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Input Devices

Use Your Cellphone as a 3D Mouse 77

Roland Piquepaille writes "In recent years, we've started to use our cellphones not only for placing calls or exchanging messages. Now, we take pictures, read our e-mails, listen to music or watch TV. But, according to New Scientist, UK researchers are going further with a prototype software that turns your cellphone into a 3-D mouse. The phone is connected to your computer via Bluetooth. And you control the image on the screen by rotating or moving your phone. As says one of the researchers, 'it feels like a much more natural way to interact and exchange data.' The technology might first be used in shopping malls to buy movie tickets or to interact with advertising displays."
Biotech

Super-Light Plastic As Strong as Steel 226

Roland Piquepaille writes "A new composite plastic built layer by layer has been created by engineers at the University of Michigan. This plastic is as strong as steel. It has been built the same way as mother-of-pearl, and shows similar strength. Interestingly, this 300-layer plastic has been built with 'strong' nanosheets of clay and a 'fragile' polymer called polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), commonly used in paints and glue, which acts as 'Velcro' to envelop the nanoparticles. This new plastic could soon be used to design light but strong armors for soldiers or police officers. The researchers also think this material could be used in biomedical sensors and unmanned aircraft."
Graphics

Drawing on Air With Haptics in 3D 62

Roland Piquepaille writes "In a recent article, PhysOrg.com reports that a team of computer scientists at Brown University has developed 'Drawing on Air', a haptic-aided interface to help artists to create 3D illustrations while wearing a virtual reality mask. 'The technique introduces two new strategies, using one hand or two hands, to give artists the tools they need for drawing different types of curves, and for viewing and editing their work.' The researchers hope that these techniques will improve the precision with which scientists can interact with their 3D data using a computer. This also would help artists to illustrate complicated artistic, scientific, and medical subjects."

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