Drive my BMW? There’s an app for that.

Posted by on January 20th, 2011

A pair of Chinese hackers, sponsored by Nokia Asia, designed this modded BMW 1 Series and cell-phone app that allows them to remote control a car with a high degree of precision.  They claim it only took them 20 days in their makerspace to whip this up.

[Via Engadget]


We see things differently

Posted by on January 11th, 2011

We’re 11 days into 2011 and I’m watching the north of my country drown on live-television, as they in turn switch between exhausted officals giving press conferences, to reports straight from social media. In fact, they’re just sending viewers straight to #qldfloods. But, look.. SHINY!

Let’s face it, we’re going to need ever better methods to record disaster pr0n and navigate our way through it. OK, we don’t need them, but some kind of distraction is needed now and again. What have we got so far this year?

Augmented reality HUDS? Check. This was just released for skiers:

Introducing  Transcend, Recon Instruments’ collaboration with Colorado’s Zeal Optics. Transcend is the world’s first GPS-enabled goggles with a head-mounted display system.

Minimum interaction is required during use, sleek graphics and smart optics are completely unobtrusive for front and peripheral vision making it the ultimate solution for use in fast-paced environments.

Transcend provides real-time feedback including speed, latitude/longitude, altitude, vertical distance travelled, total distance travelled, chrono/stopwatch mode, a run-counter, temperature and time. It is also the only pair of goggles in the world that boasts GPS capabilities, USB charging and data transfer, and free post-processing software all with a user-friendly, addictive interface.

Just like the dashboard of a sports car or the instruments of a fighter jet, Transcend’s display provides performance-enhancing data, but only when you choose to view it. Safe, smart, fun…all wrapped up in the hottest goggle frame of 2010/11.

Now, of course you ask, but how will I best show my friends a panoramic, interactive recording of that sick black run (or train for the next one)? Sony has just the thing:

Besides looking über futuristic, Sony’s “virtual 3D cinematic experience” head mounted display (aka ‘Headman’) sports some fairly impressive specs. The tiny OLED screens inside are head HD resolution (1280 x 720), and the headphones integrated into the sides of the goggles are outputting high quality simulated 5.1 channel surround sound.

OK, that’s just a prototype. But something like it will be coming soon, so leave some space for it in your underground bunker.

But m1k3y, you say.. “those are great and all, but WHERE’S MY CLATTER?!” Well, I saved the best for last:

In 2008, as a proof of concept, Babak Parviz at the University of Washington in Seattle created a prototype contact lens containing a single red LED. Using the same technology, he has now created a lens capable of monitoring glucose levels in people with diabetes.

It works because glucose levels in tear fluid correspond directly to those found in the blood, making continuous measurement possible without the need for thumb pricks, he says. Parviz’s design calls for the contact lens to send this information wirelessly to a portable device worn by diabetics, allowing them to manage their diet and medication more accurately.

Lenses that also contain arrays of tiny LEDs may allow this or other types of digital information to be displayed directly to the wearer through the lens. This kind of augmented reality has already taken off in cellphones, with countless software apps superimposing digital data onto images of our surroundings, effectively blending the physical and online worlds.

Making it work on a contact lens won’t be easy, but the technology has begun to take shape. Last September, Sensimed, a Swiss spin-off from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, launched the very first commercial smart contact lens, designed to improve treatment for people with glaucoma.

The disease puts pressure on the optic nerve through fluid build-up, and can irreversibly damage vision if not properly treated. Highly sensitive platinum strain gauges embedded in Sensimed’s Triggerfish lens record changes in the curvature of the cornea, which correspond directly to the pressure inside the eye, says CEO Jean-Marc Wismer. The lens transmits this information wirelessly at regular intervals to a portable recording device worn by the patient, he says.

Like an RFID tag or London’s Oyster travel cards, the lens gets its power from a nearby loop antenna – in this case taped to the patient’s face. The powered antenna transmits electricity to the contact lens, which is used to interrogate the sensors, process the signals and transmit the readings back.

Each disposable contact lens is designed to be worn just once for 24 hours, and the patient repeats the process once or twice a year. This allows researchers to look for peaks in eye pressure which vary from patient to patient during the course of a day. This information is then used to schedule the timings of medication.

Parviz, however, has taken a different approach. His glucose sensor uses sets of electrodes to run tiny currents through the tear fluid and measures them to detect very small quantities of dissolved sugar. These electrodes, along with a computer chip that contains a radio frequency antenna, are fabricated on a flat substrate made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a transparent polymer commonly found in plastic bottles. This is then moulded into the shape of a contact lens to fit the eye.

Parviz plans to use a higher-powered antenna to get a better range, allowing patients to carry a single external device in their breast pocket or on their belt. Preliminary tests show that his sensors can accurately detect even very low glucose levels. Parvis is due to present his results later this month at the IEEE MEMS 2011 conference in Cancún, Mexico.

“There’s still a lot more testing we have to do,” says Parviz. In the meantime, his lab has made progress with contact lens displays. They have developed both red and blue miniature LEDs – leaving only green for full colour – and have separately built lenses with 3D optics that resemble the head-up visors used to view movies in 3D.

Parviz has yet to combine both the optics and the LEDs in the same contact lens, but he is confident that even images so close to the eye can be brought into focus. “You won’t necessarily have to shift your focus to see the image generated by the contact lens,” says Parviz. It will just appear in front of you, he says. The LEDs will be arranged in a grid pattern, and should not interfere with normal vision when the display is off.

For Sensimed, the circuitry is entirely around the edge of the lens (see photo). However, both have yet to address the fact that wearing these lenses might make you look like the robots in the Terminator movies. False irises could eventually solve this problem, says Parviz. “But that’s not something at the top of our priority list,” he says.

So close… And Terminator eyes? That’s a feature, not a bug. YES PLEASE!


iPhone ECG

Posted by on December 31st, 2010

Ultraportable pocket ECG?  Yeah there’s an app for that.  Well, an app and a special case for your iPhone 4. (The biofeedback app is pretty cool as well.)  The iPhonECG will debut at the CES show in Las Vegas next week. The intent is that it will be available to consumers and not just medical professionals.


Scottevest’s Carry-On Coat

Posted by on July 6th, 2010

Don’t throw out your old leather trench-coat just yet, but check this out!  

From engadget:

carry on, jackets

via jzellis


Here’s Your F&$*ing Jetpack

Posted by on March 13th, 2010

According to Alex Eichler over at io9, the New Zealand-based Martin Aircraft Company is officially producing the world’s first commercial Jetpack.  As an ultralight aircraft you don’t even need a license to fly it in the United States.  For only 90 grand you can zoom around at 60 miles an hour and get yourself about a mile high with nothing but a jet strapped to your ass.  (Provided you and your ass, as a package, weigh between 140 and 240 pounds.)


The Incredible HULC

Posted by on January 23rd, 2010

In preparation for February’s Association of the US Army Winter Conference, Lockheed Martin has released a promotional video of the company’s proposed HULC (Human Universal Load Carrier) powered exoskeleton.

The HULC is a completely un-tethered, hydraulic-powered anthropomorphic exoskeleton that provides users with the ability to carry loads of up to 200 lbs for extended periods of time and over all terrains. Its flexible design allows for deep squats, crawls and upper-body lifting. There is no joystick or other control mechanism. The exoskeleton senses what users want to do and where they want to go. It augments their ability, strength and endurance. An onboard micro-computer ensures the exoskeleton moves in concert with the individual. Its modularity allows for major components to be swapped out in the field. Additionally, its unique power-saving design allows the user to operate on battery power for extended missions. The HULC’s load-carrying ability works even when power is not available.

[Via Defense Tech]


Gryphon tactical wingsuits = covert death from above

Posted by on December 3rd, 2009

I really wasn’t sure what I wanted for Christmas until now.  In fact, this is just the sort of system a twenty-first century Santa needs.

From WIRED’s Danger Room:

…described as a modular upgrade for parachute systems for use in “high-altitude, high-opening” jump missions, typically carried out by Special Forces. This 6-foot wing gives a glide ratio of 5:1, which means that a drop from 30,000 feet will allow you to glide about 30 miles. The makers estimate that this would take around 15 minutes, giving an average speed of about 60 miles an hour.

“All equipment is hidden in a lifting body optimized for stealth, the radar-signature is extremely low,” says the Gryphon data sheet (PDF). “Detection of incoming Gryphon soldiers by airborne or ground radar will be extremely difficult.”

Gryphon has a guidance system and heads-up display navigation. Best of all, the company are looking at an option for bolting on small engines similar to those used in Yves Rossy’s setup. These will increase the range to more than 60 miles, but will also make it possible to cover long distances from low altitude so that the entire mission can be more stealthy.

Yes, so while Yvs Rossy (aka Fusion Man) won’t sell to the military, other companies are happy to.

thanks to my buddy Tone for the tip-off!

Previously:


mil-spec wrist keyboard

Posted by on October 23rd, 2009

Today’s addition to the ultimate cyberpunk-future-present kit list:

iKey’s rugged AK-39 keyboard is designed to be worn on the arm, providing a simple, compact data-input solution that does not restrict the user’s arm movements. It is designed to meet MIL-461 standards and is intended for use in very harsh electro magnetic interference (EMI) environments. The AK-39′s small-footprint design features essential components for military and public safety applications, including an integrated Force Sensing ResistorTM (FSR) pointing device with left- and right-click functionality, and adjustable green LED backlighting that is also available in a night vision (NVIS) compatible configuration. Designed with gloved users in mind, the AK-39′s snap-on faceplate eliminates accidental key strokes and can be easily removed to clean the pad.

Drool.  And how we laughed the cyberpunk CosPlayers wearing Power Gloves.

If only I had friends on tour in un-disclosed locations in Afghanistan…  if only.

Full details: AK-39 (via Crunch Grear | Jon Oxer)