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Media

Roku Finally Gets a 2D Menu System 80

DeviceGuru writes "Many of us have griped for years about Roku's retro one-dimensional user interface. Finally, in conjunction with the release of the new Roku 3 model, the Linux-based media streaming player is getting a two-dimensional facelift, making it quicker and easier to access favorite channels and find new ones. Current Roku users, who will now begin suffering from UI-envy, will be glad to learn that Roku plans to push out a firmware update next month to many earlier models, including the Roku LT, Roku HD (model 2500R), Roku 2 HD, Roku 2 XD, Roku 2 XS, and Roku Streaming Stick. A short demo of the new 2D Roku menu system is available in this YouTube video."
Technology

Gartner Says 3D Printers Will Cost Less Than $2,000 By 2016 170

colinneagle writes "Widespread adoption of 3D printing technology may not be that far away, according to a Gartner report predicting that enterprise-class 3D printers will be available for less than $2,000 by 2016. 3D printers are already in use among many businesses, from manufacturing to pharmaceuticals to consumers goods, and have generated a diverse set of use cases. As a result, the capabilities of the technology have evolved to meet customer needs, and will continue to develop to target those in additional markets, Gartner says."
Power

Nuclear Reactors As Art 118

Hemos recommends the coverage over at Wired of a project to digitize nuclear reactor art. "Not all nuclear reactors are built alike. Power plant designs can vary in their fuels, coolants, and configurations, a fact beautifully illustrated by a series of reactor wall charts originally published in issues of Nuclear Engineering International during the 1970s and 1980s. Since then, the charts have been lovingly collected by Ronald Knief, a nuclear engineer at Sandia National Laboratory. Recently, he completed his collection... and began to digitize the drawings. The first eight out of more than 100 have now been permanently archived online... 'This is not a CAD/CAM-type thing,' Knief said. 'This really is art.'"
Japan

"Universal Jigsaw Puzzle" Hits Stores In Japan 241

Riktov writes "I came across this at a Tokyo toy store last week, and it's one of the coolest things I've seen in a long time. Jigazo Puzzle is a jigsaw puzzle, but you can make anything with it. It has just 300 pieces which are all just varying shades of a single color, though a few have gradations across the piece; i.e., each piece is a generic pixel. Out of the box, you can make Mona Lisa, JFK, etc, arranging it according to symbols printed on the reverse side. But here's the amazing thing: take a photo (for example, of yourself) with a cell-phone, e-mail it to the company, and they will send you back a pattern that will recreate that photo. This article is in Japanese, but as they say, a few pictures are worth a million words. And 300 pixels are worth an infinite number of pictures."
Image

Musical Tesla Coils Perform Zelda Screenshot-sm 82

heychris writes "You've gotta love the Chicago Tribune's story on Tesla Coil hobbyists from the first sentence. 'Under a starry Saturday sky behind a Lake Zurich warehouse, three men unload a small flamethrower, electric cabling, neon-tube "light sabers," about 80 pounds of chain mail and two 7-foot devices that look like monster-movie props.' So what does one do with 1.6 million volts and a Tesla coil or two? Play 110dB music, of course."
Programming

Splash, Splatter, Sploosh, and Bloop! 100

Acoustic Bubble writes "Researchers at Cornell University have developed the first algorithm for synthesizing familiar bubble-based fluid sounds automatically from 3D fluid simulations, e.g, for future virtual environments. The research (entitled 'Harmonic Fluids') will appear at ACM SIGGRAPH 2009 in New Orleans in August 2009. Check out some videos of falling, pouring, splashing and babbling water simulations (computed on a Linux cluster)."

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