While iRobot’s most famous for creating the Roomba, the robotic vacuum is far from being its only product: the company actually supplies defense, reconnaissance and first response machines to authorities, as well. In an effort to make these robots a lot easier to control in high-stress environments, iRobot has developed the uPoint Multi-Robot Control (MRC) system, which lets human operators navigate their machines using only an Android tablet. At the moment, these robots (all 6,000 of them deployed worldwide) are controlled using an old-school joystick and a separate monitor powered by a Linux-based OS. When uPoint launches, all the soldier/cop handlers need to do is fire up the app and steer their machines by tapping on the screen, effectively nixing the need to train them on the procedure for a few days.
In addition, operators can switch between robots just by switching tabs, share data to team members, as well as capture videos through a robot’s camera and upload the clips to the cloud. The app, by the way, communicates with the machines through the company’s new uPoint Robot Radio network, since Bluetooth might not be secure enough for sensitive situations. The system’s slated to come out by the second quarter of 2015, though we doubt you’d get to use it unless you control a fleet of ground robots for the government.
If you were worried that Sony’s transformation of Powers into a PlayStation Network show would lose the comics’ grittiness, you can (probably) relax. The first trailer for the original series is now available, and it’s pretty clear that the production maintains a dark, twisted world of superhero crime. Detective Christian Walker is foul-mouthed and not exactly sympathy-inducing, while the suspects he’s chasing are more warped than your typical comic book villains. You’ll probably have to wait until the series launch in December to see much more, but it’s already apparent that Sony is taking advantage of Powers‘ console-only release to push a few boundaries.
Source: PlayStation Blog
Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week’s most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us — it’s the Week in Green.
We may take them for granted, but blue LEDs were difficult to develop — it took 27 years to create the first one, and now they’re in virtually every LED lightbulb on the market. Now the scientists who invented these energy-saving lights are finally getting their due: the 2014 Nobel Prize in physics. “Their inventions were revolutionary,” wrote the Nobel Committee. “Incandescent light bulbs lit the 20th century; the 21st century will be lit by LED lamps.”
In other green tech news, a five-year-old girl became the first child in the UK to receive a 3D-printed prosthetic hand. The pink robotic hand was made, free of charge, by a US-based charity called E-nable. Meanwhile, Harvard unveiled a $3 million pair of robotic “trousers” that could give you superhuman strength, and Purdue University researchers developed a new type of robotic fabric that could lead to advanced spacesuits. In a development that could improve the lives of many handicapped people, a California-based company has created the world’s first bionic leg, which straps to the leg of injured patients and can take their weight, allowing them to sit, stand and walk.
Earlier this month, Elon Musk teased the unveil of a new electric vehicle — and on Thursday he delivered the Tesla D, an upgraded all-wheel-drive Model S with a dual-motor system that provides a significant speed boost. Sports cars have never been known for their fuel efficiency, but one of the biggest names in luxury vehicles is looking to change that. Lamborghini just unveiled its first-ever plug-in hybrid at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, and it can travel almost as far as the Chevy Volt in electric mode. Also on the green transportation front, London just unveiled its next-generation subway trains — and they’re streamlined, 100 percent driverless and WiFi-enabled. The city also proposed a 12-kilometer bike path that would float on the River Thames. The plan would enable cyclists to completely bypass London’s busy streets, but it would come with a hefty price tag of £600 million. You don’t need a bike path to bike on water, though — you just need a water bike. Just ask Judah Schiller, the man who created a floating bike and used it to pedal across the San Francisco Bay. Schiller has created a consumer model of the water bike, which is now for sale. Water and paper don’t usually mix well, but Signal recently created the world’s first cardboard surfboard, and it’s actually quite durable. The board features a honeycomb cardboard core that makes it lightweight and more affordable than the average polystyrene or polyurethane designs.
Could 3D printing be a viable way to build homes and other structures? Contour Crafting, the world’s first and only large-scale 3D-printing technology, just won the grand prize in the 2014 Create The Future Design Contest for its ability to 3D print entire buildings from computer-aided design files. 3D printing could even lead to better buildings that are virtually earthquake-proof — California-based Emerging Objects just unveiled a 3D-printed “Quake Column” that is super resistant to tremors. In other green design news, California-based Cal-Earth is teaching people from all over the world how to build disaster-proof earth homes using tools of war like barbed wire and sandbags. The concept was developed by Iranian architect Nader Khalili, and the homes are very durable and easy to build. Beijing’s newest architectural masterpiece, the Sunrise Kempinski Hotel, is almost ready to open. The orb-shaped hotel is clad in glass; it lights up at night; and it’s illuminated by hydroelectric-powered LED lights. In the Dutch city of Heerlen, architect Stéphane Malka has built an amazing temporary house that’s made from dozens of old doors and windows, and it’s open to the public. And with the launch of New York City’s annual celebration of architecture and design, Inhabitat rounded up six of the NYC’s top new design destinations.
With Halloween just a few short weeks away, we’ve launched our annual Green Halloween kids costume contest. If you know a kid with an awesome costume, send them our way! If you’re a tech head who’s at a loss for Halloween costume ideas — we’ve got some great gadgety costume inspiration for you! You can express your phone preference by dressing up as an iPhone or Android device, or you can bring your favorite game to life by dressing up as a Minecraft character, Tetris blocks, or a Rubik’s Cube. The best thing about these boxy costumes (think robots too) is that they’re super easy to whip up in a flash with cardboard boxes, duct tape, old CDs and things you already have lying around the house.
Like it or not, people are after your data. Whether it’s for advertising, national security or other nefarious purposes, you’re leaving a trail of digital breadcrumbs for anyone to follow. But there’s a growing arsenal of affordable tools to help protect your privacy both digitally and physically. In this week’s Rewind, we take a look at this age of surveillance and some of the more approachable gadgets designed to help fight back against prying eyes.
Whether or not you believe that Destiny lives up to all the hype, there’s no doubt that it has a lot of gamers hooked. Bungie has revealed that the hybrid of shooter and online role-playing game is managing an average of 3.2 million players per day in the month since its launch — no mean feat given that even a well-established (if subscription-based) rival like World of WarCraft has 6.8 million users. That’s also more active players than the company saw during a similar period for both Halo 3 and Halo: Reach combined, so the absence of a familiar franchise clearly isn’t spooking users.
These early adopters are fairly consistent, too. People typically fire up Destiny for three hours per day spread out over roughly two sessions, and they’ve signed in about 21 times each since the title debuted a month ago. That’s not going to compare to the time spent by dedicated role-players, but it’s clear that the game isn’t just sitting idle on players’ hard drives.
Filed under: Gaming
MEElectronics M9 Classic In-Ear Headphones Review: The best earphones you can get for $14.99 (or $9.99 right now)
Those of you who regularly visit AndroidSPIN will likely know we’re big fans of MEElectronics products. They epitomize value for money in the audio products market by combining great audio quality with well-made products with plenty of extras. With their latest headphones, the MEElectronics M9 Classic In-Ear Headphones, MEElectronics has outdone even themselves in the value department by offering a great sounding pair of earphones for just $14.99 USD, and even offering it for the introductory price of $9.99. Let’s see exactly what this will get you.
What’s in the box
If you needed any indication of what kind of deal you’re getting with the M9 Classic, you need only look at the packaging – no frills packaging means more quality on the inside, or at least, that’s the idea. Inside, you will find the M9 Classic earphones themselves as well as six additional earbuds in different sizes. The M9 Classic also comes with a double layer earbud as standard and I haven’t changed these since I got the earphones. More on that later.
You might have guessed already from the name of the M9 Classic that they are based on another of MEElectronics’ line of audio products, the M9. We’ve had a look at the M9P (2nd gen) before, and we found it to be one of the best value earphones you can get (read the full review here). The M9 Classic adopts the same 9mm drivers as the M9P as well as a similar motivation to provide great value, but does it with much more cost cutting. We’ve already mentioned the cardboard packaging, but unlike almost every other MEElectronic product we’ve looked at, the M9 Classic won’t be coming with a bag to carry your spares in, though you can probably make use of the ziplock bag you get them in if you needed to.
Overall, the M9 Classic has a predictably simplistic design, with design cues taken from the M9 line. I think it’s quite a sleek design, though the clear, plastic insulation can look a bit dubious in certain light.
How does it perform
As we mentioned before, the M9 Classic has the same audio drivers as the M9 so it’s unsurprising that they sound almost exactly the same. Much like the M9, the bass and mids are clear and even the highs are well formed – it was just as comfortable playing Savage’s Freaks as it was playing Bach’s Concerto No. 1 and there was no hint of distortion no matter how loud I turned them (without making my ears bleed).
One peeve I had with the M9P was that the earbud material was a smooth plastic that would often have trouble staying in my ear – the M9 Classic uses a softer plastic and doesn’t appear to have the same issues. If anything, I found myself enjoying the fit of the M9 Classic almost as much as the Denon Music Maniac earphones I declared as my favourite fitting earphones so far – and it’s not second by much. The M9 Classic is also smaller and presumably lighter than the M9 as well, making it a lightweight package to wear and transport.
What I like about the M9 Classic earphones
It’s hard not to mention the price when it comes to the M9 Classic. With the pedigree of the M9 earphones, even at the full retail price of $14.99, the M9 Classic is a fantastic deal, and the introductory price of $9.99 makes it an absolute steal if you’re looking for something that sounds great, but doesn’t necessarily need to look flashy.
What I don’t like about the M9 Classic earphones
While the M9 Classic doesn’t look flashy, it can look a bit tacky sometimes. The clear plastic over the the inner weaved black insulation can look cool up close but in general the M9 Classic looks a bit cheap, perhaps a bit too literally, for my tastes anyway. I’m not going to comment on the practicality of such a configuration, and at the end of the day, beauty is in the eye of the beholder – or the person paying for it.
What else is there to say about the M9 Classic? It’s ridiculously cheap and sounds fantastic, which should tick all the boxes for a solid audio option for yourself or something to stuff stockings with later this year. It might not be the flashiest or best looking earphones around, but its beauty is in the way it gets the job done. And did I mention it’s cheap?
The M9 Classic earphones are normally $14.99 USD, but MEElectronics are currently having an introductory sale that brings the price down to $9.99. To make the most of this deal while it lasts, be sure to visit the MEElectronics M9 Classic In-Ear Headphones product page here.
Gallery of Photos
Apparently the vague “slowly but surely” AllCast’s Koushik Dutta teased not too long ago was referring to a beta test on iOS — not the final app. Taking to Google+ once again, the developer has posted a beta sign-up form for the media streaming application’s Cupertino-device test-period. The questions it asks are pretty typical ones regarding the TV-connected device you’ll use with the app, and what kind of media you’ll use it for. Betas usually signal an impending release of the full product in the near future, so the iOS faithful might not be far from seeing what their Android-loving pals have been crowing about for around a year.
Source: Koushik Dutta (Google+)
Searching the web for symptoms of illness can be dangerous — you could identify a real condition, but you also risk scaring yourself for no reason through a misdiagnosis. Google might have a solution that puts your mind at ease, though. The company has confirmed to Engadget that it’s testing a Helpouts-style feature which offers video chats with doctors when you search for symptoms. While there aren’t many details of how this works in practice, the search card mentions that Google is covering the costs of any chats during the trial phase. You’ll likely have to pay for virtual appointments if and when the service is ever ready for prime time, then. That’s not ideal, but it could be much cheaper than seeing a physician in person.
[Image credit: AP Photo/Craig Moore]
Source: jasonahoule (Reddit)
I’m not the most avid Angry Birds fan, but I do love basketball, so when I saw the news that Angry Birds Seasons was getting an update to include NBA related content, I had to take a look. The new ‘season’ is dubbed “NBA Ham Dunk” and includes 15 new, free levels which span the NBA Global Games, taking place in countries like Brazil, China and many more. The new update even includes NBA team specific levels, one for each team, but you’ll need to pay an in-app cost of $1.99 to get access to those. Check out the NBA update’s gameplay trailer:
The “Mighty Spalding Ball” is a particularly nice touch I thought. I don’t think many people could disagree that the Angry Birds formula has been getting stale for some time now, but Angry Birds Seasons has had the best longevity of all the games so far thanks to its varied and unique updates – the NBA update is just another chance for Rovio to try something new, and I know I’m going to give it another go after downloading it again. If you’re interested in trying out the new NBA Ham Dunk season, be sure to hit the Play Store link we’ve provided below. Happy ballin’!
Source: Phone Arena
The post Angry Birds Seasons does the NBA in latest update: It’s a Ham Dunk! appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
With their own glaring absence of a smartwatch, it appears Microsoft has thought it necessary to develop a keyboard for Android Wear smartwatches. The second most unusual thing about the Microsoft Android Wear keyboard is that it is an analog keyboard – the keyboard provides users with a space to ‘handwrite’ letters and symbols and the smartwatch interprets them as it sees fit. In the short examples shown in Microsoft’s prototype test video, it looks like it works pretty well as designed. Check out the Microsoft Android Wear keyboard in action:
Now you’re probably thinking that this is a bit cumbersome to write long messages, and the reality is that you’re probably right. Then again, there is very limited space afforded to you on a smartwatch’s screen, so perhaps this analog keyboard is a viable option. Apart from English, I can see this methodology being particularly effective for languages like Chinese that use a whole number of strokes and where a traditional keyboard in that language is ineffective on such a small screen. If you’d like to try out the Microsoft Android Wear keyboard prototype, you can download it now from the Microsoft Research site, however you’ll want to make sure to follow the instructions provided.
What do you think about the Microsoft Android Wear keyboard? Is it a keyboard that you’d want to use? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
The post I did not expect that: Microsoft Android Wear keyboard is now in prototype, try it now appeared first on AndroidSPIN.