Layar augmented reality launches

eyetour_puertorico_tourist-sight-info

Layar brings augmented reality to your cellphone with the release of Layar Reality Browser 2.0. Partnering with Layar, Brightkite improves the experience by accessing their content, along with Wikipedia, Twitter, and other services; then by using the camera on your cellphone, maps friends and other users data on the screen, over top of the live feed. Simply aim your camera at a bar and find that two friends are inside, and read a reminder to yourself that you didn’t like the live music. It’s interesting to see how much is already implemented, and with an additional 500 API keys released, what new things will come from Layar?

Related: AR flash library released, Location aware task tracking

PS3 Slim axes Linux support

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We may have all been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the PS3 slim, but don’t get too excited yet. According to an official press release from Sony, the PS3’s slimmer counterpart is dropping the ability to install Linux or another operating system. It’s always a shame when new products come packed with less features, but this time, it’s preventing us from doing things like cracking SSL using 200 of the consoles, or running emulators from an Ubuntu install on the console. For those of us that still plan on keeping our “old” PS3s, Yellow Dog Linux has been released on a USB stick and allows you to run without having to do a full installation.

[via Joystiq]

Hacking at Random

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The 20th Hacking At Random has recently come to a finish. For the unititiated, Hacking At Random or HAR is a massive hacker festival that happens every four years in the Netherlands. Four days of technology obsessed hacking with roughly 2500 people definitely piques our interest. The event is riddled with classes and people speaking on subjects such as censorship and robotics. Quickly built networks sprawl across the entire area, with shacks set up for location of servers. We think there should be an official Hack A Day tent there next time. We mentioned HAR when we were talking about impromptu DECT networks and DECT phone modification. Be sure to browse through the multitudes of pictures located on the HAR website.

Interactive LED block wall

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[Dave Vondle] from IDEO Labs sent in the large LED pixel wall he built using BlinkM modules, an Arduino, and Flash to control it. The overall result is a blindingly bright, large, public display for people to interact with. The best part about the project is that [Dave Vondle] documents everything; from hardware to schematics to source code. Unfortunately, he was forced to remove the wall due to construction, but since every part of the project is open source, it lends itself to be easily recreated. I’m sure we’d all like to see a wireless controller hookup to play pong on the streets of Chicago.

Reverse engineering USB drivers

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When [Jespersaur] purchased a Luxeed LED keyboard, he was disappointed to find that the drivers were not open source and didn’t support all the features he wanted. His solution? Hack the drivers that come with it, and implement his own. In his article, he gives a basic rundown of beginning reverse engineering by multiple methods and a brief introduction to libusb. For the Linux drivers, check out [Kurt Stephens]‘s site, where he supplies a link to the source code, instructions on building it, and a tutorial on sending commands to the keyboard.

Modular computing

This is the Illuminato X Machina, a “cellular” style computing system.  Each unit is a fully functioning computer with its own processor, storage and communications.  You can watch above as a change in the operating software is propagated across the grid. You can see the LEDs in the video going nuts, there are actually LEDs on the sides too. [Justin] described it to us as a personal fireworks show on your desk.  This system is fully open with the schematics and source code available on their site. You might recognize these guys too, we covered their Open Source GameBoy.

Condom testing robot

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Broken condoms are a serious concern, not only for those who break them, but the companies who manufacture them. When studying the common reasons for breakage, a coital robot was used to simulate usage. Though it isn’t much of a robot, consisting mainly of simple pneumatics, it does serve its purpose. The study was able to determine the most common cause of breakage, and hopefully this information will lead to less occurrences. Robots do exist in the sex industry, and not just in that speculative future sex bot sense. Why weren’t any bots of a sexual background included in the big picture? The comments might want to stray towards future tech and possibilities, but we’re curious what there is out there currently and how robots are helping the industry.

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