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24May/120

3D-printed bikini proves they’ve thought of everything

Revealing swimwear isn’t usually the topic of conversation at RAPID, an annual trade show for the market of “additive manufacturing.” The industrial tech show is usually more focused on manufacturing processes and how to reduce bottlenecks in large-scale plants. If you see someone in a bikini, you’re probably at the wrong show. At least, we could safely say that about past years.

At this year’s show, though, there was an event called the 3D Fabulous Fashion Show. Models were put out on stage wearing everything from glasses to bikinis – yes, bikinis – that were created not in a sweatshop in Indonesia, but in an office with a 3D printer. Obviously this is nothing more than a fashion statement, but it is definitely a rare example of emerging technology blending with high-class fashion. But perhaps that’s the way the fashion industry is heading.

3D printing is making inroads not just in consumer applications but also for business, for medicine, and for third-world countries where resources are much more scarce. The majority of the material needed for a 3D printer can now be printed from a 3D printer. It’s fascinating to watch this next evolution in scientific advancement.

[via Plastics Today]

3D-printed bikini proves they’ve thought of everything is written by Mark Raby & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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24May/120

Google Nexus tablet tipped for July

If you’re wondering when Google will finally put its stamp of approval on an official Android tablet, you’ll have to wonder a little bit longer, but if you’re one to believe speculation, then you can hang your hat on a launch day of either June or July of this year. According to a report from manufacturing insider Digitimes, production of the device is already set, with 600,000 units being ordered for the initial launch.

It’s believed the device will carry the “Nexus” name, which has been used in the naming of every Android phone that Google has had an active hand in developing. Although the Nexus phones are seen as one streamlined line of devices, they’ve been made by different manufacturers and available on different carriers so Google doesn’t look like it’s playing favorites.

It’s been rumored for some time that Google was also toiling behind-the-scenes to come up with a Nexus-branded tablet, but the question of which manufacturer would get the honors has been largely mysterious. Earlier this year, it came out of the woodwork that Asus might the manufacturer of choice, since it is well known for creating low-cost electronics. It was also reported that the tablet is likely to cost between $150 and $200.

[via Digitimes]

Google Nexus tablet tipped for July is written by Mark Raby & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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24May/120

Sony cloud gaming partnership E3 announcement tipped

Could Sony be planning a major partnership with a cloud service provider, and it’s likely to make that partnership public at next month’s E3 trade show, according to media reports. While the name of the cloud company in question hasn’t been revealed, it could be a significant part of Sony’s strategy to keep the PS3 relevant at least through to next year’s E3.

VG247 reported that Sony will announce a “partnership deal between PlayStation and a leading cloud gaming service” during next month’s big show, where it is expected to give its media presentation to thousands of attendees in Los Angeles. When it comes to “cloud gaming services,” there aren’t exactly a lot of players. The only one that really jumps to mind is OnLive, and a partnership between those two could really be something.

Sony and Microsoft both face a situation that has really never been dealt with before – their competitor, Nintendo, showed off its new console last year and yet there will be no Xbox 720 or PS4 announcements. For the first time in this industry, the announcements will have to be about new online services and life-expanding features that prove to consumers unequivocally that the console they own today will be different by the time Sony and Microsoft are done talking. We’ll see if they can do it.

[via VG247]

Sony cloud gaming partnership E3 announcement tipped is written by Mark Raby & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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24May/120

Australia to test ‘tour guide robot’

If you thought navigating through crowded museums was a hassle right now, just wait until you have to watch out for speeding robots that people are able to control from anywhere in the world. Okay, so that’s kind of a sign of where the future may lead, but for now, the idea of bringing in a robotic creature into an Australian museum will have a tepid presence, and its accessibility will be limited to school children.

What exactly are we talking about? That would be CSIRO, a company that, at a cost of 3.5 million Australian dollars (about $3.4 million), has developed a robotic museum patron. The robot can move freely about just like a human, and is just about as tall. The idea is that people who can’t physically be at the museum could control the robot remotely, and use the panoramic cameras installed to get a sense that they’re actually there.

So, think of Avatar except without the whole “being lifeless in a pod” thing. The program is being tested with students in Australia so that schools from throughout the nation can experience the Australian National Museum. The robot will in fact walk alongside regular museum guests, but it has sensors to prevent it from running into anyone. “It could change the way schools interact with institutions like the museum,” said CSIRO research director Jonathan Roberts. What’s next? Amusement parks for people who are too afraid to go on roller coasters?

[via Stuff.co.nz]

Australia to test ‘tour guide robot’ is written by Mark Raby & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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24May/120

Nvidia Says 30 Tegra 3 Phones Are Due Out This Year – Quad-Core “Budget” Phones, Anyone?

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Earlier today, we told you guys about Nvidia’s Icera 410 modem winning validation for use on AT&T’s LTE network but it wasn’t met with much enthusiasm. I guess nobody’s eyes widen at the prospect of quad-core devices finally coming stateside. Fine. But maybe this news will get your motors purring.

Nvidia’s Tegra 3 quad-core processor has been doing pretty well for itself. So well, in fact, that Nvidia’s GM Mike Rayfield announced the news today that the company has plans to release 30 more Tegra 3 powered phones worldwide before the end of the year. But wait — there’s more. 13 of these phones will be affordable budget phones with a transfer price of under $300 (not retail price). Compare this to 2011 in which we saw 15 Tegra 2 devices and zero of them that hit that entry level price-point.

Wasting no time, Mr. Rayfield also spoke briefly about the successor to Nvidia’s Icera i410 modem (the one we told you about earlier today), boasting that it will deliver next-gen LTE speeds faster than anything we’ve seen to date. That modem will come integrated inside Nvidia’s next-gen Tegra processor due out in 2013 dubbed “Grey.”

[TheVerge]


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24May/120

Sony LittleBigPlanet on PlayStation Vita gets behind-the-scenes video

Attention Sackboy fans – if you want to gain insight into the next entry in the ever growing LittleBigPlanet franchise, Sony has answered your calls. The company has put together a nice behind-the-scenes video showing what you can expect when you pick up your copy of LittleBigPlanet on the PlayStation Vita later this year. Sony also officially unveiled the game’s box art.

LittleBigPlanet was one of the first Vita games to be announced, making an appearance at last year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo. The game will incorporate all of the Vita’s many unique features in a way that only an LBP title could. For example, turning over panels requires the use of the back touch panel, and tilting some objects uses the accelerometer.

The PlayStation Vita is still waiting for that one killer title that will move hardware. LittleBigPlanet is starting to become an aged franchise, but the one thing that makes it stand out is its uniqueness. And something like the Vita, with many unique and differentiated hardware features, can really take advantage of that. The game is currently in a closed beta test. The online component will be a major factor in this new game, so we’ll see how it stands up and if it is able to incite Vita passion.

[via PlayStation Blog]

Sony LittleBigPlanet on PlayStation Vita gets behind-the-scenes video is written by Mark Raby & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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24May/120

SlashGear Evening Wrap-Up: May 24, 2012

Happy Thursday, everyone. It’s almost time for that holiday weekend. You can almost feel it, right? But for now, we’ve still got plenty of news to discuss so let’s get to it. First on the plate today – Foxconn, Sharp building new iPhone display plant. And moving onto corporate news, more on the bad HP news – HP to cut 9000 jobs by October, 27000 jobs by 2014. And in the government space, here’s a punch to Microsoft – EU court to rule on $1.1 billion Microsoft antitrust fine.

Featured: So among the featured articles for today, we’ve got a couple really cool gadgets, one of which is out now and one of which you’ll have to wait for. But we already got our hands on it – check it out – Samsung Smart TV voice gesture and face recognition hands-on. And as for the previously mentioned product that’s already in stores… Sony Xperia U review

Nokia, Facebook, & Android: Rounding out the rest of the stories that made deadlines today, we have some good news for our UK readers, and something that could have international implications – Nokia Lumia 610 to be free in June UK launch. Speaking of companies bungling their big opportunities, Facebook wants to ditch Nasdaq after IPO fiasco. And finally, a nice peaceful story to close us out – Google+ for Android updated, new UI and mobile hangout control.

SlashGear Evening Wrap-Up: May 24, 2012 is written by Mark Raby & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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24May/120

Cookoo watch aims for another KickStarter mobile watch win

It appears that Pebble is letting its ripples show as another mobile-connected watch concept has appeared on KickStarter with a strong backing. This device is called Cookoo, is listed on KickStarter right now, and has been developed in part by former Microsoft product developer Peter Hauser. The Cookoo watch connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and has you getting simple updates with light-up icons whenever you get a mobile alert. And it doesn’t stop there – this watch is set to take on a whole developer community once it launches as well – the possibilities are quite enticing.

The Cookoo watch will last up to one year on a standard watch battery, even if you are connected with Bluetooth that whole time. The intent here is to have you not checking your smartphone each and every time it vibrates, instead having you see what your alerts are going to be before you get there – it’s a battery saver in more ways than one. The watch itself will cost you $50 if you pre-order it with KickStarter right now, but like all KickStarter projects still in their development stage, you’ll have to make sure the team gets all $150,000 of their goal before they can move forward.

Abilities of the watch include the following, per Cookoo:

• Check in: be the first to check in on Facebook—with more apps to come.

• Tag a location: tag your current location on the Connected App’s map—later you can add notes, pictures, and even share your map with others.

• Take a picture: use the command button as a remote for your phone’s camera—perfect for taking group shots!

…and more as the Connected App develops!

The watch’s project page currently shows it to have just above $50,000 pledged with 722 backers. With 43 days to go, there’s a very good chance that by July 7th, the Cookoo team will have all the cash they need to make their project take flight. Keep an eye on their KickStarter page and here on SlashGear to see how far they’ve progressed.

NOTE: This project already shows connectivity with the iPhone 4S and the Samsung Galaxy S III. Even though we’re sure the Galaxy S III is only a mock-up, we can guess that this means they’ll be supporting the watch and the apps that go with it through the future!

[via Engadget]

Cookoo watch aims for another KickStarter mobile watch win is written by Chris Burns & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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24May/120

PureView: The Tech Behind Nokia’s Salvation

Nokia has big plans for PureView, including thinner handsets and Windows Phone support, though there’s more than just branding that’s getting in the way of slimming the smartphone camera tech. We grabbed some hands-on playtime with the Nokia 808 PureView in Germany this week, at the headquarters of long-time photography partner Carl Zeiss, where we not only discovered just what the camera is capable of, but some of the decisions – technical, product and otherwise – behind the PureView concept. And make no mistake: if any one thing signifies Nokia’s potential salvation in the mobile industry, PureView is it.

Big sensors in smartphones aren’t new, but neither have we seen a vast improvement in mobile photography. Backside-illuminated sensors, such as are included in the iPhone 4S and HTC One X, have certainly improved low-light photography, but we haven’t seen a ground-shaking difference stepping up from, say, 5- to 8-megapixels. Moreover, even with a good mobile camera like on Apple’s smartphone, it’s all too easy to shoot a bad frame, and that’s before you even get to things like resolution-shedding digital zooms.

Listen to Nokia and Carl Zeiss, however, and you soon start to realize that rival phone manufacturers simply aren’t thinking big enough. “The art and science of making a really good digital camera lies in combining a lens of convincing performance with an adequate imaging sensor and capable imaging algorithms” the two firms said all the way back in 2006, before deciding that “we need to set the standard in imaging in phones” the following year.

Thus was PureView born, not a single camera-phone but an umbrella technology consisting of three strands: a high-performing sensor, complementary lenses and optics, and proprietary Nokia processing. It’s important to remember that PureView doesn’t necessarily mean a 41-megapixel sensor, though that’s the headline-grabbing figure Nokia opted for with the debut model to wear the brand.

"A 3x zoom with a 5MP final image was the consumer sweetspot"

It wasn’t a random choice, either. Nokia’s goal was a lossless zoom with the quality benefits of optical but the convenience and reliability of digital, and according to the company’s market research, head of imaging Juha Alakarhu told us, a 3x zoom with a 5-megapixel final image was the sweetspot for consumers.

For that to be possible – taking out a section of an overall frame, equal to a 3x enlargement, and still end up with a 5-megapixel image – Nokia needed a 7728 x 5368 sensor, or 41-megapixels. It also made for a relatively huge chip, at 1/1.2-inches, and allowed for the oversampling we discussed in our previous hands-on report.

Therein lies the cause of the 808 PureView’s bulk, Vesa Jutila, Nokia’s head of product marketing, explained. The sensor itself is, while wider and longer than that of 2010′s N8 for instance, not especially thicker. However, it’s when you take into account the required lenses that the size begins to mount. It all comes down to the laws of physics, Jutila says. “If you want high resolution sensors, you need lenses with sufficient focal length.”

Sat in the camera module is a complex five-lens assembly with a range of aspheric surfaces, capable of playing light out over the full extent of Nokia’s pixel-rich sensor. It’s that lens stack which creates the heft, topped with a Gorilla Glass lens cover to match the similarly-toughened touchscreen. It’s also the lens stack which presents the biggest hurdle for slimming PureView technology down, since it involves more than just trimming a sensor.

Nonetheless, Nokia is definitely looking to slimmer iterations, targeting the sort of buyers that might not be so photo-centric in their obsession, and who want decent images but also a more pocket-friendly handset. Set to likely run both Symbian and Windows Phone, depending on model, these upcoming devices will bear the PureView brand but deliver it in different ways, albeit with Nokia sticking to a few core tenets.

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Keeping the oversampling of the PureView algorithm and fighting off any sign of interpolation is arguably the most important, Alakarhu told us. Fitting a tiny sensor and then relying on software guesstimation doesn’t fit with the PureView brand, he says. There’s a reason, after all, that professional cameras haven’t followed their cellular cousins in adopting smaller and smaller CMOS sensors, in the name of shedding bulk. A big sensor means more light hitting it, which adds up to more information to pump into the final frame.

PureView is all about information: the sensor may be 41-megapixels, and the 808 capable of 38- or 34-megapixel stills, but Nokia’s goal is actually a new level of brilliance in 5- and 8-megapixel images. What could be an option, however, is doing away with the lossless zoom requirement, in fact ditching the zoom altogether, and opting for a compromise of sensor bulk and resolution with perhaps 20-megapixels rather than 41. That would allow for a diluted four pixel oversampling, combining four individual pixels for each “superpixel” from which the eventual 5-megapixel image was constructed.

"Not every future Nokia device will bear the PureView brand"

Not every future Nokia device will bear the PureView brand, Jutila said. It will instead be used on a subset of devices for those who demand better quality imaging from their handsets, and who are willing to compromise on some degree of size. “Thinner PureView handsets are coming” Jutila insisted, but there’s a broad scope for just how thick they could still be between the slimline Lumia 800 at 12.1 mm, and the 18.07 mm of the 808 at its thickest point. Perhaps even more exciting, Jutila also said that higher resolution PureView devices are also a possibility, declining to discuss any specific roadmap details, but suggesting that more pixels than even the 808′s forty-one million could be on offer.

Ironically, even the 808 PureView doesn’t feel so large after a while. We had a brief chance to revisit the Nokia today, and what had felt chunky and swollen – albeit also pumped full of promise – when we first saw it earlier this week, had evolved into a more familiar shape. The phone fits neatly into the hands, the curve of the casing and the protruding lens bulge allowing your fingers to wrap around it comfortably, and the side buttons fall under your fingertips. There’s no need to take one hand away to use pinch-zooming, either – there’s a single finger slide-zoom instead – and that helps keep shots steady. Sure, it’ll never be considered a small phone, but whether it’s a side-effect of the growing respect for its imaging capabilities, or simply regular old familiarity, what initially appeared vast somehow becomes less objectionable.

PureView is, for Nokia, a vital point of differentiation. On the one hand, it singles out the company from its smartphone rivals across the board – “It took us five years to do it,” Jutila pointed out, “now we’re happy to say to the others, ‘do the same’ … It’s a huge benchmark for the industry, what imaging performance should be” – while on the other it, like Nokia Drive and Nokia Music, will offer something unique from the rest of the Windows Phone status-quo. In Lumia, Jutila reminded us, photography is one of the three core pillars Nokia is focusing on; the company has no current plans to license PureView technology out to its rivals, and as the five year incubation suggests, it’s not just a case of slapping together a big sensor and a powerful GPU to crunch data from it.

If anything will keep Nokia relevant, it’s this sort of investment. As Huawei, ZTE and numerous others have demonstrated, it’s incredibly straightforward to create a cheap smartphone from off-the-shelf hardware and software. It’s equally simple to customize a generic OS, like Android, until it looks suitably different for your brand. Where key products from companies like Apple, Samsung and others succeed is in the areas of user-experience that aren’t so readily replicated: more complex features, time-consuming in their conception and requiring specialist skills or supplies, which help them stand apart from the crowd.

Apple has its famed holistic ecosystem, making the iPhone predictable enough for first-time smartphone owners, but also flexible enough for hundreds of thousands of developers to push the envelope with apps. Samsung, meanwhile, has its supply chain majesty in its favor: incredible displays, cutting-edge processors and high-speed memory.

PureView sample images:

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Nokia’s differentiator used to be Symbian. Over time, though, that proved to be a difference that consumers didn’t actually want; now, with Windows Phone, the company is in what for it is the unusual situation of not having the pool pretty much to itself. Apps like Nokia Drive were the quick-fix to that, cooked up in the few months in-between adopting Microsoft’s OS and launching the Lumia line-up; now, we’re seeing the more long-game strategy appear, with technologies like PureView that throw down the gauntlet to rivals and challenge them to compete on truly innovative, distinctive features.

Five years was a long incubation for PureView, but the 808 isn’t the end product of that development: it’s just the first of many. You can find the fruits of our photo journey with the 808 PureView in our full sample gallery.

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PureView: The Tech Behind Nokia’s Salvation is written by Chris Davies & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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24May/120

NVIDIA TegraZone FINAL Anniversary Reminder – Tegra 3 explodes!

Welcome to our third and final reminder that the first anniversary of the NVIDIA TegraZone is this month! NVIDIA is showing off their wares this month with a big display of games and a release of a brand new Sonic the Hedgehog episode as well. Have a peek at our review of the latest NVIDIA Tegra 3 tablet to hit our review bench, the ASUS Transformer Pad TF300, and head below to continue on with the fun!

This anniversary is celebrated by NVIDIA and the crews of both SlashGear and Android Community with a set of 6 [Anniversary Game Packs that you can get your hands on] this week! There are three here at SlashGear, [three over at Android Community], and a whole bunch more at NVIDIA as well! This is all part of NVIDIA’s “TegraZone Annual Players Choice Awards” which you can also participate in by heading to their mobile voting site to choose your all-time favorite NVIDIA Tegra-optimized game. You can also access that site by scanning the following QR-code:

Then if you’re feeling like you want as many chances to win a prize pack for this anniversary as you can, you can check out Android Community and SlashGear’s celebratory posts as well. Check out both sites to see how an ASUS Transformer Pad TF300, a TF300 keyboard dock, a Logitech game controller, and a Jawbone Jambox Speaker in sweet NVIDIA green can be yours quick!

Then feel free to check out the rest of the NVIDIA coverage we’ve got from this week – it’s been a wild one! NVIDIA has had a couple of conferences going on and have release info on Tegra 3 we know you’re gonna love. Something along the lines of 30 new Tegra 3 smartphones sound nice to you? Check it out!

NVIDIA TegraZone FINAL Anniversary Reminder – Tegra 3 explodes! is written by Chris Burns & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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