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Taiwan's biggest media group, the United Daily News has partnered up with a revolutionary augmented browser firm called Aurasma to create the worlds first augmented national daily newspaper. Images, editorials and advertising are all interactive by simply placing your mobile device's camera over the piece.

United Daily News have around one million readers daily and all will now be able to use Aurasma to create multimedia experiences from their newspaper. Launched in July this year, Aurasma has had over two million downloads to date on both Apple devices and high-powered Android phones. The technology works by using cutting edge image and pattern recognition technology to recognise real world images and objects.

Users of the service can access interactive content such as videos and animations by simply pointing their camera towards the image. Such symbols that I have tried out so far are a Diet Coke logo, 'The Who' album cover and even a Tottenham Hotspurs football shirt.

Martina King, Managing Director of Aurasma, said, "Look at any newspaper today and chances are advertising inside will be carrying the 'A' logo - identifying to readers that it is Aurasma enabled. It is an incredible achievement just fourth months after our launch.'

The Application is available for free on both Android market and the App store as a lite version. It features different features that can be used on logos as well as global locations which include the Empire State Building and Big Ben.

This technology is really interesting and can be used as a bit of light hearted fun but it could also have a lot of real world implications. Using it in Educational purposes, for medical students, in mechanical or engineering situations. There are so many opportunities for one piece of technology.

Pocket mirrors are so last decade. If you want to look pixel-perfect these days, you need to get yourself in front of an augmented reality cosmetic mirror.

It's the latest craze to hit Tokyo malls; you sit yourself down in front of the Shiseido-built mirror, and by judging you skin tone, it makes recommendations on what make-up you should wear, overlaying virtual previews onto your face.

Judging from the video there's still a bit of work needed here though. Not on the model, you cheeky so and so, but rather on the tech itself. Rather than properly showing what she would look like with the recommended make up, it instead makes it look like her eyes have been gouged-out, King Lear-style.

Bet you weren't expect a Shakespearean reference when you hit this link, huh?

Via: CScout Japan

CES 2010: Final Thoughts


las vegas sign.jpgThe Consumer Electronics show, the behemoth of tech, the Valhalla of gadgetry, has come and gone for yet another year. But this time, rather than arriving with a bang, it slinked into sight with something more like a whimper.

CES 2010 had really had the wind knocked out of it before it had even got into the ring this year. All eyes were already on Apple and their rumoured Tablet in the run up to the event, despite the fact that Apple are traditionally a no-show at CES, instead planning their own top-secret unveiling at the end of January. Likewise, Google delivered a sucker-punch in the shape of the Nexus One, their flagship handset revealed at their own event on the eve of CES 2010's opening.


To make matter's worse, Microsoft's opening keynote speech (delivered by walking personality drain Steve Ballmer) was pretty darn dull. First a power cut, then a load of waffle on the 2 month old Windows 7, Ballmer hardly seemed to be trying to keep our attention. Though the Christmas release date for Project Natal was welcome news, it revealed nothing new about the device, whilst the partnership with Hewlett Packard for the new Slate device seemed merely like a case of keeping-up with the Joneses. Or should that be the Jobs-es?

But the Las Vegas event wasn't without its highlights. Far from it in fact. Maybe it's the recession, or the generally pocket-pinching mood in the air these days, but for once the most sought after tech wasn't in the realms of dreamy aspiration, but was actually fairly affordable.

Take for instance the brand new 3D TVs on show, of which the Sony BRAVIA XBR-52HX900 (video above, courtesy of Ashley) was the pick of the litter. Finally shaping up to the standards set by its cinema siblings, company reps promised that the average 3D TV will cost little more than a top-end Full HD set. Skype and video calling in many TV sets too will help turn your living room into somewhere the Jetsons could only dream of.

E-readers are also looking to be both big and affordable in 2010. As a comic book fanatic I'd have liked to have seen more attempts at a colour screened e-reader (I'm not including the MSI offering, which is really just a dual-touch screened PC, super-cool as it is). Plastic Logic's Que Pro e-reader looked great though, with a massive, durable screen, and was far lighter than the hundreds of books you'd be able to store on the tabloid-sized device.

There were, of course, tablets aplenty. The dual-booting Viliv P3 may be an underdog in the category, but seemed way more exciting than Microsoft's offering. The offer of both Windows and Android on the same device showed a respect for user choice not often seen in the back-slapping world of consumer tech.

There was still time for fun too. The Parrot AR Drone Quadricopter was fun and fresh, combining real-world toys with augmented reality controls. A little less high-tech but full of retro-chic was the Lasonic i931 iPhone dock/ghetto blaster mash-up. Odd's on its at the top of Flava Flav's Christmas list. And there was still some time for the weird and the plain old dumb, too.

light touch.jpg

Though less prevalent than other years, there were some great examples of brand new tech on show that were genuinely exciting. A real head-turner and my favourite item of the show was the Light Blue Optic Light Touch. Using a pico projection engine and a touch sensitive sensor, it'll turn any flat surface into a touchscreen. It works ridiculously well despite still being in the development stages, and has almost unlimited potential.

Some detractors say that, recession or not, CES looks to be on its last legs. It's sad, but not unlikely, when you consider the audiences that companies like Apple and Google can command for just a single product launch. However, for emerging companies like Light Blue Optics CES is still vital to gain some exposure, not to mention the fact that such a prominent date in the calendar forces the tech giants to have made some significant, competitive advances in their gear, year-on-year.

So here's hoping the old dog's got a bit of life left in it yet. Hopefully next year will kick off the recessionary cobwebs and kick the show back into high-tech gear. It wouldn't take much to tempt us back to the City of Sin once more.

Click here for full CES 2010 pre-show, day one, day two and day three round-ups.

CES 2010: Day 3 Round-Up

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ces 2010 day three.jpgAnother day, another Tech Digest CES 2010 round-up. Fancy Tweeting hands-free in your car or controlling your PC by breathing? Check today's top stories below and find out how.

Twitter coming to Ford cars
The digital equivalent of drink-driving?

Motorola announce Backflip Android Phone
Hinged smartphone is Motorola's big CES 2010 offering

Ion launch the iType full QWERTY keyboard add-on for the iPhone

Making the portable unwieldy

Vuzix demo Wrap 920AR Augmented Reality visor
Turning your trip to the shops into a scene out of Robocop

Zyxio's new breathing-based PC controller, the Sensawaft
Affordable accessibility gadget, perfect for disabled PC users

3D gaming headed to the Palm family
Apple isn't the only mobile now capable of some hardcore gaming action

Is the Viliv P3 the underdog tablet to look out?
Dual-booting tablet is looking very tasty indeed

Razer and Sixense bring motion gaming to the PC
But will it catch on within the incredibly competitive PC gaming peripheral market?

UK getting the Dell Mini 3i
Android phone hitting UK shores in the not-so-distant-future

Video- Armour Home Q2 Tilt Internet radio
Innovative and simple radio from Brit-based Armour

Video - "World's smallest Windows PC" the UMID M Book 1
It makes a gnat's bum look big. Well...not quite. But you get the idea

Video- Casio's Digital Art Frame
Making all those dodgy Facebook snaps look good

Video - The coolest retro iPhone hi-fi ever, Lasonic's i931
Bring 80's boom box street-chic bang up to date

Video - Toshiba's Cell TV that is controlled by hand gestures
Innovative tech, but it makes you look a bit of an idiot; not sure I want a work out in front of the telly

Video - Sony's BRAVIA XBR-52HX900 3D TV

Their flagship 3D set is a stunner

Video - Panasonic's 3D camera
Bet the adult-entertainment industry cant wait to get its mitts on this one

Click here for more CES 2010 coverage from Tech Digest

Tech Digest at CES is sponsored by Best Buy. For more CES stories and videos go here

vuzix ar visor.jpgAugmented reality is set to be massive this year, with smartphone apps the likely first stop off point for most. But holding up your iPhone's camera is a bit rubbish compared to the Vuzix Wrap 920AR Augmented Reality Visor. Now you too can see the world just the same as Robocop did!

According to Vuzix: "users can view the real-world environment and computer-generated imagery seamlessly mixed together; allowing video game characters to jump out of the TV and come to life in your living room, or magazines and books with animated links back to the web in real time."

In other words the world around you gets overlaid with maps, Facebook profiles, timetables, review, prices and more if you're wearing these specs.

Keep a robotic eye out for this in the Spring, expected to cost around £500.

A little off topic, but anyone agree that Robocop was the most violent film of all time? Sorry, just a case of CES-induced madness kicking in...

Via: Shiny Shiny

Click here for more CES 2010 coverage from Tech Digest

Tech Digest at CES is sponsored by Best Buy. For more CES stories and videos go here CEO Thom Kidrin seems like a rather opportunistic chap. He has a patent on a "scalable virtual world client-server chat system" and a "system and method for enabling users to interact in a virtual space" that he claims any massively-multiplayer game is infringing.

His first target has been NCSoft, a Koreak publisher that's responsible for the fantastic-but-aging City of Heroes, and the no-subscription-fee Guild Wars. If that litigation is successful, then Thom says he "absolutely" intends to follow up with lawsuits against Activision-Blizzard and Linden Lab, who run World of Warcraft and Second Life respectively.

Thom says he doesn't want anyone to go out of business, he just wants to be paid for his intellectual property. It's going to be difficult for him to prove this one, though, given that these patents were filed in 1996 and 2000, and that most virtual worlds can trace their roots back much further than that, to MUDs, MUCKs, MOOs and MUSHes that date from the 80s.

We'll keep an eye on this story and report back any developments, because victory in court for Kidrin could see the fledgling virtual worlds industry being cut down in its infancy.

(via Silicon Alley Insider, WoW Insider and Massively)

Circulafloor is a set of four tiles that can intelligently position themselves so that you never fall off, but remain in one place. It's an interesting idea, and not one that hasn't come up before, though this one seems to have a long way to go before it's ready for production.

Looks like you've got to walk really rather slowly for starters, and I wouldn't trust it if I saw the thing first. You never know, though, if this ends up a little more practical, with more tiles, it could be a winner.

(via Dvice)

internet-addiction.jpgDo the Daily Mail and its online counterpart write these stories to create outrage or just as a way of wowing with sensationalist nonsense? Perhaps it doesn't matter, because it must work both ways. On the one hand, these kinds of stories sell papers/attract traffic and on the other hand it brings them publicity. Well, I'm sitting here writing about it, aren't I?

So, today's pile of old toot is about the possible link between social networking and cancer. Oh really.

Now, I feel rather sorry for psychologist Dr Aric Sigman who mainly talks about how using Facebook and MySpace causes a decrease in face-to-face social interaction and how that might lead to socio-psychological issues.

The husband in question is John Best, 34, who, if you ever believe what the News of the World says, was using his laptop in bed - while his wife was asleep - to indulge in a bit of M2M action in Second Life.

He had a great excuse for doing it. He said "it wasn't real life" which, to be fair, is 100% correct. Here's the NotW's superb visual representation of the story...


"I couldn't sleep a wink the rest of the night wondering whether this meant he was betraying me or not - that he'd rather have gay sex on Second Life than have sex with me," said pained Lisa, her pain probably lessened a bit by the money the newspaper's paying for the story.

So, what do you think? Is having sex in Second Life cheating? And if you're a man and doing it with a man, does it make you gay? Or doesn't it count? Is it all just a game? I've played Mario quite a bit and it certainly hasn't made me a plumber, for example.

(Via NotW)

Related posts: Second Life FILM? | Previous SL sex/divorce shame

You might remember Vuzix from the VR920s that I reviewed back in October. They were bulky, unresponsive, and difficult to configure. These, however, look like a different kettle of fish. Specifically, a kettle of fish shaped like a pair of really nice sunglasses.

As well as the design getting a massive kick up the arse, the new glasses should also feature improved screens with considerably better immersiveness than the older model. The glasses unveiled at CES will be the non-interactive 'watch-videos-on-your-ipod' version, but here's hoping that an interactive gaming model like the VR920 will be released shortly after with the necessary built-in accelerometers.

(via Gadget Lab)

Related posts: SHINY VIDEO REVIEW: Vuzix iWear VR920 | Vuzix announces widescreen virtual reality glasses

second-life-movie.jpgVariety is reporting that director Gore Verbinski is working on a film about virtual world Second Life. Universal Pictures will be releasing it, and it'll be based on this article from the Wall St Journal in 2007.

I'm worried. Worried in the same way that I was worried when I saw Twister, and The Day After Tomorrow. Worried because Hollywood has a tradition of aggressively reinforcing stereotypes, mercilessly mocking what it sees as 'geeks', and bending the truth to fit what middle America wants to happen.

If you live by the sword, you die by the sword, or divorce by it in this case.

Poor old Amy Taylor, 28, of Cornwall, has filed for separation proceedings against her husband of three years after catching him red-moused having a virtual affair in Second Life. The sword analogy comes in because it was online where she met him in the first place.

maple-story.jpgLet's be clear here, before we start. No physical harm has come to anyone here, so before you get all "omg wtf computer games make people violent", think again. A Japanese lady has been jailed after she hacked into a game called "Maple Story", and 'killed' her virtual husband's avatar.

The woman in question was "married" ingame to the man, but was so enraged following a sudden unexpected "divorce" that she used the man's credentials to log in to his account and delete his avatar. The man complained to police when he discovered that his character had been 'killed'.

These are the rather disappointing Vuzix iWear gaming glasses. Sure, they make you look like Geordi LaForge, but that's the only upside, because they don't install right on Vista 64, don't calibrate properly, and don't recognise that I've got my games on another partition in XP.


The British Library has started a monumental project: to put a number of the rare books stored in its archives online, so that anyone can virtually thumb through them from the comfort of their home, and without the worry that they'll get grubby finger smudges or jam on the delicate, highly valuable pages.

So far, around twenty books have been added to the Turning the Pages project, including rare religious texts, Jane Austen's early work, the first atlas of Europe, Diamond Sutra, printed in China in 868, Lewis Carroll's original "Alice in Wonderland", sketches by Leonardo da Vinci, and Mozart's musical diary.

Can you afford a 62" telly? No you can't. Can you afford a 62" telly that moves WITH YOUR HEAD? No, you can't. But neither can this guy, and he's got off his arse and found a solution:


He has not sold his eyes to experimental science; he's bought a pair of Vuzix iWear VR920s (and spent the rest of his money on a lady who can do something quite incredible with her tongue, by the looks of it). The Vuzix iWear VR920s are a set of virtual reality glasses that simulates the effect of watching a 62" screen being viewed from 8.5 feet away. Immersive, even if the inability to see what's happening around you is somewhat hazardous.

gibson_guitar_second_life.jpgLegendary guitar maker Gibson has created its own island in Second Life, making it the first major music manufacturer to do so.

The island launched last Wednesday with an exclusive live performance by Bob Welch.

Perhaps predictably, the island is shaped like a Gibson Les Paul guitar, and features humbucker mountains, theatres, mini-theatres, and guitar-related objects.

Over the next few months, the island will play host to a number of concerts, including blues performances by Matt Murphy and Howlin' Wolf.

(Via MI Pro)

Related posts: Second Life on mobiles | Sussex University on Second Life

Two metres across. Six metal legs. A blank humanoid face with cold, unfeeling black eyes. Tubes. Pistons. If you've ever had a nightmare about a robot from the future tracking you down because of what your children will do several years from now, chances are it looked a bit like one of these.


The Stelarc creation uses ultrasound to minimise the embarrassment most robots face of bumping endlessly into walls, the "head" LCD screen rotates to look at any human in the vicinity, and it will, one day, be able to talk to you. If only to ask you to confirm your name before it blasts your brains out.

Quite nice, but not quite as impressive as BIG DOG. BIG DOG will CRUSH ALL.

(Via GW)

Related posts: "1.5-metre long climbing robotic snake" | Seeing BIG DOG never gets boring

Social Networking, Virtual Worlds - both expressions that set dollar signs glinting in any media corporation's mind. We've been hearing for a while that Google was planning its own answer to Second Life and so yesterday, just after lunch, it went ahead and launched one. I know; it's like they don't even have a PR department.

The service is called Lively. Google kindly provided a low definition, slightly jerky video of it, saving us the bother of recording our own footage:


A patent filed by Apple suggests they could be looking to building a virtual shopping complex where customers, represented by avatars, can shop and interact with one another and with staff.

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