In between the newest line of Amazon Kindles,the upcoming iPhone 5 announcement, and the ever-increasing ubiquity of cameras and video game consoles, it's safe to say that we're living in the golden age of gadgets. For all the purposes they serve, our little devices reflect a singular priority among gadget geeks and newbies alike: sleekness. Few things make a gadget more desirable than beautifully packaged convenience.
Of course, the definition of "sleek" is relative to what's available for purchase. Nowadays, the 15-inch MacBook Pro is considered heavy at 5.6 pounds, but in the early 1920s, Corona's seven pound typewriter garnered praise for being lightweight. And even though the mid-nineties weren't that long ago, it's still amusing to see movie characters from that decade whip out cell phones the size of frying pans. If you enjoy comically large portable devices as much as we do, you're in luck because we've collected several more examples from our archives.
If you have a smartphone, odds are you've experienced those few seconds of horror after your precious (and pricey) gadget slips out of your hands. You flail and grab, arms akimbo, in a vain attempt to save your phone from certain destruction — or at least certain scratching. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about.
Not content to let his phone suffer, and apparently not a fan of cases, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had another idea: An autonomous airbag or propulsion system that can safeguard a phone.
A new mobile app turns your cell phone into a 3-D scanner, stitching together overlapping snapshots to render a 3-D model of any object. A smooth 3-D model of a car, which can be turned and spun in any direction, would take about 40 snapshots; a model of a guitar took only eight.
Cell phones speed up brain activity, especially in regions of the brain near the phone’s antenna during a long phone call, according to researchers from the National Institutes of Health. The meaning and potential health impacts of these changes are unknown, but they show conclusively that cell phone radiation is capable of altering brain activity.
If you could put all the data in the world onto CDs and stack them up, the pile would stretch from the Earth to beyond the moon, according to a new study. The world’s technological infrastructure has a staggering capacity to store and process information, reaching 295 exabytes in 2007, a reflection of the world’s almost complete transition into the digital realm. That's a number with 20 zeroes behind it, in case you're wondering.
The Obama administration is considering disabling cell phones in American cars, aiming to cut down on distracted drivers and cell-phone-related road deaths.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the nation’s preeminent anti-distracted-driving crusader, said in an interview on MSNBC yesterday that federal officials are looking at technology to disable cell phones inside cars.
High-risk patients can lose hours and thousands of dollars to in-hospital heart monitoring, but now physicians can regularly check in from afar. German cellphone maker H'andy's Sana 210 needs only 30 seconds to measure heart rhythm and send it to a doctor. When your heart moves, it sends electricity through your body; the Sana uses the same electric sensors as a hospital electrocardiogram (ECG) to record those pulses through your fingertips.
Cambridge, UK, firm Input Dynamics is trying to take the bite out of iPhone envy with a new software fix that turns any “dumbphone” into a touchscreen device. But it doesn’t just turn the tiny screen on that old push-button handset into a touch-sensitive surface. Requiring no additional hardware, the system uses acoustic technology to turn every inch of a phone’s casing into touch-sensitive real estate.
When you think about it, it's ridiculous to spend the effort lugging around spare batteries, hand-cranked chargers, piezoelectric gadgets, and all the other half-baked solutions we depend on to resuscitate a dead phone. There's a potent supply of free power just waiting to be tapped, right above our heads. No, not the sun -- overhead power lines.
Cell phones come with all kinds of applications these days, but researchers at MIT have developed one with the power to change more than just a Facebook status. Using a small plastic lens that clips to a cell phone screen, the software can determine a person’s vision prescription on the spot, making quick, inexpensive diagnoses of refractive vision errors a reality, especially in remote areas of the world.