The Leap: Gesture control like Kinect

A new USB device, called The Leap, by Leap Motion, creates an 8-cubic-feet bubble of “interaction space”. It claims to detect your hand gestures down to an accuracy of 0.01 millimeters — about 200 times more accurate than “existing touch-free products and technologies,” such as your smartphone’s touchscreen… or Microsoft Kinect.

Wireds Gadget Lab had a detailed first look at the device.

The Leap is available for pre-order right now and will ship sometime during the December-through-February time frame. Leap Motion will make an SDK and APIs available to developers, and plans on shipping the first batches of the hardware to developers as well. An application to sign up to be one of the first coders to work with the the Leap is on the company’s site


QR Code Embedded Images

QR Code with embeded image

QR Code with embeded image

QArt Coder is an online tool that allows to embed images into QR Codes.

QR codes are 2-dimensional bar codes that encode arbitrary text strings. A common use of QR codes is to encode URLs so that people can scan a QR code (for example, on an advertising poster, building roof, volleyball bikini, belt buckle, or airplane banner) to load a web site on a cell phone instead of having to “type” in a URL.

QR codes are encoded using Reed-Solomon error-correcting codes, so that a QR scanner does not have to see every pixel correctly in order to decode the content. The error correction makes it possible to introduce a few errors (fewer than the maximum that the algorithm can fix) in order to make an image. QArt Coder exploits that to embed an image into the QR code.

Flying With Inversion

Another fascinating flying thingy by German Company Festo.  After a lot of interesting flying objects in the past that were inspired by nature or did even resemble some animals this one is based on a geometric principle.

The object called SmartInversion is a helium-filled flying object that moves through the air by turning inside-out. This constant, rhythmically pulsating movement is known as inversion and gives the flight model its name. With the intelligent combination of extreme lightweight construction, electric drive units and control and regulation technology, inversion kinematics can be indefinitely maintained to produce motion through the air.

The shape of this flying object is based on the geometrical band devised by Paul Schatz: its middle section, in the form of an articulated ring of six members, detaches itself from a cube and constantly turns inside-out, taking on different geome

With the geometrical band Schatz discovered that the principle of kinematics, which until then had been based on rotation and translation (linear motion), could be extended by a further mode: inversion. With SmartInversion, the engineers and designers are now investigating where and how geometrical inversion can be put to use in technology.

A Drawing ‘Bot Out Of Hacked Turntables

Two ordinary turntables are hacked to make drawings in the compelling art project “Drawing Apparatus.” The drawings produced by the contraption resemble old Spirograph images, and the simple DIY design of the device has an appealing vintage look and feel.


Finally An Alternative For Gaffa Tape

Whatever you like to call it Gaffa, Gaffer or Duct Tape as we all know it fixes every problem. A theory proven in several Mythbusters specials on the famous unbeatable sticky tape.

But finally there might be some competition on the horizon. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts came up with a reusable sticky tape that is inspired by a geckos toes. A hand-sized patche of the material clings to smooth glass even while holding 300 kilograms of weight.

This is much more than any other reversible adhesive can hold, they say. The pads can be peeled off and reused over 100 times. Such materials could be used to attach TVs to a wall, make robots that scuttle up walls and windows, and hold together computer and car parts.

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Projecting Desk Lamp Shares Workspace

Microsoft Research shows a very simple but compelling way to share your physical local desktop with a remote one.

The project called IllumiShare integrated a camera and a small projector into a desk lamp. This device allows to overlay the image captured from a remote desktop over your own as a projection.

A Touch Screen with Texture

Touch screens are ubiquitous today. But a common complaint is that the smooth surface just doesn’t feel as good to use as a physical keypad. While some touch-screen devices use mechanical vibrations to enhance users’ experiences of virtual keypads, the approach isn’t widely used, mainly because mechanical vibrations are difficult to implement well, and they often make the entire device buzz in your hand, instead of just a particular spot on the screen.

Now, engineers from three different groups are proposing a type of tactile feedback that they believe will be more popular than mechanical buzzing. Called electrovibration, the technique uses electrical charges to simulate the feeling of localized vibration and friction, providing touch-screen textures that are impossible to simulate using mechanical actuators.

Their touch panel is made of transparent electrodes on a glass plate coated with an insulating layer. By applying a periodic voltage to the electrodes via connections used for sensing a finger’s position on the screen, the researchers were able to effectively induce a charge in a finger dragged along the surface. By changing the amplitude and frequency of the applied voltage, the surface can be made to feel as though it is bumpy, rough, sticky, or vibrating. The major difference is the specially designed control circuit that produces the sensations.

A Finnish company called Senseg has implemented electrovibration in touch screens and closed deals with three companies to incorporate the technology into products.

Tiny Robot Assembles Itself

Inspired by childrens pop-up books researchers at Harvard developed a new rapid fabrication technique.

The ingenious layering and folding process enables the rapid fabrication of not just microrobots, but a broad range of electromechanical devices.

In prototypes, 18 layers of carbon fiber, Kapton (a plastic film), titanium, brass, ceramic, and adhesive sheets have been laminated together in a complex, laser-cut design. The structure incorporates flexible hinges that allow the three-dimensional product—just 2.4 millimeters tall—to assemble in one movement, like a pop-up book.

Fascinating, and a little bit spooky.