I love press releases for really geeky stuff like image sensors, especially the releases declaring amazing breakthroughs. They're fun because there's usually some really interesting development buried in it, but the people who write the releases have no idea what it is. Ditto for many of the Web sites that write about them. So you end up with some verbatim quotes that are so dense, an electron couldn't tunnel through them. This brings me to today's announcement from Panasonic, featuring a rugged, new image sensor designed to withstand the deterioration caused by weather, heat, and ultraviolet … Read more
We all have days when we just don't want to talk to anyone, especially those office pests who think nothing of barging into our private sanctuary without warning. (You know who you are.) That's where the "Memo Motion Sensor" is indispensible.
This handy little gadget can record a 10-second message and play it back to whomever enters the room, informing them of your whereabouts, instructions or anything else you'd otherwise leave on a Post-It note that might or might not be seen, according to Coolest-Gadgets. Even an inspirational message, if you're so inclined.
It'… Read more
As dust-busting has become an increasingly important factor in digital photography, competition has inevitably heated up in the resulting cottage industry. But this is the first cleaning device we've seen that comes with its own rocket.
The "FireFly" uses a "Giotto Rocket air blower bulb and advanced ionizing technology" to blow away tiny debris, quite literally, from a digital camera's sensor. The trick, according to Gadget Lab, is to use anti-static air that strips dust particles of their electrostatic charge.
Static superpowers aside, the FireFly still doesn't seem as sophisticated as the "… Read more
Even with all the cutting-edge digital photographic gear in the world, you still won't be the next Ansel Adams if your DSLR camera's sensor is as dirty as a preschooler's fingernails. That's when the "SensorScope" system shines a light on the subject, quite literally.
This portable kit inspects your sensor with a 5x magnification lens and four ultra-bright LEDs so you can view all the offensive debris, according to Ubergizmo, which is "mostly metallic, fiber, organic and silica particles." The SensorScope then removes the unwanted specks, as long as your camera has … Read more
So before you pop it in the portable microwave, be sure to pull out your trusty "SensorFresh Q," which Red Ferret describes as an "electronic nose that sniffs out bacteria in uncooked meat." That's fine, but what we really want to know is whether it works on leftover pizza.
Technologies like the "DriveMaster Pro" may provide a ton of information about what's going on with a car's engine and emissions, but how about what's going on inside? Volvo has extended its reputation for road safety to the realm of personal security, developing a new technology that can detect if someone is hiding in a car.
Using a heartbeat sensor, the Volvo S80's "Personal Car Communicator" will flash its lights if there's "a murderous criminal hiding in the back seat," Popgadget says. The device is aimed at less sinister … Read more
It may look like a medieval torture device, but the headgear pictured here is designed for gaming, of all things. And if you're paranoid about EMFs eating away at your brain, avert your eyes from this item now.
Called "Project Epoc," this neuro-technology apparatus includes "sensors that tune into your brain's natural electric signals, detecting player thoughts, feelings and expression," according to Ubergizmo. It also connects to consoles and computers, supposedly allowing your thought pulses to influence if not control the game at hand. (We're not making this up.)
But if you're … Read more
Following up on my fetish for getting my Thinkpad's motion sensor to do more than just protect the hard disk, I checked out a clever hack that turns the sensor into a motion controller and makes games respond when you tilt the laptop. Just like the Wii's motion-sensor controller, but way more expensive.
An introduction to the process, and relevant links, are on the Lenovo "Inside the Box" blog.
I followed the instructions and was quickly playing Tux Racer, a game where you guide a belly-sliding penguin down a snowy slalom course. The Thinkpad's tilt … Read more
The U.S. government wants to build and deploy a huge stratospheric airship, three times the size of the Goodyear blimp, that is capable of spying on an entire city.
The idea is that the blimp, dubbed the "Integrated Sensor is Structure" (ISIS), would hover above the jet stream at 70,000 feet and use its giant, flexible radar antennae to acquire a "dynamic, detailed, real-time picture of all movement on or above the battlefield: friendly, neutral or enemy." And we thought surveillance satellites were sitting ducks.
One of the challenges has been to come up … Read more
I just got a new ThinkPad T60, and I've become a bit obsessive about it. I've been hanging out on the ThinkPad forums and reading the ThinkPad designers' blog. And I just found something for ThinkPads that's so cool it actually made me giggle: The Google Maps Thinkpad controller app, a.k.a. gmaps, by Tatsuhiko Miyagawa, an engineer at Six Apart. (The YouTube video below is his.) It uses the orientation and motion sensor of the ThinkPad hard disk's Active Protection System to enable you to navigate your Google map by tilting your laptop. Tilt … Read more