Thursday, December 29, 2005

Pocket Rocket

What are some of the biggest challenges using a projector? One of them is that fact that the lamp doesn't last very long and they are expensive to replace ($350, or more). Other challenges include weight, and warm-up and cool-down periods, and that you have to be close to an electrical outlet to use one.
Not any more. Mitsubishi Electric Presentation Products incorporates the latest LED (Light Emitting Diode) and DLP (Digital Light Projection) technology in their new one pound "PK-10 PocketProjector". The LED lights are rated to last up to 10,000 hours (in other words, you could use the projector for 3 hours every single day for over 9 years).

Because LED lights use the least amount of energy for light produced of any other source, Mitsubishi is able to offer an optional battery that is expected to last up to 2.5 hours (with a full charge). LED lights also produce very little heat for the light they produce. This translates into instant-on (no warm-up necessary), and non-existent cool-down periods.

The trade-off for all this portability and longevity is a small (but impressive) viewing area, and low (but usable) light levels. The image size is 12" to 60" (optimal is 40" to 50"), and the LEDs generate approximately 250 lux (lumens per square meter), making it fully usable in a dimly lit room with low ambient lighting! Not bad for a native resolution of 800 X 600 (SVGA), and 1024 X 768 (XGA) maximum.
Note from Technophile: How about a portable big screen theater? Or watching movies with a portable DVD player? Or enlarged video for more exciting gaming? Or mobile video for camping (just charge the battery during the day using a PV (Photo Voltaic) panel. The applications are limited only by your imagination, and with a street price of just $799, you may not even be limited by your wallet. Buy it now at the CDW Mac Warehouse.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Sleep With The Fishes

:: POSEIDON WILL BE the world's first permanent sea floor one-atmosphere undersea resort!
++ L. Bruce Jones / U. S. Submarines / Poseidon Undersea Resort

Currently in the final
design stages, Poseidon will be the world's first sea floor resort complex. The resort will be a unique, intimate and exclusive, five-star destination providing the highest possible levels of luxury and service. Poseidon's guests will experience a marvelous ambiance of comfort and camaraderie that will not soon be forgotten. The first Poseidon Undersea Resort is scheduled to open before the end of 2007.

Poseidon was conceived
and developed by L. Bruce Jones, the President of U.S. Submarines, Inc. and engineered by the tremendously experienced staff at U.S. Submarines. Years of painstaking effort and design refinement with expert advice from outside world-class consultants has resulted in the world's first viable undersea luxury resort.

The site of
the first Resort, in the Bahamas, is just a short plane ride from South Florida. This is a site where water clarity and marine life are both exceptional.

The Poseidon Undersea
Resort will be a true five-star facility offering the finest wine and cuisine and the highest levels of service. The entire experience will be designed to foster an ambiance of comfort and camaraderie among guests. There will be a visiting celebrity program and regular guest lecturers. Diving lessons and expeditions will be available onsite and a swim with the dolphins program may also be implemented. Excursions on a deep diving submarine are also likely.

In summary, the
underwater portion of the resort will consist of:
  • 20 Luxury Suites
  • 2 Service Areas
  • Central Corridor Assembly
  • Restaurant, Bar/Lounge, Kitchen
  • Grand Poseidon Suite
  • Nautilus Suite
The last 20 years has seen the widespread use of transparent acrylic plastic (polyethyl methacrylate) in deep submersible and aquarium applications. The material is strong and remarkably transparent and its characteristics are well understood. The resort's design takes full advantage of acrylic's ability to maximize viewing while maintaining structural soundness. Only five different acrylic molds are required to build the entire complex.

During daylight hours it is not possible to look into the individual suites from underwater. At night, guests will be able to opaque various areas of the acrylic to protect their privacy.

There are 20 luxury suites, each 51 m2 (550 ft2) in size and comprising a bedroom with large jacuzzi tub, a sitting room with views of a private coral garden, and a bathroom with a toilet and bidet, two sinks and a shower. All the rooms are superbly appointed. Ceilings and seaward walls are composed of acrylic and offer spectacular views of individual coral gardens and the ocean beyond. Guests may actuate exterior underwater lights and automatic fish feeders from control consoles in their sitting rooms.

Two spectacular large themed suites, the Captain Nemo Suite and the Grand Poseidon Suite will also be available.

The exclusive undersea gourmet restaurant and bar are located in one of the main end units which is 20 meters (65 feet) in diameter and contains an area of 308 square meters (3,300 square feet). The periphery of each unit is composed of 24 flat panels of acrylic providing a continuous view of nearly 360 degrees. In the center of the restaurant above the bar is an 8 m (26 ft) diameter transparent acrylic dome.

The restaurant will rotate 360 degrees in a 40 minute period. High backed booths will face outward and seat 4-6 people and will be interspersed with larger conventional tables.

An attached submarine garage would provide access to a 4-passenger, 1000 foot capable submersible for local exploration.
Note from Technophile: With the exception of the central corridor, which is permanently fixed to the structural base of the facility, each individual unit is neutrally buoyant and capable of being removed from the complex - and the water - if necessary. All important systems are shore-based or inside the complex, where they are easy to maintain. Automated viewport cleaning systems obviate the laborious and expensive need for divers to clean the viewport surfaces of marine growth.
:: Source: [U.S. Submarines, Inc.]
:: Innovation: First undersea resort to offer the comfort of living underwater at one atmosphere pressure.
:: Available: Before the end of 2007.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Erganomic Ball Point Pen

Pens were created by the ancient Arabians in the Middle East towards the end of the slushee era before even paper had been invented. Thousands of years have since passed, and every great mind in recorded history has held one, yet most pen-related innovation has concentrated on the tip of the pen: fountain pens from Waterman, ball point pen from Laslo Biro, rollers from Japan.

During the last century there have been approximately 150 patents granted connected with pens and improving the writing process. The shape of the holder though has remained the same, looking kind of familiar ... like the stick it was derived from. Until now that is, 'cause now there's the ergonomically-designed RinGPen.

Now, don't dismiss
this item because of its simplicity. This new design for one of man's oldest tools has great merit. The pen has found favourable review from the Arthritis Foundation of the USA because it relieves suffering due to its ergonomically sound design. As it relieves many of the stresses of the ordinary pen, it also relieves Carpal Tunnel Syndrome sufferers, all because it's the first writing instrument that takes a wholistic perspective on how a pen should be designed to fit the human hand.

It is also reported
to reduce writers cramp and fatigue while writing and render the writing more fluid and even.
Note from Technophile: When writing with the RinGPen, there is no need to lay the pen down to answer the telephone or to use a calculator - it sounds corny, but having the pen attached to your finger could be kinda handy.
Source: [RigGPen]

Rolls Like A Rolls Royce!

With a resting heart-rate of 32 beats per minute and six victories in the month-long, 3500 kilometre Tour de France cycling race, Lance Armstrong almost qualifies as a "Gearhead" in his own right.

He’s always the one to watch in the event because he has always proven the most competitive in the two stages that are the most distinctive and demanding: the climbing and time trial stages.

Armstrong excels when race conditions allow superior talent to shine through. As Armstrong lined up for his final Tour de France, Trek, the company that has supplied his bikes in each of his famous victories, delivered two special machines: the Madone SSLx climbing bike and the TTX time trial machine. Both are lighter, stiffer and faster than anything the company has built before.

Trek has supplied Lance with an array of OCLV Carbon-fiber race bikes and as with every other bike Lance has raced, the Trek TTX was developed with the aid of hours of wind tunnel testing. However, the TTX was the first bike he has raced built with the aid of computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Trek’s CFD process has not only taken hours out of the development process, but it has also empowered the company’s designers and engineers with the most accurate tool yet to produce cutting-edge frames that will cut through the air and shave seconds off the clock.

Due to its prototype nature, less than a handful of new TTX frames have been made available for this year's Tour de France. The bike was designed for Armstrong and due to the allotted development time, only a single size (medium) frame mould was made. Team riders not aboard the TTX will continue to use the Trek TTT bike.

Note from Technophile: One difference between the TTX and the TTT is that the former has a 15 mm longer top tube which translates into a longer wheelbase. This geometry change was made to increase the bike's straight line stability. Following his first race on the bike in the Dauphine Libere prologue, Lance called Trek and said simply, "It rolls like a Rolls Royce!"

Source: [Trekbikes]

Finnish FogScreen

Finnish company FogScreen has begun volume production of its unique walk-through projection screen. The FogScreen Inia Screen projects high-quality images onto a thin laminar air flow of water vapour. The FogScreen feels dry and cool to the touch and accordingly creates an effect of the computer generated images floating in thin air and can hence be used in the development of special effects displays and airborne advertising media, walk-through or drive-through posters and is expected to be used as a high impact advertising medium in malls, airports and mass audience events.
There have already been enquiries from Hollywood production companies and "we expect the creative possibilities will inspire those in entertainment," said Nancy Gretzinger of Fogscreen's US distributor Imagex. "Beyond that, we are also looking at point-of-sale advertising, corporate lobbies, and other areas that could benefit from the innovative communication," she said.
Source: [FogScreen, Inc.]

First "Unwired" Nation

The Cybercity high tech park.The promise of ubiquitous high-speed wireless networking seems a long way off for most of us, but not for everyone. The tiny South West Indian Ocean island of Mauritius will later this year become the first country in the world to deploy a complete nationwide high speed wireless network and in so doing will attempt to lure a greater share of the World’s cyber business to its idyllic tropical location.

With 720 square miles of partially mountainous terrain, Navini nomadic broadband wireless access is being deployed to meet the residential, business and recreational needs of the island’s population of 1.2 million and will be well positioned to take advantage of next generation mobile broadband wireless 802.16e-based WiMAX. The Navini wide-area wireless broadband system is a Non Line of Sight (NLOS) WWAN solution powered by smart antennas. The technology provides a very wide range of coverage - miles from the base station. And because it is a zero-install solution within its NLOS coverage area, it takes little effort for the subscriber to get up and running.

The Government of the Republic of Mauritius has embraced the internet and the concept of E-Government, and by the end of the year its entire constituency will be able to conduct business wirelessly throughout the country on a competitively priced service that can be accessed the same day the service is ordered. The entire network is being installed by ADB Networks the main Internet Service Provider in Mauritius.
Note from Technophile: The tiny island is well placed to play a role in the worldwide in information and communications revolution with a high speed fibre-optic undersea telecommunications link to the rest of the world, a policy of training and development for the country’s multilingual population and plans for two more high tech parks beyond the recently completed Ebene Cybercity.
Source: [Ebene Cybercity]

Virtual Girlfriend!

Girls not knocking down your door to go out with you? Tired of dealing with those complex issues such as feelings? How about getting a "virtual girlfriend" instead? Hong Kong based company Artificial Life have developed an interactive virtual girlfriend that appears as an animated girl for new mobile phones with video capability.

According to a company spokesperson, users of the latest 3-G mobile phones who subscribe to the service will be able to send messages to the virtual girlfriend, who will respond by voice. Each girlfriend will follow an evolving daily and weekly schedule which includes visiting her virtual home, work or bar, and shopping with her virtual girlfriends.

Although all the virtual girls look pretty similar, they behave in a different way depending on how well the user treats her.

Buying her flowers and diamonds will get her attention and advance the relationship to higher levels. In return, she will unlock new levels and aspects of her life, such as introducing her female friends - who also happen to be electronic images.

However, it's not as easy as it sounds, because the virtual girlfriend will get angry and ignore the user if she does not get what she wants. And since the users will be charged real money to pay for all those virtual flowers, in addition to the subscription charge, she might turn out to be not just virtual high maintenance, but real high maintenance! Although for now, it has not been determined how much the gifts will cost.

Classified as a game by its makers, it does not contain any elements of a sexual nature, and is "suitable for all ages", the spokesperson said.

Artificial Life hopes to launch the new game later this year, with a "virtual boyfriend" equivalent scheduled for early next year.

The Virtual Girlfriend is based on intelligent animated 3-D characters (avatars) that live in a virtual mobile world. The virtual girls can be contacted and seen using a 3G phone at any time. However, the characters will be involved in different activities during the day, for example, the girlfriend may be in her virtual home or at her virtual workplace or in a virtual bar or restaurant or just shopping with another virtual friend in a virtual shopping mall.

The user can watch the characters during these activities and interact with them via the mobile phone. The characters and the game follow a certain daily and weekly schedule which will continuously change and progress over time.

Note from Technophile: If you visit their site, you can talk to an avatar by the name of Luci.

Source: [Artificial Life, Inc.]

Optimus Keyboard

Moscow-based design studio Art. Lebedev may be Russia’s largest design house but it didn’t quite expect the reaction it received when it posted its latest creation, the Optimus Keyboard.

The keyboard uses OLED technology so that every key is a stand-alone display showing exactly what it is controlling at that moment. Accordingly, you can switch from language to language, or program to program and the functionality of the key will be reflected in the image it shows.

If the response to the company’s web site posting is any indication, the keyboard is already a runaway hit, with 230,000 page views and an average two emails a minute from people wanting the keyboard.

Note from Technophile: In brief, the keyboard is likely to become available in 2006, will be OS-independent and “will cost less than a good mobile phone.” It will be open source (a software developers kit will be available) and companies can OEM the keyboard. Indeed, there may even be an ergonomic version.

Source: [Art. Lebedev]

Let There Be Light

Revolutionary New Lighting SystemThe great architect Louis Kahn once said:
"A room is not a room without natural light. Natural light gives mood to space by the nuances of light in the time of the day and the seasons of the year as it enters and modifies the space."
The ambience of a sunlight-deprived room can now be significantly enhanced thanks to an ingenious new sunlkight-transportation technology developed by Swedish lighting design company Parans. The novel approach overcomes the provision of natural light to rooms in a building that would otherwise be deprived by collecting sunlight with outdoor light-collecting SkyPort panels, transporting the light by fibre-optic cable known as SunWire and delivered to the required spaces via light emitting luminaries known as Bjork.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Where's The Beef?

Despite its popularity, meat — both in its production and in its consumption — has a number of adverse effects on human health, environmental quality, and animal welfare. These include: diseases associated with the over-consumption of animal fats; meat-borne pathogens and contaminants; antibiotic-resistant bacteria due to the routine use of antibiotics in livestock; inefficient use of resources in cycling grains and water through animals to produce protein; soil, air, and water pollution from farm animal wastes; and inhumane treatment of farm animals. As meat consumption continues to increase, worldwide, these problems are now a global concern.

As a result, there is an increasing market for meat substitutes that have the taste and texture of meat, but do not cause the problems associated with conventional meat. Meat substitutes can be made from plants such as soybeans, peas, or wheat; mycoproteins; or from animal tissues grown in culture. There are several plant- and mycoprotein-based meat substitutes already on the market. Click here for examples.

One novel line of research is to produce meat in vitro, in a cell culture, rather than from an animal. The production of such "cultured meat" begins by taking a number of cells from a farm animal and proliferating them in a nutrient—rich medium. Cells are capable of multiplying so many times in culture that, in theory, a single cell could be used to produce enough meat to feed the global population for a year. After the cells are multiplied, they are attached to a sponge-like "scaffold" and soaked with nutrients. They may also be mechanically stretched to increase their size and protein content. The resulting cells can then be harvested, seasoned, cooked, and consumed as a boneless, processed meat, such as sausage, hamburger, or chicken nuggets.

Note from Technophile: Because meat substitutes are produced under controlled conditions impossible to maintain in traditional animal farms, they can be safer, more nutritious, less polluting, and more humane than conventional meat.

Source: [New Harvest]

No animals are killed in the process of making beer. If you are a "Master Griller" or if you know one, you can find unique gift ideas (like the design below printed on a BBQ apron) at Café Xpress.