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LearnAR is a new learning tool that brings investigative, interactive and independent learning to life using Augmented Reality. It is a pack of ten curriculum resources for teachers and students to explore by combining the real world with virtual content using a web cam. The resource pack consists of interactive learning activities across English, maths, science, RE, physical education and languages that bring a wow-factor to the curriculum.

Rohan Shravan on the Adam tablet featuring tech specs better than the iPad

Rohan talks about Adam, a tablet PC in the making by his Hyderabad-based company, Notion Ink, which was founded by six IITans and an MBA graduate with an average age of just 24. Adam generated considerable buzz after they decided to demonstrate their prototype at the CES (Consumer Electronics Show), the world’s largest consumer tech trade show in January this year.

And with good reason too. The Adam tablet boasts of twice the battery life and performance of the iPad, thanks to the integration of two breakthrough power saving components – nVidia’s Tegra 2 chip and a PixelQi screen. It has the ability to play full high definition videos and of course, Flash, on the web browser. As Shravan puts it, the Adam offers the performance of a computer with the power consumption of a cellphone. The Adam tablet also features a 10.1 inch PixelQI dual mode screen allows users to read it easily in bright sunlight like an e-reader.

Related links

The Adam tablet
Notion Ink

Jen Fitzpatrick on the Science and Art of User Experience at Google

In the Google TechTalks video from 2006, Jen Fitzpatrick talks about the art and science behind Google’s design process and share examples of how design, usability and engineering come together at Google to create great products.

About Jen Fitzpatrick

Jen Patricks is an Engineering Director at Google, who at least was then managing Google’s user experience team. A founding member of Google’s UI team, Jen has also led the UI design, testing and implementation of numerous features and changes to the site.

She joined Google in June 1999 as a software engineer and has also served as Engineering Director for Google Adwords and Google’s Internal Systems engineering group.

Jen is a graduate of Stanford University where she received a B.S. in Symbolic Systems and an M.S. in Computer Science.

Pranav Mistry’s “Sixth Sense”, game-changing wearable technology- a talk by Patties Maes

“Sixth Sense” is spearheaded by Pranav Mistry at MIT. It’s a wearable device with a projector that paves the way for a profound, data-rich interaction with our environment. Imagine Minority Report.

About Pranav Mistry

Pranav Mistry is a PhD student in the Fluid Interfaces Group at MIT’s Media Lab. He got his master and bachelor degree from IIT Mumbai in India, and has the background in Computer Science, and Design. Before his studies at MIT, he worked with Microsoft as a UX researcher. Mistry is passionate about integrating the digital informational experience with our real-world interactions.

Some previous projects from Mistry’s work at MIT includes intelligent sticky notes, Quickies, that can be searched and can send reminders; a pen that draws in 3D; and TaPuMa, a tangible public map that can act as Google of physical world. His research interests also include Gestural and Tangible Interaction, Ubiquitous Computing, AI, Machine Vision, Collective Intelligence and Robotics.

Other Links
An interview with Pranav Mistry, the genius behind Sixth Sense
Pranav Mistry’s website

About Pattie Maes

In the 1990s, Maes’ Software Agents program at MIT created Firefly, a technology (and then a startup) that let users choose songs they liked, and find similar songs they’d never heard of, by taking cues from others with similar taste. This brought a sea change in the way we interact with software, with culture and with one another.

Her newly founded Fluid Interfaces Group, also part of the MIT Media Lab, aims to rethink the ways in which humans and computers interact, partially by redefining both human and computer.

Pattie Smith’s homepage

Beta test Windows 7

Download Windows 7 Beta Free

Windows 7 beta is free to download and available to the first 2.5 million people who download it since January 9, 2009. You will be able to use the beta version till August 1, 2009 because that is the date on which the beta version will expire.

The 32-bit version of Windows 7 Beta is available in five languages- Hindi, English, German, Japanese and Arabic while the 64-bit version is available in English, German, Japanese, and Arabic.

Some Windows 7 features such as the ability to watch and record live TV or navigation through the use of ‘touch’ may require advanced or additional hardware.

Beta test it only if you are an Experienced User

Microsoft isn’t providing any technical support for the Beta, and strongly suggests that only experienced computer users sign up for the beta testing program. By experienced, they mean that at minimum, you should be comfortable at:

  • backing up a computer
  • Formatting a hard drive
  • Burning an ISO file to DVD
  • Installing an operating system from scratch
  • Troubleshooting problems on your own

Use at your own Risk

Don’t install Windows 7 beta on your primary PC in case you are interested in beta testing it. Microsoft recommends this because though it has been tested, it’s not the finished product. Your computer could crash and you could lose important files. Other problems you might encounter include software incompatibility (including anti-virus or security programs), hardware incompatibility with printers, video cards, etc. and problems accessing corporate or home networks.

Minimum specifications for running Windows 7

You will need a minimum of:

  • 1 GHz 32-bit or 64-bit processor
  • 1 GB of system memory
  • 16 GB of available disk space
  • Support for DirectX 9 graphics with 128 MB memory (to enable the Aero theme)
  • DVD-R/W Drive
  • Internet access (to download the Beta and get updates)

Link to download Windows 7 Beta 32 bit and 64 bit versions

So, are you going to beta test Windows 7 out? Will I test it out? No. I’m glad with Windows XP which I prefer over Windows Vista. Too bad it’s out of shop.

Microsoft releases SeaDragon Mobile for the iPhone & iPod Touch

Link to download SeaDragon Mobile free from the iTunes App store

Video: Using SeaDragon Mobile on the iPhone

(Length: 5 minutes 44 seconds)

What is SeaDragon Mobile?

SeaDragon Mobile is a free application available at present only for the iPhone and iPod Touch that lets you explore and deep zoom in and out of collections of gigapixel images over the web smoothly without any irritating time lags. There are 50 sample images that are included with the application for you to enjoy. Besides that, you can add content through other Photosynth users and RSS feeds such as Flickr and Deep Zoom Content.

More about SeaDragon?

SeaDragon is a Microsoft Live labs project and is also at the core technology behind the Photosynth photo browsing program. Here’s a interesting TED Talk video SeaDragon and PhotoSynth you can watch if interested.

What is a gigapixel image?

A gigapixel image is a digital image bitmap composed of one billion pixels (that’s more than 150 times the information captured by a 6 megapixel digital camera).

Is SeaDragon Mobile available for my phone?

If you’re phone is the iPhone or you own an iPod touch, yes. At present, SeaDragon mobile is available only for these devices.

Where can I download the SeaDragon Mobile from? And for how much?

SeaDragon can be downloaded for free from the iTunes App store.

Why did Microsoft release SeaDragon on the iPhone/ iPod Touch instead of a Windows Mobile phone?

This is how Alex Daley, group product manager for Microsoft Live Labs, reasons it:

The iPhone is the most widely distributed phone with a (graphics processing unit). Most phones out today don’t have accelerated graphics in them. The iPhone does and so it enabled us to do something that has been previously difficult to do. I couldn’t just pick up a BlackBerry or a Nokia off the shelf and build Seadragon for it without GPU support.

g-speak: Minority Report Gesture based User Interface now Reality

What we see above is no longer something that’s can only be part of sci-fi movie. The g-speak spatial operating environment (SOE) is a new computing platform that has been developed by Oblong Industries. The platform on which multiple users can work at a time using interacting through the gesture based interface is optimized for largedata sets and time critical work.

As is mentioned on Oblong’s website:

…g-speak will fundamentally change the way people use machines at work, in the living room, in conference rooms, in vehicles… Its idiom of spatial immediacy and information responsive to real-world geometry enables a necessary new kind of work: data-intensive, embodied, real-time, predicated on universal human expertise.

Some of the SOE’s core ideas are already familiar from the film Minority Report, whose characters performed forensic analysis using massive, gesturally driven displays. The similarity is no coincidence: one of Oblong’s founders served as science advisor to Minority Report and based the design of those scenes directly on his earlier work at MIT. The g-speak platform braids development arcs begun in the early 1990s at MIT’s Media Laboratory, where Oblong’s principals produced radical user interface advances, distributed and networked language designs, and media manipulation technologies.

From academia; into popular cinema; and out broadly into the world as commercial product: it’s an unordinary path for technical thought and effort, but one — leading to g-speak — that seems now logical and even necessary. The people who work in Oblong’s Los Angeles and Barcelona laboratory offices are as concerned with design as with programming, with humanist principles as with running a company. Synthesizing these concerns is the only way to insure that the metamorphosis of human-computer interaction we offer the world will be one of beauty and durable worth.

What do you think if g-speak? Have you come across other cool stuff that was part of the movies but is pretty real now?

The Philips Green Cuisine Concept Table/ Kitchen/ Cooking Top

The philips green cusine table with a sink and heating and cooling table top

The above image and video display the new Philips ‘Green Cuisine’ concept.

What is the Philips Green Cuisine Concept about?

  • It’s a table
  • that has a sink in it
  • and an under-table composter that produces soil tablets to grow fresh herbs into the mini garden (which is also built into the table).
  • You can cook on it and then eat on it. Save space!
  • Cook or cool anywhere on it. Place the kettles and pans (or wine cooler) where ever you please. Move it around. The energy (and the interface) will follow the surface of the object.
  • The interaction with the table is gesture based. The GUI consists of concentric rings and sliders allows temperature levels and timings to be set easily.
  • It comes with a healthy steamer, smart kettle & cups set, and cooling compartments (including a wine cooler set).
  • It’s not available in the market yet. It should be available in 3-5 years, according to it’s creator, Philips.

To know more about it, read the “Philips Simplicity Event 2008 – Green Cuisine Concept” press release.