The Technology News Daily Digest from Guardian Liberty Voice for July 28 – 30, 2014 includes stories about three-dimensional video, video projections from your Android device, and Amazon’s upcoming 3-D printing service. Thanks to new research out of Cedar-Sinai Heart Institute, mechanical pacemakers may be outmoded within the next decade and tech giant, Microsoft Corporation is facing an investigation into monopolistic activity. Driverless cars may finally be coming to the United Kingdom, and Instagram begins preparing to take on Snapchat with a new mobile application from the Facebook subsidiary.
Three Dimensional Video Projection
A device capable of projecting 3-D video has been invented by two artists from Scotland. Sarah Jackets and Chris Helson, who have been working on the stunning project for approximately eight years, have named it Help Me Obi. Star Wars: IV A New Hope featured an iconic scene wherein the small droid, R2-D2, plays a hologram projection of Princess Leia and while hologram technology is being utilized today, it has not reached the level of sophistication portrayed in the films. While Help Me Obi is not a hologram, it fulfils the same niche of three-dimensional moving video that can be viewed from all angles. Help Me Obi is in its prototype stages, but the Helson and Jackets have said that they are considering commercial production.
An Interactive Projector for Android Devices
Inventive teaser videos alluded to a projection device embedded within Apple’s upcoming iPhone 6. While this is unsubstantiated by Apple, Android users have technology available to turn their phones into a small projection device. TouchPico is about the size of a “pocket-sized flask” and capable of projecting an 80 inch screen onto a wall or projection screen. The resulting image does not respond to touch, but a click from the included stylus that the user can tap on the wall will send an infrared signal to the projector with the command. TouchPico responds to the gestures or clicks that are made in real-time, allowing the device to be used in a number of constructive ways, such as a stand-in for a white board.
Amazon’s 3-D Printer Store
Internet superstore Amazon has launched a new service, a 3-D printer store where customers can customize and order jewelry, figurines, artwork, small, non-electric kitchen appliances and more. Currently, Amazon is only offering 3-D printed items from a store-provided catalog. The company has not yet provided a means for customers to upload and access personalized 3-D printer templates. Customers are, however, able to tailor the dimensions, color, and material of many of the available products to their personal specifications prior to ordering. The price of a 3-D printer has dropped slightly since the product was released for consumer purchase, but Amazon believes that its new service will make 3-D printed goods more accessible to the general public who many not yet be able to purchase a printer of their own.
Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute have been studying the effectiveness of gene therapy in pigs with existing heart conditions. During a study that involved injecting the bovine with human transcription factor gene, it was discovered that a small portion of the heart can be converted into an organic pacemaker, eliminating the need for a risky, inorganic implantation. Heart block was artificially induced on the pigs following the gene therapy and in instances when the bio-pacemaker did not work, the pigs had a traditional back-up pacemaker to rely on. The technology, has, however been successful and the scientists working on the project are hopeful that the biological pacemaker will replace the mechanical pacemaker within the decade.
Is Microsoft Corporation a Monopoly?
The government of China is investigating Microsoft Corporation for suspected violation of antimonopoly laws. Officials have confirmed that government representatives have carried out surprise visits to all of Microsoft’s locations throughout China. Reports that the company’s Office software and flagship operating system had violated China’s 2008 antimonopoly law from several other businesses sparked the investigation. The manner in which the products were sold and packaged was the source of the complaint.
Driverless Cars are Coming to the U.K.
A review of the road regulations in the U.K. has been ordered because the government announced that it will begin allowing driverless cars on public roads in January of 2015. The statement was made by Business Secretary, Vince Cable. Cable said, “Today’s announcement will see driverless cars take to our streets in less than six months, putting us at the forefront of this transformational technology and opening up new opportunities for our economy and society.”
Larger cities were invited to participate in a competition to host a number of the driverless car trials.
Instagram’s Newest Application
Snapchat has changed the way that many people share media with their mobile devices, but Instagram is looking to hone in on the market. This week, the social network revealed its newest product, Bolt. The application is designed to allow users to send short, gif-like photos and videos between mobile devices. Bolt is not yet available in the United States, and can only be used in South Africa, New Zealand and Singapore. It is possible that the announcement could cause friction between Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, and a start-up firm called Bolt. The young company has been developing technology with the intent of replacing the need for text messaging and voice calling services through the cell service provider.
The Technology News Daily Commentary By Faye Barton
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