show) is happening at the moment in Las Vegas, which means there's no shortage of interesting, expensive, and sometimes pretty damn weird gizmos and gadgets flooding tech news sites at the moment. Here's one of them.

It's called 'Project Fiona,' and it's a tablet made solely for gaming, with two analogue joysticks built into the design, and specs to rival an (admittedly cheap) desktop pc. Built by Razer (a company that until recently, made only peripherals), it's a proof-of-concept prototype; however Razer is taking it seriously - what we see here is version 0.2, but Razer have already finished a version 0.8 at their labs, and expect to have a 1.0 by the end of the year.

As a result, what we see here isn't what the final product will look like, says Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan. "It will be thinner (it currently has the thickness of 3 iPads), lighter, and cheaper than $1000."

While made for gaming, it'll run on Windows 8, giving it full PC powers, with internet browsing and the like, with Razers specialised gaming software added in.

It's also pretty specced out, considering it's a tablet. It ran Warhammer 40k: Space Marine with ease, which has the minimum requirements of a 2GHz dual-core CPU, 2GB RAM, and 256MB video card. Not bad.

No word on other details, like battery life and release date, but I think it's fair to expect it in the first quarter of next year. Could be worth watching!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Star Wars Live-Action TV Series?

While rumours of a new Star Wars project have been hanging around for a while now, we now have new details - to start with, it has a working title of Star Wars: Underworld.

According to producer Rick McCallum, it's set between Revenge of the Sith, and A New Hope, and focuses on the 'seamy underbelly of crime on Coruscant during the rise of the Galactic Empire.'

LucasFilm's budget is $5 million - for each episode. But apparently it's not enough, says McCallum.
"The show incorporates several digitally animated characters, and so the plan is to wait a couple of years and watch the changes in animation technology and delivery methods — Lucas hasn’t decided on a cable network or digital distribution — and then make the show 'if we’re still alive.'"

While that may not inspire much confidence, it could be worth the wait - the series is to be 'bigger than any of the prequels were,' and 'complex,' 'dark,' and 'adult.'

Now we just need that live-action Harry Potter inspired TV show The Aurors to be made, and we'll be set.

via TDW Geeks

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Come join the dark side... we have burgers!

This is kind of awesome, but kind of disgusting too. Like a lot of French cuisine actually. But anyway, in order to mark the release of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace in 3D, French fast-food chain Quick is releasing for a limited time only, a 'Dark Vador' burger, and a Jedi Burger. The kicker is that the Dark Vador burger (as seen above) is actually black.

Obviously it's just food dye, or squid ink, but it still looks...  kind of nasty. Like the time my sister left her snadwich in her school bag for a couple of months. But then Jedi burger is just a regular burger, so I guess I'd go the dark side.

The burgers are available from March 1 (only in France though) and the movie is set to be released February 10 (if you want to sit through over an hour of Jar Jar Binks in 3D. Oh the horror).

via Gizmodo via Lexpress