prototypes

Wacom & E Ink develop pen-input ePaper displays

Wacom & E Ink develop pen-input ePaper displays

Digitizer specialists Wacom and e-paper manufacturers E Ink have announced a deal that will see the former's digital ink technology incorporated into the latter's low-power, paper-like electronic displays.  It will open up the market for eBooks and newspapers that can be annotated and those notes stored and exchanged.  The pair are describing the development as "the ultimate vision of an interactive piece of paper."

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125-inch flexible plasma display just 1mm thick

125-inch flexible plasma display just 1mm thick

Shinoda Plasma has ignored the usual plasma/LCD rat-race and instead turned to developing larger, flexible panels for next-gen applications. Its latest prototype, a 125-inch film-type display, measures 3m long by 1m tall and is just 1mm thick. Currently it offers 960 x 360 resolution, obviously less than HD-compatible plasmas on the market today, but then again not many of the screens you see in the shops can be curved around your walls.

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Sharp unveil highest-density methanol fuel-cell

Sharp unveil highest-density methanol fuel-cell

Sharp have announced the development of a prototype direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) that it claims achieves the world's highest power density. The cell is constructed of a stack of multiple reed-shaped thin cells, sandwiched together with similarly shaped porous spacers. That increases surface area and maximises air-flow (essential for the fuel cell to produce power), resulting in 0.3W/cc power density.

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Microsoft TouchWall inexpensive Surface multitouch alternative

Microsoft TouchWall inexpensive Surface multitouch alternative

Making DIY versions of Microsoft's multitouch Surface table seems to be so popular, even Microsoft themselves are getting in on the action.  Somewhat bizarrely, the company has developed another multitouch platform, this time coming in a whole lot cheaper than the $10k Surface.  TouchWall basically relies on three infrared lasers that scan the surface of a plexiglass board, and an infrared camera to register any touch against it; in Microsoft's demo of the system, they used a rear-projector, 4 x 6 foot plexiglass screen, and a basic Vista PC running the software app, Plex.

Check out the video demo of TouchWall after the cut

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Fuel-cell powered GPS prototype promises 60hrs continuous use

Fuel-cell powered GPS prototype promises 60hrs continuous use

MTI Micro are demonstrating the latest version of their portable fuel-cell technology, in the shape of a GPS reference design prototype.  Powered by the company's Mobion fuel-cell, which relies on easily exchangeable methanol packs, MTI Micro are claiming the system provides up to three times as much energy as in a typical GPS with four AA batteries.  In the case of this particular design, one fuel-cell manages up to 60 hours of continuous use.

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Honda demo Walking Assist exoskeleton for elderly & disabled

Honda demo Walking Assist exoskeleton for elderly & disabled

We've seen exoskeleton suits designed to grant their wearers super-human strength, but they tend to look somewhat obvious.  Fine if you're an attention-seeking superhero, but less of a selling point if you're an elderly person with mobility problems.  Honda have thankfully come to the rescue, though, with their 'Walking Assist Device'; worn as a straightforward belt with thigh straps, the 2.8kg unit promises to lengthen a user's natural stride by supplementing their own muscle power.

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Twist & Squeeze interface tested by Microsoft Research

Twist & Squeeze interface tested by Microsoft Research

A team at Microsoft Research have developed a prototype interface [pdf link] for mobile devices that responds to twisting, squeezing, flexing and stretching to control and on-screen GUI. The system, called Force Sensing, relies on very small manipulations of a handheld device - in this case a modified Samsung UMPC - with different gestures mapped to navigation and other controls. Visual feedback, such as interfaces twisting or bending, apparently decreases the learning time necessary for users to adapt to the new controls.

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