Question: What’s the only (non-gimmicky) photographic filter that can’t be duplicated in software? That’s right, you smart genius you! It’s the polarizer. A polarizer will do two things for your photography: it’ll increase the saturation of the colors in your pictures, and it’ll cut out unwanted reflections from glass and water. And Photojojo will now sell you one that’ll clip right onto your iPhone.
You like robots? You’re gonna love this. This is an iPad app all about robots. Just robots, nothing but robots, loads and loads and loads of robots. It’s made of robots, in the same way we are made of meat. It’s fantastic.
Researchers in the UK have put together a prototype wrist-worn sensor that turns your own hand into a 3D movement controller for almost any device you can think of.
Experts from Newcastle University and the Cambridge-based Microsoft Research used off-the-shelf parts to assemble a sensor that straps to your wrist and detects movement of your arm, hand and fingers. There’s no need for any external sensor, nor for line-of-sight to the device you’re controlling. Everything’s done using the technology you wear.
Plug in your iPhone or iPad and charge it up, and you’ll notice that while the first 80% or so will go by pretty fast, they actually kind of suck at charging up that last 20%, taking a lot more time to do so than it feels like they should.
There’s a reason for this. Charging batteries up to “full” is a complicated process. There’s no real way to tell if a battery is completely “full” so all you can do is measure the voltage, which (and this is a vast simplification) tells you how much resistance is being met when you try to put more electricity into the battery.
That’s why it takes so long for an iPhone to charge that last 20%. It charges full blast until it measures a certain voltage, then goes into what’s called “trickle mode” to slowly allow small sips of electricity into the battery until it thinks, based upon some software calculations, that the battery is more or less full. But a new algotihm could make the time it takes to charge your iPhone or iPad go by a lot faster.
When I was a cub scout, I made my own backyard weather station. It was to get my science badge, or weather nerd badge, or whatever, and it mainly consisted of counting the millimeters of rain in a jamjar with an oversized plastic funnel perched on the top. And there was always rain: This was England.
If I’d had access to the wonderful technology of today, though, I could have stayed in watching TV and let the Netatmo do the work for me. The Netatmo is a weather station for both indoors and outdoors, and is sold as something that will stop you from worrying about your children and — therefore — the future.
What resolution is Retina resolution? 220 ppi (like the new MacBook Pro)? 264 ppi (like the iPad 3)? Or the amazing 326 ppi found on the iPhone?
What about 10,000 ppi? That’s the resolution of an image printed by researchers at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research in Singapore. It’s the picture you see above which, at just 50 x 50 microns, is the same size as a single pixel on an Apple Retina display.
Pop quiz: what color is the mirror inside your camera? If you answered “No color. It’s a mirror. What the hell are you on about this time, Sorrel?” then you’re dead wrong. Kinda. It turns out that mirrors are ever-so-slightly green.
Imagine that you could just point your iPhone’s camera at your baby and it would immediately tell you his vital signs: heartbeat and so on. Or that you could fire up an app and it could pick out tiny, invisible movements from what looks like a still video. Using a process called Eulerian Video Magnification, boffins at MIT are doing this already.
You’ve seen Stephen Spielberg’s film, Minority Report, right? Tom Cruise’s character stands in front of virtual screens, puts on a pair of gloves, and manipulates the data and the memories without touching a thing. Well, the super brains at MIT’s media lab have taken the first step toward that reality, using Apple’s magical device as a display screen and a special glove/attachment combo to interact with it.
The video the group has released shows some pretty fancy stuff, drawing objects in 3D real time, and then manipulating them in collaboration with others. There’s even some slick Minority Report-style interface there, with researches moving red and blue rectangles around in the virtual space they’ve created on the iPad.
If, like many people, you find Mondays just too much to cope with, you might want to avoid today’s app. It’s not the sort of thing that’s going to make your Monday feel any better, and in some cases it will just fry your brain until next Monday. Which would be a shame, because you’d miss out on a whole weekend.
Be forewarned, then: The Fourth Dimension is an app which will mess with your head. Deliberately. Even though the aim is education and expansion of knowledge, it will still mess with your head. You will emerge from the experience only fractionally the wiser, and quite a lot more confused than you were at the beginning. Don’t worry, this is perfectly normal.