Motion Sensing

Google’s self-driving car could lose its hat with new laser tech

Google’s self-driving car could lose its hat with new laser tech

Self-driving cars like Google's controversial 25mph autonomous pod could get significantly more affordable to make, researchers have promised, with a new LIDAR radar system far cheaper than the expensive turret on top of current models. The laser tracking system - the distinctive "turret" on top of the Google self-driving car - is one of the single most expensive components in the vehicle, estimated to add around $80,000 to the bill of materials. However, a Berkley team believes it could do the same thing at a fraction of the cost.

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Kinect in focus: Xbox’s app chief talks Smart Homes & Cortana

Kinect in focus: Xbox’s app chief talks Smart Homes & Cortana

When you have a product like Kinect, so closely associated with gaming, how do you convince everybody else that they should be installing a motion-tracking camera in the home? Microsoft is looking to smart home technology and health, among other things, to do just that with Kinect for Windows v2, though a stealthy spread through Cortana and smartphones may be just as vital. We caught up with Microsoft’s Michael Mott, general manager of Xbox applications and developer relations, to find out how virtual assistants and home automation could make Kinect-tech the next must-have.

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RoomScan pings real space with iPhone

RoomScan pings real space with iPhone

If you've ever been in a situation where you needed to draw up a floor plan or recreate a room's dimensions, then you'll appreciate what RoomScan can do for you. This deceptively simple iOS app can do all that for you and all you need to do is tap on the walls.

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Myo Jedi-armbands hooked up to Oculus Rift, robots and more

Myo Jedi-armbands hooked up to Oculus Rift, robots and more

Motion-tracking startup Thalmic Labs has been showing off what its early developers can do with a muscle-reading Myo armband and a little imagination, with the new peripheral already integrated with Oculus Rift, capable of remotely controlling mean-looking robots, and more. The company isn't planning to ship broadly until midway through this year, but its Myo Alpha Developers program is underway, and already the ideas are proving diverse.

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PetChatz “Greet and Treat” webcam helps you interact with pets online

PetChatz “Greet and Treat” webcam helps you interact with pets online

PetChatz is a web cam that lets you interact with your pet on a number of levels from anywhere in the world. Install it over a wall outlet, secure it to a stud, connect it to your home WiFi, fill it with treats and a special scent, and you're set to go. The device was conceived as a way to reduce pet owner separation anxiety, but its maker Anser Innovation also claims it makes for healthier, happier pets.

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Google buys Flutter “Kinect for OS X” motion-tracking developer

Google buys Flutter “Kinect for OS X” motion-tracking developer

Google has acquired Flutter, the gesture-recognition specialist dubbed "Kinect for OS X", with development of the hand tracking system headed in-house at the search giant. Flutter, which offers a Mac app that turns the webcam into a remote control system for navigating media players like iTunes, Spotify, and VLC, has cooked up its own machine-vision algorithms, which Google could use for future Chromebooks, Android devices, or even baked into the browser.

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Tobii EyeMobile for Windows 8 frees tablets for eyes-only users

Tobii EyeMobile for Windows 8 frees tablets for eyes-only users

Eye-tracking specialist Tobii has launched its latest peripheral, the Tobii EyeMobile, bringing gaze control to Windows 8 tablets like Microsoft's Surface. Combining the company's PCEye Go tracker with a special cradle for your slate, the USB accessory brings eye control to everything from Office and other productivity apps, through entertainment apps like Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, and Kindle, to social networking tools such as Facebook and Twitter. Tobii is positioning the EyeMobile setup as ideal for those with physical and communication impairments who still want to use a full-featured PC.

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