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TweakTown News Posts - Page 77

Disney-themed prosthetic hands are now a thing

By: Sean Ridgeley | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Oct 9, 2015 9:42 pm

Low-cost robotic hands maker Open Bionics has teamed up with Disney to create Disney-themed robotic hands for kids. The current designs are based on Iron Man, Frozen, and Star Wars, with more planned.




The idea here, of course, is to turn a disability into something empowering, even moreso than a standard prosthetic. By the looks of the designs, it should succeed wildly.


It should be noted Disney has very generously providing royalty free licenses and donating the free time of its creative teams to help the project.

Continue reading 'Disney-themed prosthetic hands are now a thing' (full post)

DARPA developing vehicle disappearing technology

By: Sean Ridgeley | More News: Technology in Vehicles | Posted: Oct 9, 2015 9:14 pm

What's there left to do after you invent the Internet? Invent disappearing vehicles, apparently. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is currently working on this technology, which even it admits "sounds like [...] an episode from Mission Impossible."




Codenamed ICARUS (Inbound, Controlled, Air-Releasable, Unrecoverable Systems), the project (which launched today) builds on its previous VAPR (Vanishing Programmable Resources) program, which produced self-destructive electronic components. The idea with ICARUS is utilize the potential of polymer panels and "electronics-bearing glass strips" to make delivery vehicles and their recoverables disappear should the need arise (whether that's the threat of the enemy retrieving items, or the hindrance of the vehicle and items on extraction, or any number of other scenarios).


ICARUS is set to last a little over two years, and will see funding of about $8 million. And though named after the tragic Greek myth, DARPA says, quite amusingly, that it "aims to mimic the material transience that led to Icarus' demise, but leverages that capacity in scenarios with more uplifting endings."

'Toy Story 4' delayed by a whole year

By: Ben Gourlay | More News: Celebrities & Entertainment | Posted: Oct 9, 2015 9:08 pm

After announcing a surprise fourth 'Toy Story' film to great fanfare last year, Disney Pixar have put their tails between their legs like a slinky dog and quietly delayed the upcoming film by a whole year.




Announcing their slate of movies for the next five years, the Disney studio confirmed that 'Toy Story 4' will move from June 2017, to June 2018, with a third 'Cars' film taking the previous release date. 2019 will see a sequel to 'The Incredibles'.


'Toy Story 4' will be directed by Pixar CEO John Lasseter, who will return to the franchise for the first time since the 1999 sequel 'Toy Story 2'.

Samsung didn't infringe on NVIDIA patents, judge says

By: Sean Ridgeley | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Oct 9, 2015 8:34 pm

Samsung has been in legal battles with Apple, Microsoft, and NVIDIA in recent years over the technology it uses in its mobile devices. A new development in the NVIDIA case today came about when a judge made a recommendation that means it's not looking good for the graphics company.




NVIDIA feels Samsung has infringed on its graphics patents and should not be able to sell certain devices as a result (and also pay a lot of money to NVIDIA), but administrative law judge for the US International Trade Commission Thomas. B. Pender says Samsung has not done this, and that one of the patents is invalid due to being covered in previous patents. While a formal decision still must be made, this seems like a big blow to the company. NVIDIA says they "remain confident", however.

Microsoft goes on tour with HoloLens AR demos

By: Derek Strickland | More News: Virtual & Augmented Reality | Posted: Oct 9, 2015 8:16 pm

At its recent New York press event, Microsoft showcased a fresh new HoloLens demo that introduced the future of mixed-reality gaming. Now the Redmond tech giant is going on tour with the AR headset in an effort to spark interest and win over developers.




Like VR, Augmented Reality is really something you have to experience for yourself. The HoloLens head-mounted system is just brimming over with potential and Microsoft is eager to get it in developer's hands as soon as possible to reap the rewards. To do so, the company plans to hold a HoloLens tour across eleven major North American cities to show off the tech and its wide capabilities.


Despite its awe-inspiring magical reality-manipulating functionality, the HoloLens has a serious barrier for entry for enterprising developers: a $3,000 price tag. The cost is quite steep, but Microsoft affirms that the minimal headset packs a performance punch with "more computing power than the average laptop". Plus there's the added bonus that it's self-contained and doesn't need any expensive peripherals, wires, phones or PC's to power it.

Continue reading 'Microsoft goes on tour with HoloLens AR demos' (full post)

Just Mobile launches 'self-healing' iPhone cases

By: Sean Ridgeley | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Oct 9, 2015 8:01 pm

Just Mobile has launched its TENC iPhone case line, which boasts Wolverline-like "self-healing" capabilities. Some would say the point of a case is for the case to get banged up instead of the phone, so why purchase a product like this? Well, maybe you like your case looking slick too, particularly if you're only dropping $24.99 or $29.99 on it anyway (which is what these cases are priced at). Also, TENC cases protect and heal the screen, not just themselves.




BGR's Zach Epstein says, "It works. I've seen it work. Just Mobile sent along a brass brush with the test cases I was given, and I spent a bit of time scratching up the surface of several of the cases. In most cases, the scratches I made were gone a short while later. In a few instances, some scratches were still visible on the case's surface after a few minutes. Over time, however, they faded away to almost nothing."

Continue reading 'Just Mobile launches 'self-healing' iPhone cases' (full post)

BlackBerry could exit phone business if the Priv crashes

By: Derek Strickland | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Oct 9, 2015 7:10 pm

BlackBerry's new Priv smartphone is more than just the company's first Android device: it represents a kind of final push into the modern mobile market. If the hybrid OS-powered Priv--named for BlackBerry's emphasis on user privacy--doesn't take off, then the company might stop making handsets altogether.




BlackBerry CEO John Chen delivered the news to Re/Code during the Code/Mobile event, saying that if the new Priv smartphone didn't turn a profit, executives would think about ceasing smartphone production within a year. Chen told The Verge that BB needs to sell at least 5 million phones a year in order to turn a profit.


It looks like BlackBerry has put all of its eggs in one basket, hoping that their new power-sliding Android smartphone will be enough to bolster its software earnings. Since the Priv has a dual-OS system, it's compatible with Google's slew of Android apps on the Google Play store while maintaining all of the functionality and privacy offered by th BlackBerry 10 OS. Chen also affirms that the phone will be available in physical carrier stores when it launches.

Continue reading 'BlackBerry could exit phone business if the Priv crashes' (full post)

Surface Book has dual-GPU setup with custom 1GB GDDR5 Maxwell GPU

By: Derek Strickland | More News: Laptops | Posted: Oct 9, 2015 6:00 pm

With its new Surface Book, Microsoft one-ups its own Surface Pro line by melding the on-the-go utility of a tablet with the functionality of a laptop and the performance of a desktop. Microsoft touts the Surface Book as the "world's most powerful, thinnest laptop", and new info on the 2-in-1's dual-GPU setup helps add credence to Redmond's claims.




Rather than featuring a single graphics solution, the more expensive Surface Book models actually have dual-GPU setups: an iGPU complimented by a dGPU. The Surface Book's tablet portion houses Intel's integrated Iris Graphics by default, so this is the graphics solution you'll get with the $1500 and $1700 models.


Consumers who opt in for the $1900 and above flavors get a second discrete GPU that's housed in the attached keyboard base. The discrete solution is a Maxwell-based GPU with 1GB of GDDR5 VRAM that's been custom-built by NVIDIA. "The new GPU is a Maxwell-based GPU, and was designed to deliver the best performance in ultra-thin form factors such as the Surface Book keyboard dock," NVIDIA told Gizmodo. "With NVIDIA GeForce GPU powering this new hybrid, users will be able to speed up productivity apps such as Adobe Illustrator and Lightroom, and light PC gaming."

Continue reading 'Surface Book has dual-GPU setup with custom 1GB GDDR5 Maxwell GPU' (full post)

Xbox boss: 'We aren't motivated by beating Sony'

By: Derek Strickland | More News: Gaming | Posted: Oct 9, 2015 4:10 pm

Sony's PlayStation 4 remains triumphant over this generation of consoles, with its long-standing sales streaks only intermittently broken up by the Xbox One. Faced with the PS4's momentum and the system's new price drop to $350, Xbox boss Phil Spencer doubts whether or not Microsoft's Xbox One can even catch up--not to mention overtake--to Sony's console.



At this year's GeekWire Summit, Phil Spencer was asked if he thinks the Xbox One can beat the PS4. "You know, I don't know," Phil Spencer answered with candor. "In terms of the length of the generation, [Sony] has a huge lead over us and they have a good product. [But] I love the content and the games line-up that we have. I'll say we're not motivated by beating Sony. We're motivated by satisfying our current customers and gaining as many customers as we can."


The Xbox One's disastrous E3 announcement seriously harmed the trust that gamers had in the company, and thus pushed them towards the PlayStation 4. Spencer went on to chronicle how the original Xbox One announcement was a catastrophe for the company, and how he came in to pick up the pieces.

Continue reading 'Xbox boss: 'We aren't motivated by beating Sony'' (full post)

ARK: Survival Evolved developer has no ETA on DX12 patch

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Oct 9, 2015 2:20 pm

Studio Wildcard, the developer behind ARK: Survival Evolved has come out talking about a new update promised for next week, where they said: "Hello Survivors, It's been a long week here at Studio Wildcard as the programming team has been grinding to get the DX12 version ready for release".




They continued: "It runs, it looks good, but unfortunately we came across some driver issues that we can't entirely tackle ourselves :(. We've reached out to both NVIDIA and AMD and will be working with them to get it resolved as soon as possible! Once that's tackled, we'll be needing to do more solid testing across a range of hardware with the new fixes. Sadly, we're gonna have to delay its release until some day next week in order to be satisfied with it. It's disappointing to us too and we're sorry for the delay, really thought we'd have it nailed today but we wouldn't want to release ARK DX12 without the care it still needs at this point. Hang in there, and when it's ready for public consumption, it should be worth the wait!"


SO it looks like the DX12 version of the game will be delayed for a while, with Studio Wildcard adding: "After we found out it was heavily dependent on drivers and the hardware vendors progress we slowed ours a bit. It's still being worked on, but we have no plans on releasing it until it at least runs better than the DX11 version. And that is a hard thing to generate an ETA for".

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