Oliver Kreylos, the Kinect-hacking pioneer who you might remember from our earlier roundups, can't seem to stop pushing the Kinect's 3-D holographic capabilities. This newest hack involves two Kinect sensors, a virtual office, and, improbably, a Nintendo Wii controller, but the end result is pretty amazing: Holographic video chat in full 3-D.
There are a lot of ways to use your old iPhone around the house, even without a contract
By Adam Pash
Posted 12.15.2010 at 1:11 pm 1 Comment
If your old iPhone’s been sitting neglected on your desk since you upgraded to a shiny new iPhone 4, you’re not taking full advantage of the exceptionally capable handheld device you still have at your disposal. That old iPhone may not have all the same raw power, but you’ll still want to keep it around to take advantage of apps and functions that help you in your home. Plus, even without a cell plan, you can keep it as a backup to make calls. Here are three uses for the still-viable gadget.
The holidays are here again, and with them all the usual trappings: joy, good cheer, and the crippling fear that someone might be harboring explosives in his or her nether regions. But don’t let the TSA bogart all the intrusive holiday fun; you can build your own handheld microwave body scanner at home, ensuring the safety of your holiday guests. All you need is a feedhorn for a satellite dish, an optical mouse, and a handful of other low-cost parts.
This new Microsoft Kinect hack might have the most appeal for the DARPA set. Researchers at the Hybrid Systems Laboratory at UC Berkeley mounted a Kinect sensor atop their Ascending Technologies Pelican quadrotor UAV, mapping the copter’s surroundings so it can avoid obstacles while traveling along a predetermined, programmed path.
Today in Microsoft Kinect hacks, we've got quite possibly the first musical instrument to be transformed into a gesture-controlled facsimile of itself. It's one of the only instruments that can really be brought over without losing either the method or the soul of the original, since the original instrument is played with gestures in the air as well. I'm talking, of course, about the theremin, the favorite instrument of nerds worldwide.
You didn't think the enthusiasm for hacking the Kinect to make it do variously useful and silly things was going to end after two weeks, did you? It's just going to get better, so let's recap with two of the coolest new hacks. One makes you invisible, and one gives you the power of a certain mustachioed plumber.
Microsoft's Kinect is amazing. The first time you try the "crank that" Soulja Boy dance on Dance Central, or slam a ping-pong ball in Kinect Sports using only your awkward, flailing arms--those are moments of sheer futuristic glee. The Kinect, as we noted in our review, is definitely lacking in must-have games, but the potential of Kinect is way bigger than merely video games.
A veteran designer of Lego robots (he built one that plays Connect Four), Indiana programmer Steve Hassenplug was looking for something still grander. When he watched the first Harry Potter movie with his kids—the one with the magic chessboard and eight-foot-high knights—he knew he had found it. The massive “Monsterchess” set he created from more than 100,000 Lego pieces, however, required plenty of wizardry of its own.
The first time Marc DeVidts attended Dragon*Con, a sci-fi convention sometimes known as Nerdi Gras, he felt distinctly underdressed amid all the aliens and space travelers. He decided to outdo them the next time with a project tailor-made for the event’s late-night, darkened dance floors: an LED-laced, iPhone-controlled, all-white suit that flashes light patterns in time with the music. Travolta, meet Tron.
What happens when life takes you somewhere that lacks Internet access or electricity, but you need to use your computer? Whether you’re faking out your boss while on a long fishing trip, or suffering through an extended power outage, there are times when laptop batteries won’t cut it. That’s when this portable solar office setup comes in handy. With a few off-the-shelf parts, you’ll have continuous juice and Wi-Fi anywhere there’s sun and a cellphone signal.
There are a few perks to my job as a mad scientist, and one of them, as I recently learned, is being able to tell my colleagues that I can’t attend their terribly important meeting because I’m going to set my hand on fire.
In the movies, people on fire stumble out of burning buildings all the time. If you look closely, however, you’ll notice that they are almost always fully dressed, and that they tend to keep moving. These are two important factors that make the stunt much easier.
By Jorge Sierra
Posted 10.14.2010 at 4:19 pm 0 Comments
Whether you’re a traveling salesman or a globetrotting superspy, there are times when you’re on the road but wish you had all your familiar applications with you. To get all the features you’re used to, carry them on a flash drive that you can plug into someone else’s computer.
By Adam Pash
Posted 10.14.2010 at 2:10 pm 0 Comments
It’s time to stop thinking of TVs and computers as separate entities. Practically anything you want to watch, listen to, or play on your TV set can be found in a digital format, and the most convenient place to store it is all together on one hard drive. But whether you’re ripping CDs and DVDs to your drive or downloading media files, there still aren’t a lot of tools that let you manage everything by just pointing your remote at your TV.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.