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The Future of Live Football on TV?

by Tim Chow

The development of the TV has continued to offer a more realistic picture. Whether it’s high definition or 3D, we are being pushed into not only watching, but being right in the thick of the action. The next development could give you free reign to choose how you want to watch the beautiful game on your TV.

Technicolor showcased its Personalised Content Rendering technology at CES 2012. Using a football match they create a panoramic view using six cameras to stitch together the picture. Using motion sensors like the Xbox Kinect, it can track your eye and head movements to move the camera. But due to the passing crowd at the convention, the sensors failed to track correctly and had to resort to using a trackball instead. Not quite the same I’ll think you’ll agree.

The video still impresses, though, with its limitless view as if you were sitting in the stadium. As the video shows, you can zoom and follow players if you want. They hope to release it in the next couple of years.

If Technicolor could combine it with 3D, they could really be going somewhere with this, but as it is I do have some reservations.

There’s something relaxing about just sitting and watching, letting the camera guide you where you need to look. Having to move a trackball for 90 minutes doesn’t sound appealing, especially if the sensors don’t work. Is this really a substitute for not attending a game? I don’t think so. You don’t get the same atmosphere or the buzz that a match gives you.

Could this technology be applied elsewhere? Perhaps in the Arts, like an orchestra or theatre performance? Either way, it’s a work in progress; no doubt the first iteration of a feasible technology. for now though, I think there’s a certain novelty value to this and it could get boring very quickly.

Is this the future of live TV events like concerts or sports? Is there a need for this kind of technology? Tell us in the comments section below.

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Prize announced for making Star Trek medical technology reality

by Domenica Goduto

Doubtless many patients (and doctors) wish medical diagnosis were as simple as it is in Star Trek. In the classic science fiction series, a device called a tricorder was used to scan patients and immediately produce a diagnosis of whatever was wrong with them. It was quick, painless and uncomplicated – no waiting times, no further tests, no second opinions.

A new prize competition is now seeking to encourage the development of a gadget inspired by the Star Trek tricorder that will simplify medical diagnosis and help put healthcare in the hands of patients themselves. The Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize, which was announced Tuesday at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, is valued at $10 million US (approximately £6.5 million) and is a joint offering from the X Prize Foundation and the Qualcomm Foundation.

The goal is to create a mobile platform that can correctly diagnose a set of 15 common diseases across 30 patients within 3 days, as well as recording and remotely transmitting such key health indicators as temperature, blood pressure and respiratory rate. The winning device will provide both the most accurate results and the most user-friendly experience.

As long as the device has a total mass of less than 5lb and is accessible remotely via the internet, its specific look and functionality will be left to the developing team to determine. According to the prize’s website, the winning device could employ such elements as “wireless sensors, imaging technologies and portable, non-invasive laboratory replacements” to measure and assess health data.

The idea here is to find ways of using cutting-edge technologies to give patients initial control over their own healthcare. The device will initially be made available to consumers in the USA, though later it could be adapted for use in other countries.

Although widespread access to health information and case studies on the internet has meant an increase in patients attempting to self-diagnose (much to the frustration of many medical professionals), there could be some advantage here in allowing patients to determine themselves whether they need professional care, when and from whom – thereby helping reduce unnecessary doctor visits, alleviating pressure on health services and decreasing wait times.

There could also be some application for patients living in remote areas where professional medical diagnosis is not readily accessible, although the device would have to feature a consistently high level of accuracy and be sufficiently easy to use. As to safety, the winning device would have to be approved by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before it can be used on the public – a process that normally takes years, but in this case will likely be facilitated by the FDA’s partnership with the X Prize Foundation.

Another factor to be considered is cost. In order for the device to benefit as wide as possible a market, there would have to be some provisions set in place for distribution or access, or measures taken to ensure the gadget’s price does not exclude vulnerable elements of the population.

Although finalists for the competition won’t be chosen for another two years, and no winner announced for at least three years, it’s still exciting that competitions like this exist. Not only will the winning device be a fascinating example of science fiction translating into reality, but it could also represent a ground-breaking turning point in medical technology that could alter the way healthcare is practiced forever.

Do you think a self-diagnosis gadget will be a valuable asset to medical technology? What other science fiction devices would you like to see become reality? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Motor shoes on show at CES

by James Meikle

Well folks I seem to have found a just the right mixture for my home made anti-paranoid delusion drugs. I’m feeling as well balanced as tight-rope walker and as calm as the Sea of Tranquillity. Gone is my sense of impending doom and unhealthy obsession with the threat of a robot apocalypse. The underground bunker has been mothballed, the tinfoil hat has been hung up for good and the hamsters have been released back into the wild (with a greatly improved skill set I might add).

My inspiration for this epic turn around? The Consumer Electronics show in Nevada. Each year loads to top consumer electronics manufacturers get together to showcase the best and the brightest of their new product and prototypes. This year was no disappointment with some awesome looking ultrabooks, tablets, phones and TV’s standing out from the crowd.

However, there was one piece of tech that really caught my eye. We may still be waiting for hoverboards, flying cars aren’t parked in our driveways, but we finally have one of the most greatly anticipated pieces of future tech conceived by man… motorised shoes. Yes my friends, we’ll soon be strapping motors to our feet and terrorising pensioners as we whizz down to the shops. Check out a video of the nippy new product:

Ooohhh, looks cool doesn’t it. I like the way this Peter Treadman (what an ironic name) guy thinks: build it because it’s fun, build it because it’s cool, build it because it could be used as part of a superhero costume. Someone give this lunatic unlimited funding and a crack-team of top engineers; I’d love to see the weird and wonderful nonsense he’d come up with.

While I do love the idea of these motorised shoes, maybe they’re not entirely practical. Peter seems to float around gracefully, but the following video shows that getting the hang of a pair of SpnKiX could be a little tricky.

After watching that I got around to thinking how Peter and his SpnKiX would fare in a battle to the death with a bad-ass villain. My conclusion was that Peter would end up a very admirable, but very dead inspiration to wannabe heroes worldwide. Upon encountering stairs, uneven surfaces, gravel, mud etc. our plucky hero would find himself in a rather dire situation.

However, Peter should still be applauded for his vision of a world with tech’d up heroes making our street safe. If you watch the first video again you’ll see that Peter aspires to fly, to move really quickly and to shoot laser beams out of his eyes… Wait a minute. He wants to turn his eyes into destructive laser cannons? That sounds rather threatening, dangerous and maybe even…villainous. Stop the press! I retract my previous statement about giving this guy a unlimited funding and a crack-team of engineers; we’d all end up oppressed and under the shiny, bright red spinning heel of a terrible tech’d up megalomaniac super villain.

It’s off to the lab for me. I suspect these meds’ may still need a little work.

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YouTube Kings and Queens

by Katelyn Chisholm

I love YouTube.

Not just for its adorable cat videos or hilarious fails that millions of viewers flock to the site for. It’s an innovative and developing video content and sharing platform it has developed into.

The video-sharing site aims not only to show you those hilarious cat videos, but they aim to develop strong and relevant content online. The YouTube Partner Program is a development and revenue program which YouTubers can apply to join. The goal is to have partners who will create new and engaging content for the website and allow YouTube to play ads before their videos and help to develop their channel to its highest potential. You Tubers generate income and receive a portion of the earnings.

Consider these three YouTube kings and queens. These three examples are three among hundreds of quality content development and viewer engagement success stories, none of which had any background in media before they started their vlogging ventures. They have now joined the YouTube ranks and offer viewers engaging content on a regular basis and found sweet success in doing it.

Michelle Phan
Michelle Phan was a young oil painter when she discovered that she could take her skills as a painter and use them in make-up. She’s a self-taught make-up artist and she’s incorporated her painting skills with make-up application to master techniques and create new looks. She started working as a make-up artist to help with the family finances when she discovered the wider audience she could find onilne. Her voiced-over tutorials on YouTube immediately sparked attention, likes and subscribers. She has over one million subscribers and is now sponsored by Lancôme, a high-end make up brand. She continues to create a brand for herself and has expanded her online community to include fashion and hair with collaborations from other YouTubers.

Charles Trippy

Charles Trippy and his girlfriend, Alli Speed, decided one day to make one vlog every day for an entire year. The pair, aka The Internet Killed Television, became very comfortable with having a camera in their life and it soon became second nature. The journey of their first year took them through several adventures, including Trippy’s proposal to Speed in Spain. Three years later, the pair were married in front of dozens of close friends and vloggers, an event dubbed “A YouTube Royal Wedding ?.

In this video of wedding highlights from fellow vlogger Nalts, you can see the wedding riddled with iPhones, cameras and Flipcams of other vloggers, vlogging each other.

Shay Carl

A few short years ago and thousands of dollars in debt, Shay Carl and his wife Katilette (YouTube monikers), bought their first computer. It was then that Shay Carl discovered YouTube. After watching video after video and inspired by the dedication of Charles Trippy, Shay embarked on his own one-vlog-a-day journey for the entire 29th year of his life. 3 years running, the self-titled “Shaytards ? (in reference to an early video of Shay wearing his wife’s unitard) have been posting a video daily for thousands of subscribers. The family of 5 with three young children captured the hearts of viewers all over the world. Their youngest son and 6th family member, has spent his entire 1.5 years on YouTube, from the video of his birth to the present day.

The Shaytards have branched out over a handful of channels, paid off their debt, became YouTube Partners and are partners in Maker Studios: a production company formed with the sole purpose of creating high quality content for online platforms like YouTube. Shaytards videos are still out daily.

Nice Peter, of Rap Battles of History fame, wrote this lovely tribute to the Shaytards family

Who are your favourite Youtube kings and queens? Tell us about them in the comments below.

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Blackmail yourself into keeping your New Year’s resolution

by Tim Chow

It’s that time of the year again when we make New Year’s resolutions such as losing weight, quit smoking or just being more awesome. Let’s be honest, most are forgotten about before February begins. But what happens when you’re forced to see them through, say someone was to blackmail you? This someone could be you.

Aherk! is designed to give you that extra push that you need to achieve your resolution. The first step is to set a goal and deadline as normal. But you’ll no longer be able to give up easily on this goal; if you do be prepared to face the consequences. The next step makes you upload a photo that you’d rather keep out of the public domain.

Should you fail to make the target, this photo is released on your Facebook profile. High stakes indeed! There’s no way to back out either. You can’t cancel the goal or change the photo. Think of this as a ticking time bomb with the end result being a red face and ridicule for who knows how long. Need more motivation?

That’s not all. The website won’t be the judge of success or failure. Your Facebook contacts will.

This should come with a disclaimer of some sort I think. The system is open to abuse as it really depends on how nice your friends or family are. I know if I were to do this, no one would say I achieved the goal just to see an embarrassing picture! Use this at your own risk…

Would this make achieving your New Year’s resolution easier? Tell us in the comments section below.

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CES 2012: Highlights from the Pre-Show Event

by Igor Termenon

For those of you who haven’t heard of CES (International Consumer Electronics Show) before, it is a trade show that takes place each January in Las Vegas. With more than 2,700 exhibitors during last year’s edition, CES is definitely the place to be if you want to know about what the future will bring in the consumer electronics sector.

CES 2012 will be the last edition at which Microsoft will be present as the company has confirmed its intentions of pulling out of the show. Microsoft states that CES isn’t the right place for their product cycle, but even with this major loss there are still loads of big brands presenting their products during this year’s show.

These are some of the highlights from the Pre-Show event which took place on January 9th.

The Thermador Freedom Induction Cooktop allows the user to place pots and pans anywhere on its surface. The Freedom Induction technology brings a greater degree of flexibility to cooking as the user doesn’t have to care about the size of the cookware. Energy losses? Not at all, the heating elements conform to the size of the pots. An incredible idea for overcrowded kitchens like mine.

Fujitsu presented a waterproof tablet and smartphone. The tablet runs on Android 3.2 OS and the smartphone is apparently the world’s thinnest model at 6.7mm. Both can be submerged up to 1.5m, but no longer than 30 minutes. I don’t really know about the utility of the waterproof tablet but looks like the smartphone could be a great choice for water sport enthusiasts.

The Oregon Time and Wireless Charging Station uses Qi-enabled technology and has been recipient of the CES Innovations 2012 Design and Engineering Award. Apart from charging Qi-enabled mobile devices (or iPhone 4 with the use of a Qi-enable sleeve) it features a projection clock, it tells you the weather and it reads the temperature. What else could you ask for?

The iHome iP4 Portable Stereo Boombox is a personal favourite, not much innovation involved but I have always wanted to walk down the street with a boombox on my shoulder…

What do you think of these gadgets? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Facebook has Worms!

by Margaret Kay

Eeeek! Facebook’s got worms; and not the delicious gummy kind either. According to the BBC and security firm Securlet, a computer worm has accessed 45,000 log-in details, mostly from accounts in the UK and France.

The worm, known as Ramnit, first came on the scene back in April 2010 when it stole people’s precious banking details. However, this latest form of Ramnit preys upon people’s Facebook profiles by logging into victims’ accounts and spreading the infected links to newsfeeds and timelines across the social network.

This latest malware threat comes at a time when social networking sites are increasingly faced with new, more sophisticated threats. To a cybercriminal (also known as the worst people EVER), sites like Facebook are a goldmine of juicy, potentially lucrative, personal data.

It doesn’t help that many of us use the same password for everything (shopping sites, online banking, social networking, email etc.). Ask yourself – once a hacker gets his grimy paws on your Facebook password, could he also get into your bank account? How about your email? Or, what about your corporate SSL VPN?

So, how exactly does Ramnit work? Like so many other nasty viruses, it infects HTML files and steals “sensitive information such as stored FTP credentials and browser cookies.” It basically invades your computer or other electronic device (mobiles and tablets are not safe!) and spys on you, recording your online behaviour and “phishing” for your personal data.

Scared yet? Well, if you suspect that you may be a victim of Ramnit or something like it, the first step of the extermination process is to run an antivirus software (a legit one, not a sketchy free version – come on people, this is not the time to go budget!), though this worm is so invasive that you may need to take your device to an expert.

Most importantly, act fast – not only for your own sake, but for all of your Facebook friends to whom you might unknowingly send an infected link.

Are you worried about the rise of malware aimed at social networks? Any stories/advice you want to share? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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Android app updates

by Andrew Moir

The thing about technology is that it just never stops. Once you have one thing you find that pretty soon another has come along and superseded it. From new phones getting bigger screens, better cameras and more memory to TVs getting wider and more 3D it’s virtually impossible to be a technophile for any length of time without putting a serious dent in your wallet.

Luckily software is a little kinder in that department and constantly updates in the background without you even noticing. But perhaps you want to know what’s being updated so here are some of Android apps that have been quietly improving while you wondered why your web connection was running so slow.
Box

This popular cloud sharing app offers users 50GB of storage space updated to a new 1.5 version. It features a new widget that allows you to see any changes that are being made to files as they happen. Now wherever you can open a file you can also upload files without having to open Box so it’s pretty useful if you are looking at an email attachment.
Skype

This versatile app is at home on your desktop, through your or on your iPhone. While many may think it simply offers Android video chat via the web there is also the option of calling an ordinary phone with credits as well as sending text messages.
SwiftKey X
There are a whole range of third party keyboards available for Android and this one, which supports 35 languages, is the choice of those in the know. Version 2.2 has fixed a whole range of bugs as well as some improvements. It has improved memory management to help with speed and improved voice input for Droid Bionic.
Groupme

Recently upgraded to 3.2 version this group messaging service should grow in popularity over the coming year. You can chat within the app as well as sending conventional texts to normal phones. There’s also a social aspect with the ability to share individual messages and like your favourites too.

Have there been any updates to apps that you’ve liked? Have some lost good features due to updates? Tell us about it in the comments section below

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Invoked Computing = Banana Phones

by Liam McClure

As we move into 2012 there are so many new and developing technologies bouncing around that it could make your head spin. Invoked computing really caught our eye though as the possibility of turning everyday objects into laptops and phones could have a huge impact on not only the technology market but also the way in which we relate to objects.

Invoked computing has been developed by Alvaro Cassinelli and Alexis Zerroug at the University of Tokyo and it is more than just projecting a computer screen onto inanimate objects. It is hoped that it will place function onto everyday objects. You can take a look at the first test of it in the video below.

More than just adding functionality it is Alvaro Cassinelli and Alexis Zerroug hopes that this tech will be able to re-animate old or broken items such as computers and increase their life span. They believe that the computer should be able to learn human gestures so that it can activate what you want.

This might not be very clear but to give a better breakdown have a look at the video below.

If this technology develops then it could change the way in which we view and interact with our surroundings which would have a massive impact on our day to day lives. It would also have a massive impact on the consumer market too. No longer would we need to buy the latest Iphone or Laptop we would be able to use a pizza box or a banana to carry out the same function. So perhaps having the newest product is not the best way forward but having something that will enable the longevity of items that may otherwise seem obsolete in the online world might be the best way forward.

What do you think of invoked computing? Do you think that it could be the future technology that will really change our world as we know it? Please let us know in the comments.

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Technology Conference 2012: Are you excited?

by Lisa Brigham

The eighth International Conference on Technology, Knowledge and Society of 2012 is coming up in January 2012 in California and despite not being able to get there, its a very exciting event to look forward to, getting updates from and hearing ideas on what 2012 may hold in terms of technological updates and even revolutionary breakthroughs.

What is it?

The technology conference is the eighth International Conference on Technology, Knowledge and Society and is a much anticipated event in it’s field of technology and knowledge share.

The Technology Conference 2012 could cover everything from new ways to incorporate email integration and API on various technological platforms to media and multimedia innovations.

The conference is held in a different city every year and this will be the 8th conference proving its demand and success. The integration of papers working towards some of the themes the conference covers is a great source of expanded knowledge share, especially for those studying towards innovations under these themes or simply for those who cannot make it to the annual conference.

2012 conference speakers

The speakers that will feature at the 8th conference will be of a diverse and impressive background, stimulating conversation on fledgling ideas and topics as well as developing an understanding of recent technological break through events. Some of the main speakers are:

Marcus Breen: Associate Dean and Head of the School of Communications and Media at Bond University, Queensland, Australia.

Dr. Breen’s work background includes consulting and advisory experience with Gartner, Multimedia Victoria -State Government of Victoria, Austrade – Federal Government of Australia, Center for International Research on Communication and Information Technologies and numerous clients.

As a journalist he worked for Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Music Business International, News Corporation. His most recent book is Uprising: The Internet’s Unintended Consequences, Common Ground Publishing (2011)

Christiane Paul: Director of Media Studies Graduate Programs and Associate Prof. of Media Studies at The New School, NY, and Adjunct Curator of New Media Arts at the Whitney Museum of American Art

Her recent books are Context Providers – Conditions of Meaning in Media Arts (Intellect, 2011), co-edited with Margot Lovejoy and Victoria Vesna; New Media in the White Cube and Beyond (UC Press, 2008); and Digital Art (Thames and Hudson 2003; expanded new edition 2008). At the Whitney Museum, she curated the shows “Cory Arcangel: Pro Tools” (May 2011), “Profiling” (2007), and “Data Dynamics” (2001)
The Themes for 2012

If writing papers is your thing then this coming conference’s themes are right up your alley. The 6 themes are:

Technologies for Human Use
Technologies for Participatory Citizenship
Technologies for Autonomous Communities
Technologies for New Learning
Technologies for Common Knowledge
Technologies for Development

You can get more information on the conference and themes from the International Conference on Technology, Knowledge and Society website as well as getting updates on any changes that might be made to the program.

Please let us know if you are lucky enough to attend the conference or tell us about any updates you know of when the conference commences.