Archive for the ‘Origins’ Category

Isaac Asimov’s Visit to the World’s Fair of 2014

January 3, 2014

August 16, 1964

Visit to the World’s Fair of 2014

rgeThe New York World’s Fair of 1964 is dedicated to “Peace Through Understanding.” Its glimpses of the world of tomorrow rule out thermonuclear warfare. And why not? If a thermonuclear war takes place, the future will not be worth discussing. So let the missiles slumber eternally on their pads and let us observe what may come in the nonatomized world of the future.

What is to come, through the fair’s eyes at least, is wonderful. The direction in which man is traveling is viewed with buoyant hope, nowhere more so than at the General Electric pavilion. There the audience whirls through four scenes, each populated by cheerful, lifelike dummies that move and talk with a facility that, inside of a minute and a half, convinces you they are alive.

The scenes, set in or about 1900, 1920, 1940 and 1960, show the advances of electrical appliances and the changes they are bringing to living. I enjoyed it hugely and only regretted that they had not carried the scenes into the future. What will life be like, say, in 2014 A.D., 50 years from now? What will the World’s Fair of 2014 be like?

I don’t know, but I can guess.

One thought that occurs to me is that men will continue to withdraw from nature in order to create an environment that will suit them better. By 2014, electroluminescent panels will be in common use. Ceilings and walls will glow softly, and in a variety of colors that will change at the touch of a push button.

Windows need be no more than an archaic touch, and even when present will be polarized to block out the harsh sunlight. The degree of opacity of the glass may even be made to alter automatically in accordance with the intensity of the light falling upon it.

There is an underground house at the fair which is a sign of the future. if its windows are not polarized, they can nevertheless alter the “scenery” by changes in lighting. Suburban houses underground, with easily controlled temperature, free from the vicissitudes of weather, with air cleaned and light controlled, should be fairly common. At the New York World’s Fair of 2014, General Motors’ “Futurama” may well display vistas of underground cities complete with light- forced vegetable gardens. The surface, G.M. will argue, will be given over to large-scale agriculture, grazing and parklands, with less space wasted on actual human occupancy.

Gadgetry will continue to relieve mankind of tedious jobs. Kitchen units will be devised that will prepare “automeals,” heating water and converting it to coffee; toasting bread; frying, poaching or scrambling eggs, grilling bacon, and so on. Breakfasts will be “ordered” the night before to be ready by a specified hour the next morning. Complete lunches and dinners, with the food semiprepared, will be stored in the freezer until ready for processing. I suspect, though, that even in 2014 it will still be advisable to have a small corner in the kitchen unit where the more individual meals can be prepared by hand, especially when company is coming.

Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence. The I.B.M. exhibit at the present fair has no robots but it is dedicated to computers, which are shown in all their amazing complexity, notably in the task of translating Russian into English. If machines are that smart today, what may not be in the works 50 years hence? It will be such computers, much miniaturized, that will serve as the “brains” of robots. In fact, the I.B.M. building at the 2014 World’s Fair may have, as one of its prime exhibits, a robot housemaid*large, clumsy, slow- moving but capable of general picking-up, arranging, cleaning and manipulation of various appliances. It will undoubtedly amuse the fairgoers to scatter debris over the floor in order to see the robot lumberingly remove it and classify it into “throw away” and “set aside.” (Robots for gardening work will also have made their appearance.)

General Electric at the 2014 World’s Fair will be showing 3-D movies of its “Robot of the Future,” neat and streamlined, its cleaning appliances built in and performing all tasks briskly. (There will be a three-hour wait in line to see the film, for some things never change.)

The appliances of 2014 will have no electric cords, of course, for they will be powered by long- lived batteries running on radioisotopes. The isotopes will not be expensive for they will be by- products of the fission-power plants which, by 2014, will be supplying well over half the power needs of humanity. But once the isotype batteries are used up they will be disposed of only through authorized agents of the manufacturer.

82232And experimental fusion-power plant or two will already exist in 2014. (Even today, a small but genuine fusion explosion is demonstrated at frequent intervals in the G.E. exhibit at the 1964 fair.) Large solar-power stations will also be in operation in a number of desert and semi-desert areas — Arizona, the Negev, Kazakhstan. In the more crowded, but cloudy and smoggy areas, solar power will be less practical. An exhibit at the 2014 fair will show models of power stations in space, collecting sunlight by means of huge parabolic focusing devices and radiating the energy thus collected down to earth.

The world of 50 years hence will have shrunk further. At the 1964 fair, the G.M. exhibit depicts, among other things, “road-building factories” in the tropics and, closer to home, crowded highways along which long buses move on special central lanes. There is every likelihood that highways at least in the more advanced sections of the world*will have passed their peak in 2014; there will be increasing emphasis on transportation that makes the least possible contact with the surface. There will be aircraft, of course, but even ground travel will increasingly take to the air*a foot or two off the ground. Visitors to the 1964 fair can travel there in an “aquafoil,” which lifts itself on four stilts and skims over the water with a minimum of friction. This is surely a stop-gap. By 2014 the four stilts will have been replaced by four jets of compressed air so that the vehicle will make no contact with either liquid or solid surfaces.

Jets of compressed air will also lift land vehicles off the highways, which, among other things, will minimize paving problems. Smooth earth or level lawns will do as well as pavements. Bridges will also be of less importance, since cars will be capable of crossing water on their jets, though local ordinances will discourage the practice.

Much effort will be put into the designing of vehicles with “Robot-brains”*vehicles that can be set for particular destinations and that will then proceed there without interference by the slow reflexes of a human driver. I suspect one of the major attractions of the 2014 fair will be rides on small roboticized cars which will maneuver in crowds at the two-foot level, neatly and automatically avoiding each other.

For short-range travel, moving sidewalks (with benches on either side, standing room in the center) will be making their appearance in downtown sections. They will be raised above the traffic. Traffic will continue (on several levels in some places) only because all parking will be off-street and because at least 80 per cent of truck deliveries will be to certain fixed centers at the city’s rim. Compressed air tubes will carry goods and materials over local stretches, and the switching devices that will place specific shipments in specific destinations will be one of the city’s marvels.

Communications will become sight-sound and you will see as well as hear the person you telephone. The screen can be used not only to see the people you call but also for studying documents and photographs and reading passages from books. Synchronous satellites, hovering in space will make it possible for you to direct-dial any spot on earth, including the weather stations in Antarctica (shown in chill splendor as part of the ’64 General Motors exhibit).

For that matter, you will be able to reach someone at the moon colonies, concerning which General Motors puts on a display of impressive vehicles (in model form) with large soft tires*intended to negotiate the uneven terrain that may exist on our natural satellite.

Any number of simultaneous conversations between earth and moon can be handled by modulated laser beams, which are easy to manipulate in space. On earth, however, laser beams will have to be led through plastic pipes, to avoid material and atmospheric interference. Engineers will still be playing with that problem in 2014.

Conversations with the moon will be a trifle uncomfortable, but the way, in that 2.5 seconds must elapse between statement and answer (it takes light that long to make the round trip). Similar conversations with Mars will experience a 3.5-minute delay even when Mars is at its closest. However, by 2014, only unmanned ships will have landed on Mars, though a manned expedition will be in the works and in the 2014 Futurama will show a model of an elaborate Martian colony.

As for television, wall screens will have replaced the ordinary set; but transparent cubes will be making their appearance in which three-dimensional viewing will be possible. In fact, one popular exhibit at the 2014 World’s Fair will be such a 3-D TV, built life-size, in which ballet performances will be seen. The cube will slowly revolve for viewing from all angles.

One can go on indefinitely in this happy extrapolation, but all is not rosy.

Isaac Asimov_1953_Second FoundationAs I stood in line waiting to get into the General Electric exhibit at the 1964 fair, I found myself staring at Equitable Life’s grim sign blinking out the population of the United States, with the number (over 191,000,000) increasing by 1 every 11 seconds. During the interval which I spent inside the G.E. pavilion, the American population had increased by nearly 300 and the world’s population by 6,000.

In 2014, there is every likelihood that the world population will be 6,500,000,000 and the population of the United States will be 350,000,000. Boston-to-Washington, the most crowded area of its size on the earth, will have become a single city with a population of over 40,000,000.

Population pressure will force increasing penetration of desert and polar areas. Most surprising and, in some ways, heartening, 2014 will see a good beginning made in the colonization of the continental shelves. Underwater housing will have its attractions to those who like water sports, and will undoubtedly encourage the more efficient exploitation of ocean resources, both food and mineral. General Motors shows, in its 1964 exhibit, the model of an underwater hotel of what might be called mouth-watering luxury. The 2014 World’s Fair will have exhibits showing cities in the deep sea with bathyscaphe liners carrying men and supplies across and into the abyss.

Ordinary agriculture will keep up with great difficulty and there will be “farms” turning to the more efficient micro-organisms. Processed yeast and algae products will be available in a variety of flavors. The 2014 fair will feature an Algae Bar at which “mock-turkey” and “pseudosteak” will be served. It won’t be bad at all (if you can dig up those premium prices), but there will be considerable psychological resistance to such an innovation.

Although technology will still keep up with population through 2014, it will be only through a supreme effort and with but partial success. Not all the world’s population will enjoy the gadgety world of the future to the full. A larger portion than today will be deprived and although they may be better off, materially, than today, they will be further behind when compared with the advanced portions of the world. They will have moved backward, relatively.

Nor can technology continue to match population growth if that remains unchecked. Consider Manhattan of 1964, which has a population density of 80,000 per square mile at night and of over 100,000 per square mile during the working day. If the whole earth, including the Sahara, the Himalayan Mountain peaks, Greenland, Antarctica and every square mile of the ocean bottom, to the deepest abyss, were as packed as Manhattan at noon, surely you would agree that no way to support such a population (let alone make it comfortable) was conceivable. In fact, support would fail long before the World-Manhattan was reached.

Well, the earth’s population is now about 3,000,000,000 and is doubling every 40 years. If this rate of doubling goes unchecked, then a World-Manhattan is coming in just 500 years. All earth will be a single choked Manhattan by A.D. 2450 and society will collapse long before that!

There are only two general ways of preventing this: (1) raise the death rate; (2) lower the birth rate. Undoubtedly, the world of A>D. 2014 will have agreed on the latter method. Indeed, the increasing use of mechanical devices to replace failing hearts and kidneys, and repair stiffening arteries and breaking nerves will have cut the death rate still further and have lifted the life expectancy in some parts of the world to age 85.

There will, therefore, be a worldwide propaganda drive in favor of birth control by rational and humane methods and, by 2014, it will undoubtedly have taken serious effect. The rate of increase of population will have slackened*but, I suspect, not sufficiently.

One of the more serious exhibits at the 2014 World’s Fair, accordingly, will be a series of lectures, movies and documentary material at the World Population Control Center (adults only; special showings for teen-agers).

The situation will have been made the more serious by the advances of automation. The world of A.D. 2014 will have few routine jobs that cannot be done better by some machine than by any human being. Mankind will therefore have become largely a race of machine tenders. Schools will have to be oriented in this direction. Part of the General Electric exhibit today consists of a school of the future in which such present realities as closed-circuit TV and programmed tapes aid the teaching process. It is not only the techniques of teaching that will advance, however, but also the subject matter that will change. All the high-school students will be taught the fundamentals of computer technology will become proficient in binary arithmetic and will be trained to perfection in the use of the computer languages that will have developed out of those like the contemporary “Fortran” (from “formula translation”).

Even so, mankind will suffer badly from the disease of boredom, a disease spreading more widely each year and growing in intensity. This will have serious mental, emotional and sociological consequences, and I dare say that psychiatry will be far and away the most important medical specialty in 2014. The lucky few who can be involved in creative work of any sort will be the true elite of mankind, for they alone will do more than serve a machine.

Indeed, the most somber speculation I can make about A.D. 2014 is that in a society of enforced leisure, the most glorious single word in the vocabulary will have become work!


Life Rules

April 25, 2013

Life Rules

Ancient Knowledge

November 12, 2012

Solving ancient mysteries Part 1. “The Ancients” knew much more than given credit for regarding Life, The Universe, Astronomy, Advanced Mathematics, Magnetism, Healing, Unseen Forces etc. Encoded knowledge is information that is conveyed in signs and symbols and we can find this knowledge all over the world. All these ancient sightings and geometric patterns (Sacred Geometry) symbolise unseen forces at work. We are being lied to by the media. Modern archaeologists don’t know what they’re talking about. “The Ancients” were not stupid or primitive. We just failed to de-code this knowledge conveyed in signs, symbols and ancient artwork. This kind of information is kept hidden from the public.

Scientists dont know what holds the universe together, the answer is sound and unseen forces. Matter is governed by sound frequencies. There is much more to life than we can perceive with our 5 senses. The question then becomes “who or what governs unseen forces?” What is behind the symmetry throughout nature? (Golden Ratio, Phi, Fibonacci Sequence etc.) It simply cant be just coincidence, in my opinion there is an intelligent mind / consciousness behind all this that keeps it all together.

Buckminster Fuller

November 12, 2012

Richard Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller (July 12, 1895 – July 1, 1983) was an American systems theorist, architect, engineer, author, designer, inventor, and futurist. Fuller published more than 30 books, inventing and popularizing terms such as “Spaceship Earth”, ephemeralization, and synergetic. He also developed numerous inventions, mainly architectural designs, the best known of which is the geodesic dome. Carbon molecules known as fullerenes were later named by scientists for their resemblance to geodesic spheres.

The geodesic dome
Fuller was most famous for his lattice shell structures – geodesic domes, which have been used as parts of military radar stations, civic buildings, environmental protest camps and exhibition attractions. An examination of the geodesic design by Walther Bauersfeld for the Zeiss-Planetarium, built some 20 years prior to Fuller’s work, reveals that Fuller’s Geodesic Dome patent (U.S. 2,682,235; awarded in 1954), follows the same design as Bauersfeld’s. Their construction is based on extending some basic principles to build simple “tensegrity” structures (tetrahedron, octahedron, and the closest packing of spheres), making them lightweight and stable. The geodesic dome was a result of Fuller’s exploration of nature’s constructing principles to find design solutions. The Fuller Dome is referenced in the Hugo Award-winning novel Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner, in which a geodesic dome is said to cover the entire island of Manhattan, and it floats on air due to the hot-air balloon effect of the large air-mass under the dome (and perhaps its construction of lightweight materials).

In the 1930s, Fuller designed and built prototypes of what he hoped would be a safer, aerodynamic car, which he called the Dymaxion. (“Dymaxion” is said to be a syllabic abbreviation of dynamic maximum tension, or possibly of dynamic maximum ion.) Fuller worked with professional colleagues for three years beginning in 1932 on a design idea Fuller had derived from aircraft technologies. The three prototype cars were different from anything being sold at the time. They had three wheels: two front drive wheels and one rear, steered wheel. The engine was in the rear, and the chassis and body were original designs. The aerodynamic, somewhat tear-shaped body was large enough to seat eleven people and was about 18 feet (5.5 m) long, resembling a blend of a light aircraft (without wings) and a Volkswagen van of 1950s vintage. All three prototypes were essentially a mini-bus, and its concept long predated the Volkswagen Type 2 mini-bus conceived in 1947 by Ben Pon.

Dymaxion Car
Despite its length, and due to its three-wheel design, the Dymaxion turned on a small radius and could easily be parked in a tight space. The prototypes were efficient in fuel consumption for their day, traveling about 30 miles per gallon.[33] Fuller contributed a great deal of his own money to the project, in addition to funds from one of his professional collaborators. An industrial investor was also very interested in the concept. Fuller anticipated that the cars could travel on an open highway safely at up to about 160 km/h (100 miles per hour), but, in practise, they were difficult to control and steer above 80 km/h (50 mph). Investors backed out and research ended after one of the prototypes was involved in a high-profile collision that resulted in a fatality. In 2007, Time Magazine reported on the Dymaxion as one of the “50 worst cars of all time”. In 1943, industrialist Henry J. Kaiser asked Fuller to develop a prototype for a smaller car, but Fuller’s five-seater design was never developed further.


Higgs Boson Transporter

July 10, 2012

Is the Higgs boson the first step to a ‘Star Trek’ transporter?
By Irene Klotz

A century after Albert Einstein came up with his theories of relativity, a constellation of Global Positioning System satellites is orbiting Earth, making practical use of his ground-breaking understanding of time.

If the discovery of the Higgs boson particle pans out, will even more mind-bending technologies result?
Theoretically, it’s possible, says Arizona State University physicist Lawrence Krauss; but practically, it’s unlikely…

Is the Higgs boson the first step to a ‘Star Trek’ transporter?.

The True Cost of an iPhone

March 30, 2012

Ever wonder about the real cost of production goes into your beloved iPhone? Here’s an interactive info graphic, designed by MBA Online, illustrating all the human, natural and social cost that goes into making the device we can’t live with out.

Created by

Kashmir Scientists Clone Rare Cashmere Goat

March 17, 2012

Scientists said Thursday they have cloned a rare Himalayan goat in Indian-controlled Kashmir, hoping to help increase the number of animals famed for their silky soft undercoats used to make pashmina wool, or cashmere.

The March 9 birth of female kid “Noori,” which means “light” in Arabic, could spark breeding programs across the region and mass production of the high-priced wool, said lead project scientist Dr. Riaz Ahmad Shah, a veterinarian in the animal biotechnology center of Sher-i-Kashmir University…

Read More: Kashmir Scientists Clone Rare Cashmere Goat – ABC News

Every Apple Design Ever in 30 Seconds

February 10, 2012

Rob Beschizza of Boing Boing created a montage featuring almost Every Apple Design Ever in 30 Seconds.

Rob also created a complementary montage of Every Next Product Ever in 30 Seconds.

A Day in the Life of … Steve Jobs?

January 26, 2012

After reading the book, we all know what Job’s day was like … no power points, long walks to trash out problems, ritual lunch with Jony Ive, inspiring sessions with A-level executives, zero tolerance for bozos and shit products, rounded off with a vegan meal. But that was Steve … what about you? YD is curious to know what is your typical day like? Better still show it to us! Send us a video of a day in your life. Grab your iPhone or music player or digicam; just any recorder and capture how you deal with creative blocks, inspirational moments, eating lunch or hanging out with your friends; any theme will do.

General Guidelines

  • Record a video of what your typical day is like
  • The video has to be no more than 3 minutes long
  • Just have fun and basically give us an idea of how you like to spend your day
  • The good, the bad, the ugly… any approach will do as long as it is authentic

Suggested Themes

  • Dealing with creative blocks
  • Inspirations
  • Rituals that you follow
  • Stuff that ticks you off
  • Fun Day
  • A day with you!

The Booty

  • The best submissions will be featured on YD as an exclusive showcase. This is your moment to shine and show to the world how fun and creative you can be.

Submission Procedure

Last date for submission: 8th February 2012, midnight PST


Yanko Design
Timeless Designs - Explore wonderful concepts from around the world!
Yanko Design Store - We are about more than just concepts. See what's hot at the YD Store!
(A Day in the Life of … Steve Jobs? was originally posted on Yanko Design)

Accessible Appliance

January 25, 2012
Prometheus is a multifunctional kitchen appliance aimed at giving handicapped users the experience of cooking safely at home. The unit uses magnetic induction that allows the user to change temperatures simply by repositioning metal pots. The electric current is induced in a closed circuit when the magnetic flux through the surface bounded by the conductor changes. Visual and audio cues as well as braille and embossed instructions also provide added safety and ease of use for various types of impairment. Designer: Luiz Otávio Abreu class="alignnone size-full wp-image-63562" title="Prometheus - All-In-One Appliance by Luiz Otávio Abreu" src="" alt="" width="600" height="490" /> class="alignnone size-full wp-image-63563" title="prometheus_02" src="" alt="" width="600" height="341" /> class="alignnone size-full wp-image-63564" title="prometheus_03" src="" alt="" width="600" height="342" /> class="alignnone size-full wp-image-63565" title="prometheus_04" src="" alt="" width="600" height="338" /> class="alignnone size-full wp-image-63566" title="prometheus_05" src="" alt="" width="600" height="187" /> class="alignnone size-full wp-image-63567" title="prometheus_06" src="" alt="" width="600" height="351" /> ---------- /> /> Yanko Design /> href="">Timeless Designs - Explore wonderful concepts from around the world! /> href="">Yanko Design Store - We are about more than just concepts. See what's hot at the YD Store! ( href="">Accessible Appliance was originally posted on href="">Yanko Design)

Kodak says smile Samsung, you’re being sued for infringing five digital imaging patents

January 18, 2012
Kodak's been in a bit of a financial bind lately, and has been exploring various options to maximize profitability and get its balance sheet back in the black. After recently filing actions against Apple and HTC in the International Trade Commission, Kodak's legal team now has Samsung in its sights. According to a press release, Kodak has filed a federal suit in the Western District of New York alleging that several Sammy slates are infringing five of Kodak's digital imaging patents. The patents in question claim various image capture and transmission technologies, from taking and sending images via email to transferring digital pictures over a cellular network. We haven't gotten a peek at the complaint just yet to see which devices allegedly run afoul of Kodak's IP, but you can find the five patents in question in the PR after the break.

Continue reading Kodak says smile Samsung, you're being sued for infringing five digital imaging patents

Kodak says smile Samsung, you're being sued for infringing five digital imaging patents originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 18 Jan 2012 16:28:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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DeLorean DMC-12 EV eyes-on at CES (update: video of its show floor exit)

January 15, 2012
This isn't the first time that the DMC-12 DeLorean EV has graced Engadget's pages, and we feel certain it won't be the last. However, we know how much you love Doc Brown's ride, and when we saw it on the show floor we had to snap some pics for your viewing pleasure. So head on down to the gallery below to see the electrified version of Hill Valley's most famous whip inside and out.

Dante Cesa contributed to this report.

Update: And now we've got a video of the DeLorean leaving the show floor. Check it out after the break. Thanks, Angel.

Continue reading DeLorean DMC-12 EV eyes-on at CES (update: video of its show floor exit)

DeLorean DMC-12 EV eyes-on at CES (update: video of its show floor exit) originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 14 Jan 2012 22:06:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Polaroid SC1630 Android HD smart camera hands-on, is it a cameraphone or a phonecamera?

January 11, 2012
The camera modules in smartphones continually improve, and these days there are phones like the iPhone 4S and the Nokia N9 who can take snapshots as good -- and sometimes better -- than point-and-shoots. Polaroid's known for making cameras, but its newest device, a rebrand of the Aigo A8 we saw at CES last year, flips the script by taking a 16 megapixel point-and-shoot and shoving an Android phone inside.

The Polaroid version's called the SC1630 Android HD Smart Camera, and it's packed with 850/1900/2100MHz WCDMA and 850/900/1800/1900 GSM radios, along with WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS and an FM antenna thrown in for good measure. The SC1630 sports an 800 x 400 3.2-inch capacitive touchscreen, while underneath there's 512MB of built-in storage and 512MB of RAM, along with proximity and G-sensors, micro SIM slot, Micro USB and a 2.5mm headphone jack. As we said above, the camera is a 16 megapixel unit, with aperture of F3.1 - F5.6, 3X optical zoom and 5X digital zoom, a max shutter speed of 1/1400 and ISO tops out at 3200. It's got geotagging and anti-shake support as well, and can shoot videos in 720p. Scheduled to arrive in April for $299, the device still has a few kinks to be worked out and there may be some changes to that hardware before it makes it to market. Here at CES 2012, we got a chance to lay hands on the phone and speak with Emanuel Verona, Polaroid's Executive VP and COO about the company's first Android offering, so read on past the break for our impressions and his thoughts.

Continue reading Polaroid SC1630 Android HD smart camera hands-on, is it a cameraphone or a phonecamera?

Polaroid SC1630 Android HD smart camera hands-on, is it a cameraphone or a phonecamera? originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 10 Jan 2012 23:06:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Polaroid Classic Line by Impossible

January 10, 2012
Polaroid Classic Line Polaroid Classic Line Analog instant photography company Impossible is collaborating with Polaroid to produce the Polaroid Classic Line. The line of products includes twin packs of the last run of Polaroid instant film and papercraft Polaroid cameras. Additional products will be released throughout the year. After Polaroid ceased production of instant film in 2008, former employees took over the last film factory in Enschede, Netherlands and formed Impossible. Impossible reformulated the Polaroid film dyes (as the dyes were no longer available) and now sells black and white and color instant film for Polaroid cameras. via Photojojo

CES 2012 kicks off with a flood of this year’s coming gadgets (video)

January 9, 2012

You’re going to see a whole lot of stories from us in the next four days, so fasten your seatbelts: This week is going to be one big flume ride through the consumer electronics industry.

The 2012 Consumer Electronics Show is where the U.S. tech industry gathers its forces to push into a new year. It’s a flood of new products, and it all started tonight with the first pre-show event, CES Unveiled, where the VentureBeat crew has just landed.

Although the tradeshow itself won’t start until Tuesday, members of the media were stuffing themselves into this ballroom to get a peek at some of the show’s highlights: Multi-touch screens, flying iPhone-controlled toy helicopters, Wi-Fi-enabled baby scales, updated Android tablets and lots of skinny, svelte Ultrabooks. (And once inside, many of them were stuffing themselves with shrimp and weird blue cocktails.)

It’s not just about goofy gadgets. Read up on the CES trends that will shape tech in 2012, and then read our interview with Consumer Electronics Association president Gary Shapiro, who says CES “is doing phenomenally well.”

VentureBeat is sending its biggest ever team of reporters to the show this year. Dean Takahashi, Devindra Hardawar, Sean Ludwig, Christopher Peri and myself are on the scene, shooting video, taking pictures and filing stories.

CES from Venturebeat on Vimeo.

Follow our CES news feed for the latest gadget news.

Got a hot tip about CES? Let us know.

Hold on tight, and keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle!

Filed under: mobile, video

Lenovo’s IdeaPad S2 tablet is thin, light and can dock for 20 hour battery life

January 9, 2012

Lenovo has come out swinging at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.

Along with its first TV, the Taiwanese company today has also announced a revamped tablet, the IdeaPad S2, which weighs only 1.1 pounds and is one-third of an inch thick. Even better, it has a keyboard dock accessory that has a battery of its own — when connected to the dock the tablet can achieve up to 20 hours of battery life, Lenovo says.

The IdeaPad S2 comes on the heels of Asus’ popular Transformer tablets, which also sports a keyboard dock. In a sense, the IdeaPad is the Decepticon to Asus’ Transformer Prime, though it can’t compete when it comes to horsepower since it doesn’t feature a quad-core CPU.

The 10-inch tablet instead runs a dual-core SnapDragon CPU, and it will also come equipped with Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich.” The IdeaPad S2 is slightly lighter than both the iPad 2 and Asus Transformer Prime, so it may appeal for those looking for a 10-inch tablet that’s particularly portable.


Filed under: mobile, VentureBeat

Design and print 3D objects from your iPhone with a new app from Sculpteo

January 9, 2012

3D printing service Sculpteo today announced a new iPhone app that you can use to design 3D objects, upload your designs to the cloud, and receive a ceramic object in the mail a few days later.

The designs are based on photographs you take of yourself or a friend. Sculpteo’s app turns your face’s profile into a 3D object, such as the vase shown here. You can also transform it into a number of other objects, such as a bowl, plate, or mug. Once you’ve completed the design, you upload it and Sculpteo sends it to a local 3D printing facility which manufactures the object using a ceramic printing process.

Pricing depends on the size and complexity of the object: Large objects such as the vase (pictured right) cost about $300, while a small cup costs just $70. The app itself is free.

Sculpteo is also partnering with designers such as Jen-Louis Frechin to find other ways of transforming “human data,” such as facial profiles, into designs that you can personalize. In effect, the designer is creating a set of parameters instead of a finished design, and the customer is applying the final touches to instantiate the design in a particular object.

It’s an interesting application of “mass customization,” which allows each customer to have their own, personalized product while still giving manufacturers some of the advantages of mass production. Thanks to the rapidly decreasing cost of 3D printing, other companies have also been pursuing mass customization: Bespoke Innovations makes custom prosthetic fairings that give prosthetic limbs a more personal look; computer companies such as Dell have experimented with giving customers the option to personalize their laptop designs; and MilkorSugar provides a catalog of mass-customized products, from personalized underwear to rowboats.

But this app also shows just how far 3D printing has come. Just for fun, here’s an amazing 3D skull created by artist Joshua Harker and printed in plastic using Sculpteo.

Photos: Dylan Tweney/

Filed under: mobile

Solar-powered Kindle cover means you never have to plug it in again

January 9, 2012

If you’ve ever wanted a Kindle that you never have to plug in, SolarFocus has the accessory for you with its solar-powered Kindle case.

Green tech has dominated the conversation around cars, but now it seems these trends are edging into mobile at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, where SolarFocus is debuting its Kindle case. Taiwan-based SolarFocus has other solar-panel products that have USB ports, but its Kindle case might be its most interesting, specific device.

The solar-powered Kindle case fits only the fourth-generation Kindle, but it should be available for the Kindle Touch in the sprint. The front part of the case features one long solar panel, which is bit inelegant. On the inside, there is a light that can help you read at night or in low-lighting.

SolarFocus says its Kindle case will make the Kindle battery last three times the normal duration, which amounts to three months. But because you can charge solely off the solar charger, you could essentially never need to plug it into a wall or computer USB port in the future.

The SolarFocus solar-powered Kindle case is a 2012 International CES Innovations Design & Engineering Awards Honoree. The device will be available online on Jan. 15 for $80.

A few other photos of the innovative solar-powered case can be viewed below:

Filed under: green, mobile, VentureBeat

Visualizing The Speed Of Light

January 9, 2012

Light in Motion: Combination of modern imaging hardware and a reconstruction technique to visualize light propagation via repeated periodic sampling. Ripples of Waves: A time-lapse visualization of the spherical fronts of advancing light reflected by surfaces in the scene.


January 9, 2012

Typarchive is handmade font archival repository of images taken all over the world. These images are unique in there capture, as they are unique and one of a kind in their creation. The collection comes from major cities and small towns, displaying a place’s personality through it’s stylized titles and messages. Each region offers different aesthetics and flow of stroke, but they all offer an artist beauty to type of fonts they use.

Acer has a quad-core, 1080p Iconia Tab on the way

January 8, 2012

Being first has its advantages.

Taiwanese computer maker Acer was the first major company to hold a press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show today, where it briefly showed off a powerful new Iconia Tab slate with a quad-core processor and high-res 1080p display.

Acer VP of mobile computing Campbell Kan teased the 10.1-inch Android tablet to the CES crowd today in Las Vegas, saying simply, “Isn’t it cool?”

The new Iconia Tab will be powered by Nvidia’s Tegra 3 system-on-a-chip, but other than that we don’t have any other details about the device.

While the specs initially sound interesting, I can’t help but see this as the CES equivalent of an obnoxious Internet commenter shouting “First!” in a comment thread. We expect many quad-core tablets to be unveiled at CES 2012 (Asus has already released its quad-core Transformer Prime), and many of them will likely be more tempting than Acer’s, especially since the company has failed to impress with any of its Android tablets so far.

Via Engadget

Filed under: mobile, VentureBeat

Nokia’s killer Lumia 900 Windows Phone hits CES on Monday, says NYT

January 8, 2012

Just as we expected, Nokia will unveil its Lumia 900 Windows Phone — which will be tasked with reinvigorating the mobile platform as its new flagship device — on Monday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The Lumia 900 will be initially available on AT&T and is described as “sleek” and “metallic,” sources tell the New York Times. It’s a particularly exciting device for Nokia and Microsoft because it will likely be the first “must have” Windows Phone for many consumers.

The Lumia 900 may end up being call the Nokia Ace when it hits the US, according to previous rumors, which also pointed to it being the first LTE 4G device available for Windows Phone. It’s said to sport a larger 4.3-inch display than the Lumia 800 (which only has a 3.7-inch display), and a front-facing camera, according to leaked images. Under the hood, it’ll run the same 1.4-gigahertz processor as the 800.

While it may seem confusing for Nokia to launch yet another high-end Windows Phone only a few months after it debuted the Lumia 800 (and its inexpensive sibling the Lumia 710), I don’t think anyone will complain about the Lumia 900′s specs, as it seems to fix all of the issues I had with the Lumia 800 (in particular, the small screen and lack of a front camera).

Image via PocketNow

Filed under: mobile, VentureBeat

WowWee shows off its latest App Gear toys that interact with downloaded apps

January 8, 2012

Toys and electronics are mixing more than ever these days. That’s why toy robot maker WowWee has created a new line of collectible toys, dubbed App Gear, that interact with free downloaded apps for smartphones and tablets.

At the Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas, WowWee is showing off more of its recently introduced App Gear line, extending the idea of connecting apps with traditional toys to create something called “amplified reality.” You can expect to see a lot more of this blending of real-world toys and digital apps in the years ahead.

Rather than take a backseat to the digital experience of video games, toys can help enhance it, according to WowWee, which produces the Robosapien robot toys and Paper Jamz electronic toy guitars.

App Gear toys will give retailers a piece of the app pie, with toys selling for $9.99 to $19.99. The goal is to get beyond the gimmick and make the toys true parts of the games. App Gear products work with all of the iOS and Android mobile devices.

Rivals include toys such as Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure from Activision Blizzard and the Appmates mobile app toys from Disney.  AppToyz also recently launched an AppBlaster toy gun that uses plastic extensions to tap the screen of an iPhone when you fire. The game inserts creatures to shoot at into the environment as you move around a room.

One of the newest App Gear toys is Akodomon, where kids starts out with a collectible kid monster, a terrarium and an environment marker piece. The users can see the animated creature come to life on screen. You can raise your creature, teach it to play, shape its personality and evolve it into a unique interactive character. You can play against other players and purchase upgrades for the app via micro transactions. You can go online and share your unique creation in the online part of the app.

Every App Gear toy will connect or interact with the free downloaded app. Collectible figures, interactive play sets and customizable toys will be included with each pack.

Filed under: games, mobile, VentureBeat

HTML5 cross-platform game company Moblyng shuts down (exclusive)

January 7, 2012

Moblyng was ahead of its time in making cross-platform HTML5 games for mobile devices. Too far ahead, it seems, as the company has shut down, VentureBeat has learned.

Just a year ago, the company said in a filing it had raised about $7.5 million of a $10.9 million round, but it was simply a follow-on funding to its previous round. Stewart Putney (pictured right), believed that HTML5 games were going to become predominant on mobile devices in the future. The benefit was that developers could create games once and have them run on a wide variety of devices as well as on social networks and the web. For users, such games meant that they could play a game on one device and challenge another player playing the same game on another platform.

But Putney confirmed in an email that the company has shut down and the staff of 20 employees has been laid off.

“We did not monetize enough to stay in business,” said Putney.

Redwood City, Calif.-based Moblyng was founded as FlipTrack in 2007, porting Flash slide shows to mobile operating systems. But it changed its plan to help developers quickly port their mobile games to other operating systems. Then it focused on making HTML5 games on social networking sites and mobile devices.

HTML5 is seen as a large competitor for Flash, which most casual games are built on. Most websites that host videos also use Flash to play them. But Flash is lacking on some mobile devices — most notably the iPhone and iPad — while HTML5 is available in most mobile browsers.

HTML5 is viewed as the lingua franca of the web, a protocol for creating software that can run on web sites, mobile phones, and social networks. But in games, HTML5 has had mixed results, since many games in HTML5 run slow.

Moblyng had alliances with Playdom and Lolapps, but it had more success creating its own games that could run in a cross-platform manner, where a player could log into a game on Facebook and play against someone on a mobile phone or the web. The company’s site says it has more than 10 million downloads.

Putney said the games have gotten traction, but too late. The company launched its HTML5 games on the Facebook HTML5 mobile platform in mid-October, but the audience started growing in December when time and cash had run out.

“I am very proud of the work we did, the HTML5 games are still live and we have a growing base of active users,” Putney said. “I remain very confident HTML5 will be a great platform for social games and media, it is simply a question of when. We just unleashed a group of kick-ass HTML5-focused professionals into the market, so my hope is they will help the HTML5 ecosystem develop that much faster.”

Moblyng’s investors include Mohr Davidow Ventures and Deep Fork Capital. The company also received another $500,000 from unnamed angels. A variety of other HTML5 game makers out there, such as Game Closure and Sibblingz, which have also created tools for building cross-platform HTML5 games.

Filed under: games, mobile, VentureBeat