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Rise of the Androids: Google’s Android@Home platform

It was 1996 when Larry Page and Sergey Brin started working on a search engine program by the name “BackRub”. By 1998 this whole “backrub” concept was incorporated into a company by the name “GOOGLE”.

Little did Page and Brin know, what the future will look like? But I am sure they are happy. What started as a search engine is now of the biggest brand. The recent development with Android based smartphones might just be the beginning, as google get ready to mark their presence in every home with their new Android@Home platform.

What they plan to do? It Can be best described by the statement made by the company at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco recently,

We want every device in your home.

Google is now extending the capabilities of these device to wirelessly control and interact with virtually any electronic device in your home by using an Android smartphone or tablet. So in future you can switch of the lights, open the doors, manage room temperature, record your favorite programs and transfer your health scorecard from your exercise bike to your phone. To establish the platform’s credibility, they gave a small demonstration by wirelessly operating an electric bulb from an Android device.

To develop a single complete network for your home, Google has made the Android@Home platform freely available to developers so they can write applications that can control various devices. The platform can work on any Android device running on Honeycomb 3.1 or regular Android 2.3.4. OS.

Google also revealed that,

a future release of Android, code-named ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’, would unify the smart phone and tablet branches of Android into one single operating system that works across all devices

Ice Cream Sandwich will see a partnership between Google, the handset manufacturers and the carriers. This is to ensure that the users are able to get seamless service and timely updates.

Source: Metro / geeky-gadgets

To know more about Google Project for Android.


A whole new way to scratch with MOPHO DJ

Scratching was never pleasant until it became a public display of how well you scratch. Don’t quote me in an explicit way. What I mean by scratching is purely in terms of DJing i.e. able to create one’s own distinctive rhythm.

It all started with vinyl records, and they are almost on their way to oblivion with the rise of digital track commonly knows as MP3/4 records. Then we moved to the digital frontier with new DJ consoles, where the turn tables were able to use the MP3 records i.e. CD. What I learnt is that scratching is limited to circular motion and by using sensors we can easily retrieve the centripetal force and the velocity of the scratch which can be then manipulated to playback the audio. But things just didn’t stop there.

Nicholas Bryan, a graduate who researches music, computing and design at Stanford University, has developed an application that uses an iPod Touch or iPhone’s accelerometer and gyroscope to detect a DJ’s scratching. With this DJs have found a whole new way to scratch, just by placing the device on top of the record to transform the analogue turntables into the digital variety with MOPHO DJ. Using specific software applications and a laptop you can pair the iPhone with the DJ console. Once this setting it done, you are ready to entertain.

As per Bryan,

This new system offers several advantages. Like, it can let the DJ use his old console with little or no modification. A plexiglass disc specially developed by him for this equipment can hold the iphone in place and also an old record thus allowing the turntable to be used for both analog and digital scratching. The system can also use the iPhone screen to display real-time wave form of the audio and apply effects to it.

MOPHO DJ will be reveled at the New Interfaces for Musical Expression conference in Norway at the end of May. This new system will give a whole new dimension to DJing as DJs can forgo their turntables and use the phone for spot “air scratching”.

Bryan is also working on iPhone apps and DJ software which may be released in future.

Source: NewScientist
Img Source: Slashgear

Reinventing usability of Paper

The first type of electricity discovered was static electricity. The discovery of static electricity was mankind’s first step towards learning about electricity. This was many years ago.
The best known example comes from our physics class. Where we were asked to run the comb through our hair and place it near tiny bits of papers. What happens next is due to Static. This is an age old theory and now the goal is to put electronics into paper.

Recently there have been many researchers trying to accomplish this and according to Daniel Torbjork, a physics graduate student at the Abo Akademi University in Finland suggest,

“While most electronic applications require patterned conducting structures, conducting paper could be used in applications such as energy storage devices, sensors, electric heaters, electric field emitters, antistatic coatings, and electromagnetic shields”.

The major task is not about developing it; instead its how to produce it economically. Torbjork has been trying to combine flexibility, low-cost and recyclability of papers with the information carrying ability of electronics.

The concept has already been implemented by a few. For e.g. Professor Karen K. Gleason have figured out how to put a solar cell into a piece of folding paper and the German researchers have successfully embedded electronic chips in paper bank notes to thwart counterfeiters.

Currently Torbjork and Professor Ronald Osterbacka at the university’s Center for Functional Materials are developing a low-voltage organic transistor as well as a special roll-to-roll printing system for electronic devices. A Finnish paper firm Srora Enso is also supporting these developments.

Some say that given the challenges that papers bring with it like large surface roughness, porosity and chemical impurities could be an obstacle. We all know that the best substrate is glass, then plastics and beyond that there are also metal solutions. So if we are thinking of paper as a substrate it looks like a few more years of research and struggle to make this dream come true. And certainly a worthy patent petition when someone comes up with a conductive paper.

Via: DiscoveryNews


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