This adorable robot wants to make air travel less stressful

See the original posting on The Verge

Finding your way through an airport can be an infuriating task. With cancellations, delays, and gate switches, you could find yourself running in circles forever before you board. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines wants to help make that jaunt from security to your gate a little less hectic with a little blue robot.

The robot, Care-E, will meet you at the security checkpoint and take you wherever you need to go with your carry-on luggage on its back. To start your trip with the robot, it will prompt you to scan your boarding pass through nonverbal sounds and cues on its screen. KLM will launch the device at New York’s JFK and San Francisco’s International airports before the company decides if it will provide the service elsewhere.

Care-E moves…

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Nap lounge opens in New York City

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Mattress company Casper opened The Dreamery in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. For $25, you get a 45 minute session in one of the nap pods. You can even borrow a pair of pajamas for your snooze. And of course after you pay for this demo of Casper mattresses, you can buy your very own at their shop just around the corner! From The Dreamery:

Uniquely designed for rest, each Nook is a perfectly private, quiet pod with the most comfortable bed imaginable (a Casper mattress, of course). All bedding is freshly laundered for each new dreamer.

The Nook also features:

• Auto-fading lights
• A pendant light for reading
• Sound absorbing back wall
• Ventilation for airflow
• A bedside shelf with outlets

(via Uncrate)

Getting the Lead Out of Lithium Battery Recycling

See the original posting on Hackaday

When that fateful morning comes that your car no longer roars to life with a quick twist of the key, but rather groans its displeasure at the sad state of your ride’s electrical system, your course is clear: you need a new battery. Whether you do it yourself or – perish the thought – farm out the job to someone else, the end result is the same. You get a spanking new lead-acid battery, and the old one is whisked away to be ground up and turned into a new battery in a nearly perfect closed loop system.

Contrast this …read more

A Microwave Erector Set

See the original posting on Hackaday

RF design isn’t always easy, especially at higher frequencies. Despite improvements in simulation tools, there’s still no substitute for prototyping and trying out different things. That wasn’t so bad when that meant nailing some nails in a piece of wood and wiring up discrete components. But at today’s microwave frequencies and with today’s IC packaging that simply doesn’t work. Solving this problem is what drives a company called X-Microwave. They have a standard grid pattern PCB for a wide range of RF circuits and accessories to tie them all together. Probably the best way to get a feel for the …read more

Netflix experiments with promoting its shows on the login screen

See the original posting on TechCrunch

Netflix is testing a new way to promote its original shows – right on the login screen. A company spokesperson confirmed the streaming service is currently experimenting with a different login screen experience which replaces the black background behind users’ names and profile thumbnails with full-screen photos promoting a Netflix Original series or special, like […]

An AnandTech Exclusive: The Jim Keller Interview

See the original posting on Anandtech

You asked for it, and we were able to get 30 minutes with the big man himself. Jim Keller falls into the rockstar category of engineers: lots of ideas with vision and a very successful record. Jim has been able to turn a product market around by leading processor design teams, such as with Apple’s A4 and A5 processors, or AMD’s K8 and Zen microarchitectures. Recently he was hired by Intel as the Senior Vice President of the Silicon Engineering Group, with an emphasis on SoC design and integration, although not much more was said, leaving everyone to scratch their heads as to exactly what projects fall under his remit. With Intel’s money and design at his fingertips, we asked Jim what exactly his role now entails, how he is integrating into Intel, and what the plans are for the future.

Carmaker claims these weird-looking glasses eliminate motion sickness

See the original posting on Boing Boing

I get horrible motion sickness sometimes, so I’d LOVE to believe that these glasses actually do what they claim.


The engineers at Citroën have apparently thrown almost 100 years of French design refinement out the window with a new product you don’t drive, but will improve your motoring experience. The carmaker’s new Seetroën glasses won’t win you any style points, but Citroën claims the glasses will eliminate any motion sickness you’re feeling after wearing them for just 10 minutes.

…So how are these goofy glasses supposed to alleviate the problem? The frames feature something called Boarding Ring technology, developed by a company of the same name, which is marketing-talk for ‘they’re filled with liquids that are free to slosh around’. The Seetroën glasses have four liquid-filled rings that, thanks to gravity, simulate the angle and movements of the horizon so that the motions of the blue-dyed liquids seen by the wearer’s eyes match what their inner ear is detecting.

The best part? After about 10-12 minutes you DON’T have to wear them anymore. You’ll have adjusted to the motion and can go about your day looking less nerdy.

A pair will sell for about $115 when they come available.


Help save artist Kal Spelletich’s robots and the future of tech-art

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For 25 years, my friend Kal Spelletich of Seemen and Survival Research Labs has lived and worked in a San Francisco warehouse studio where he’s built myriad robots, fire machines, and sculptures, hosted music, art, and political action events, and provided support for more than 100 other artists, activists, and fringe characters. Guess what. Kal’s been evicted. This is yet another gut punch for the Bay Area’s creative community that inspired so many technologists but is now being eviscerated by today’s big money tech bubble. Kal has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help him push through: Save Kal’s Robots

Rented way back in 1995, my space is was one of the last remaining raw warehouse art spaces and I made it into a home for experimental, non commercial art. I hosted jaw-dropping, fire spewing, ear shattering robot performances, music, noise and art events with the likes of Chris Johanson, Johanna Jackson, Marie Lornez and her epic boat, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Matt Heckert.

I did all this without grants or outside support.

No trust funds, patrons or high paying side jobs here. I passed along the cheap rent.

I provided housing and studios for countless artists, freaks, traveling activists and radical journalists like Trevor Paglen, AC Thompson, Heather Dewey-Hagborg, worked on Survival Research Laboratories shows, and countless others.

My life and warehouse were the inspiration for Rudy Rucker’s sci-fi novel Realware. Another book that wouldn’t have happened without my warehouse is Streetopia.

I ran my studio as an experimental art/live space that housed and supported over 100 other artists and activists. All with NO grants, no outside support, no gallery sales and no renting to tech businesses. In 1995 when I moved in the street was dirt and littered with abandoned cars and homeless everywhere, prostitution rings and the truly disturbed and disadvantaged lurking to rob you.

It was the project that should have never worked: an artist supporting artists by sharing below market rent.

Yet the 25 year run of people, events, exhibits are a testament to art over commerce.
Now, like virtually all other artists in San Francisco, I’m getting evicted.

I will keep making art. I will keep supporting others who make art and are active for change.
Sincere thanks from the bottom of my heart for any support you can offer.

It has been a gift to share my space with so many amazing people. I’m looking ahead to how I can keep doing this for the next 25 years.

Save Kal’s Robots

Game review: Battletech

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As a teenager in the early 1990s, I never really had friends, so much as close acquaintances. I’d see people at school. We’d laugh, maybe skip class from time to time. But I’d never see them on the weekends or in the evening. No one wanted anything to do with me. I was a spooky kid much as I’m now a spooky adult. It was unfortunate, then, that I had a love of tabletop gaming. Battletech was an obsession. Giant robots doing battle with one another on alien worlds? Tanks on legs! What’s not to like? I bought the wee lead miniatures for the game. I painted them up in my mercenary company’s colors. I read the tech manuals for them and the game’s rule books, constantly.

Then, as I had no one to play with, I did nothing, with any of it.

In 1998, I peed a little when a game called MechCommander was released. It let you kit out and command a lance of battlemechs and fight! But it was a real-time strategy—the experience I wanted was that of a table top game. Turns in table top games take time. Rules have to be double checked, movement is counted out in squares or hexes. Nerd country. 20 years later, Harebrained Schemes has finally given me the gaming experience I’ve always wanted with Battletech. It’s a turn-based combat game set in the Battletech universe. There are tanks on legs, there is tech jargon. You can ‘paint’ your ‘mechs in whatever colors you please. Best of all, I don’t need a single person to play the damn thing with.

In the game, which offers enough of a storyline to give the skirmishes you fight in a sense of meaning, you play as the commander of a mercenary company operating in a backwater section of the galaxy. Signing on to assist a former patron retake her rightful place at the head of a sizable interplanetary government, you and your team of mechwarriors will grow in skill and, with luck, come to pilot heavier, more menacing battlemechs as the game progresses. Manage your company’s money, personnel and hardware right, and you’ll succeed. Misstep on any of these and you’re done. It’s a thing of beauty.

Provided you find slow, methodical resource management and combat pretty.

I know I do: I love how the game rewards players for understanding how to leverage the landscape and climate of a given combat zone. That the environment can change how efficiently your mechs operate during combat is a source of sadistic pleasure to me. The game’s UI is full of information—perhaps too much, at times—of what parts of your battlemechs have been damaged, where you’ve damaged the enemy, remaining ammunition, heat buildup in your war machines, whether your pilots have been injured and which weapons can be effectively fired at range. Line of site, indirect fire, blowback or instability caused by enduring a physical attacks—it’s all stuff that needs to be considered during a battle to see who comes out on top. If you do get through a mission with most of your assets intact, you’ll be paid well, be it in salvage of equipment from the field or in currency. Hopefully, it’s enough to keep your mercenary company going for another month.

Overall, I really enjoyed playing BattleTech, with one caveat: my computer is, so far as gaming goes, a piece of crap. On a 2015 MacBook Pro, even while running Windows 10 on Bootcamp, load times and the spaces between turns felt like eras passing me by. That’s not the fault of the game: but I’m mentioning it as a warning to you: Just because your computer can run this game, it doesn’t mean it’ll run it well. That, despite having to turn the graphics all way down, I still stuck with it through its painfully slow gameplay, says a lot about Battletech.

If you’re a fan of the Battletech universe, love turn-based combat or need a break from MMOs or shooters, I recommend it.

Roku wants to make your smart TV sound better with its new Wireless Speakers

See the original posting on The Verge

Roku has long been known for its set-top boxes and Roku TVs, but now, the entertainment company is introducing the Roku TV Wireless Speakers. They’re the Roku’s first pair of wireless speakers that will harness the Roku Connect platform that was announced at CES to link up with your Roku-powered smart TV over Wi-Fi.

The goal of the Roku TV Wireless Speakers isn’t necessarily to compete with ultra high-end home theater setups but with the built-in speakers on your smart TV that tend to be the default option for most users. If you’re the kind of person who obsesses over your sound system, the Roku TV Wireless Speakers probably aren’t for you. They’re more for the sort of person who wishes their movies and music sounded better without…

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The GameCube controller’s A button subtly taught us how to play

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In today’s digital age, it can sometimes feel like hardware has taken a back seat to the software that drives devices. Button of the Month is a new column that will look at some of these buttons and switches on devices both old and new to appreciate how we interact with our devices on a physical, tactile level.

There has never been a controller quite like the one for Nintendo’s GameCube. An asymmetrical, colorful mash of shapes and buttons, the GameCube controller threw caution (and years of conventional logic on how to build a video game controller) to the wind, resulting in a bizarre looking creation that somehow all came together to work.

But the key to it working, at least for me, is the giant, oversized A button that dominated the…

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The Amazon Fire TV and Echo Look are 50 percent cheaper for Prime Day

See the original posting on The Verge

Amazon’s annual Prime Day is here a little earlier than promised. The tech giant kicked off several Echo and Kindle sales this morning, hours before the supposed start time of 12PM PT (3PM ET). As always, the sale is exclusive to those who have an Amazon Prime membership.

Prime Day is a chance to grab products as varied as DNA kits and Instant Pots at significant discounts, but the more well-known draw of Prime Day is discounted Alexa-powered devices and Kindle e-readers.

Certain items like the Fire TV, the Fire TV Stick, and the Echo Look haven’t been 50 percent off before. For those who are looking to buy several Alexa-powered devices and pair them throughout your home for more coverage, there are also several bundles and deals for…

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The final season of ‘Unreal’ debuts on Hulu

See the original posting on TechCrunch

Unreal, the critically-acclaimed series that takes viewers behind the scenes of fictional reality TV show Everlasting, has moved to Hulu . Today’s announcement confirms earlier reports that Hulu was negotiating with A+E Studios to get first dibs on Unreal‘s fourth and final season. The show’s first three seasons aired on Lifetime, with the third season recently […]

On the haute couture runway: Ankle smartphone holsters

See the original posting on Boing Boing

Maison Margiela, the fashion house who made those let’s-make-this-awkward camel-toe pumps, debuted ankle iPhone holsters recently on the Couture Fashion Week runway. Maybe they were going for the modern version of these?

A glimpse at the creative thinking behind our Autumn-Winter 2018 Artisanal Show designed by @jgalliano. He muses on the word 'cool' and shares his observations of Neo-Digital Natives and the influence of the digital landscape on him and his work. And how his memory of Faye Dunaway’s coral pink lipstick is propelled into the collection as a Techno Sorbet. ‘The Memory of… With John Galliano’ available on ITunes via the link in bio. #maisonmargiela #artisanal #artisanalartistry – Music arrangement by Jeremy Healy. Black Saturn, Nicholas Hill, Luciano Ugo Rossi, Glenn Herweijer; Ben Sumner. KPM Music When The Clock Stops, Nikky French. KPM Music Breakacuda, Benjamin Medcalf. Anger Music Circus Caravan MYMA. Justement Music Flight Remembered, Nicholas Hill, Glen Herweijer, Ben Sumner. KPM Music The Arrival, David James Caton, Harry Valentine. Anger Music Etude in e major, Frederic Chopin, Tolga Kashif, KPM Music Warhammer, Darren Mudge. Anger Music

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