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timothy

cylonlover writes "A team of scientists at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore has developed a new image sensor from graphene that promises to improve the quality of images captured in low light conditions. In tests, it has proved to be 1,000 times more sensitive to light than existing complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) or charge-coupled device (CCD) camera sensors in addition to operating at much lower voltages, consequently using 10 times less energy."

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An anonymous reader writes "Nataly Kelly writes in the Huffington Post about Google's strategy of hiring Ray Kurzweil and how the company likely intends to use language translation to revolutionize the way we share information. From the article: 'Google Translate is not just a tool that enables people on the web to translate information. It's a strategic tool for Google itself. The implications of this are vast and go beyond mere language translation. One implication might be a technology that can translate from one generation to another. Or how about one that slows down your speech or turns up the volume for an elderly person with hearing loss? That enables a stroke victim to use the clarity of speech he had previously? That can pronounce using your favorite accent? That can convert academic jargon to local slang? It's transformative. In this system, information can walk into one checkpoint as the raucous chant of a 22-year-old American football player and walk out as the quiet whisper of a 78-year-old Albanian grandmother.'"

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John from the Free Software Foundation sez,

From reading the Nintendo 3DS Terms of Service, one could be forgiven for thinking that Nintendo is exiting the video game console business and entering the brick-making business.

The 3DS Terms are a perfect storm of 1) Updates will happen automatically without your specific permission any time the device connects to wifi 2) The device will constantly try to connect to wifi 3) Updates will specifically disable devices found to have modified software or unauthorized peripherals.

On top of that, Nintendo claims a license to photos and other user-generated material on the devices -- and those things are also automatically uploaded, along with user location data gleaned from wifi network proximity.

DRM prevents users from disabling any of these antifeatures, which is why DefectiveByDesign.org has taken an interest, encouraging people to send cardboard bricks to Nintendo. In the wake of all the Sony PS3 news, is this really the direction Nintendo wants to take things?

It gets better: Nintendo claims a perpetual, worldwide license to the photos and videos you take with your camera!

Nintendo 3DS Targeted in Anti-DRM Campaign

(Thanks, John!)

(Image: Fimo Nintendo 3DS, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from hansel5569's photostream)

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As designers, we often engage in many of what we call "future of..." programs, for both clients as well as for ourselves. These projects often remove some of the constraints that exist in our current product developments cycle to focus on larger macro trends in human behavior and technology to try to look forward into the future. Cynically this is sometimes called crystal ball gazing, but it often it can reveal insights that can help us to course correct more production oriented programs. Hollywood has picked up on how amazing these kinds of future explorations can be in many movies over the past 50 years, such as the way HMI is portrayed in Minority Report (UI which is already looking old) and Iron Man (CAD interface).

These types of explorations have been going on for a long time in R&D departments, the pages of magazines, and as part of promotions. Sometimes they were amazingly close, and sometimes they are hilariously off. They are our best educated guess of what comes next after next. For a look at the history of such predictions, check out one of my favorite blogs Paleofuture.com

In these kinds of projects we often abstract existing behaviors to manifest a vision of where we think technology can take us. I LOVE this new Dodge commercial shows how that abstraction can quickly become irrelevance, annoyance, and even cause an outright backlash.

There are a lot of things that technology could do for us, but the question is, what do we WANT it to do for us and HOW. As software becomes ever more advanced, will it manifest itself in ways that feel genuinely mechanical? A nice example of this are the fly-by-wire systems in commercial aircraft that work hard to reproduce the feedback of mechanical linkages to pilots. Another example are tunnel mounted stick shifts in automatic cars. The gear selection in an automatic car could be a dial, a switch, or a touch screen, but we seem to prefer the large mechanical lever that emulates the mechanical shifter on a sports car. Is this longing for the more understandable what is behind retro styling and Steam Punk? Is the embrace of mechanical interfaces merely a transitional affordance or is it how human's prefer to interface?

I don't have the answers to any of those questions, but continue reading to see the bonus "Slippery Slope" commercial that pokes fun at Google's attempt to drive your car.

(more...)

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