pbahra writes: In a race that fuses video-game technology and real world driving skill, two professional drivers, on two separate but identical tracks, have raced against each other--effectively blind--while wearing virtual reality headsets attached to their crash helmets. The drivers hurtled around the circuit in two identical 2015 V8 Ford Mustangs, trusting that what they were seeing on their Oculus Rift DK2 VR headsets was a true, real-time representation of how their cars were performing on the actual track. One of the main challenges: tracking the cars’ exact positions as they sped around the track without the need for re-calibration. This was necessary so that an exact match could be achieved between what was happening on the physical track and its representation on the VR screens.
pbahra writes: Swedish furniture maker Ikea unveiled a new range of furniture that it says can wirelessly charge some mobile devices. The Swedish furniture giant made the announcement on Sunday at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Ikea’s introduction of wireless charging functionality on some of its new furniture heats up the battle for a global wireless charging standard, of which there are currently three, all struggling to become the global leader.
pbahra writes: The greatest emotional trigger at any auto-racing event is the noise. In Nascar, it is the earthshaking growl of V8 American muscle. In Formula One, it is the chest-rattling wail of 15,000 rpm. To some the sound is repellent. To others it is like an opera.
But what if there is no sound at all?
Welcome to the quiet world of Formula E, a global racing series for electric cars, which debuts this month in Beijing.
pbahra writes: Let’s be honest, 3-D-printed food doesn’t exactly sound appetizing. You imagine pizza made out of some gray paste, or chickens printed to look like lobsters, or something. But a Barcelona startup is hoping to make 3-D food printers the machine of choice for the discerning foodie.
Natural Machines, based in the Barcelona Activa center in the west of the city, is working on a 3-D printer that will produce not just chocolates (there are plenty of companies that do that) but pasta (such as ravioli), breads—in fact, anything that starts life as a dough, paste or stiff liquid.
pbahra writes: Stephen Elop wasn’t Nokia Corp.'s first pick as chief executive three years ago, the man many credit with having fueled the company’s rise—only to later preside over its decline—says in a memoir. Jorma Ollila, was Nokia chairman when Mr. Elop was snatched from Microsoft Corp.'s executive ranks to join the once-dominant handset maker. In his book, Mr. Ollila—who as chairman in 2010 led the search for a new CEO—describes how he flew to the U.S. that year to interview five potential candidates with suitable backgrounds over the course of three days. After the interviews, Mr. Ollila’s primary choice “was the No. 2 man at a well-known American technology company.”
pbahra writes: It is, perhaps, the ultimate “selfie”—a self-portrait snapped with a digital camera. But why be content with taking a picture of yourself, what about a three-dimensional miniature model of yourself reproduced in unnerving accuracy? A German startup is offering just that.
Customers of Twinkind can get a 3-D figurine ranging in size from around 15cm (6) to 35cm and costing between €225 ($297) and €1,290.
The process starts with capturing your likeness in the company’s offices in Hamburg. According to Mr. Schaedel, over 100 images taken from all angles are shot in a fraction of a second using technology designed by Twinkind.
pbahra writes: Airline passengers in the U.S. irritated at having to turn off their devices could soon see some reprieve, with regulators set to allow wider use of gadgets in flight.
The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to relax the ban on using some types of personal-electronic devices at low altitudes, allowing passengers leeway during taxiing and even takeoffs and landings, according to industry officials and draft recommendations prepared by a high-level advisory panel to the agency.
For fliers, the new rules would likely mean an end to familiar admonitions to turn off and stow all electronic devices. Cellphone calls are expected to remain off limits, however.
pbahra writes: In the not-too-distant future, airliner cockpit panels are likely to resemble giant iPads, as the current dizzying array of knobs and switches gives way to touch screens adapted from consumer devices.
If implemented quickly enough, new designs unveiled at the Paris International Air Show would mean that by the end of this decade airline pilots will issue basic airborne commands—from changing course to controlling engines—by tapping or dragging icons across screens, people in the industry said.
There are obvious issues though. What happens if there is severe turbulence and the engine fire-extinguisher function is deep in a menu?
pbahra writes: When friends of Jordan Casey’s parents lost their jobs in Waterford, a city that has been one of the worst hit by unemployment in Ireland, the then 12-year-old self-taught programmer decided he could do something to help. “Lots and lots of businesses are closing down,” said Mr. Casey, now 13. “Usually when you were in a big city in Ireland, you’d always see people in the city in the night, but it’s just really really lonely and quiet.” “People are losing their jobs and I wanted to help them.” Still at school Mr. Casey turned to the only thing he knew. He decided to try and make a difference by building a company out of his knack for designing computer games.
pbahra writes: A Helsinki investment agency is making a pitch for the Finnish capital to become a center of ‘neurogaming’ – using brainwaves to control computer games. The Helsinki Business Hub is hosting a series of meetings bringing together developers from Finland’s game industry and neuroscientists from the University of Helsinki. Neuroscientists have been interested in studying why certain games are so successful and have explored just why Angry Birds, the globally successful from Finnish company Rovio was so addictive. They looked at how the music and the color affected players, down to how you don’t get punished for failures. Although brainwave-measuring technoogy is not new it’s only lately that headsets capable of detecting brainwave patterns from the surface of the head have become cheap enough to be put to commercial applications.
pbahra writes: "It was hard to avoid the message at the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that Near Field Communication was to have its day. If you had the right phone you could bypass the entrance queues with an NFC-powered "badge" on your phone. The halls were strewed with NFC-powered "smart" posters that would unlock all manner of hidden secrets if you tapped them with your smartphone, from restaurant information to directions to the nearest restrooms. There were demonstrations that allowed you to play music on headphones, test if products were genuine or counterfeit, or that let you replace your car keys or your house keys with just your phone.
NFC has been a decade in the making, and has always been about to be "The Next Big Thing". It is a contactless radio technology that can transmit data between two devices within a few centimeters of each other. Coupled with a security chip to encrypt data, it promises to transform a wide range of consumer experiences. The key word there is "promise"."
pbahra writes: "In nearly 20 megabytes of PDFs comprising the Leveson inquiry report into press standards in the U.K. what one might collectively describe as “new media” escapes almost entirely. On the future of media which lies online, Lord Justice Leveson is almost entirely mute. There is no suggestion that bloggers of any size or status will be required to be part of any future proposals even though there is a desire that the more influential blogs might think about it. Whether they will is an entirely different matter."
pbahra writes: At first glance, there isn’t much that links a Web-based start-up with a rocket-powered car designed not merely to break the land speed record, but to smash it, by traveling at 1,000 miles per hour. Not many start-ups burn £300,000 a month, not many in turn get £25,000 a month in public donations. Not many—in fact none—are pushing the boundaries of engineering in the way that Bloodhound SSC, which aims to hit Mach 1.4 in a South African desert in 2014, is doing. But according to Richard Noble, the ebullient man behind the dream, the 1,000-mph car maybe the ultimate open-source project and has a management structure that start-ups would do well to emulate. How open is Bloodhound? “As open as we can possibly make it,” said Mr. Noble. “We are going to make absolutely everything available. There are no patents.”