Archive for 2007

CES 2008: Sony to unveil robot that plays Guitar Hero

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

LAS VEGAS – At CES this year (January 7-10) Sony will release to the world a new robot that can rip chords on Guitar Hero better than most human counterparts.

The gadget-hungry attendees will stop what they are doing when the lonely robot hits his first solo. As if awakening from a dream, everyone will slowly turn towards the Sony robot, sadly named iLame, and instinctually begin to move towards the incredible sound hearkening to a primordial beat not unlike the original biorhythms of all humankind.

Free bags of crappy useless swag will hit the floor as heads begin to thrash and fists pump to the throbbing guitar melody.

A mosh pit will grow in the exhibit area as iLone body surfs the crowd with his bluetooth guitar, electric smoke billowing from his nearly invisible fingers. Some of the swag will be lit into small bonfires, along with an old event poster of Chaka Khan – a ring of fire growing from where her face used to be.

Then, you’ll blink and look around to the blind noise of last ditch sales pitch efforts . You’ll be surrounded by balding dudes fighting over free paper bags that are covered in logos (with handles!) wondering when they should shuffle next door to the porn conference. God bless the mini-bar.

Paper Mario and Jeff Soto mate

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

Diogo Machado gets his toon onIt seems to me like Jeff Soto and Paper Mario (or the slutty Princess Peach) hooked up and had a baby.

Diogo Machado from Portugal seems to draw some color inspiration from Jon Burgerman, albeit his work is not nearly as loose. Much tighter control and cartoonish. I suppose Matt Groening should be given some props, too.
Love it.

Color palette generator, on acid

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

There are quite a few Web apps out there that generate color palettes from photos. Yes, I know.

But I ran across one today that not only works well, but actually looks fairly slick, too. I’m talking, of course, about Color Hunter. Now, if you really want to have some fun, go hunt down the image locations from one of your favorite artists. I chose the brilliant Jeff Soto, from So-Cal.

The nice thing about this update of Color Hunter is that you can now upload images and not simply have to rely on pointing to an image that is online somewhere.

Here’s how my experiment turned out after uploading a JPG into the app:

Color Hunter test

Now, obviously this is pretty cool and fairly handy if you’re feeling a little lazy. And, it is obviously very Web centric as you can see the HEX values under each swatch, but that’s OK.

What I’d like to see, however, are more swatches. Or, possibly some sort of input that would allow for more custom swatch amounts. You’ll notice that there are no blues represented in my test (other than the really dark blue gray). But, it is still pretty cool nevertheless.

Update: Video of young innovators at Demo fall 2007

Friday, September 28th, 2007

Here is a video of the young men who have developed technology to essentially “read your thoughts”.

Prepare to be amazed.

The Demo fall 2007 download

Friday, September 28th, 2007

I was lucky enough to get to attend the Demo fall 2007 conference this week in San Diego. This was the first time I got to visit San Diego since the age of 9, when my dad took my brother and I to their enormous zoo. Let me just say how impressed I was by that beautiful city. I live in the Bay Area, and generally feel like it can’t be beat. I still feel that way, but wow – San Diego is really quite something.

Out of the 69 companies that presented at Demo, each being given 6 minutes to announce themselves to the world, there were three presentations in particular that really stood out to me.

First, from the hardware side. A company called fusionio came out with a little PCI card and claimed it to be the storage equivalent of 1000 hard drives. Now, regardless if that marketing claim is stretching it or not, if the technology is real and it works I’ll take a couple of these cards for my own computer, please. Here’s the data sheet. Price? Availability? Sorry.

From the Web came an intriguing (and potentially scary) Skype extension from a company called Pudding Media. The intent of the company is to add relevant information and advertising opportunities to VOIP calls. For instance, say you need to call your friend from your computer. He’s on a cell phone. You talk about what you are doing, and maybe meeting at a restaurant. On the screen, a suggestion to a restaurant near you appears. You say that maybe you should go to a bookstore afterwards. A suggestion for a bookstore slides up on the screen. And so on…

Essentially, they have developed a voice-scanning algorithm that hooks into a recommendation system that uses demographic data intersected with location information. Sounds pretty cool, right?

Now, suppose the NSA grabs this technology, and starts using it in conjunction with their warrantless wiretapping program. Let’s just tweak the code a little to alert me whenever certain keywords are uttered, give me the GPS location of that cellphone. OK, now send some stormtroopers in and get that guy hanging out at the Starbucks with a scone hanging from his mouth. Excellent.

Yikes!

Third, there was a stunning moment on stage in which Chris Shipley interviewed three young men about their innovative new product. I was enjoying the back and forth for awhile as you could literally see the intelligence and idealism dripping out of these guys’ pores, but the demo completely blew me away. To this day, I can’t help but wonder if it was totally real.

One of the young men walked up to his computer and placed something around his neck (I think that’s what I saw him do). He stood in front of his laptop quietly and completely motionless. You could have heard a pin drop in the audience. Then, the computer spoke. “Hello.” Long pause. “As you can see, I am not moving my voice to speak to you.” (Forgive me if I misquoted that a bit.)

Essentially, from my vantage point and the vantage points of every jaw-dropped Demo attendee, we witnessed the technological equivalent of reading one’s mind. That’s right.

The original market focus of this technology will be for the Stephen Hawkings of the world – people with healthy minds but trapped in unusable bodies. The potential implications of this technology are mind boggling, of course, far beyond the obvious medical breakthroughs.

It is not a truth detector, however. It simply “captures” the electrical signals being sent from one’s brain to his voicebox. So, think carefully. Very carefully!