What do you get when you combine a few respirator bags, some silicone air valves and a motion detector? A contraption that produces a synthetic version of our most sensual form of communication, the whisper. By fudging the aforementioned items together with a few other crude bits and bobs, designer Minsu Kim has built The Illusion of Life, a machine that he says mimics the breath temperature, humidity, smell and vocal qualities of a whisper. If you're asking yourself "why?" you aren't alone. Kim says that these artificial murmurs work to facilitate "strong bonds of communication and connection between the user and a machine." In effect, using intimate human interaction to bring you closer to a gadget.

Modern tech has already surpassed what the human eye is capable of perceiving, but he says that Life serves to explore which of the other five senses technology should stimulate next. Laugh now, but once the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch or Scarlett Johansson start whispering your to-do list, you'll likely thank Kim.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

If you thought Michael Jackson was the only musician to believe in the magical power of a glove, think again. Imogen Heap has "joined forces with the nerd underworld" to create a new high-tech glove called Mi.Mu that allows you to control sound with your hands. Using lights and motion sensors, the gloves can map a variety of hand gestures to different instruments and sounds, with each pair able to store literally thousands of combinations. It's a concept she first talked about at TED in 2011.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

Micaël Reynaud, Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery, London

It's easy to sneer at the idea of artists piggybacking on the GIF craze, but Google is taking the whole thing pretty seriously, especially now that Google+ supports the animated file format. The search giant is collaborating with the Saatchi Gallery in West London to host a number of looped moving images, displayed on giant TV screens, which it feels are worthy of public recognition. There's a hint of competitiveness, as a panel of judges (including His Artiness, Baz Luhrmann) will select a single winning GIF tonight. In the meantime, we've embedded the finalists from six different image categories after the break, ranked according to how much we like them and whether any of the artists are mates of ours.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

The art of automotive zen begins with a clean and orderly interior (for most drivers) and this week's giveaway is sure to help provide a more cable-free ride. The case, cradle and charger folks at iOttie have done us a solid by offering two Engadget readers the new Easy Flex Wireless car charger and a Nexus 5 smartphone. This Qi-enabled, dash-mountable charger will help drivers keep their hands at two and ten nine and three like they're supposed to, while still providing visibility for turn-by-turn directions and a steady stream of juice. The charger's sticky gel pad will keep Google's latest handset from taking a dive to the floorboards and the device will even work with other Qi-compatible smartphones. All you need to do is head down to the Rafflecopter widget below for up to three chances at winning one of these prize packs. You never know, a little dose of automotive feng shui could turn that long nightmare of a commute into some peaceful "me" time.

Update: PSA - The DMV has apparently changed its age old hands-on-the-steering wheel specifications. Drive safe kids and be sure to keep your hands at nine and three instead. The more you know...

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

One stretch of road in the Netherlands may make you feel like you're cruising through a video game. A new glow-in-the-dark pavement has replaced power-sucking streetlights for a 500m (.3mi) piece of the highway. The result is a Tron-like street that shines courtesy of solar-powered photo-luminescent powder incorporated into the road paint. This is just a proof of concept, but its creator, Studio Roosegaarde, hopes to use parks as a testing ground for new versions of the product.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

0

One of the biggest arguments against fixing climate change is that it would cost too much. Not so, says the UN's climate change panel, which has found that abandoning fossil fuels would only knock around 0.06 percent off the world's GDP. According to the report, if low-carbon energy quadruples by 2050, then the planet may only warm by two degrees -- the upper limit before The Day After Tomorrow-style catastrophes are commonplace. The panel recommends switching to renewables like solar, wind and hydropower, with nuclear the next best option and biofuels in third, since the latter uses the same land and resources needed for growing crops. Maybe it's time that we all started cycling to work.

0 Comments

NCAA Championship UConn Campus Basketball

We're not here to tell you folks how to get down in the club, but if you're a guy wanting to get noticed (in a good way) by the opposite sex the next time you're at the discotheque, listen up. Researchers at Northumbria University conducted a study to find out exactly what kind of gyrations draw in the ladies, and the keys to greatness on the dance floor may surprise you: an actively moving neck, head and torso and a fast moving right knee. Weird, right?

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

To make sure the (very expensive) equipment we're sending to Mars don't crash into the ground, NASA's putting its huge supersonic parachutes through a grueling test. Wait, what do parachutes have to do with Mars missions anyway? Well, if you read up on the Curiosity rover's risky landing in 2012, you'll see that NASA used a parachute to slow down its descent. That parachute won't work for the bigger things we're bound to send to the red planet in the future, though, so NASA designed a larger one called low-density supersonic decelerator or LDSD. The problem is, it's too big for most of the agency's wind tunnels and locations for testing, prompting the agency to create a special outdoor rig that simulates Martian landing.

NASA's contraption is a complex set-up that uses several elements, including a Night Hawk helicopter, hundreds of pounds of weight, a winch, a sled, rockets and a lot of rope. It's like a Rube Goldberg machine, especially since the process needs to go down in sequence, but the end task is nowhere near simple. A huge chunk of the parachute got ripped out in the video below, but since this test was designed to discover flaws, we'd say it was a huge success.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

In 1988, a young chap by the name of Shihan Musafer rang BBC children's show Going Live to ask Richard Branson if he'd ever thought about travelling to space. "I'd love to go into space, as I think pretty well everybody watching this show would love to go to space," he eagerly replied. Turns out, that call 26 years ago served as the catalyst for Sir Richard to register the name Virgin Galactic, the company that's now on course to take well-moneyed civilians into outerspace later this year. To thank Shihan "for helping to inspire the idea," Branson's hoping to use the power of social to help track down the now grown-up Brit, so that he can personally invite him to get the VIP treatment while "witnessing a spaceflight." While that makes it sound like he's getting a free return ticket to the heavens, in fact he just gets to watch the rich and famous take off. So close.

Update: According to the Virgin Galactic website "Thanks to everyone for your help in finding Shihan – the search is over and we've found him." There's no word on his status or a potential next step, we're still hoping there's a free ride in there somewhere.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

If the fungal spore outbreak in The Last of Us scared the hell out of you, you'll be doubly terrified to know that there are actual parasites in nature that can turn animals and plants into zombies. In fact, a group of scientists from the John Innes Centre in the UK just figured out how certain parasitic bacteria called phytoplasma turn their plant host into the living dead. You see, when these nefarious bacteria take over, they transform a plant's flowers into leafy shoots, turning petals green and preventing the flowers from producing offspring. Apparently, that's because the parasite has a protein called SAP54, which interacts with the plant so that flowers self-destruct from the inside.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

Imagine what your friends will say when they notice your brand new space rocket just chillin' in the corner of your living room. Bonhams in NYC has plenty of items to make your neighbors jealous at its Space History Sale, a collection of 296 items from US and Soviet missions past. The big event celebrates Project Gemini, NASA's first unmanned test flight, which took place on April 8, 1964 (what better way to party than to sell some stuff?).

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

We can't help you with the lights or the action, but the professional video folks at V.I.O. will provide the camera for one lucky Engadget reader this week. We have one V.I.O. Stream Battery System, which is a seriously rugged little POV shooter capable of capturing and streaming 1080p HD video using the Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP). It's waterproof, dustproof and shockproof (earning it an IP67 environmental standard rating), so it can handle all the extreme action you want to throw at it. And the battery add-on, which is included in this model, lets you roam free and capture footage for up to two and a half hours on a charge without any wired entanglements. Whether its documenting base jumps, birthday parties or kickstarting a budding film career, this HD video camera is up to the task. All you need to do is head on down to the Rafflecopter widget below for up to three chances at winning this V.I.O. Stream Battery System.

Winner: congratulations to Alex B., Skokie, IL

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

0

The Modern British Family

When Engadget launched ten years ago, few predicted how popular it would become. Even fewer (basically, nobody) guessed it'd have an impact three thousand miles away across the Atlantic. Nevertheless, here we are. Despite a thick American accent, we've grown into one of the biggest sources of technology news for British readers. We're proud of that, but we think it's high time we offered something better, so today we're launching something new: the Engadget UK Edition. It won't look hugely different to the Engadget you already know, and it'll contain many of the same US-originated articles, simply because the big stories tend to be international. But Engadget UK will be tailored with more news, reviews and recommendations that are relevant over here, and less content that isn't. We hope you'll like it, but first things first -- we'd better show you how to select which edition you prefer.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

Everyone has probably day-dreamed of launching a space-ship from their backyard at some point. Well, now that NASA plans to release over a thousand of its software systems into the public domain, your idle musings could become a reality. On April 10th, the outfit is dropping a ton of free code for things like life support systems, aeronautics and, as Wired reports, even cryogenics, online for your perusal. This is an extension of what it's been doing with its technology transfer program for the last 50 years, and like Data.gov and DARPA's Open Catalog before it, the result of President Obama's push to open government data to the public and digitize it for easy access.

The source code will be spread across SourceForge, GitHub and NASA's website for now, but by next year it should be consolidated in one easy-access database. What's more, NASA said that post release it'll keep adding new code to the database. Now is the time to vote for a favorite space suit if you already haven't -- you just might need one after all.

[Image credit: Kenneth Lu/Flickr]

0 Comments

When tobacco and cancer are used in the same sentence, the word "cause" usually goes in between. That's why a new research from La Trobe University in Australia could confuse some folks -- after all, the researchers discovered that tobacco could potentially be used for cancer treatment. Before you pick up that box of Marlboros, know that it's actually a flowering tobacco plant named Nicotiana alata, which isn't even the same species used to make cigarettes, that has magical, cancer-beating properties. After a series of tests, the scientists have determined that NaD1 (a protein found in its pink and white flowers) can not only fight off plant fungi, but also kill cancer cells.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments