Latest Innovation posts
15 Mar 2013
The ingenuity of the Chinese consumer electronics industry really does know no bounds. Its latest triumph is “Bluetooth gloves”.
Entrepreneurially hawked while the snow was falling across Europe in March, the company that makes them, Sefe Engineering, claims that they enable people to make and receive mobile phone calls without having to take them off or even pick up the phone.
While the tip of the little finger of the glove has a microphone, the tip of the thumb contains a mini-earphone, enabling people to literally talk through their fingers.
Not only that, they come in a variety of natty colours. It's just a shame that the weather cleared up so quickly, though, no doubt leaving “Michael” at Sefe Engineering with a warehouse full of the gloves to bang out.
They will, however, set you back the best part of forty quid to purchase.
16 Oct 2012
Just five years ago, police in Middlesbrough decided to fit loudspeakers to the network of CCTV cameras around the city, so that instead of merely spying on people, they could order them about from the comfort of their own control room.
It didn’t catch on, but it might do now with the advent of advanced facial recognition technology, enabling the donut munchers to put a name to faces and boom out their orders.
Now, though, German artist Martin Backes has created an anti-facial recognition balaclava to combat states’ apparent need to spy on everyone. The brown, pixelated, commando-style mask, though, while no doubt effective, only makes the wearer look like they’re suffering from some hideous facial disfigurement that they are too embarrassed to show.
Besides, wouldn’t it be easier and less embarrassing just to wear a Boris Johnson mask?
Credit: Martin Backes
02 Aug 2012
Got a great business idea that’s even better than Facebook? Developed a new technology even handier than an internet-enabled fridge? Or invented a gadget so earth-shattering that it makes Lakeland’s “pineapple slicer and wedger” and “make your own sausage kit” seem trivial? Then the CIA might just want to hear from you.
For more than a decade now, the CIA has been running its own venture capital firm. Called In-Q-Tel – named after “Q” from the James Bond films – it was set up because the cost of developing exciting new ways of spying on, maiming and killing people had become too expensive for taxpayers to fund on their own.
In-Q-Tel claims that much of the technology surrounding touch screens and many other now-everyday gadgets and technologies are all thanks to early-stage funding from the US secret services’ own VC firm. It also claims to be behind the mapping technology that formed the nucleus of Google Earth.
Today, it’s working on holographic displays, software that can automatically detect “suspicious behaviour” online, and cyber security – although it’s not clear whether that is to defend against online attacks or to help perpetrate them in even more dastardly ways.
05 Mar 2012
Contrary to popular belief, we don’t make this stuff up. We just write it down.
In Italy “researchers may have solved the problem of radio congestion by cleverly twisting radio waves into the shape of fusilli pasta,” reports Science Daily, quoting the wonderfully named Dr Fabrizio Tamburini from the University of Padova.
Our first instinct was to congratulate the spoofers, but it appears to be genuine. They tested it in Venice, of course, sending a test message which reads: “This great Fiat will help mobile phone Roman. It’s a pizza history.” That last bit might not be true.
21 Feb 2012
And so to the world of fashion, where Dutch company Nieuwe Heren has created a pair of keyboard jeans. That’s right, keyboard jeans, which the inventors think will sell for around $400. That’s far more than you could charge for a keyboard keyboard plus a pair of jeans jeans, so they had better be special.
Ah, they’re not just keyboard jeans: they have a set of speakers and a wireless mouse in them too. We’re always criticising designs like this, which is a bit unfair of us, because it’s just too easy.
On the practical side, reviewers have pointed out that the return key is in the middle of the crotch, which might or might not make typing more pleasurable for you. Functionally, one wonders exactly which situation will make it easier to type on your jeans compared to, for example, the keyboard of your laptop.
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