Tag Archives | Gadgets

Lucid Dreams Now Available On Demand

RemeeI know one or two people who are able to dream lucidly, often experiencing Out of Body Experiences (OOBEs), more or less whenever they want to. For most of us, though, lucid dreams are something that we can only imagine. A couple of guys from Brooklyn are about to change all that, though, having successfully raised over half a million dollars via the Kickstarter crowd funding platform to create the Remee Mask. Here they explain what it is:

And this is the description on their site:

What is Remee?
In essence, Remee is a specialized sleep mask. You put it on before you go to bed and with practice and determination, it should help increase the number of lucid dreams you have…

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Fork Theremin Expresses Your Eating As Musical Sounds

Created in Japan, an eerie musical instrument that creates synesthesia — the blurring of the line between senses. Different categories such as fried foods, dairy, and vegetables produce different sorts of sounds:

EaTheremine (Eat + Theremin) is a fork-type instrumen that enables users to play various sounds by eating foods. These sounds are changed, according to resistance values of foods attached on the fork.

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Speech-Jamming Gun Unveiled By Japanese Researchers (Video)

SpeechJammerIt’s only a prototype, but if it worked for a longer amount of time, wow. Geeta Dayal writes on Wired’s Underwire:

Two Japanese researchers recently introduced a prototype for a device they call a SpeechJammer that can literally “jam” someone’s voice — effectively stopping them from talking. Now they’ve released a video of the device in action. “We have to establish and obey rules for proper turn-taking,” write Kazutaka Kurihara and Koji Tsukada in their article on the SpeechJammer (PDF). “However, some people tend to lengthen their turns or deliberately disrupt other people when it is their turn … rather than achieve more fruitful discussions.”

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eBook Readers Live in a Different Universe of Books

Bezos Kindle TouchAmazon’s released their list of 2011′s best-selling books, revealing that 40% of the best-selling ebooks didn’t even make it onto their list of the best-selling print books!

The #1 and #2 best-selling ebooks of the year weren’t even available in print editions, while four of the top 10 best-selling print books didn’t make it into the top 100 best-selling ebooks. “It couldn’t be more clear that Kindle owners are choosing their material from an entirely different universe of books,” notes one Kindle site, which points out that five of the best-selling ebooks came from two million-selling ebook authors — Amanda Hocking and John Locke — who are still awaiting the release of their books in print. And five of Amazon’s best-selling ebooks were Kindle-only “Singles,” including a Stephen King short story which actually outsold another King novel that he’d released in both ebook and print formats. And Neal Stephenson’s “Reamde” was Amazon’s #99 best-selling print book of 2011, though it didn’t even make it onto their list of the 100 best-selling ebooks of the year.… Read the rest

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Steve Jobs (Spiritually) Hated Power Switches

60 Minutes had a lengthy interview with Steve Jobs’ handpicked biographer Walter Isaacson (who has authored well received biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein). Video below and here’s an explanation for why your iPad or iPhone is a royal pain to turn off:

Walter Isaacson (Jobs’ biographer): I remember sitting in his backyard in his garden one day and he started talking about God. He said, “Sometimes I believe in God, sometimes I don’t. I think it’s 50–50 maybe. But ever since I’ve had cancer, I’ve been thinking about it more. And I find myself believing a bit more. I kind of — maybe it’s ’cause I want to believe in an afterlife. That when you die, it doesn’t just all disappear. The wisdom you’ve accumulated. Somehow it lives on. The he paused for a second and he said ‘yeah, but sometimes I think it’s just like an on-off switch. Click and you’re gone.’ He said — and paused again, and he said, “And that’s why I don’t like putting on-off switches on Apple devices.”

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Will Librarians Revolt Over Amazon’s Kindle Lending Program?

Amazon Kindle FamilyA California librarian is urging librarians to complain to Amazon over issues with privacy and advertising in Amazon’s new Kindle ebook lending program for libraries. “In our greedy attempt to get content into our users’ hands, we have failed to uphold the highest principle of our profession, which is intellectual freedom,” she argues in a 10-minute video. (Read the transcript here):

Kindle has allowed Amazon to harvest all of this borrowing data, so it’s an instant violation of all of our privacy policies … [I]f they’re using a Kindle, Amazon’s keeping friggin’ everything. And we haven’t told people that, and we need to tell people that.

She argues Amazon’s retention of your reading history may violate, for example, California’s Reader Privacy Act, and she also complains that the check-out and renewal process include unacceptable promotional content about Amazon’s for-sale ebooks. Though she owns a Kindle and loves ebooks, she’s urging librarians to speak up.… Read the rest

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DARPA Tech Invades iPhones Now with Siri

Siri Is Watching

Tim Stevens on Endgadget said this was happening back in ’09. For all those who rushed out to get the new iPhone, if you are using Siri, you are giving a hell lot of personal info to Apple:

Microsoft’s little Clippy, the uppity paperclip who just wanted to help, never got a lick of respect in the ten years he graced the Office suite.

He’s long-since gone, but his legacy lives on through a DARPA project called CALO: the Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes. It’s intended for use to streamline tedious activities by military personnel, like scheduling meetings and prioritizing e-mails, but there are a few non-com spin-offs intended as well, like an iPhone app called Siri due to hit the App Store sometime this year. Siri will have more of a consumer angle, helping to find product reviews and make reservations, but we’re hoping a taste of its military upbringing shines through.

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New Device Lets You See With Your Ears

Photo: Michael Proulx (CC)

Photo: Michael Proulx (CC)

While giving sight to the blind may not be medically possible just yet, we are discovering new ways that allow them to “see.” Discovery News reports:

A new device that links spy glasses, a webcam and a smart phone could make it easier for blind people to “see” shapes by converting visual signals to auditory ones and sending them to another part of the brain.

Its developers also hope that the same device could be used to give a new twist to infrared vision for seeing at night or take sonar to a different level for navigating underwater.

Michael Proulx, a neuroscientist at Queen Mary’s College in London, will be demonstrating the device, know as “vOICe,” at the American Psychological Association meeting this week in Washington.

vOICe works by mapping visual images to sound and then providing blindfolded users with a sense of what an object is and where it is located.

Read the rest

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