Mention music apps and our minds immediately conjure up images of a certain Icelandic songstress’ interactive iPad album. Well, folks the high-art bleeps and bloops don’t have to belong to the aurally experimental, as you, too, can make synthy music to doze off to. Fans of Moog’s synthesizers looking to mobilize the analog noise art now have a 99
, synth keyboard
Monkey mind-controlled arm: It sounds like the name of an awesomely terrible sci-fi film or a fledgling grindcore group, but it’s a very real phenomenon, and one that could pay significant dividends for paraplegics everywhere. Neurobiology professor Miguel Nicolelis and his team of researchers at Duke University recently devised a method by which monkeys (and, perhaps one day, humans) can control a virtual arm using only their brains. It’s a concept similar to what DARPA has been pursuing with its mind-controlled “Luke” arm, with one important difference: Nicolelis’ system not only allows users to remotely execute motor functions, but provides them with near-instantaneous sensory feedback, as well. Most similar techniques use electrode implants to stimulate brain activity, but this can create confusion when a patient’s brain sends and receives signals to and from a prosthetic arm. Nicolelis circumvented this problem with a new interface that can read and transmit brain signals to an artificial limb, before switching to a receptive mode in just milliseconds.
After designing the technology, Nicolelis and his colleagues tested it on two, electrode-equipped rhesus monkeys. One set of electrodes was placed in the motor cortex of each animal, with the other implanted within their brains’ sensory regions. They then trained the monkeys to look at a three identical objects on a computer screen and to “touch” each object with a virtual arm, controlled by signals sent from the brain electrodes. Only one of the three objects had a so-called “virtual texture,” which, if selected with the on-screen arm, would send a sensory signal back to the monkey’s brain (while triggering a tasty squirt of fruit juice for the lucky contestant). The two rhesus species ended up passing the test with flying colors, resulting in a “proof of principle” that Nicolelis’ system can send tactile signals to the brain in almost real-time. The scientists have already developed a way for monkeys to control the arm wirelessly, and are now embedding their technology within a full-body, mind-controlled exoskeleton for paralyzed patients, as well. Of course, the technology still needs to be tested on actual humans, though Nicolelis seems confident that he and his team have already cleared the most difficult hurdle: “Since we cannot talk to the monkeys, I assume with human patients, it’s going to be much easier.”
Monkeys control virtual arm with their brains, may herald breakthrough for paraplegics originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 06 Oct 2011 17:44:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, duke university
Your smartphone and / or tablet is just begging to get updated. From time to time, these mobile devices are blessed with maintenance refreshes, bug fixes, custom ROMs and anything in between, and so many of them are floating around that it’s easy for a sizable chunk to get lost in the mix. To make sure they don’t escape without notice, we’ve gathered every possible update, hack, and other miscellaneous tomfoolery from the last week and crammed them into one convenient roundup. If you find something available for your device, please give us a shout at tips at engadget dawt com and let us know. Enjoy!
Official Android updates
The top story this week revolves around the HTC Thunderbolt’s long-awaited Gingerbread OTA update. It was finally rolling out, which was exciting news for owners of the device — until it had to be pulled because of some rather significant bugs. The largest of them all was that voicemail notifications no longer worked properly; video chatting through Google Talk was also slightly messed up as well. No word on when we can expect to see it come back with those bugs fixed. [Droid-Life]
Unfortunately, the Thunderbolt isn’t the only phone falling victim to pulled revamps; the LG Optimus S on Sprint had its Gingerbread update kiboshed, though users have had two weeks to get it — plenty of time for anyone to experience some of the bugs, which included the phone not charging, the SD card not being recognized when the phone’s connected to the computer, no access to data services, and predictive text on the virtual keyboard stopped working. It’s disappointing to see this happen so soon after the Kyocera Echo update went through a similar debacle. [SprintFeed]
LG Optimus 3D: V10K firmware update, enables phone to convert OpenGL-capable 2D games into stereoscopic 3D. Note: this still runs Android 2.2.2, so we’re still waiting for Gingerbread. [AndroidCentral]
Motorola Xoom WiFi: Android 3.2.1 is beginning to roll out. [AndroidCentral]
Dell Streak 7: Honeycomb update rolling out now to unspecified regions [AndroidCentral]
Asus Eee Pad Transformer: Revamped to Android 3.2.1, adds other bug fixes [AndroidCommunity]
Casio G’Zone Commando: Gingerbread rolling out now [Droid-Life]
Motorola Droid 3: Minor maintenance refresh; enhances Google Talk with video chat support, several other fixes. [PhoneDog]
T-Mobile Samsung Nexus S: OTA install (with option to manually install) to Android 2.3.6; doesn’t appear to break tethering. [AndroidCentral]
Unofficial Android updates, custom ROMs and misc. hackery
The Android 2.3.5 ROM for the global Samsung Galaxy S II leaked early this week. [Pocketnow, SamFirmware]
You can now download the Android 2.3.4 SBF for the Motorola Droid X2, courtesy of XDA. [Droid-Life]
If you have a Sony Ericsson Xperia-branded device from 2010 or 2011, CyanogenMod7 support will most likely come included as part of an upcoming update. Ten Xperia devices will be added, though a timeframe for release wasn’t announced. Check here to see if your device made the list. [XperiaBlog]
Check here to see if your phone is ready to receive Windows Phone Mango.
The ultra-rare AT&T HP Pre 3 just received an OTA update to 22.214.171.1247, right after a new webOS Doctor became available for the same refresh. [PreCentral]
Refreshes we covered this week
Refresh Roundup: week of September 26, 2011 originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 02 Oct 2011 11:00:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, pre 3
Price was one of the reoccurring themes at today’s Amazon event
in New York City, and nowhere was that factor more present than with the new Kindle
. At $79, this truly is an entry level device, and certainly the company made some sacrifices to hit that price point — most obviously, the reader doesn’t have the touchscreen featured in both the Kindle Touch
and the latest Nook
devices — though like those products, the Kindle did lose its physical keyboard, giving it a much smaller footprint than the last generation
. In place of the infrared touchscreen are a series of buttons: Home, Menu, Keyboard and Back. In the middle is a toggle button that lets the user scroll through menus — that activity can be performed pretty quickly with the physical buttons, and flipping through pages is not problem with the familiar page buttons on either side of the screen. Where one really misses the presence of touch, however, is with the on-screen keyboard — typing is performed by clicking one’s way through the virtual keyboard, a familiar task for anyone who has ever entered their name at the beginning of a video game with a console controller. Of course, typing is a secondary task on a device like this, so for many users this may well not be a deal-breaker. For those who foresee the need for such functionality, however, $20 will buy you an upgrade to the Kindle Touch.
Continue reading Amazon Kindle (2011) impressions
Amazon Kindle (2011) impressions originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 28 Sep 2011 12:35:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, e book
, e readers
, kindle touch
Hear this nerds? Windows 8 will ship with Hyper-V virtualization software integrated into the OS. Until now Hyper-V was limited to Microsoft’s server products, but now consumers (whether they care or not) will be able to fire up virtual machines without the need to download VirtualBox or some other VM software suite. Now, the average person probably won’t care too much, but power users will be thrilled. And, if virtualization can be integrated seamlessly to enhance security (through sandboxing) and compatibility with legacy apps (say, via an included XP license), it could be a huge boon to casual users — even if they don’t realize it’s there. For more details about Hyper-V from the Windows 8 devs, including a nice demo video, check out the source link.
Windows 8 will deliver Hyper-V virtualization tech to all, power users rejoice originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 08 Sep 2011 20:03:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, windows 8
We know the US Army has already experimented with vibrating clothing, and soon it could be our turn. The trendy figure-hugger above is rigged with haptic actuators across the arms and torso, which respond when the wearer’s body ‘touches’ virtual objects created via Microsoft’s Kinect platform. The outfit’s designers at the University of Aachen spent just a few hundred dollars on components, aside from the cost of the Kinect, so this might well have commercial potential. Click the source link if you’re really keen to see a concept video — although it doesn’t consist of much beyond a German dude doing the Hey Macarena in his socks.
Kinect-driven tactile bodysuit makes you tingle in eight different places originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 25 Jul 2011 07:45:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, university of aachen
Steve Ballmer revealed a new service yesterday that should be, ahem, music to your ears when it starts spinning this fall. During Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Los Angeles, the Windows chief mentioned Xbox Music — a MS-branded music streaming service, with over 11 million songs and Kinect compatibility. That last feature will let you shout your music selections across the room, and could result in some pretty gnarly sibling battles whenever music tastes don’t match. Unlike the console’s current last.fm offering, we can only hope that Music will support multitasking, allowing you to settle those musical differences in the virtual boxing ring as the beat goes on, rather than on the living room floor.
Update: The Business Insider editor who reported the quote tweeted a correction and updated the article, explaining “No new Xbox Music service coming this fall. Just voice command to existing service. ‘Xbox. Music.’ Correction posted.”
Ballmer: Microsoft will launch Xbox Music this fall (update: not true) originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 12 Jul 2011 15:57:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, microsoft music
Don’t be shy now: which of you doesn’t love raiding your mother’s closet and trying on her paisley dresses and velour tracksuits? That’s more or less the idea behind Virtual Dressing Room, a Kinect hack that taps into the clandestine thrill of sneaking into other people’s boudoirs. Unlike some other shopping hacks we’ve seen, the app goes beyond just pilling on 2D pieces, but uses 3D models so that the items mold to your limbs, with the shadows and creases in the virtual fabric changing as you preen for the camera. That all comes courtesy of a special physics engine, while the app itself was written in C# along with Microsoft’s XNA tools. Arbuzz, the group that dreamed this up, says the project’s still a work in progress, though we can see this, too, being used to relieve those of who are allergic to shopping malls. Until then, you’ll just have to settle for watching some other guy work a knee-length skirt.
Continue reading Kinect hack promises you’ll wear flowery skirts, and you’ll like it (video)
Kinect hack promises you’ll wear flowery skirts, and you’ll like it (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 08 Jul 2011 23:46:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, kinect hack
Quite frankly, you’ve got it just a bit too easy. You rise 98 seconds before you’re scheduled to clock in, you mash a power button, and suddenly, you’re at work. PJs still caked to your legs, mouth still steaming from a lack of brushing. You’re a telecommuter, and you’re the envy of the working world. In fact, it’d be just stellar if you’d do us all a solid and add a sliver of complexity to your workday — you know, like swapping out your OfficeMax special for an elliptical machine. And maybe, just maybe, you can convert your laptop into one that’s pedal-powered, forcing you to keep churning for fear of dropping from the virtual office. And no, you can’t ask for donations to cover the $8,000 price tag — your fuel savings from last week alone should just about cover it. Harrumph.
The Elliptical Machine Office Desk: putting the ‘commute’ back in ‘telecommuting’ originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 29 Jun 2011 07:08:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Shortly after MasterCard announced plans to become entangled with Google Wallet (and a few months after those ambitious Isis plans were shelved), it looks as if the aforesaid company is diving into yet another mobile payment arena. And this time, it’s personal. MasterCard and CSI Enterprises already offer a smattering of customized business cards for those with highly specific needs, and soon that partnership will extend to iOS, Android and BlackBerry OS. We’ve confirmed that the CSI Virtual MasterCard app is currently scheduled to launch in July, presumably enabling folks with a GlobalVCard to use their mobile device of choice to make payments. What’s interesting here is the inclusion of RIM and iOS; there’s no BlackBerry device (nor iOS device) on the market today with NFC, which leads us to believe one of two things: that’s either changing by July, or this here service won’t rely on NFC at all. Needless to say, we’ll keep you posted — nothing like another way to more easily indebt yourself.
CSI Virtual MasterCard app bringing mobile payments to iOS, Android and BlackBerry originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 27 Jun 2011 11:29:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Tags: csi mastercard
, google wallet