E3 after hours: Gadgets you won't see on expo floor After the first day of E3 2011 wrapped, a handful of tech companies invited press to sample their wares at ShowStoppers inside the Icon Ultra Lounge near Staples Center. More
Austin Whitney graduated from UC Berkeley just last month, and he already has a full-time job. Whitney works as a human lab rat.
The 22-year-old paraplegic, who captured headlines recently when he walked across the stage at his commencement wearing bionic legs, now spends long days with the engineers who developed the customized robotic suit. He passionately believes in the device and its potential to alter the lives of those with spinal cord injuries, and he wants to do whatever he can to help perfect the prototype--for himself and others like him.
"We want to make the Model T version of an exoskeleton," Whitney told CNET. "There are health benefits to mobility. It's good for the circulatory and muscular systems, and there's a social and mental benefit. Four years ago, I thought I was going to die on a hospital bed."
That was 2007, when Whitney was 18 years old and got into a car accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down.
"The spinal cord injury meant I would likely never walk again," he said. But he did, taking his first public steps in four years at a graduation ceremony at Edwards Track Stadium on May 7 (see the video below).
During the nine months prior, however, he had experimented with walking in a custom-fit robotic device developed on campus in the lab of mechanical engineering professor Professor Homayoon Kazerooni, who is also founder of Berkeley Bionics. That company makes the eLegs robotic exoskeleton, which is currently undergoing trials and is expected to become available to rehabilitation centers by the end of the year, with a personal version for sale for an as-yet-undisclosed price in 2013.
A friend who plays wheelchair basketball with Whitney told him about Kazerooni, one of a number of innovators around the world devoted to developing robotic exoskeletons for wheelchair users. After speaking with him on the phone, Whitney decided to visit the Berkeley Robotics and Human Engineering Laboratory. "It is like something out of a movie set--exoskeletons hanging from the walls everywhere," he said.
It's inside that lab where Whitney does most of his walking these days, though he does on occasion roam the campus in his bionic suit. He has degrees in history and political science, and plans to attend law school in the fall of 2012. But for now, he spends about six hours a day, from noon to 6 p.m., working (for pay) in the lab. … Read more
Five months since it made its initial debut, the Motorola Droid Bionic has yet to arrive on Verizon's doorstep. The last we heard, Motorola had decided to delay the smartphone in order to enhance the handset with several changes, but we've heard very little about what those changes might be--until now.
Based on the first leaked images hitting the Web this week, one such change involves adding support for Motorola's laptop dock. This feature was one of the compelling reasons to pick up the Atrix 4G from AT&T, and helped the Atrix 4G earn high … Read more
The wraps are pull off Google's Wallet and Offers services, but should consumers be excited? The guys discuss the pros and cons Android rooting, locked bootloaders, and DRM, which triggers a friendly shouting match. As always there are plenty of upcoming and rumored phones on the horizon to drool over. And on this special 50th show, Antuan finally admits that he was wrong about something... a lot of things actually. All of that and more on this episode of Android Atlas Weekly.Subscribe: iTunes (MP3) | iTunes (320x180) | iTunes (640x360) | RSS (MP3) | RSS (320x180) | … Read more
Three months after its unveiling, the Motorola Droid Bionic is still without a launch date or price. And now it appears that the handset won't land at Verizon Wireless until the third quarter of this year.
In a conversation with The Wall Street Journal today, a Motorola spokeswoman said Moto is delaying the Droid Bionic's release until this summer so it can incorporate several enhancements that will make "an even better consumer experience." The spokeswoman didn't offer specifics, but the original second-quarter launch window is now seen as unlikely.
Neither Motorola nor Verizon have said … Read more
Welcome to the 411, my column answering all your questions about cell phones and cell phone accessories. I receive plenty of questions about these subjects via e-mail, so I figured many of you might have similar queries, too. At times, I might solicit answers from readers if I'm stumped. Send your questions and comments to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you prefer to remain anonymous, let me know in the e-mail.
Hi Nicole, I have a really quick question. Is there any word at all on when the Droid Bionic is coming out? I'm a Verizon … Read more
Wireless subscribers looking for the fastest data network available have been waiting with bated breath for Verizon Wireless's first 4G smartphone. And now the HTC Thunderbolt is here. But one reader wants to know if he should wait for what might be an even snappier 4G phone on Verizon.
In this week's Ask Maggie column, I answer the age-old question of whether to buy now or wait. I also help another reader determine if he should compromise luxury phones for more affordable service fees. And I discuss whether I think we'll all be buying stuff with our … Read more
As we get ready for CTIA 2011 next week, it's worth revisiting some Android devices announced two months ago at CES to see where they are today. While most of the phones and tablets have started trickling out to their respective carriers, some have yet to receive a launch date.
The most prolific Android announcement was the Motorola Xoom, which went on to win CNET's Best of CES award. Loved by critics, particularly because it offered features missing from the iPad, it would no doubt be a runaway hit, right? Not quite.
If you read CNET's coverage of CES, you'd know I'm pretty excited for the company's new Atrix 4G and Droid Bionic. So I was even more interested today when Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha announced potential release dates for the dual-core Android handsets.
Jha dropped the news during the Q&A session that followed the company's fourth-quarter 2010 earnings call this afternoon. During the session, Jha said that Motorola expects to ship the Atrix 4G and Xoom tablet next month, with the Droid Bionic and LTE Xoom tablet following in the second quarter of … Read more
Though it battled a crowded field, Motorola emerged from CES 2011 as the clear winner in wireless. Its Xoom tablet won CNET's Best of CES award; it introduced the dual-core Droid Bionic and Atrix 4G; and its laptop dock was the most innovative smartphone accessory we've seen in a long time. You had only to visit the company's massive booth on the show floor to feel the buzz that Moto created. I tried stopping by a couple of times, but I could barely get past the crowds straining for a glimpse of the new devices.
Call me a fanboy if you must, but Moto deserved that attention. When you see as many cell phones as I do over the course of a year, only a handful really stand out from the crowd. The remaining models aren't necessarily bad, but they can be so much alike that they just start to blend together. Moto, however, offered features and power in Las Vegas that I hadn't seen before. And that's always a welcome thing for a gadget reviewer.
It's complicated Ever since I started at CNET in 2003, I've regarded the company the way a parent might look upon a bright, hard-working, but sometimes wayward child. Like a long-suffering father, I've beamed with pride as the company succeeded, shook my head in dismay as it grew complacent (remember how long it pushed the Razr?), and tore my hair out in frustration as it made terrible mistakes. And like clockwork, Moto always redeemed itself just as I was about to kick the delinquent kid out of the house. … Read more