Tag: video

Researchers create prosthetic hand that offers more lifelike dexterity

Researchers at Georgia Tech have developed a prosthetic hand inspired by the bionic one given to Star Wars' Luke Skywalker. What sets this one apart from other prosthetics is the amount of dexterity it offers, allowing users to move individual fingers at will. With it, Jason Barnes, the amputee working with the researchers, was able to play piano for the first time since losing part of his arm in 2012.

Most available prosthetics use electromyogram (EMG) sensors to translate muscle movement where the limb was removed to hand and finger motions. But those types of sensors are pretty limited in what they can do. "EMG sensors aren't very accurate," Gil Weinberg, the professor leading the project, said in a statement. "They can detect a muscle movement, but the signal is too noisy to infer which finger the person wants to move." So the team took their prosthetic one step further and attached an ultrasound probe. Just as physicians can use ultrasound machines to take a look at a fetus inside of a womb, the probe can see which muscles are moving in an amputee's arm. Algorithms can then translate that into individual finger movements. "By using this new technology, the arm can detect which fingers an amputee wants to move, even if they don't have fingers," said Weinberg.

There are a number of groups working on improving prosthetics and trying to make them more lifelike. Some of those efforts include introducing tactile feedback to let users know where their prosthetic is without having to look and giving prosthetics the ability to see what they need to grasp. DARPA even has an advanced prosthetic named LUKE, also inspired by Skywalker.

This isn't the first prosthetic built for Barnes by the Georgia Tech team. In 2014, they gave him an arm that let him play drums. It even had a second drumstick that moved based on the music being played and could play faster than any human drummer. About his second, dexterous prosthetic, Barnes said, "It's completely mind-blowing. This new arm allows me to do whatever grip I want, on the fly, without changing modes or pressing a button. I never thought we'd be able to do this."

Source: Georgia Tech


Microsoft offers developers a preview of its quantum computing kit

Developers hoping to get on the quantum computer train early can now get started with Microsoft's Quantum Development Kit, a free preview version of which was released today. The kit, which was first announced at Microsoft's Ignite conference in September, includes the Q# programming language, a quantum computing simulator that can simulate 30 logical qubits of power and a companion collection of documentation, libraries and sample programs that will help developers get a better foothold on the complex science behind quantum computing.

The simulator will allow developers to test programs and debug code with their own computers, which is necessary since there really aren't any quantum computers for them to test their work on yet. Microsoft is also offering a more powerful simulator -- one with over 40 logical qubits of computing power -- through its Azure cloud computing service. And because the kit is integrated into Microsoft's Visual Studio developer tool suite, many aspects of the new kit will be familiar.

"What you're going to see as a developer is the opportunity to tie into tools that you already know well, services you already know well," Todd Holmdahl, Microsoft's VP in charge of its quantum effort, said in a statement. "There will be a twist with quantum computing, but it's our job to make it as easy as possible for the developers who know and love us to be able to use these new tools that could potentially do some things exponentially faster – which means going from a billion years on a classical computer to a couple hours on a quantum computer."

Source: Microsoft (1), (2)


The best gifts for a console gamer

Don't worry, we're not out to start a console war in our comments: If you're in the market for a new games system, the Xbox One S, PlayStation VR, Nintendo Switch and 2DS XL all made it into our holiday gift guide, for different reasons. Once you figure out which platform is best for your intended, we have a wide assortment of games and accessories, from a 400GB microSDXC card to a custom Xbox controller to the PlayStation Gold wireless headset, among other things. Find all that and more in our gift guide at the link below.

Source: Engadget Holiday Gift Guide 2017


Google’s Pixel AR stickers are available starting today

During Google's Pixel 2 event in October, the company teased its upcoming AR stickers and starting today, Pixel users can actually get their hands on them. Those with Pixel phones running Android 8.1 Oreo will have access to AR stickers like Foodmoji, 3D text and celebratory balloons and champagne just in time for the holidays. And ahead of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Pixel users can also get a pack of Star Wars-themed AR stickers.

You can check out the Star Wars stickers in the video below or the image above and overall they look pretty great. They seem to have a much better quality than the Stranger Things AR stickers that we've seen previews of before and are also being released today. And they look way better than that Snapchat Star Wars Lens.

To add these stickers to your photos or videos, just open the camera app, switch to AR Stickers mode, select which sticker pack you'd like to use and the drop the stickers into the scene. You can then resize them and move them around and they'll also interact with whatever else is in the image.

The new AR Stickers are rolling out to Pixel users over the next few days and Google says more sticker packs will be released in the future.


Mod gives Google’s Home Mini speaker its ‘missing’ line-out jack

For many, Google's Home Mini speaker has one key disadvantage over Amazon's Echo Dot: there's no line-out jack. If you want more powerful sound without buying a higher-priced model, you have to stream to a Chromecast-equipped speaker system. However, that didn't deter SnekTek -- the site has added an aux audio port to the Mini through a clever homebrew mod. To say this required some delicate surgery would be an understatement, mind you. The procedure involved boiling the adhesive off the bottom, finding the one space where a headphone port would fit, and carving out a hole. As with the iPhone 7 headphone mod, the product clearly wasn't designed for this -- there won't be any doubt that you voided your warranty once you're done.

This doesn't disable the Mini's built-in sound, but it otherwise works: Google's puck is suddenly much better-suited to kicking out the jams. And it's not an expensive mod, either, as the biggest costs are the port itself, some wiring work and epoxy. The main catch, of course, is the effort. If the thought of tearing open your speaker triggers a mild panic, you're probably better off springing for a Chromecast Audio adapter and setting your mind at ease.

Via: Android Police

Source: SnekTek (YouTube)


‘Evil Within 2’ trial gives you a taste of surreal survival horror

Free trials (aka demos) are good ways to get a feel for a game before you buy, but they could be particularly helpful for The Evil Within 2. How are you going to wrap your head around Shinji Mikami's surreal survival horror game based on second-hand info? You don't have to. Bethesda has released a free trial of Evil Within 2 for PS4, Xbox One and Windows PCs. The sample lets you experience a few chapters of detective Sebastian Castellanos' bid to rescue his daughter, including some open world experiences and character customization. Any progress you make can transfer to the full game if you decide to splurge.

The original Evil Within wasn't particularly impressive when it launched, but its sequel has generally fared better. The emphasis is more on the "survival" part than the "horror" this time, but reviewers have generally liked the more involving gameplay and open world aspects. In that sense, the trial is particularly fitting: it's a chance to check out a franchise that you might have ignored the first time around.

Via: Windows Central

Source: PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store, Bethesda (YouTube)


‘Street Fighter’ anthology brings online play to classic brawlers

The original Street Fighter turned 30 this year, and Capcom is marking it in style... if a little late. It's releasing a Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection in May 2018 that not only bundles many of the pre-3D titles (ranging from the first game through III 3rd Strike), but adds online multiplayer. Fire up II, II Turbo, Alpha 3 or III 3rd Strike and you won't have to gather rivals in the same room to show off your Ryu or Sakura skills.

This isn't the most comprehensive collection. What, no Street Fighter: The Movie? However, you might not mind so much given the broad platform support. The 30th Anniversary release will be available on the PS4, Switch, Windows PCs and the Xbox One, so there's a good possibility that you can play your preferred flavor of Street Fighter whichever way you like, including on the road.

Via: Kotaku

Source: Digital Eclipse (Twitter), Street Fighter (YouTube)


‘MechWarrior 5’ will revolve around co-op and user mods

Piranha Games is starting to open up on what MechWarrior 5: Mercernaries will entail after a year of teasing, and it's good news if you don't always want to play alone. The robot battler should launch in December 2018 with co-op play as a central feature -- up to four players can take on the game's central campaign. Your friends stand in for the AI teammates in your unit, which could be helpful when you absolutely need someone watching your back.

The title will also make a big deal of mod support through Steam Workshop, letting you tailor your own missions, planets and other aspects of the game. Not surprisingly, the game mostly hinges on running your own mercenary company. And if you're wondering: yes, there's a good chance the Clans play a role. The game starts in MechWarrior's 3015 timeframe and lasts for about 35 years, or right as the Clan invasion is in full swing.

There's still a lot we don't know about MW5, but for many its mere existence is important. It's the first MechWarrior game with a single-player mode in over 15 years, and the first new game in the series for over 4 years. For some, it isn't so much a sequel as it is a return to the franchise's roots.

Via: PC Gamer

Source: Piranha Games (YouTube), MechWarrior 5


New ‘Ready Player One’ trailer reveals more of the real-world story

The initial trailer for Steven Spielberg's adaptation of Ready Player One focused on the virtual world of OASIS, and for understandable reasons: it's a visual showcase for a crucial part of the story. However, Warner Bros. wants to remind you that reality plays an important part as well. It just posted a new trailer that dives deeper into the real-world story, even as it makes a few extra nods to video game nostalgia.

As with Ernest Cline's book, the story centers on Wade Watts and his bid to win James Halliday's Easter Egg hunt, which promises both half a trillion dollars and (more importantly) control of OASIS. That, in turn, leads to an ideological battle -- Wade and fellow competitor Art3mis are racing to find all the clues before the megacorporation IOI gets them and exploits OASIS for profit. Wade is effectively drafted into a resistance movement, and his moves will have consequences in both VR and real life.

There aren't quite as many tributes to digital culture as in the first trailer, but there are a few pleasant surprises -- there's even a certain iconic Overwatch character that shows up. It's hard to say if Ready Player One will live up to the rapidly mounting hype when it premieres on March 30th. However, the trailer shows that Spielberg and crew are aware that clever references and dazzling visuals aren't enough to carry the movie.

Oh, and there's one more thing: Cline revealed in a livestream (shortly after the 27-minute mark) that he's writing a sequel to Ready Player One. He has precious few details, but he noted that Spielberg's movie helped jumpstart his work on a follow-up. Even if the movie falls flat, you'll have something to look forward to.

Source: Warner Bros. (YouTube), Ready Player One (Facebook)


Ben Heck’s Super Glue Gun: Back to the drawing board

The team has heard your pleas for change: They've decided it's time to revisit the Super Glue Gun's auto stand. After mocking up the design, the group realized their best bet is to fire Autodesk Fusion 360 back up, change the mechanism and design a new 3D model. In other words, it's back to the drawing board. What do you think of the changes? Do you have any ideas for the super glue gun? Let the team know over on the element14 Community.