Glass Turns from Opaque to Clear in a Second

glass clearThis is an interesting development for science that involves glass. You know the problem of how it is transparent, imagine if it just wasn’t.

Now, there is turnable glass that uses nanocrystals and metallic nanostructures, but it is pretty costly. That could change as Professor David Clarke and Samuel Shian at Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences are working on a cheaper method for opaque and clear glass.

How does it work? It uses a sheet of glass sandwiched between two sheets of clear, soft elastomer, then a coating of silver nanowires. Then all it takes is a strong enough current to turn the window opaque.

Glass opaqueIt is probably a good to make certain that these scientists perfect their process before this gets into every house, but it will be interesting to see what the world will be like without blinds. After that, it will be curtains for curtains.

Yeah, that was the best that I can come up with. Still, it is some great technology, isn’t it?


Yezz Sfera is a VR smartphone/camera

yezz-sfera-smartphoneWell, it is great to see that VR is happening, and now that PlayStation has it and there are others coming out, there might as well be a way to get some video footage for it. I mean, you could get one of those cameras like the V.360, or you can just get a Yezz Sfera smartphone.

This Sfera has two spherical cameras to record 360-degree videos. If you want to share them, then you will need to get yourself one of those VR viewers like the Powis ViewR and Google Cardboard. It has 5 Megapixel cameras with a fish eye lens on both sides of the phone. By the way, the phone runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow, has a 5.5 inch screen, 3 GB of RAM, and 3,000 mAh battery.

Then there is this Finger-Pick allows the user to finger-navigate in any direction of the scene that it can record. Then there is a full-frame to show the entire 360-degree landscape on one window. Then there is a button to upload to YouTube.

I actually had a chance to try this out at CES 2016. Yes, that was three months ago, and the reason why I’ve got around to talking about it now is because…yeah, I’ve been a little behind when it comes to posting about stuff.

The Sfera is available for pre-order at $299.99 and should ship on April 30th.


New PlayStation VR Information Revealed

PlayStation VRSo, right now, the Game Developers Conference is going on, and Sony decided to use the event to announce what PlayStation fans want to hear: the release date and price of the PlayStation VR.

So, let’s get with the price, as it is $399. This will include an HDMI cable, a USB cable, a pair of stereo heapdhones, an add-on processor box, AC power cord, AC power brick, and the VR headset itself. What is not included, and everyone is talking about, is a $60 PlayStation Camera that is required.

The PlayStation VR will be out by October, and there will be 50 games available for it that day. This includes Rigs: Mechanized Combat League, Assassin’s Creed tie-in Eagle Fight, EVE: Valkyrie, Rez Infinite, and Until Dawn: Rush of Blood.

In addition to all these games, Sony says that there will be a mode dedicated to movies and videos. It will allow video content to be seen on what will be a 225-inch virtual screen. It is also good for viewing 360 degree photos and video.

So it looks like in addition to Oculus and HTC Vive, the PlayStation VR could be some kind of first foray into VR.


Sony Concept N Shows Us the Future of Headphones

sony-concept-n-headphones-shotEvery once in a while, you will see technology that is just plain outdated. You know, like a typewriter, a black-and-white TV, a cassette recorder, and all kinds of things like that. However, the headphone hasn’t really changed much, including the earbud.

Now imagine if someone just outright changed the technology of how we hear personal sound. This Concept N from Future Lab, Sony’s new R&D offshoot, was being shown off at South by Southwest this past weekend. This device directs sounds upwards toward the listener’s ears, and the wearer can enjoy whatever they are listening to without missing out on the sounds from the surrounding environment.

There are also some motion sensors on the N Concept so it will know how to direct the sound if you are walking towards your bike. Concept N includes the feature of vocal commands for when you want to select a certain song or station.

So, does this mean that we are looking at an era where you don’t have to put anything on or in your ears anymore. I would like to think so. Of course, there is always bone conduction technology like from Aftershokz.


Our Review of the Roccat Ryos MK FX Gaming Keyboard

Roccat RyosSo, I always love reviewing ROCCAT products, and this is the Ryos MK FX. This is one of those gaming keyboards designed for those that are professional MMO gamers or just those who really want to play those games better than I do.

One of the things that I love about this is the colors, I can tell you that much, and with a certain application, it is good for 16.8 million color per-key RGB illumination. In addition to that kind of customization, you can highlight key bindings, modifier keys, system controls, as well as 500 macro sequences.

There is an Easy-Shift technology, which allows for secondary programs. Also involved is CHERRY MX key switches, the high quality mechanical key switches.

Now, here is the keyboard essentials for setup. For some odd reason, it requires two USB plug-ins. Unlike many gaming keyboards, there are no USB port on the plug to make up for it. There are ports for headphones and a microphone in order to plug in the keyboard as well.

Okay, I believe that this keyboard is only available in certain spots in Europe, but there is an Amazon listing for it if you want to get it. You can find our more information about it here.

Speculative Fiction Saturday: American Dad, Because Why Not?

American DadI have to admit, that I don’t really have much of a plan for this month as far as reviewing speculative fiction stuff is concerned. Still, like my review of Gravity Falls, last week, American Dad is pretty much a speculative fiction TV show.

Of course, most would not classify it as that. For those who don’t know, American Dad is from Seth MacFarlane’s animation company, the man who gave the world Family Guy. I don’t think I really need to explain Family Guy, other than it is a not a family-friendly cartoon that has been airing on Fox for almost twenty years, even though it was cancelled once. Family Guy was such a huge hit that I’m guessing they probably green-lit American Dad without even watching a pilot episode.

I will have to say that Seth MacFarlane would probably be a guilty pleasure of mine. There are time where his shows come off very good, and show a side of America that we don’t necessarily like to see. I will have to say that I have stopped watching his shows because his humor is often more violent and sexual then I really want to see.

However, when Seth MacFarlane is funny, he is very funny. Just watch some of the Star Wars parodies if you don’t believe me. American Dad was really the show that should have come first, because it feels less like a bawdier version of The Simpsons and more its original material.

The premise of American Dad is almost the same as Family Guy, but the main difference is that the father figure, Stan Smith, is more intelligent and stable, working at the CIA. In fact, this is a good time to say how much I can’t stand how Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin are fathers that are as unintelligent as they are uncaring of their family.

This is not to say that Stan Smith can come off as uncaring and unintelligent, but he is that way for different reasons. I mentioned before how I occasionally stop watching Seth MacFarlane because he is often too bawdy, but I honestly think Christian people should watch American Dad. Why do I feel that? Because American Dad often focuses on the mistakes that conservative people often make.

It is also a speculative fiction show, as two of the characters are completely unrealistic. Granted, a lot of Seth MacFarlane’s shows rely on just strange things happening for the sake of comedy, but American Dad has a good reason for it. With Stan being in the CIA, he has access to technology that is straight out of science fiction. For example, his goldfish Klaus has the mind of an East German skier.

Of course, the strangest thing of the show is they have an alien living with them. This would be Roger, who is apparently the extra-terrestrial who crash-landed at Roswell. It is odd that not much is really know about Roger and his origins, but his current character is like a more selfish version of Alf, but can somehow blend in with people thanks to his myriad disguises.

As far as some of the other characters are concerned, most of them are pretty stock. The wife Francine is a homemaker, but she is rather unintelligent. Hayley the daughter is free-spirited flower-child who has liberal views that contrast her father’s conservative ones. Steve, Stan’s son, is your typical nerdy adolescent character.

One of the reasons why I like American Dad is its willingness to take risks. Some of the my favorite episodes are just out there. For example, there is one called “Rapture’s Delight” which takes place during the Rapture, and yes, it has a bad view of the Rapture as well as Jesus and the Antichrist. If you’re willing to accept that, the action is good and the moral about staying with the one that you love works. This is just one of the show’s irreverent Christmas specials.

Then there is “Steve and Snot’s Test-Tubular Adventure”, which has such a terrific premise. The show involves Steve and his best friend Snot cloning two girls in order to take them to a dance. What they don’t know is they have to raise them from babies for a week. At that point, they become fathers, and the idea of using these girls to lose their virginity take on an odd turn. I’m not certain if this episode is support abstinence, but it does give an interesting view of premarital sex that most shows don’t try.

Then there is a question of whether shows should go to the places where American Dad goes. There is one episode known as “The American Dad After-School Special” which talks about anorexia, and it goes in just odd places. It even has a major twist ending to it that I never saw coming.

And then there is the episode “Tearjerker”, which is just a fun parody of seventies James Bond films. I can’t help but think that MacFarlane should just stick to straight up parodies.

In short, American Dad does present its audiences with problems that we as Americans are ignoring. Occasionally, it can get preachy, but seems to satirize itself when it does.

Our Review of the TiVo Bolt or Confessions of a TiVo Virgin

Tivo-boltSo, I am going to have to admit that I would like to think that I have the latest in technology, but I didn’t have a TiVo until a few days ago. In fact, I was pleased that I could try out the TiVo Bolt.

If you aren’t familiar with TiVo, then where have you been? I guess the same place where I have been, but at least I know what a TiVo is. In the case of the Bolt, it is the most recent model and is supposed to be a “Unified Entertainment System”.

The biggest selling point of the TiVo Bolt is that it allows you to skip commercials entirely. That is, if the show is set up for that feature, but you better believe that my wife was pleased to see the The Bachelor without any commercials. There is also this QuickMode for watching shows 30 percent faster like sports, news, and political addresses.

Tivo RemoteI will have to say that I found it easy to use. The moment I had it set up, I was able to check the guide and then select what shows that I wanted to watch. I found out later there is this feature known as OnePass, and if you use that, then you can just select a show and have all the episodes brought to you. Okay, I am oversimplifying this process, but the TiVo bolt is there for you with Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, and much more.

I will have to say that the set-up was pretty easy. I had a chance to plug my cable directly into the TiVo Bolt box, and then connect an HDMI into the TV. I needed to get a Cable Card from my cable company, which is Time/Warner.

I will say two things that I had trouble with some things. First, my service gave me the Disney channel on channel 23, and now it’s gone. So much for that deal. Then there was a time where the Bolt just stopped working. Seriously, it just stopped. Then I had to call the cable company, and they claimed it was a cable card problem. So I replaced the card and had the same problem. That didn’t work. Then I suggested to the cable company that I could just unplug the thing, and plug it back in. So then it worked. What is up?

Still, it was worth it for what I have. I now have all the stations with Netflix and all sorts of other possible combinations. From now on, if I can watch it on my TV, I am TiVo-ing it. This allows me to watch a recorded program on my computer as well as my smartphone. The best thing about the TiVo bolt is it is set up for 4K. Yeah, I don’t have 4K either, but man, do my network shows look good on my TV, like the best.

If this is something that you want, check it out for $299.99 plus one year of service on the TiVo site.

Coachella Music Festival Features a VR Headset

coachella-640x275For those that aren’t aware of an event known as Coachella, it is an annual music festival that brings together performances by some big names as well as some relatively new artists. It runs from April 15-17 and 22-24, and the welcome box has a VR headset.

Clearly, this is something new, and it has an application to go with it for pictures and interviews from last year’s festival in virtual reality. Not only that, this application will be updated continually with new content until the actual performance.

So, it looks like it is possible to live stream Coachella performances, which means that audiences will not just be in the crowd. I can’t help but wonder if this will be applied at other concert events, but I’m kind of out of that loop and don’t know any off the top of my head.


Honey, Where is my Super Suit?

Super SuitOkay, I am stealing from The Incredibles with that headline, and it is the best and most obvious headline for this particular product. The Super Suit looks like something like a cross between Tron, Iron Man, and whatever other property that Disney owes.

The SuperSuit is something that isn’t just out yet, but it is one heck of a playing uniform. It is made for adults and kids, and part of its power is that you can play Laser tag with it.

Now, laser tag is nothing new, as it has been around since the 80’s. However, the wrist devices are gesture powered, so the user can make a shield to deflect blasts. That is the modern-day update that laser tag needs!

The wristbands can also be used to control robots. You know, like the Sphero. I don’t know what else it can control, but I like the concept of what the Super Suit can do.

Now, I saw this product at CES 2016, and it is quite something. I had a little trouble controlling an R/C car with it, and it was hard to control. Yeah, there’s a little bit of a learning curve, but isn’t that always the way?

Well, as I said before, this product isn’t out yet, but yeah, I’m going to want to try it out. Click here if you want to find out more.

BMW Unveils the Car of the Future (Today) with Vision Next 100 Concept Car

BMW+Next+100+concept+gallery+2-edSo, I think we all know that technology is changing so much, that I can’t tell what the next car will look like. BMW has that vision covered with the Vision Next 100 concept car which is a Car of the Future, for today.

So, what does car of the future look like? Well, it is set up for autonomous driving. It has what is called Ease Mode, which can retract the steering wheel and can move the seat around for autonomous driving. I guess in the future, all cars will become limos.

This BMW Vision 100 has some AI called the “Companion” which is some kind of orb that can communicate information to pedestrians when the car is in self-driving mode. This orb will grow green when pedestrians can safely cross in front of it.

There is also a feature known as “Alive Geometry” that describes helpful information flowing from the dashboard to the connected windshield. Yes, this is a place where a a windshield is a computer screen, so you can surf the net while your car drives itself.

Yes, this is the future. I don’t know if this is the Vision Next 100 will be for the next 100 years, but we will see.