Last week, the Smithsonian announced two of J Dilla's production tools would be displayed at the upcoming National Museum of African American History and Culture. Thanks to a donation from his mother (pictured above), the influential artist/producer's custom Minimoog Voyager and Akai Music Production Center (MPC) 3000 Limited Edition will be part of a collection that aims "to explore how popular music helped shape the nation's history and culture politically and socially." Before passing away in 2006, J Dilla worked with A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, The Roots, The Pharcyde and many more, creating unique sounds for each in addition to his own solo work. "Everyone who pays attention to hip-hop has heard J Dilla's work whether they realize it or not," said Timothy Ann Burnside, the museum's popular music historian. "In the very demanding world of hip-hop producers, he was one of the busiest and most sought-after." When the museum opens in 2016, Dilla's instruments will be included in the "Musical Crossroads" exhibit -- one of the venue's 11 inaugural collections. If you're unfamiliar with his work, there's a brief introductory Spotify playlist from our Engadget channel just after the break.

Read the Full Story 0 Comments

Vivo Xshot

Want to know why traditionally PC-centric companies like Microsoft are pouring so much energy into their mobile efforts? Look no further than China, which now says that more of its residents are getting online with phones and tablets than PCs. Of the 632 million internet users recorded this June, 83 percent (527 million) were using mobile devices at least some of the time; meanwhile, 81 percent (512 million) hopped on using computers. Internet adoption was almost exclusively driven by ultra-portable gadgets, in fact. While overall internet use grew about 2.3 percent in the space of half a year, the number of mobile surfers jumped by 5.4 percent. The growth pattern suggests that many first-timers don't have a PC at all -- whatever's in their pockets may be the only way they connect to the digital world.

Read the Full Story 0 Comments

Dying to know what the top ten best shows from the 1990s are, but just don't have time to click through that Facebook link? That's okay -- the social network's app is about to get a new feature: Save. Think of it like Pocket, but just for Facebook. Links, movies, places, music and more can now be added to a "saved" list by tapping on the item's options drop-down, enabling them to be viewed later through the app's "more" tab. Saved items (like an interesting restaurant) can be re-shared to your friends, and if you forget to check your saved items for too long, Facebook will remind you. The update is rolling out to iOS, Android and web users over the next few days. A simple, but welcome change. Skip on past the break to see the new feature in action.

Read the Full Story 0 Comments

Capturing a baseball bat swing with Carnegie Mellon's dome cameras

Conventional 3D motion capture is awkward; even if you don't mind people covered with dots or ping pong balls, you often get just a handful of data points that miss out on subtle movements. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University might just have a more elegant solution in store, though. They've built a geodesic dome whose 480 cameras work in concert to track a whopping 100,000 points without the need for markers. The system uses its abundance of video footage to estimate trajectories based on changes in light, motion and shape, rather than looking for arbitrary cues or interpolating image frames. As you can see in the clips below, the resulting data is both vividly detailed and natural-looking -- you can see individual confetti flakes falling to the ground, and it's easy to follow every nuance of a batter's swing.

Read the Full Story 0 Comments

If you fancy picking up a track where you left off on the commute upon entering your flat, and you've splurged for a Libratone speaker, you're in luck. The company's offerings (like the Loop and Zipp) are now Spotify Connect compatible, making connecting with your mobile device a breeze. As part of the streaming service's paid subscription, the option allows direct streaming with a speaker and smartphone or tablet on the same WiFi network. Libratone's audio gadgets already packed AirPlay and other wireless options, and this one can be nabbed thanks to an update to the speaker's firmware -- accessed through the companion app. This also means another audio choice joins the likes of B&O, Sony, Samsung and others who already offer Spotify's enhanced connectivity.

0 Comments

Neil Armstrong, the first human being to set foot on another celestial body, misspoke his historic line. "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," as it turns out, was missing a crucial letter when Armstrong spoke it to a live audience back on Earth. What he was supposed to say as he placed his foot on the surface of Luna, the Earth's moon, was: "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind," thus highlighting the bigger picture of his small step onto the surface of the moon. Thankfully, the 600 million people watching weren't quite as pedantic as we are: The public easily overlooked the mistake, understood the meaning and let it go. Hey, the guy flew to the moon, right? Cut him some slack.

Read the Full Story 0 Comments

The creators of a device designed to identify if your drink has been spiked have launched on Indiegogo with the aim of raising $100,000. Similar in size to a pack of gum, the pd.id can be dunked into a drink, blinking red after a few seconds if a contaminant is found. According to founder J. David Wilson, the hardware uses the same technology that the US DEA has employed for years, just shrunk down to a smaller size. Once dunked into your drink, the pd.id collects a small sample, analyzing its density, resistance and temperature to determine if a foreign agent, like rohypnol, has been introduced.

Read the Full Story 0 Comments

Chromecast

It's easy for someone in your home to interrupt your Chromecast stream and play something of their own, but you can always retake control... right? Well, don't count on it. Analyst Dan Petro has built the Rickmote Controller, a proof-of-concept device that hijacks Google's media stick to play everyone's favorite Rick Astley video (and theoretically, any media) on loop. The Raspberry Pi-based box simply floods the Chromecast with WiFi disconnection requests, kicking the adapter into its setup mode; after that, it's easy for the Rickmote to make its own connection and deliver non-stop '80s pop.

Read the Full Story 0 Comments

A sign of

Uber may win some and lose some, but the battles rage on in cities where it operates. Seoul, Korea has now indicated that it would outright ban Uber, calling it illegal and harmful to taxi drivers. Uber operates its UberBLACK service there to connect professional chauffeurs to passengers via its app. That differs from UberX, UberPOP or Lyft -- the services that have faced the most bans and protests -- since those mostly use non-professional drivers. Seoul's city council called Uber an illegal threat to traditional cabs, since its drivers didn't have the usual insurance and safety controls. However, Uber told the WSJ that the city council's comments "show Seoul is in danger of remaining trapped in the past and getting left behind by the global 'sharing economy' movement." Despite that, the city must feel Uber is doing something right -- it said that it would soon launch its own, Uber-like geo-location app to connect regular taxis to passengers.

0 Comments

The Oculus Rift isn't even a consumer product yet, but it already has a shadow hanging over its head: how, exactly, are its users going to interact with its intangible, virtual worlds? It's starting to look like the answer will be multifaceted, requiring users to own different devices for different gameplay scenarios. Trinity VR wants to be gamer's go-to product for the FPS genre, and have just launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund its Magnum VR controller. We caught up with the company in San Francisco to give its prototype controller a quick look; here's what we found out.

Read the Full Story 0 Comments

Must Reads