Archive for the ‘LATEST EQUIPMENT’ Category


Monday, April 16th, 2012


In what is being touted as “the world’s largest dream experiment,” a psychologist from Britain’s University of Hertfordshire is inviting volunteers to try using an iPhone app to control their dreams. Prof. Richard Wiseman teamed up with the developers at software company YUZA to create Dream:ON, an app that plays soundscapes while its user sleeps, intended to shape what sort of dreams they have. The project comes in response to a UK survey conducted by Wiseman, in which 15% of respondents claimed that they frequently suffered from unpleasant dreams.

To use Dream:ON, people start by indicating the time at which they would like to wake up. Next, they select an alarm tone, followed by one of several “soundscapes” – examples include titles like Peaceful Garden and A Trip to Tokyo. The phone is then plugged into an external power source, and left turned on at the bedside.

Throughout the night, the phone uses its microphone to monitor the user’s movements. Approximately 20 minutes before their selected wake-up time, and once a decrease in their movements indicates that they’ve entered REM sleep (the sleep stage at which dreams occur), the soundscape will be played. Theoretically, that audio will be incorporated into the existing dream. Of course, it’s possible that someone could simply end up dreaming that an axe murderer was chasing them through a peaceful garden – that’s the sort of thing that the project is looking at.

Once the person starts moving again, indicating that they are no longer dreaming, the alarm will sound to wake them. As a side benefit, by not being woken up while in deep REM sleep, users should wake up feeling more refreshed – a strategy already employed by products like the sleep-monitoring Sleeptracker alarm.

The app will subsequently prompt users to submit a report of their dream.

After a few months, Wiseman and his team will review the various users’ reports, to see how well the app works. Dream:ON is available now as a free download at the App Store, while an Android version is expected to come out later this year. If it does indeed work, more soundscapes could be on the way – some of them would be free, while others would have to be purchased.

Should the idea behind Dream:ON sound at all familiar to some readers, it’s because something similar already exists, in the form of the Japanese Yumemiru app. There’s no word on how effective that one has proven to be.

The video below provides an outline of Prof. Wiseman’s project.

Source: University of Hertfordshire

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Smart phone app can now diagnose you for skin cancer

A mobile phone app that allows people to analyse their moles for cancer risk is a good tool, but should not be relied on in isolation, the Cancer Society of New Zealand warns.

Skin Scan, an application for iPhones, allows users to take photos of their moles and find out whether they are likely to be cancerous.

Released by Romanian company Cronian Labs, the technology

can be downloaded for $5.49.

The Cancer Society of New Zealand has applauded the technology as a way of reminding people to look after their skin and seek medical help for any changes to the appearance of moles.

Using specific mathematical algorithms, the tool calculates the mole’s shape and surrounding skin by building a structural map to reveal tissue growth patterns that help to identify abnormal developments.

It also takes into account the user’s age and gender.

It returns with a green, yellow or red result – showing whether the lesion is a low, medium or high risk of being cancerous.

Cancer Society health promotion manager Dr Jan Pearson tried the device and was impressed that it included the recommendation of visiting a doctor, but said more could be done for consumers.

“It listed some doctors’ surgeries, but not many. It’s designed more for an Australian market.”

But it also stores photos, so any changes to the mole over time can be monitored.

Pearson said that’s what people need to be aware of most, for everyone’s skin looks different.

“For melanoma, which is the most serious skin cancer, there are a number of different things that might be a melanoma. There’s a whole range of changes.”

But while the application makes it easier for people to monitor their moles, they should not rely on the technology alone, Pearson said.

“It could miss stuff, so my advice would be that if you’ve noticed any changes, see a doctor.

“You do need to detect it early.”

Those more at risk of developing skin cancer – particularly people with a number of moles, who have been seriously sunburnt in the past, or who have a family history of melanoma – should be extra careful, she said.

“Get someone to check the areas you can’t see yourself.

“That’s one of the things with skin cancer is you can see it.”

Specific changes to be wary of were a changed or new freckle, a mole which won’t heal, a spot which looks different from those around it and a spot which has changed size, shape or colour within the last few months.

One pitfall with the application was that it was not compatible with all iPhone cameras, because older models did not provide the quality image required.

“I tried it with an iPhone 3 and the camera wasn’t good enough, but I might have another play,” Pearson said.

“We’d be cautious to recommend it, but hopefully, it will make people more aware that they have to look after their skin and look for any changes.”

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012


(Reuters) – Tired of long waits at the hospital for medical tests? If Korean researchers have their way, your smartphone could one day eliminate that — and perhaps even tell you that you have cancer. 

A team of scientists at Korea Advanced Institute of Science of Technology (KAIST) said in a paper published in Angewandte Chemie, a German science journal, that touch screen technology can be used to detect biomolecular matter, much as is done in medical tests.

“It began from the idea that touch screens work by recognizing the electronic signs from the touch of the finger, and so the presence of specific proteins and DNA should be recognizable as well,” said Hyun-gyu Park, who with Byong-yeon Won led the study.

The touch screens on smartphones, PDAs or other electronic devices work by sensing the electronic charges from the user’s body on the screen. Biochemicals such as proteins and DNA molecules also carry specific electronic charges.

According to KAIST, the team’s experiments showed that touch screens can recognize the existence and the concentration of DNA molecules placed on them, a first step toward one day being able to use the screens to carry out medical tests.

“We have confirmed that (touch screens) are able to recognize DNA molecules with nearly 100 percent accuracy just as large, conventional medical equipment can and we believe equal results are possible for proteins,” Park told Reuters TV.

“There are proteins known in the medical world like the ones used to diagnose liver cancer, and we would be able to see the liver condition of the patient.”

The research team added that it is currently developing a type of film with reactive materials that can identify specific biochemicals, hoping this will allow the touch screens to also recognize different biomolecular materials.

But confirming that the touch screen can recognize the biomolecular materials, though key, is only the first step.

Since nobody would put blood or urine on a touch screen, the sample would be placed on a strip, which would then be fed into the phone or a module attached to the phone through what Park called an “entrance point.”

“The location and concentration of the sample would be recognized the same way the touch of the finger is recognized,” he added.

There are no details yet on a prospective timetable for making the phone a diagnostic tool, however.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Monday, January 16th, 2012

Burg Neon watch phones launch at CES

Despite the fact that it’s getting more and more difficult to find someone who doesn’t carry a smartphone with them at all times, the notion of the Dick Tracy style watch phone isn’t dead yet. In the past few years, we’ve seen examples from companies such as LG, Samsung, Hyundai and Orange, just to name a few. This week at CES, watchmaker Burg officially added its Neon line of watch phones to that list by announcing two models that will be coming to the U.S. market.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Monday, January 16th, 2012


Hands on with the Nokia Lumia 900 at CES

More from CES 2012, Sin City, where we’ve briefly had a chance to get familiar with the Nokia Lumia 900, the Finnish corporation’s sacrificial offering at the increasingly cluttered LTE altar to the gods of 4G. The Windows smartphone features a large 4.3-inch AMOLED touchscreen, 8-megapixel camera with a wide-angle Carl Zeiss lens and seven hours of talk time, according to Nokia. First impressions? Really rather good, actually.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Friday, December 23rd, 2011


(Reuters) – Weakening economies and falling prices of rival smartphones are hurting sales of Apple iPhones across Europe, data from research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech showed on Thursday.

The October roll-out of Apple’s iPhone 4S boosted its position in Britain and United States, but the new phones failed to excite interest in continental Europe, where Apple’s share of the fast-growing smartphone market slipped.

The smartphone industry is dominated by Google, which has stormed the market with its free Android platform.

“In Great Britain, the U.S. and Australia, Apple’s new iPhone continues to fly off the shelf in the run-up to Christmas. However, this trend is far from universal,” said Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director.

Apple’s market share in the 12 weeks to end-November rose to 36 percent in the United States from 25 percent a year earlier and in Britain to 31 percent from 21 percent, Kantar said.

However, in France its share slipped to 20 percent from 29 percent and in Germany to 22 percent from 27 percent. Similar drops were seen in Italy and Spain.

“The French market is showing increasing signs of price sensitivity,” Sunnebo said.

In part, the European sales of the expensive Apple model were hit by weakening economies across the continent.

Euro zone GDP grew just 0.2 percent in the third quarter and most economists expect it to contract in the fourth and also in the first three months of next year, sending the bloc back into recession after its two-year recovery from the worst global financial crisis since the 1930s.

The euro zone’s own crisis with government debt has scared off investment and eaten into business and consumer confidence, particularly since August when investors intensified their scrutiny of the bloc’s problems.

European consumers are keeping a lid on their expenses as government spending cuts and job losses deprive companies of demand for goods and crush exports.

Google had market shares of between 46 and 61 percent in all markets. Cellphone makers like Samsung Electronics, Sony Ericsson, LG Ericsson and Motorola Mobility all use its Android platform in their phones.

“In Germany, Android achieved a dominant 61 percent share of smartphone sales in the latest 12 weeks, with the Samsung Galaxy S II the top selling handset,” Sunnebo said

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, December 8th, 2011

ip.access unveils “unique” portable Advanced Femtocell Concept
Femtocell and picocell manufacturer ip.access unveiled its fully functioning ‘Advanced Femtocell Concept’ (AFC) at the no doubt riotous Femtocells Americas 2011 conference in San Diego on Monday. A relatively new technology, femtocells essentially provide mobile phone network access via a local broadband connection. It’s a technology that might interest homes and businesses in signal-blocking buildings, remote areas, or anywhere where cellular signals are patchy. But how is the AFC different? In a word: portability.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Acer unveils ICS-ready Iconia Tab A200 tablet
Acer has unveiled a new addition to its Iconia tablet series in the oddly familiar shape of the Iconia Tab A200. The budget-friendly A200 shares much of its hardware profile with the company’s Iconia Tab A500 launched earlier in the year, although the former lacks a rear-facing camera and will come in 8GB and 16GB varieties only. When it first is released, the new tablet will run on Android 3.2 but Acer says that as soon as Google’s next flavor of Android (codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich) is released in January 2012, the new tablet will be switched to the new operating system – with a free upgrade to Android 4.0 for existing A200 owners.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha



Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

Why hand your TV  remote to Apple?

The rumours of an Apple-branded television are coming thick and fast, but I still don’t think they make much sense for Apple or for us. Apple’s future is in content and services, supported by tiny portable devices sold at premium prices. Why would Apple want to get mixed up in the cut-throat television market when it can sell you content via gadgets such as the Apple TV media player?

I don’t think an Apple Television makes sense for shoppers either. Yes, I know that “Smart” TVs are all the rage, but I’ve always felt the best approach to shopping for televisions is to buy the best picture quality you can afford. Ensure it’s got plenty of HDMI inputs and then let your set-top boxes do the heavy lifting.

Yes, that’s the alternative, buy a dumb television with a great picture and hook up a few smart devices. Smart devices such as games consoles, internet-enabled Blu-ray players and media players like the tiny Apple TV. You might be prepared to replace these set-top boxes every few years but, if you’re going to spend thousands on a new television, you certainly don’t want to get stuck on a smartphone-esque 24-month upgrade cycle.

Owners of the original Apple TV got burned when Apple released a new model and declined to add many of the best features to the old model. Now imagine this was all built into your television, so you were looking at $999+ for a new Apple television rather than $99 for a new Apple media player. If you don’t think Apple would do that, just look at every other product it sells. Once it’s 24 months old it’s obsolete.

Also keep in mind that Apple products tend to lack the advanced features of the competition, a price you pay for elegant gadgets which “just work”. What kind of functionality will Apple expect us to sacrifice in return for an integrated Apple Television? Do you really want Apple to rule your television life with an iron fist the way it does smartphones and tablets? What won’t you be able to watch? What won’t you able to connect to your television? Which features will Apple add or take away on a whim via a firmware update?

Considering the Apple TV media player already integrates your television with the iTunes ecosystem, Apple will need to add something pretty amazing to entice people to upgrade to an Apple Television. It can’t be merely content, as the Apple TV has that covered. If you want even more online content, your money should go towards a Sony Blu-ray player or D-Link’s Boxee Box.

Chances are the Apple Television’s big attraction will be Siri, but I don’t think the ability to talk to my television is enough to entice me to hand over complete control of my lounge room to Apple. The other drawcard might be an iOS-style app-driven interface that some people have been expecting to see on the Apple TV media player. But keep in mind that iOS5 now offers video mirroring via the Apple TV, running from iGadgets with the new A5 processor.

What killer feature would entice you to buy an Apple-branded television? Which features do you think it might sacrifice for the Apple logo?

Sourced & published by Henry  Sapiecha


Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Can’t wait for the iPhone 5? Get your minor improvements with Apple’s latest instead.

IT’S A revamp rather than a breathtaking redesign but Apple’s iPhone 4S is a worthy heir to the throne.

Extra grunt under the bonnet, a spruced-up camera and improved reception – that’s the iPhone 4S in a nutshell. It’s an incremental upgrade in the tradition of the iPhone 3GS, retaining the form factor of the previous model while improving the spec sheet to give resource-hungry apps more headroom.

The iPhone 4 is certainly no slouch but the 4S raises the bar with its A5 processor, first seen in the iPad 2. That extra grunt isn’t immediately obvious, especially as the iOS 5 software upgrade doesn’t appear to have slowed the iPhone 4 (a welcome change from previous iOS updates).

You will also want to upgrade to the latest versions of Lion and iTunes to take advantage of all of iOS 5’s features, which will chew through almost two gigabytes of your monthly data allowance (perhaps more if you have multiple computers and iGadgets).

Spend time with the 4S and the A5 processor’s extra grunt peeks through in several places.

The time it takes to launch the camera has always been a telltale sign of a sluggish iPhone. With nothing else running, an iPhone 4 running iOS 5 takes about 2.5 seconds to launch the camera and open the iris so it’s ready to shoot. The 4S cuts this down to about 1.5 seconds.

Under iOS 5, you can also launch the phone’s camera from the lock screen and use the volume button to capture shots, which is an improvement for when you’re trying to quickly capture the moment. The volume button trick is one of many features owners of hacked iPhones have enjoyed for some time and it’s good to see Apple finally acknowledging the iPhone’s shortcomings rather than dictating how people should use their devices.

There’s also extra grunt from the new processor when browsing the internet. Throwing complicated webpages at the mobile version of Safari, such as the non-mobile version of and other media sites, shaves anywhere between 10 per cent to 40 per cent off page loading times. We’re only talking about a few seconds of difference, but it is clear the 4S’s faster powerplant helps.

The A5 processor really makes its presence felt when you start to push the phone. For example, the iPhone 4S is clearly happier than the iPhone 4 when running the TomTom satnav app while playing music in the background. The iPhone 4S also has less trouble keeping up when editing large files in Apple’s Pages word processor app.

Along with a performance boost, the A5 also lays the foundation for new features.

Graphics-intensive games don’t always look better on the iPhone 4S but this is deceptive, as some games now tone down the effects for older iGadgets. Firemint’s Real Racing 2 is a classic example: it plays almost as smoothly on the iPhone 4 but look closely and you see the effects are ramped up when running on the 4S’s faster processor.

Apple has also introduced AirPlay mirroring to the iPhone 4S and iPad 2. Rather than just streaming video clips and photos to an Apple TV via your home wi-fi network, these devices can now mirror any application on your television. This could be handy for work and play, whether for business presentations or using the handset as a gaming controller while watching the action on television.

AirPlay mirroring is an obvious threat to the Wii, particularly as some games such as Real Racing 2 are adding split-screen support for multiple devices. This lets up to four players race on the television simultaneously, like Mario Kart Wii.

In terms of hardware, the improved eight-megapixel camera is the iPhone 4S’s other big drawcard – not just the extra megapixels but also the new optics and improved aperture. You’ll see more detail in your photos, particularly when peering into the shadows of an otherwise bright scene. Low-light photos contain less fuzziness, or ”noise”. Unless you’re a purist, the 4S’s camera is probably good enough to replace your digital happy snapper.

The iPhone 4’s reception issues are well documented but the 4S’s redesigned antenna eliminates the so-called ”death grip”. Reception suffers if you hold the iPhone 4 the wrong way but not so with the iPhone 4S Livewire used, on loan from Vodafone. Even if your telco’s network is partly at fault, the new 4S should be happier in areas with dodgy coverage.

Most of the iPhone 4S’s other improvements are courtesy of the iOS 5 software upgrade. Older models miss out on a few features, such as the Siri voice-interaction system, which is in beta. Early reviews have been a little gushing – Siri is a technological marvel but not always the most practical way to interact with your phone. Frustratingly, Siri’s location-aware features are restricted to the US for now.

Siri alone isn’t reason enough to upgrade from the iPhone 4; it’s a sleeper that will mature in time.

So, what’s the verdict? The iPhone 4S is an impressive upgrade and the extra grunt lays the foundation for a new generation of apps and services. If you’re buying a new iPhone today, spending extra on the 4S compared with a discounted 4 is a wise long-term investment. But the improvement isn’t enough to ditch your iPhone 4 if you’re in the middle of a two-year contract, unless there’s a feature exclusive to the A5 processor you simply can’t live without.

Unless the iPhone 4 is already starting to feel sluggish, current owners might want to hold out for next year’s mythical iPhone 5.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha