Tattoo Technology

 

Getting a tattoo is usually a special event for a person, often commemorating something important, or a mile stone of sorts. From black and grey, to full on tattoos consisting of over 25 colours, like myself, a tattoo can come in all shapes and sizes.

But, what if I told you that you could use a tattoo to control your phone, or use that same phone to listen to a tattoo?

Well, good news, folks! You can do both!

In April of 2017, Nate Siggard created the first playable tattoo that you can listen to with the use of his now popular app, Skin Motion.  With this success he created a company with the same name and created the now popular Soundwave Tattoos. The idea is that you get the sound wave image of the sound that you want tattooed onto you by a specialist. With the help of the Skin Motion app, you can then play it back as many times as you want.

Another interesting, and slightly strange, new tech coming out in the tattoo world is Duo Skin. Created by MIT Media Lab and Microsoft, a custom, functional device attaches to a person’s skin and can interact with your technology. The way that it is made is the design is created in any design software, then sent out and printed with a film cutter. This is then traced on to tattoo paper and layered on with gold leaf (used as a conductive material), where the electronics are placed. Then you apply, or “install” this onto your skin.  Some of the designs can even have LED lights put into them to enhance the look of the tattoo. There are three different types of uses for this: input devise which act like a track pad or controller; output display which changes colour based on your temperature or emotion; or communication devices, which include NFC tags so you can read data with your skin.

There are many more advances coming out in the tattoo industry, including helping in the medicine field and longer lasting temporary tattoos, because commitment is hard.

Will you take any of these new advances into consideration when you plan your next tattoo?

For more information check out these links:

https://skinmotion.com/

http://duoskin.media.mit.edu/

Microsoft Surface Book

As a student studying design in IMA, the idea of drawing tablets has always been appealing. Sure, I have a ‘drawing tablet’, but it’s a traditional, cheap, drawing-pad type with no digital display. While it is handy, the slight disconnect that occurs while drawing on the pad and looking at the screen leaves the user wanting more. I dreamed of the day I could afford a professional drawing tablet, the kind where the tablet is built into the screen. I imagined it would feel more natural to see the lines show up where you touch with the pen.

On our first day, we were shown the beautiful Cintiq monitors at the back of room 422. I know I wasn’t alone in that my instant thought was, “I NEED to try that!” After trying out the screen, my next thought was, “I NEED one of these!” Unfortunately as students, none of us really have the extra 3 Grand available just to purchase a monitor, never mind the tower with all the hardware capable of running the programs we use for designing. Most of us were just concerned with getting a laptop so that we can complete all our work and coding.

There is a product, produced by Microsoft, that offers a (somewhat) more affordable compromise of the two; the Surface Book.

This product functions as both a laptop and a tablet. The keyboard and screen detach at the hinge, allowing the user to use just the tablet portion, and then reattach to use as a functional laptop. The screen can also be attached ‘backwards’, creating a clipboard style drawing surface without losing battery life by detaching the screen. The screen carries about 25% of the Surface Book’s total battery power, allowing about 3 hours of use on its own.

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The keyboard contains the other 75% of the battery, as well as the graphics card and processor. This means that when in ‘laptop mode’, the Surface Book is capable of gaming and rendering. The tablet portion is still capable of completing the drawing tasks in programs like Photoshop or Gimp. The stylus for the tablet is also magnetic and attaches conveniently to the side of the screen for storage and quick access.

Some people say that the gap between the keyboard and the tablet, when closed, is unsightly. I rather like this, however, because it creates a slightly angled surface. This would act as a small easel to tilt the screen towards the user when it’s laying on a table.

While it’s not exactly cheap, the Surface Book is about $1500, half the price of the Cintiq monitor. Personally I would love something like this down the road. This model came out in 2015, and I can only imagine what improvements will be made by the time I graduate/ can afford one!

Project Scorpio – Xbox

http://www.trustedreviews.com/news/xbox-scorpio-release-date-specs-news-rumours-4k-vr

I’m writing this blog for all of the console peasants out there, including myself. Now I have been playing videos games for a good portion of my life, and when it comes down to it, I want a system that can run games at their peak performance, and you can if you want to spend thousands of dollars on a PC.  I on the other hand do not have that much money to spend and thankfully there’s a solution. Recently Microsoft announced “Project Scorpio,” an evolution in the console gaming industry. The Scorpio will be able to directly compete with PC, and even Sony’s new project code named “Neo”. It’ll be interesting to see how they compare in specs.

The Scorpio runs at 4.5 times the power of the regular Xbox One, which raises the question, will you have to re-buy all of your games and accessories, the answer to that is no. The Scorpio will run any previous Xbox One games, and it’s not a for sure thing but it might even be backwards compatible with all of your Xbox 360 games (if you had a 360). For the accessories, any controllers, headsets, or charging stations you have should work with the Scorpio as long as they’re Xbox brand of course.

As for the specs, the Scorpio will have an 8-core CPU from an unknown manufacturer and graphics card with 6 TFLOPS (Trillion Floating point Operations Per Second) of power. Meaning, the Scorpio can go toe-to-toe with today’s high end graphics cards.  In comparison, the regular Xbox One only had 1.33 TFLOPS, so you can definitely see the difference of power and performance. It also has a 320 GB/sec of memory bandwidth and it even supports VR (Virtual Reality).  To simplify it all for you, the Scorpio will be the equivalent of a mid-range gaming PC. To top it all off, the starting price will be around $600, which is quite reasonable considering everything it’s bringing to the table.

Now that’s all fine and dandy but nothing is flawless, the Scorpio was designed for 4k gaming, now I know what you’re thinking, how is that a flaw? Well there’s no other way of putting this, but if you don’t have a 4k TV you’re not going to be able to experience all of it’s greatness, but not to worry Project Scorpio won’t be released till the end of the year or early 2018, so you have plenty of time to save up for a new TV.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Projecting Our Future – Holograms & Microsoft HoloLens

With virtual reality becoming a more popular and well known concept in our society, with a great example being the Oculus Rift, there have been new developments and advancements in this technology that will allow a new experience: a chance to learn.

Rather than allowing yourself to be completely immersed in a different atmosphere, how would you like to have interactive holographic images projected before you? With the introduction of Microsoft’s HoloLens, this is entirely possible. You’ve seen the interactive technology in the movies, right? The ability to control screens and projected images with your fingertips has been something that many of us have longed for and have desperately wanted to try.

In comparison to AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality), holograms are a mere matter of light. Instead of being placed in a computer generated world with predetermined visuals, holograms are intended to assist someone while they remain in the real world, interacting with our environment and adding an advanced technology to our daily lives. Instead of all of our information strictly being available on a screen, the HoloLens allows genuine interaction that provides and more unique experience.

So far, some applications on the HoloLens include…

HoloStudio: a program that allows 3D modelling and is compatible with 3D printers.
Skype: a well known chat, voice and video calling platform.
Architecture/Engineering: to create and build; a unique way to engineer.
Interactive Human Anatomy: projects our anatomy and allows easier study.
Minecraft: a popular building/survival game.

I feel like this invention will be a great tool for companies, schools, designers and developers alike. Although set at a pricey $3000 USD ($4,286 CAD) and due to release some time in 2016, I think that the capabilities of this product will allow many of us to expand our understanding of concepts and excel in our fields of choice. As for personal use, it really looks like it will further advance and enlighten our reality without putting us into an alternate one. Perhaps one day, we will all be able to have access to this special technology and discover our own ways to create and learn virtually.

AutoCharge Engage!

I think we all have that charging station in our house where we have multiple cords tangled together and it looks like your headphones when you pull them out of your pocket. I mean how do they even get tangled up in there, one of the many unanswered questions of life that keep me up at night… Well now Microsoft is releasing a new product called AutoCharge where it gets those nasty tangled up cords are up and out of here.

 

AutoCharge uses a system where a camera uses image recognition to identify your device and solar charging to start charging your device. They take advantage of solar charging indoors to charge your device using a light beam wirelessly. The system then uses its image-processing abilities to detect your device on your desk to then start the solar charging phase. As a result Microsoft’s AutoCharge is able to reduce the users effort of charging their device and improve the user experience.

The biggest problem that Microsoft faced was the fact they wanted to use solar energy indoors. So they took made a light that emitted a straight beam of light with little to no scattering. They also had to find a suitable camera and motor for the system to find devices and to be able to align its light in the correct spot. The AutoCharge could detect and align the light beam in the correct spot in less than a second and have a charging time of 2.5 hours.  Now the phone companies would only have to implement solar panels on their phones.


In my opinion this is great news! I’ve always had that messy charging station for all of my devices but now being able to just place them down on my desk and beginning to charge is awesome! The only thing that crossed my mind is if the light emits any harmful rays of any sort.

Windows 10! A miracle with great features.

Halleluiah! Something so unheard of and revolutionary from Microsoft! Microsoft has announced that Users of Windows 8 and 7 will be eligible to upgrade to Windows 10 for free! The only catch for said users is that they will have to upgrade within a 1 year time limit, otherwise they will be charged for their upgrade. I believe that one year is more than enough time for any user to make the switch. For a miracle like this, they’ll only need a week.

 

Some new features that will be available with Windows 10(just to name a few):

-We’re getting the choice between a good ol’ start tab at the bottom left corner or the current start menu screen.

-Windows Action Centre (Notification Centre) will be improved. Things such as wifi, pc settings, etc. Will be more easily accessible with just a click.

-Control panel and modern UI settings will be brought back together after 8 keeping them in separate locations, accounting as counterproductive for even the newest user.

windows-10-desktop

Microsoft Cortana shall be a new Siri-like application placed into the software. It will be able questions from “Will I need to shovel the snow tomorrow?” To “What ingredients do I need to make french toast?” Via voice command, Cortana can play music, mute the music, open a browser, or do many other unnoticably finite things just by your vocal command.

Windows_10_Build_9901_IE_Preview_Wide

Spartan Browser, Microsoft’s new and apparently much better way to browse the web, kicks Internet explorer into the dirt. This is a lightweight (not stressful on RAM or otherwise hardware) browser with a much better rendering engine thrown in.

 

Last of all for today, Windows 10 will be receiving the new Nvidia DirectX 12.0 Gaming API. Xbox Head Phil Spencer claims a 50% increase in performance in games. That is insane. Of all the things I thought before, that their Operating systems were going in the trash, that Google was on the rise to conquer all and create the new empire of modern computing, Microsoft gets back in the game, cricks its neck back into form, and reminds all how the beast got to the top in the first place.

4 PC Revolutionizing Technologies for 2015

Wireless Charging

Being able to charge your laptop without a cable would so convenient. With today’s technology always advancing, Intel has created a way to charge your laptop completely wireless. With the progress Intel is making with this discovery, being able to charge your laptop without any wires could be a reality next year. Intel wanted to make wireless chargers as common as finding a Wi-Fi signal. During mid-next year wireless chargers will be available to cafes, restaurants, airports and other public places for easy and convenient charging.

 

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Wireless Laptop to Display Connection

With this technology a display or monitor  will start to work as soon as the laptop is in range. Ultimately, Intel wants the laptop to connect to multiple screens wirelessly, which would be useful in classrooms or meetings. One laptop will be able to stream to multiple desks with everyone getting the same image. Intel is pushing the initial idea through a “smart dock” that connects the laptop to a wireless monitor. Wireless displays will gain increased momentum with the growing adaptation of WiGig. A faster form of Wi-Fi that can handle wireless 4K streams with any lag. Qualcomm will also bring WiGig to smartphones and tablets next year.

 

Creative Desktops

From its origin as a dull white box, the desktop has become a thing of creativity and imagination, with the addition of technologies like depth-sensing cameras and 3D printing spinning off a variety of innovations. One example is HP’s Sprout “all-in-one” PC. The Sprout’s base is a giant touch pad which can act as a digital canvas that can scan images and also manipulated. The touch pad also has a 3D depth-sensing camera which scans the objects placed on the touch pad. For example, if a coffee mug is placed on the touch pad the 3D camera will scan the depth and size of the mug.
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-The HP Sprout

 

Thinner, Faster, Lighter, Better

Laptops, tablets, hybrids are available with so many options. So with all the options buying a PC isn’t easy, and it won’t get any easier within the next year with more innovative designs set to become available. Computers will keep getting thinner as PC makers introduce laptops that are as thin as 15 millimeters. Computers will offer longer battery life with the new Broadwell and Skylake processors from Intel and Carrizo chips from Advanced Micro Devices. New DDR4 memory will make applications and games run faster in desktops. Microsoft’s Windows 10 OS will soon replace Windows 8 within the coming year. With the new OS coming out expect these new technologies to be utilized.
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