tech planet

Friday, 18 January 2013

Get Up Close and Personal with Darth Vader’s TIE Fighter

How many times have you seen Star Wars? I know, I can’t count that high either. Well, here’s your chance to get up close and personal with a TIE Fighter. You can view an amazingly detailed model of Darth Vader’s TIE Fighter in your WebGL-compatible browser. As long as you aren’t using Internet Explorer you should be fine. (IE users can try this plug-in.)
3d TIE Fighter
It is a complete 3D mockup of Vader’s ship – minus The Dark Lord himself. Feel free to spin and zoom to check out every minute detail. Just use the mouse, left-click and drag to rotate. The right-click and drag will pan the view. The mouse wheel zooms in and out. This is the closest you will ever get to standing next to (or inside of) an actual TIE Fighter.
The model was uploaded to the Sketchfab site by user Trigrou. Sketchfab is a service that lets you host and explore 3D objects in several formats. Thanks to WebGL and HTML5, you don’t need any plugins to view it. Pretty awesome, I say.

Stargate Wedding Ring

I love sci-fi, but I just never understood all of the hype about the Stargate franchise. I’m more a Star Trek or Babylon 5 kind of guy. Sure, it’s ok. I don’t think it’s great sci-fi. (No throwing stuff at me.) That’s probably why I wasn’t invited to any Stargate themed weddings.

stargate ring
The Chapa’ai ring you see here was conceived by Seattle-based company Wedding Band Designs. The coolest feature is that the inner ring spins like a real stargate, without the need for visual effects. If you still have Flash running on your computer, you can even check it out in action below:
It’s made from 14K white gold with the chevrons made from 18K yellow gold. The Chapa’ai ring is available as a custom piece only, and you’ll need to contact Wedding Band Designs for a price quote.
It’s an appropriate ring for marriage since you are certainly stepping into a strange new world.

Pop-Up Power: 3D Power Outlet Gives You 5X the Electricity

Just about everyone has wished for a few more power outlets at one time or another.Art Lebedev Studio has come up with a concept that any gadget lover can get behind: it looks like a normal wall outlet, but with the push of a button it pops out to reveal four additional sockets on its sides.
pop out wall socket
It’s called the Rozetkus 3D power socket, and it would change the lives of geeks everywhere. Instead of adopting a power strip for more than a couple of plugs, you could just pop your 3D socket out and plug everything in to the same place. Then if you move your desk or entertainment center and don’t need the extra plugs anymore, the socket again becomes recessed into the wall.
Rozetkus 3D wall outlet
There are some design problems that would have to be solved before this concept was able to be realized. Namely, the electrical load on the socket and the moving parts. The wiring issue could be easily solved, but keeping the wires slack enough to be able to slide in and out while keeping them out of the way of the moving bits would be challenging. Obviously, if the wires got stuck as the socket was being pushed back into the wall, it would create a fire hazard. But regardless, we hope the concept is realized soon – and with an American version.

USB Centipede: Simple Redesign Allows 1 Port, Lots of Plugs

With more and more of our devices being powered and/or charged via USB these days, we often find ourselves with a lack of available USB ports. Carrying around a bulky USB hub with your laptop is not always a viable option, which is where the Infinite USB design would come in handy. It is a conceptual redesign of the humble USB plug that would allow you to plug tons of cables into a single USB outlet.
The design is quite simple: each plug has an additional port in its back, allowing you to “piggyback” cable after cable – kind of like a far less gross USB version of The Human Centipede. Of course, there would have to be a limit to how many USB cables you can stack in a single outlet. But the color-coded motifs would at least let you keep track of all of those gadgets you’ve got plugged in at any given moment.

Wrist Scanner is a Futuristic Personal Shopper For the Blind

Although visually impaired people have been managing to get along just fine for centuries without a lot of high-tech gadgets, there are still some things that could make their lives easier. The See is a concept from Dinard José de Mata Filho that is meant to make shopping simple, even for people who aren’t able to see what they are shopping for.
The gadget involves two elements: a wrist-mounted barcode scanner and a pair of ear buds. When shopping, the user swipes the scanner over bar codes on products. The internal machinery then translates the coded info into speech and tells the shopper what the product is and, if applicable, the size and color.
There are several questionable parts of this concept, such as how a blind person would find a bar code to begin with and how all of that technology will fit into such a small, thin wrist band. But if those issues could be ignored, the See is actually a smart tool that could stand to help countless visually impaired people get exactly what they go into the store to find.

Spinning Wheel Planter is an Ideal Space-Age Indoor Garden

In space, you can’t just nip out to the market every time you need a head of lettuce or some basil. That’s why NASA has developed plenty of ingenious space gardening concepts over the years. This one in particular is a hydroponic wheel developed in the 1980s but never actually put into use. Milan design studio DesignLibero didn’t want the impressive technology to go to waste, so they took NASA’s idea and fleshed it out for use here on Earth.
The Ferris wheel-type design is called Green Wheel. It isn’t just a novelty like astronaut ice cream, either – it is a pretty darn smart way to grow plants even when you aren’t hurtling through space. The wheel holds over 8 feet of plants, which is a lot more than you could grow in a footprint this small using traditional pots and planters.
It works by essentially spinning the plants around and dipping the roots of each into a water reservoir in turn. The plants are held securely in place by chambers inside the inner wheel. A plant light in the center lights all of the plants evenly as they orbit it again and again. The setup saves energy in spades since an equal number of plants in pots would require two or three grow lights.
Of course, because the world runs on mobile phones these days, there is an app that allows you to control everything about the Green Wheel remotely. The speed of rotation, the strength of the light, water level and temperature are all within your command. Whether this apartment-ready garden will ever be available commercially seems to be up in the air, but we’re crossing our fingers.

Double-Sided Keyboard/Touch Pad for Total Computing Control

Computing has been changing so rapidly over the past few years with smartphones taking over a lot of our computing and the introduction of tablet computers shaking things up. Our needs have changed as far as input devices go; no longer will a simple mouse and keyboard suffice. Gesture-based computing is the way we’re headed, which means we’ve got to really rethink the way we interact with our devices. The Inside Out keyboard from designer Min Koo Yeo is a great example of what our input devices could look like in just a few years’ time.
With a keyboard on one side and a huge “smart” trackpad on the other, the Inside Out clearly and physically separates navigation functions from data input functions. The keyboard side includes a standard (small) trackpad for run-of-the-mill navigation, but the flip side of the device is one huge touch-sensitive surface that will allow for a greater degree of freedom.  The Inside Out is just a concept at this stage but could easily become an actual product as  computing needs continue to evolve over time.

Shocking Handcuffs Give Prisoners a Jolt or Jab for Acting Out

It seems like everything is getting a high-tech upgrade these days, even mundane objects like handcuffs. According to a patent filed by Scottsdale Inventions, LLC of Paradise Valley, Arizona, a new restraint system could administer incapacitating jolts of electricity to prisoners. It works kind of like a Taser, which delivers shocks to a person’s central nervous system to temporarily subdue them with no long-lasting effects. The shocks could be activated by guards carrying remote controls, or by certain pre-set conditions occurring. These conditions could be anything from proximity to a certain object or area to violent movements.
An included accelerometer, microphone, camera, biometric sensor and a whole slew of other sensors would make it possible for prison guards to remotely monitor the location and even the behavior of prisoners. The cuffs could administer a warning for breaking the rules – maybe via beeps, flashing lights or a very weak electric shock – before breaking out the heavy-duty consequences. Perhaps the most alarming part of the design is its ability to release gases or dyes, or even inject the prisoner with a sedative drug in the case of extreme behavior.