Weird and wonderful tech of Computex 2017: The best and crazy products and mods
The Computex trade show in Taiwan usually has a few wonderful and downright weird tech tricks up its sleeve and 2017 was no exception.
Computex 2017 also hosted a live PC case modding challenge so, as well as some truly innovative designs sponsored by the likes of InWin and displayed on their dedicated stands, there were plenty of additional wacky mods floating around.
There were some rather unusual sleep aids on offer too, some bonkers smart, connected devices and we got a sneak peek at Intel’s as yet unreleased Skylake X.
- Best of Computex 2017: The top 5 tech products on show
- Computex 2017: All the announcements that matter
Computex Modding Challenge
PC case modders from around the world had just 24 hours to complete their builds. Here are some of the best we found:
Mod Case Alien
Team China’s entry into the World Modding Comp was particularly impressive. It feature a moving, expanding chest and more neon piping than you can shake a stick at.
We kind of liked the dystopian feel of Team Australia’s entry in the World Modding Comp.
We spotted this rather special boat-shaped case on the ASRock stand.
Donkey Kong Cabinet
ThermalMike for Team USA made this retro gaming case, which was thoroughly admired by the crowds at the ThermalTake stand.
Cooler Master Wheel
The Wheel of Star is a mod by Modder Crow from Thailand and was on the Cooler Master stand.
AeroCool gaming beanbags
AeroCool reckons it has created the world’s first gaming beanbags. We tried them all out and we think the one on the left is the best.
Sadly, they’re still just concept pieces but hopefully AeroCool will decide to bring them to market because they are pretty damn comfy.
Livewire WBPA shaking bed
Ever wished you could burn calories while lounging in bed? The Liveware WBPA adjustable bed has you covered, from a gentle rocking motion right up to the tumultuous seventh speed which could help you slim while simply lying down. Bonkers.
Smart Temphawk wine cooler
There’s nothing like using a super sophisticated temperature control system for a menial task. This smart, connected Temphawk device will keep your wine right at the correct temperature, but is generally used to monitor food temps during deliveries.
The customer can check that, for example, their sashimi has been kept cool for the whole journey during delivery by simply checking on their phone for details.
Phone-controlled automatic shoe laces
Because some days lacing up your shoes just seems like too much of a faff.
By controlling them through your phone, it goes one step further even than Back to the Future II.
Gigabyte PC case mods
As always, Gigabyte had some cool mods in its private showroom. This one by Maciel Baretto (Brazil), based on an Auorus Gaming 9 system, was particularly eye catching.
Asus ROG Macial
Another classic PC mod from Brazil’s Maciel Barretto was based on an Asus ROG. We particularly liked the Van de Graaf machine.
InWin Spherical case mod
This is the only spherical case we saw at this year’s event and we have to say we were quite taken with Wei Zheng (Ai Mask)’s creation.
WeeView 3D video livestreaming
Last year, WeeView brought us a 3D camera attachment for mobile phones. This year the company unveiled devices to livestream your 3D videos.
Jumpy kids phone watch
The Jumpy is a mini mobile phone to strap on your kid’s wrist. It’s designed to take some knocks, can send and receive voice and messages and can even control this little toy car made out of Lego-style bricks.
Next Drive Spectra DAC headphones amplifier
DAC headphone amplifiers are nothing new but we particularly liked the discrete slimline design of the Spectra from Next Drive. The company claims it is the world’s smallest in fact.
We had a listen to the output with and without the Spectra from a standard laptop on the stand and the version without sounded so dull that we had to switch it off. It retails for around £115 plus VAT from the company’s website: http://www.nextdrive-spectra.io.
PhotoFast Flash Drive
PhotoFast generally specialises in iPhone solutions and it was showing off this multipurpose flash drive at the show. We thought the way the Micro USB was embedded into the USB connection was pretty nifty.
PhotoFast in-call recorder
PhotoFast was also showing off this in-call recorder that is attached through the Lightning connection on the iPhone. The company suggested it was useful for scenarios such as complex technical calls on the go so that notes or reference could be made at a later date.
Smart “caught-cheating” undies
We were incredibly confused by the “Men’s Sexual Data” feature on this smart underwear. The sales reps sombrely informed us that it allows a partner to track how long their husband’s underpants have been removed for, using a sensor on their phone.
The male rep chipped-in with a rather outrageous (and wholly untrue) comment: “Because only men cheat!”. Don’t worry, there’s also a sedentary measurement too – presumably so the wearer can also be caught out slumming around and doing nothing all day too.
If the smart undies are to designed to catch cheating spouses, God only knows what this smart sheet from the same company is supposed to achieve.
Makeblock robot building kits
If you think that Lego kits have taken all the skill and creativity out of building things for kids you’ll probably love these Meccano-reminiscent robot building kits from Makeblock. There is a full-on 17 parts box kit designed for schools too.
It’s not cheap though. The mini kits start at $100 and the full range is a cool $7,000: www.makeblock.com.
Makeblock modular drone
This foam modular drone is also from Makeblock and we reckon it would make any kid’s Christmas to wake up to one of these in his or her stocking. Santa could use one to deliver it too.
It will set you back $180 mind you: www.makeblock.com.
Intel Skylake X chip
We were lucky enough to get a sneak peak at Intel’s as yet unreleased Skylake X processing chip.
Overclocking meister HWbot ran the sister chip, the Kabylake X, down to -269-dgrees Celsius (just 3-degrees above max zero O-degree Kevalan) at its pre-Computex overclocking event on Monday night in Taipei.
Asus ROG curve
This massive, 35-inch curved monitor from Asus’ ROG brand has UWQHD resolution. We wondered aloud if it would be possible to set three up together and were assured technically it was, but it would have to be a very serious system indeed.
Corsair Concept Zeus Qi charging mouse pad
One can always count on Corsair to come up with some nifty peripheral at Computex. This year it was its Concept Zeus Qi-enabled charging mouse pad. Drop your wireless mouse on the spot when you’re done or use it to charge your phone wirelessly.
Corsair K68 water resistant keyboard
Although it was hard to get a decent photo of this, you’re looking at the spill and dust resistant K68 mechanical keyboard from Cosair being continually drenched with water.
Corsair Concept Curve PC
Corsair also likes to show off awesome concept PCs. This year it came up with the Concept Curve.
The company removed the side panels/top and replaced them with curved tempered glass and finished the whole thing off with $10,000-worth of hand-laid carbon fibre. Cheapskates.
Corsair Concept Slate PC
We rather thought that Corsair’s Concept Slate could have used a few more fans. 32 simply isn’t enough you know. There are, after all, two PCs in there.
Full-colour 3D printer
The 3D printer that made these full-colour figurines won a Best in Show award from the organisers at Computex this year. Unfortunately, we didn’t find out its actual name.
We would have challenged this robot to a game, but we did pretty badly playing ping pong against a robot at CEATEC Tokyo last September and our egos felt a little too fragile that morning. Plus, we saw it raised its arms in triumph when it beat this lady and we didn’t want to encourage it any further.
Some marketing taglines can be unfortunate…
FIFA 18 details confirmed: Ronaldo on the box, release date and trailer
After a series of leaks, EA Sports has officially revealed some of the details about this years footy outing, FIFA 18.
It has also posted a teaser video that shows the main cover star, Cristiano Ronaldo, in action. And the release date has been unveiled as 29 September across PS4, Xbox One and PC. Those who subscribe to EA Access on Xbox One will actually get to play the full game from 21 September.
One of the big reveals is that Icons – the renamed Legends for FIFA Ultimate Team – is coming to all formats. Legends had previously been exclusive to Xbox One.
All players will be able to add footballing superstars from the past to their FUT squads now.
The teaser trailer shows game engine footage – presumably made with the Frostbite Engine last last year’s outing.
EA Sports has also made the FIFA 18 Ronaldo Edition available for pre-order, across the PlayStation Store, Xbox Store and Origin for PC owners.
It includes a “loan” of Ronaldo for your Ultimate Team squad and eight special edition kits for your team.
ICONS are on @PlayStation and @Xbox! Pre-Order ???? https://t.co/LWJm5OT7qO #FIFA18 pic.twitter.com/u7cqWCMjK9
— EA SPORTS FIFA (@EASPORTSFIFA) June 5, 2017
We’re hoping to get our hands on the game soon and will bring you our thoughts as E3 2017 kicks off on Saturday with the EA Play event.
Amazon and Apple finally playing nicely, Amazon Video coming to Apple TV
After several rumours suggesting it was happening, Apple has confirmed that itself and Amazon have finally settled some differences, as Amazon’s Video app will make its way to Apple TV later this year.
Amazon Video is the last major video app missing from Apple TV, not including All 4 and ITV Hub, and its addition would make the Apple TV a more attractive option as a set-top box. Netflix, Now TV and BBC iPlayer are all already available to use with the box.
It’s not been impossible to watch Amazon Video through an Apple TV up until now, as you can use Apple AirPlay to mirror your MacBook or iPhone’s screen, but having a dedicated app will be much better for everyone involved.
It’s not clear if Apple and Amazon will come to agreements in other areas, such as the Apple TV being available to buy through Amazon’s online store. You can’t currently buy it as it’s a direct rival to Amazon’s own Fire TV box and Fire TV Stick. Similarly, you can’t buy a Google Chromecast for the same reasons, although you can get the Roku players.
Of course, even though the Amazon Video app is coming to Apple TV, you still won’t be able to watch any content in 4K or HDR, as the Apple TV can’t support it. However previous rumours have suggested that may soon change.
Apple unveils watchOS 4, new Toy Story faces and much more
Apple has revealed some of the new features coming to Apple Watch when watchOS 4 is released later this year.
During its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, the Cupertino company explained that there will be new watch faces, including a Siri Watch face to see relevant content, including diary notifications and news stories.
There are also new Disney watch faces, with Woody, Buzz and Jessie from Toy Story joining the fun. They also have interactive animations, not just the arms of Minnie and Mickey that move on the existing faces.
The Music app is also improved. It has been redesigned and can automatically sync music, show cover art on the screen and you can scroll through your albums to tap and play them straight from the device. It will also access your playlists.
Apple also showed a demo of the new dock. The dock will show recently used apps, to scroll through up and down more easily than before.
New fitness features are coming too, with playlists in Music starting when a workout begins. There are many other new features too, which we’ll detail further in a proper round-up on Pocket-lint soon.
It is thought that watchOS 4 will be released in “the Fall” – so a few months away yet.
Apple announces major MacOS Sierra update called… High Sierra
Apple has kicked off WWDC 2017, where it just announced a slew of updates to its products, including an update to MacOS Sierra.
The company said it decided to perfect the operating system powering its Mac machines, as it does every year. But instead of announcing an all-new system with an all-new name, it announced MacOS High Sierra. It’s a major update to Sierra, which Apple announced and rolled out last year. And Apple executive Craig Federighi wasted no time telling developers that High Sierra is “fully baked”.
All joking aside… Apple is fairly predictable when it comes to macOS updates. It unveils a new version at WWDC each year. So, everyone expected a new version of MacOS at WWDC 2017, and that it would be a California location-themed name, but no one expected it to be a continuation of Sierra. However, Apple is apparently focused on refining Sierra, the name of the update makes sense.
Keep in mind Apple has done this sort of thing in the past. For instance, OS X Mountain Lion update for Macs was a refinement of the previous year’s OS X Lion. Anyway, in terms of what’s new for High Sierra, the new macOS is about deep technology but also added some refinements, Federighi said. He also said that Safari is now the “world’s fastest desktop browser” with High Sierra.
Speaking of Safari, Apple is going after Chrome and its upcoming ad-blocking it features, which will presumably try to curb intrusive, annoying ads. He announced that Safari now has AutoPlay blocking. Also, Safari no longer has intelligence tracking prevention. “Now your privacy, your browsing history is your own. It’s not about block ads, the web behaves like it always has,” Federighi explained.
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Pocket-lint is live at Apple’s annual developers conference and will bring you the latest as it happens. Check out our WWDC 2017 round up for more details about the show, including what’s being announced and how to stream Apple’s main keynote yourself.
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Formlabs makes high-quality, automated 3D printing more affordable
Your basic hobbyist 3D printer (technically known as Fused Deposition Modeling or FDM) is great for rapid prototyping because, while the objects it prints are a bit rough, the system and its associated printing costs are relatively inexpensive. However, if you want a more polished and professional-looking product, selective laser sintering (SLS) is the way to go. Problem with that is, of course, that the average SLS 3D printer is roughly the size of a small car and costs anywhere from $200,000 to $5 million. But, there’s now a third option. 3D Printer manufacturer Formlabs announced on Monday that it will begin selling a scaled down SLS system that fits on a tabletop and costs 20 times less than other comparable printers.
Dubbed the Fuse 1, this SLS 3D printer starts at $10,000, though if you drop $20k Formlabs will throw in a post-processing station, an extra build piston, and your first bucket of Nylon PA 12 material. Unclutch your pearls, this machine is this expensive because it’s designed for professional-scale production, not extruding D-Pads for your Switch. Formlabs plans to begin shipping these printers in spring 2018, though you can put a $1,000 deposit down beginning June 5th to ensure you get one of the first.
The Fuse 1 enables designers to construct models up to 165 x 165 x 320 mm (6.5 x 6.5 x 12.5 inches) in size. And, unlike Stereolithography (SLA) 3D printing, SLS models don’t need to have built-in supports to keep it from collapsing during construction. This not only cuts down on post production processing, it allows users to design complex interior structures that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to.
This isn’t the extent of Formlabs’ announcement, mind you. The company has also debuted a modular, semi-autonomous production unit, called the Form Cell. It’s an enclosed work area equipped with 5 or more Form 2 3D printers as well as a post production wash and material recovery station. The user simply loads each machine with Nylon powder, loads the build design file and goes about their day. The system will not only print the models but also pull them out, wash them off, cure them and load them onto racks or carts, ready for assembly. What’s more, the system can schedule print jobs so that printers don’t stand idle while others finish their runs. It offers error detection as well as remote monitoring through its associated iOS and Android app. Best of all, its API will enable the Form Cell to easily integrate with existing customer relations, enterprise resource planning and manufacturing execution systems.
Form Cells will start at around $50,000 for a basic 5-printer setup up though there will be plenty of bells and whistles you can add on as needed. It’s available for pre-order beginning June 5th and is expected to start shipping alongside the Fuse 1 next spring.
Waze sends real-time accident data to drivers and first responders
Earlier this month, Waze teamed up with the Emergency Number Association to help emergency responders react more quickly to incidents across Europe. Now, that feature is debuting in the United States: Today, Waze announced that it has partnered with RapidSOS, an emergency tech company, to provide both drivers and first responders real-time data about accidents.
Waze works by crowdsourcing information from drivers to report on traffic conditions and road incidents. RapidSOS’s Haven app, meanwhile, will dial 911 and send your location, as well as other vital information, to your closest dispatcher in an emergency.
By working together, Waze and RapidSOS hope to give traffic an advance warning of accidents and other road incidents, further improving the driving experience for Waze users. Additionally, through this partnership, all 911 centers connected to RapidSOS’s 911 clearinghouse will receive live data from Waze. Not only will this allow them to respond more quickly to any accidents, but it will also provide first responders more information (and better quality information) about crashes and accidents. We’re on board for anything that makes the roads safer, and this seems like a big step in that direction.
Sony’s new PS4 Slim is 1TB, gold and $249
Ahead of E3 (it starts this weekend, mind you) Sony has announced it’s cut the price of the PlayStation 4, and given it a new color. Between June 9th and June 17th you’ll be able to get a gold-hued PS4 Slim with a 1TB hard drive for $249. Last week rumors started popping up about such, and now it looks as though Sony has confirmed this one. According to The Verge, other accessories and games will be on sale during the same period, which makes this sound like a physical version of the PSN sales Sony typically runs during E3.
Maybe that’ll help make not getting a ticket to gaming’s grand gala sting a little bit less? And remember: Nothing says “fancy” like having a gold-hued video game console under your TV, so you’ll have that bragging right in your back pocket too.
Source: The Verge
SpaceX’s re-launched Dragon capsule arrives at the ISS
This weekend’s big SpaceX news has nearly reached its logical conclusion point: the reused Dragon cargo capsule has been successfully captured by the International Space Station. While that sounds an awful lot like the opening scene of a certain space opera, it’s all par for the course. From here, the ISS’ ground crew will take control of the station’s robotic arm and dock the capsule, according to NASA.
TechCrunch writes that resupply craft will stay attached for around a month before returning to Earth. If all goes according to plan, the capsule will be recovered after landing in the Pacific Ocean and then be refurbished for another trip to the stars — you know, SpaceX’s thing.
Faraday Future will test its electric SUV by climbing Pikes Peak
Faraday Future announced that one of its FF 91 pre-production vehicles will be participating in the 2017 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The company says the race will be the first in a series public tests of the high-end electric SUV.
Faraday says that the test vehicle will be production weight and specifications. While the company has been widely touting the vehicle’s speed (zero to 60 mph in 2.39 seconds), this event will be highlighting the car’s all-wheel steering that it says gives the vehicle better handling than a typical SUV.
The automaker has had its share of troubles. Including reports of unpaid bills and an exodus of high-level executives. It’s currently searching for a CEO.
Faraday says the FF 91 will go into production in 2018.
Source: Faraday Future