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Interesting toys/technology to play with…

Finished all my work I planned for tonight, fixed up my car for our clan themed Forza 4 event this weekend and played some Gears of War 3 tonight, but something was missing. Maybe a blog post just so that I have covered some more bases tonight.

So as the title suggests, I want to note some toys I have that I am currently playing with and will be playing with in 2012. And by toys I mean not just physical stuff, but also technologies… Below is a short list of some of these and what I feel is good about them or why I am looking forward to them.

Kinect (For Windows)

Even though the Kinect has been out for a while, I only picked one up a few months ago. Now beside the fact that the initial device was for the Xbox 360 and that there were some early “Hacks” out there, Microsoft has since then created a whole program around it and several ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) have created some interesting products around it. What is it, well it’s basically a “Webcam” but with several additional sensors and enable motion tracking in various formats. And why is this interesting? Well, the technology used in the devices and far superior to that od an ordinary webcam, and includes infra red end exceptional motion tracking and detection. Application so far include complete clothing customisation, monitoring shopping trends, surgical procedure monitoring and safety related monitoring and interaction. More details on this can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/kinectforwindows/ 

 

Microsoft Surface

Another device I am very much looking forward to is the Microsoft Surface. Up until a month or so ago, no one ever expected Microsoft to come out with a “Tablet” device to rival the iPad or Galaxy tab. But they did. According to various reports only a select few knew about this development and the actual construction and R & D happened in an underground bunker. Speaking to various local Microsoft representatives in South Africa, no one knew about this and till today they have no new details apart from what has been shared with the press. The surface is basically a tables, but will be running the new Windows 8 on either ARM processors or Intel processors. What makes this so compelling is that the OS (Operating System) has been designed for touch but also catering for the normal desktop users. From a price perspective, the lower end devices will rival that iPads, but this is purely speculation at this point in time, as we wait for more details from Redmond. More details available from http://www.microsoft.com/surface/en/us/default.aspx .

 

Elgate HD Recording

Now if you have read some of my previous post or are following me on twitter (@hffourie), then you would know that I really enjoy my Xbox 360 as a means of relaxation. One of the things I really enjoy, but are limited in at the moment is recording some of my and also clan late night antics. Elgato released a fantastic new HD (High Definition) recording device for console gamers earlier this year. Now apart from this device being super small, the quality is amazing and the price competes with some of the more established brands. If all goes well, I’ll have mine this weekend and will make sure I publish some fresh new YouTube clips. More information can be found at http://www.elgato.com/elgato/int/mainmenu/products/capture-convert/GameCaptureHD.en.html .

 

Leapmotion

This for me has been the most anticipated device this year. Shipping is supposed to start in December, and you can bet I pre-ordered as soon as I was able to. This devices is revolutionary when it comes to human-computer-interaction. Bluetooth connected and not much bigger than two match boxes combines in length, this devices creates a three dimensional sphere around itself and then monitors movement within it. This is then translated into gestures for the selected operating system or application. Looking at some of the YouTube clips and comments, even though the speed of recognition is amazing, current computer technology is the bottleneck for increased speed. So the device, standard will be able to perform much better, without tweeking or upgrading when improved PC / Laptop hardware becomes available. The leapmotion will revolutionise the way we interact with our PCs / Laptops. More details can be found at http://leapmotion.com/ .

 

Mono Touch / Android

Now the Mono Project have been around for several years, and the main aim here was to create a runtime for developers that were using Microsoft .Net, for platforms like Linux & Mac OS. What this meant was that you code virtually code once and deploy on Windows, Linux and Mac OS and have the same code base, but with slight differences in UI. The project even created something called Moonlight which was Silverlight for Linux & Mac. But the team did not stop there. They went even further and created runtimes for iOS and Android. This means you can have a codebase shared between virtually all the most popular mobile platforms today, with minor adjustments in UI. Cutting development time down tremendously. More details can be found at http://www.mono-project.com/Main_Page .

 

Gunnars advanced eyewear

I still remember several years ago when screen filters for CRT monitors were all the rage. Gunnar however has come out with advanced eyewear for professionals that spend long hours in front of computers. They have also extended this to gamers that spend most of their day in front of TVs and computer screens. These glasses ensure that your eyes can cope with this tremendous strain and ensures that your eyes are protected and properly hydrated at all times. Obviously and picked up a pair as soon as they were available in South Africa. Details can be found at http://www.gunnars.com or locally (South Africa) you can get a pair from http://www.my-gadgets.co.za .

 

Now this is by now means a complete list, but these are the highlights for me personally. Other obvious technologies/platforms/gadgets include the Rassberry PI, Windows 8, Windows Phone 8. But these are far more mainstream.

Hopefully I will be able to post some details around all of these as I start playing with them more and maybe there will be something interesting for you to get from the posts. until then, chat soon. 🙂

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