Welcome to the age of the smartgun, thanks to a high school student

fingerprint-gunI think we all want to prevent the amount of gun accidents, and I found it amazing that Kai Kloepfer, a Boulder high school student, came up with a way to make it happen.

Kai is the grand prize winner for SmartTech for Firearms Challenge, and his design uses an embedded fingerprint sensor on the gun itself. These fingerprints can only be used on the gun, so it can’t be hacked like a cloud database. You can see the image there, and I can’t help but be reminded of a Wiimote accessory.

In case you are wondering why you haven’t seen a gun with a fingerprint sensor before, the answer is that guns with fingerprint sensors have actually appeared before. I mean, I seem to remember guns in speculative fiction movies like Lost In Space and Judge Dredd that required some kind of ID on account of the user or they would fire.

Those movies that I just mentioned are quite old, or at least 15 years old. So I’m guessing that smartguns just aren’t commonplace as much as they could be. Perhaps the better phrasing is should be.


Motion Display Checkout Divider

I said three days ago that Apple’s Pay could change everything, and it certainly has the potential to change the way we pay via smartphone. Now here’s another device that could change the way we pay.

You know that plastic bar that you use in the grocery store? The one that blocks other person’s load of groceries so you don’t pay for his or her stuff? Well, imagine that but with animated ads. The ads will only show up so it will play if they are on the conveyor belt. I guess that will save the battery life.

So I am a little confused. What kind of ad could possibly make me buy anything else unless the item is right in front of me? There had better be an ad for gum or something. Maybe for a tabloid magazine?


Spheree, a 3D Interactive Spherical Scalable Display

I saw a picture of the Spheree on my Source, and I thought it was some kind of crystal ball, but with holograms. Seriously, wouldn’t you pay good money for something that? After all, who wouldn’t want some way to communicate with their friend as a 3-D floating head?

Unfortunately, this is not what the Spheree is. It is essentially a ball-shaped screen where you can work on 3-D graphics. If you don’t think this is important, then you clearly worked with 3-D graphics before on a 2-D screen.

Now, this is 3-D effect is not created with holograms, but an interesting optical illusion. It uses multiple mini-projectors in order to shine the images on the interior surface of the sphere. The user wears a specialized headband that has some motion-tracking software so that a user can just walk around the Spheree and see their creation.

You can watch the video and see people creating 3D things and then using gesture-based interface. It is perfect for when you want to mold something with 3-D clay in a digital world.

Something tells me that we’ll be seeing more technologies like this in the near future. I am still holding out for those 3-D Crystal Ball Displays and/or communicators.


MindRDR gives the Google Glass some brain power

mind-rdr-1It’s pretty clear that Google Glass is going to be the new smartphone, as soon as imitators bring the price down to at least below $1,000. I believe that the controls are done with voice or touch, but now the power of mind is getting into the equations.

This is the MindRDR, and it uses a method of controls that I have seen before, like with the NeuroSky with their Neocomimi cat ears. It uses an EEG biosensor as an executable command that works with Google Glass.

According to my sources, the MindRDR allows users to take photos and then upload these photos to Facebook and Twitter. I have no idea when this is coming out, but this is really some great technology.


BAE Systems introduces The Transformer, a plane you wanted to see as a child

This is one of those products that I can’t believe will ever be a reality. This plane is apparently under development from BAE Systems, a UK aerospace and defense contractor, and it looks like an 80’s kid’s toy.

In fact, it is even called The Transformer. It certainly looks like it is from the 80’s cartoon that eventually turned into four (count ’em four) Michael Bay movies. That or M.A.S.K., but I won’t bother going into detail on that one if you never heard of that one.

The Transformer has a large diamond shaped main craft and then two triangular partners. They can split apart when needed, such as when you are being chased and need someone to split off to distract your pursuer.

Yeah, I’m not certain whether or not a plane like this is needed, but the form factor is designed to lower the number of mid-air fueling runs which gives the plane a better range then most of its contemporary stealth bombers.

That, or somebody just wants to make some big toy that they can play with. A big expensive toy.


Mall of the World coming to Dubai

It seems like every time that I hear about Dubai, it is always in the context that it is this real mega-city plucked out of futuristic science-fiction. I have just learned of a new project called the Mall of the World, and I am assuming that it can kick the Mall of America’s butt.

Yeah, Bloomington, Minnesota has nothing on Dubai’s Mall of the World. As you can see in the above video, it has over 20,000 hotel rooms (in 100 hotels and apartment complexes), an 8 million square foot mall, the largest indoor theme park, and a 3-million square foot “wellness district”.

Then there is the 4.5 miles of temperature controlled streets. That’s right, this hot city of Dubai needs an entire air-conditioned neighborhood. Of course, there is no date when this is unveiled, but I can’t believe that this will ever happen. Yeah, I’m one of those “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is” guys. This does look like the type of city in a utopian future, so maybe the day when I visit it, I’ll meet one of those Star Trek aliens.


Samsung to make a foldable tablet by next year

Samsung foldable displayI should probably give this a subtitle of: “Next year says that ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’.” I have heard about this foldable display technology before, and it looks like Samsung is planning to release one this next year.

Sadly, this is only one of those rumors, but I just like the idea of a foldable display. The rumor is that the foldable display will have three separate panels that can be essentially folded on top of each other. I just like that idea, seriously. Of course, I don’t know how thick that will be in your pocket.

It would be terrific to see if this ever comes out. Let’s just say that it does. I’m guessing I’ll see it next January at CES at Samsung’s booth. Hopefully not in the concept technology area, but stuff that will come out!


SCiO thumb-sized scanner

scio-scannerMy Sources for this device seem to call it a “real-life” tricorder. I am assuming this is some Star Trek reference, and I suppose it is a possible descriptor. I thought that was the Scanadu.

After all, how do you describe the SCiO, a spectrometer that can scan anything. Apparently you can scan food for revealing its ripeness, calories, and nutritional value. It can also scan plastics to determine their recyclability, or even to determine if leather is real.

This is one of those devices that looks like it could essentially do anything. I can’t help but wonder why this cannot be put on all smartphones. Perhaps it is the size or something.

This is a Kickstarter project, but you should be able to get it for about $199.


Someone invented a robot that can catch!

I’m sure that you are probably seeing this headline and thinking: “Okay, someone invented a robot that can play catch.” If you aren’t thinking “so what” after that, I don’t blame you.

Let’s start with the facts. This is from Ecole Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), and it is a robot arm with good reaction time, and has cameras to figure out the path of a flying object so it can snatch it.

So here is the “so what”. Not only does this robot catch, but the purpose is to teach robots when to catch. In other words, someone is teaching robots to have reflexes. This means that you can teach a robot to react while driving, you know, in case you ever want to do that.

This is actually kind of interesting. I think that it is interesting that humans can be taught to react to a catching ball. I can’t but wonder if we really can’t teach a robot to think like a human.

I’m pretty certain we all thought this couldn’t be done. Well, our science fiction books taught us this, didn’t it? Maybe we can to teach our robots to think.


PaperFold is a smartphone you can fold up

paperfoldToday must be some weird concept interface day. I already talked about TouchTools, and how simple interesting gestures could be used on any touchscreen to do the same things. Today, I’ll discussing how the touchscreen as we know it could become a fad.

This is the Paperfold, an interesting interface that could just as easily become the new standard of samrtphone. As you can see, the Paperfold isn’t just one screen, but three. As you can see, you can just fold it up like a map.

Each Paperfold screen is a lightweight e-ink display, and it will change its features as the shape changes. Imagine a way to add a screen, or take away one. It is like having a computer at home with multiple displays, but it is all in your hand. So if you want to work on an image on one screen, and then use a toolbar on another, you can do it. What it really scores high points is the Google Map that folds like a paper map.

All in all, it is quite something, and I believe this could easily be the new standard for smartphones. You know, after we have moved past this whole single touchscreen business.