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Having Fun on the Robotics Playing Field
August 30, 2013
From programmable robots to robotic family pets, toy robots are pushing the limits of interactive technologies. "Robotics is definitely influencing toys, and there are plenty of robots to talk about," said The Toy Insider's Laurie Schacht. With its Mindstorms robot sets, LEGO is one of the leaders in the toy robotics industry. Users can design and program their own robots.
Chromecast Update Snuffs Unauthorized Content
August 26, 2013
Google's Chromecast dongle may be built primarily to stream content from the likes of Netflix and YouTube, but that hasn't stopped app developers from expanding its reach. On Sunday, however, one such developer said that a recent Chromecast update had blocked his Android application. "Google's latest Chromecast update intentionally breaks AllCast," wrote Koushik Dutta, the app's developer.
Makerbot Gives 3D Scanning a Whirl
August 26, 2013
MakerBot last week unveiled its Digitizer desktop 3D scanner, a $1,400 device that promises to accelerate the growth of 3D printing. The Digitizer allows scanning of physical objects weighing less than about 6.5 lbs. When an item is placed on its turntable, the scanner points a pair of lasers at it, creating a 3D model. The whole process takes about 12 minutes.
Emotiv Promises a New Window Onto Your Brain
August 24, 2013
You likely already know the things you like to do, like watching a sporting event, as well as the things that you don't like to do, such as sitting in traffic. We all experience feelings when participating in such activities, and those feelings form the basis of a personal body of knowledge that we draw on to know whether we like doing a thing or not.
By Hook or by Crook: B&N Bets on Apps to Buoy Nook
August 19, 2013
Barnes & Noble on Monday announced a suite of free video apps that will let users watch Nook Video movies and TV shows on a range of devices, including tablets that compete with its own Nook. This comes just a month after the retailer announced that it would cease designing and selling its color tablets. Also in July, William Lynch was replaced as CEO and director.
Reach Out and Touch Any Surface With Kinect-Based Ubi
August 16, 2013
Ubi Interactive, a graduate of the Microsoft Kinect Accelerator program, has begun taking orders for software that will turn almost any surface into a 3D touchscreen when combined with a Kinect device and a projector. Numerous companies including Microsoft and Intel have already been testing the software in a variety of applications for conference-room presentations and beyond.
Samsung's OLED TV: The Couple That Plays Together Stays Together
August 15, 2013
Competition heated up in the OLED TV market Tuesday as Samsung said it was shipping its first production model using the technology and that it would sell for $8,999. That price will choke most TV shoppers, but it's being hailed as a new low price point for displays sporting the state-of-the-art technology. The only other OLED TV in the market, made by Samsung's arch rival LG, sells for $15,000.
Microsoft Pulls the Plug on Xbox One's Kinect Requirement
August 14, 2013
For the second time in the run-up to the Xbox One launch, Microsoft has made a complete reversal on one of its core requirements for the new console. Specifically, whereas the company had indicated previously that the Kinect peripheral would have to be always-on during Xbox One play, it said this week that it will be possible to turn the Kinect peripheral off or disconnect it from the Xbox One.
RAPIRO: This Little Robot Likes Raspberry Pi
August 13, 2013
A variety of factors can propel a Kickstarter project to funding success, but there's no denying that the sheer seductiveness of the product is a big one. Case in point: RAPIRO. Short for RAspberry PI RObot, RAPIRO is a super-cute humanlike mini-robot now being offered as a kit on Kickstarter. When assembled, it can walk on its feet, grip items in its hands and swivel its head and waist.
Microsoft Takes Heat for Tucking New Xbox Features Into Fee Plan
August 09, 2013
Microsoft has released an unboxing video for its upcoming Xbox One video game console, which will arrive later this year. In addition to the console, gamers will get a number of accessories, including an unexpected headset. Microsoft has also shed some light on the features that will be available for Xbox Live Gold members for an annual subscription fee of $60, including four new to the Xbox One.
Twitter Noise Can Bump Up a TV Show's Nielsen Ratings
August 07, 2013
Nielsen this week released a study that indicates there is a causal relationship between Twitter conversations and TV ratings. The findings suggest the volume of tweets could actually increase the number of TV viewers for certain shows. Nielsen's conclusion lends strength to the idea that the microblog could serve to complement the networks, and even create added value for the programs.
Dolling Up for High-Tech Child's Play
August 02, 2013
Barbie's gone digital. She's wearing a new dress outfitted with programmable LED lights that let her change her look on a whim. "Today's girl is tech-savvy, and we created a Barbie doll that utilizes technology to provide a new way to play with Barbie," said Mattel. "Girls will like this doll because it allows them to be creative and tap into their inner fashion designer."
CBS, Time Warner Leave Customers Hanging in the Breeze
July 31, 2013
CBS viewers who get their broadcast TV service via Time Warner may have felt a little bit like the characters in summertime drama Under the Dome in the last 24 hours or so. Specifically, as part of a battle over retransmission fees, the cable giant on Monday briefly pulled CBS from its lineup in several key markets, effectively cutting off CBS for millions of viewers.
If You Like Guitar Hero, You'll Love Working Out?
July 30, 2013
The creators of the Guitar Hero video game franchise are looking to put down the plastic guitars and get pumped up instead. Specifically, RedOctane founders Kai and Charles Huang are teaming up with OpenLink founder Coleman Fung to launch Blue Goji, a new interactive fitness company. The company's mission is to transform gameplay into something that can help players get fit.
Chromecast: Big Threats Come in Small Packages?
July 26, 2013
Google shook up the streaming video world Wednesday when it introduced a $35 HDMI dongle that allows content to be airmailed from a smartphone, tablet or laptop to a TV. Called "Chromecast," the unit is already being hailed as a potential streaming set-top box killer. "It could make the set-top box obsolete," said tech analyst Rob Enderle. "It makes the set-top box redundant."
VuPack Camera Mount Puts You Back in the Picture
July 26, 2013
One of the most fundamental keys to garnering interest in a democratically funded project is to propose something that people are going to seriously want. Wishy-washy concepts won't cut it -- it's got to be seductive. The svelte Pebble smartwatch is a good example of this funding technique, and it raised millions on Kickstarter. The Ouya video game console is another.
Microsoft Holds Out Olive Branch to Indie Game Devs
July 25, 2013
It was just about a month ago that Microsoft relaxed the rules for players of its forthcoming Xbox One, and on Thursday it made a similar concession for small game developers. Specifically, in a break with past policies, the company announced that it will allow small, independent game makers to self-publish their games on Xbox Live without the backing of an established publisher.
Google Sticks It to the Home Entertainment Market
July 24, 2013
Google on Wednesday unveiled a new Nexus 7 as part of its latest assault on the market for the connected living room. Another prong of that attack is Chromecast, a streaming content stick that plugs into a TV set's HDMI socket and lets users stream videos and other content seamlessly between the TV and any connected device, ranging from smartphones to tablets to laptops.
Leaping Lizards! The Leap Motion Controller Has Landed
July 22, 2013
A day after announcing that it has begun shipping to early backers, Leap Motion on Monday officially launched its widely anticipated gesture control system for the PC and Mac. The system, which has been compared to the Microsoft Xbox Kinect and Nintendo Wii, had been delayed for several months but will finally arrive in stores next week.
Video Gaming Inches a Step Closer to Pro Sports
July 16, 2013
The definition of sportmanship may lie to some extent in the eye of the beholder, but on Monday the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service reportedly recognized the video game League of Legends as a professional sport. The decision enables the most elite of players in the field to qualify for Internationally Recognized Athlete visas, also known as P-1A visas.
SolePower: Stepping Away From the Grid
July 12, 2013
Here's a charging method that could make a lot of sense. It's one that isn't reliant on the sun to convert solar radiation into power; it also isn't reliant on heavy batteries for its mojo. Instead, SolePower's Kickstarter project aims to generate power kinetically with each step you take. That's via a shoe insert, specifically, and it uses the same principle as a hand-crank flashlight.
Nokia's Lumia 1020: All Pixeled Up but Nowhere to Go?
July 11, 2013
It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but users of Nokia's upcoming Lumia 1020 mobile smartphone may well be able to do better than that. That's because the new marquee Windows phone -- formally unveiled Thursday at a Nokia event in New York -- will offer 41 megapixels, not to mention six-lens Carl Zeiss optics, high-resolution 3X zoom, autofocus and a dual flash system.

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