Raytheon-Sarcos prototype is for heavy lifting

What you are seeing here is a modified Ditch Witch from Raytheon-Sarcos, and it is essentially the top half of a Power Loader from Aliens.
As you might have guessed, it gives a user’s upper arms superhuman strength. In case you think you might need crane operator training to operate this, you are wrong. All you need to do is use your own arms, and the metallic arms match.
You can watch the video after the jump, and it shows how easy it is to use. I have no idea how heavy those sheets of metal are, but I’m guessing that you don’t want to haul them without some machinery. I have to admit that I didn’t see the comparison between the movie Real Steel and this, but I would pay to see two of these robot arms fighting it out in real life.

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Could someone please get me a working Portico, please?

When it comes to applications on tablets, developers really have to think outside the box in order to create the next addictive thing. Right now, Microsoft Research, Intel, and the University of Washington are working on the Portico, which allows the user to interact with the world outside of the tablet.
You can watch a video after the jump if you want to see a demonstration, and I highly suggest that you will. You will notice how two simple webcams can allow a stencil of a spaceship to blast asteroids on the screen. In addition to this game, Portico can also allow the player to roll a real soccer ball the size of a golf bar in order to try and get it past a virtual goalie.

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New software helps the visually impaired with their touchscreen

The past half-decade has seen a real touchscreen revolution, as far as mobile phones and tablet PCs are concerned. However, what good is this revolution to the visually impaired?
Fortunately, Adam Duran (a senior at New Mexico State University), Adrian Lew (a Standford mechanical engineering assistant professor), and Sohan Dharmaraja (a doctoral candidate) have created an astounding interface designed specifically for the visually impaired.
You can watch how it works after the jump, and you will see how the user’s fingers set up the keyboard, instead of a user having to find the right keys. You will note in the video how each letter is stated aloud, and how programs can be found audibly.

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I Want SCANDY! To scan my documents with my smartphone!

In case you missed the joke in the title of this posting, it is an allusion to a song called “I Want Candy” by 80’s band Bow Wow Wow.
The SCANDY is a very cool device that allows you to scan a document with a smartphone. This is something that I have done before at libraries. I find that when I do this, I can’t help but feel like a cold war spy snapping pictures of secret documents with my spy camera. Of course, I do it with my smartphone, and it does slide together like those old spy cameras from movies.
It is difficult to hold a smartphone camera steady when taking pictures of documents this way, which is why SCANDY can literally screw in to the side of the table. There is a video of it at my Source if you want to see it in action.

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Boston Dynamics AlphaDog is great robotic mule

The people at Boston Dynamics have created the AlphaDog, a robotic mule that is capable of carrying 400 pounds. Not surprisingly, this project has been developed by DARPA.
I’m guessing that the purpose of the Alpha Dog is to be a robotic beast of burden when the troops are deployed. Now you won’t have to have the soldiers who carry the heavy equipment, as this robo-mule will do it for them.
You should definitely hit the jump to see this Alpha Dog in action, as it is able to manage some pretty rough terrain. Granted, it is being held up by something, but it is enough to show that it could work. DARPA hopes to get a working one of these by 2012.

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Origo, the toy 3D printer that makes more toys

In the future, every household will have a 3D printer like they have a 2D printer. You will note that I didn’t put a year on this, because I’m not stupid. Every time I read a sentence that starts with “by the year” it hardly ever comes true.
However, this Origo 3D printer could bring 3D printers into households sooner than later. The Origo is currently a concept from designers Artur Tchoukanov and Joris Peels, and it can turn any drawing into a 3D object.
I have no idea how it can translate a 2D drawing into a 3D figure, but here is the real cool feature of the Origo. After a child has created his or her toy, he or she can recycle the material and make another toy.

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RePro3D system lets users play with and touch digital 3D characters

This is the RePro3D system, and it is under development by Keio University in Japan.
My Source calls it a miniature holodeck, but I don’t believe that this is an accurate description. You can see in the video after the jump what it actually is, and it combines several technologies.
The user looks into this box, and projectors create a naked-eye 3D fairy character. An infrared camera tracks the users hands, and that device that you see in the photo is for haptic feedback. It reminds me of those devices we discussed yesterday that could be used for virtual video game stabbings and shootings.

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This concept aircraft carrier is mostly made of ice

During World War II, there were a lot of technologies proposed that seem outlandish by today’s standards.
One of them was by a British inventor named Geoffrey Pike, who wanted to build an aircraft carrier that was mostly composed of ice. He wanted to build it using Pykrete, a material that is 86 percent ice and 14 percent sawdust.
You might be thinking that the only place to build a carrier made of ice would be in Arctic regions. There might not be a reason to defend this cold area, but this ice carrier is actually made for warmer waters, too. Yes, it would begin to melt, but it can be repaired while at sea using the waters around it. Don’t ask me how it is supposed to do that.

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This gaming technology shows what it feels like to get shot or stabbed

I have seen video-game accessories that give the user haptic feedback in the form of small vibrations, to indicate that he or she has been hit.
This research group at the University of Electro-Communication takes it one step further as it wants to show users what it is like to be stabbed or shot.
I don’t believe that this is done in a way that actually feels as painful as being stabbed or shot, but the effect is done with vibration. Here’s how it works: if two separate points on the skin are stimulated in the same way at the same time, then it can occasionally feel like the space in between these points of contact is touched.

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Razer courts Xbox 360 community with ultimate arcade stick

Razer is an old hand when it comes to rolling out gaming peripherals, and you know by their pedigree that they do follow a no-nonsense procedure when churning out quality products. Well, this time around, it would be the Xbox 360 community who is set to benefit from what Razer has in mind – the company recently introduced a major closed beta program that intends to encourage community feedback on the design of a highly-customizable arcade stick for the Xbox 360.
Yes sir, it sounds as though Razer wants to endow Xbox 360 owners with an arcade stick that is set to stand the test of time – design-wise as well as in terms of build. This arcade stick will be developed with pro-gamer feedback, where it currently resides at the prototype stage.

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