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March 13, 2009

Virtual Cocoon


A March 4, 2009 post on SoftSailor tells you all about it; excerpts follow.


Virtual Cocoon Is The First Virtual Reality Headset That Can Mimic All Senses

British scientists have designed a virtual reality headset [above and below] that is able to recreate the smell, sound, sight and taste of every place on the Earth, as it is nowadays or was thousands of years ago. The user will be able to smell the rarest flowers on Earth, hear the sound of whales or feel the heat of the sun in the hottest place on Earth.

The Virtual Cocoon, designed by a team from York and Warwick universities from the UK, is composed of a headset with a high-dynamic high-definition computer screen, fans that blow hot or cold air over the wearer’s face, high-quality speakers and a smell tube which releases chemicals that make the wearer smell a specific location.

Being only at the concept phase, it should take 3 to 5 years to complete, says Professor Alan Chalmers from Warwick. The professor think the new technology will be used in schools, in long distance conferences and by people who want to feel what it's like at a specific touristic destination.

Along with the usabilities already listed, it will surely be used in gaming, offering an extraordinary experience. Just think how would it be to play Second Life using that helmet.

Of course the scientists don’t intend to replace real life but rather to let people use this device to complement it.

The headset connects to a PC via WiFi through which downloads the data that is being shown to the user so she won’t be stressed by cables. Its dynamic screen combines LCD and LED technology to offer pictures up to thirty times brighter than conventional displays, Prof. Chalmers says. The speakers will feature surround sound.

Currently they are not sure how the headset, software and data will be distributed or released, but Professor Chalmers believes owners will be able to buy software that will allow them to visit virtual places. Also, he thinks that in the future it might be possible to explore other parts of the world in real time, with a recording device attached to a car, for example. The device could record sounds, sights, smells, and the feel of the place and send it directly to the headset via the Internet.

Prof. Chalmers also states that the smell will be generated by a new technique pioneered by him along with his team. In the future they plan to also provide texture sensation by using tactile devices.

Nothing is sure yet, but the designers said an approximate price for the device would be £1,500 ( $2,116 ) plus the cost of software.



Second Life?

I'm thinking World of Warcraft, Grand Theft Auto and their ilk.

[via Milena]

March 13, 2009 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Sound Wave Tape


2"W x 197'L (60m).

Made in Russia.


March 13, 2009 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

'No. 8 from an idiot'


Kathleen Hom's March 10, 2009 Washington Post Health section item highlighted the set of 60 miniature heads pictured above, a phrenologist's reference collection from 1831 belonging to the Science Museum of London.

"No. 54 supposedly came from a 'scientific' person, No. 8 [below] from an 'idiot.'"


That's amazing.

I mean, I hadn't even been born in 1831.

March 13, 2009 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Easy Slide Hose Connector


From the website:


Easy Slide Hose Connector

Simply slide this connector on for a fast, leak-free hook-up to your garden hose.

It's easy on arthritic [or small, or single] hands — no buttons or rings to push, and no screwing or unscrewing.

2" long x 1.25"Ø.



Two for $7.99.

March 13, 2009 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wired Magazine InfoPorn Centerfold — Erin Biba's Top 30 Molecular Shapes


Gee, I sure hope this doesn't make bookofjoe NSFW — I mean, that's the section the March, 2009 issue of Wired magazine put the story in.

Never mind.

The caption for the graphic up top, which occupies facing pages 32 and 33 (see, that's why I called it a centerfold): "Molecules are clusters of atoms joined like Tinkertoys. The range of possible structures is vast, but they can all be catergorized by 'molecular framework' — the underlying rings and connectors. Most common by far is the hexagon — a ring of six atoms, with one at each corner, that's the basis for nearly 10 percent of known organic compounds. Here are the top 30 most common frameworks, with frequency of occurrence in parentheses."

March 13, 2009 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What is it?


Answer here this time tomorrow.

March 13, 2009 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Newspapers24.com — '12,000 newspapers from the world's 400 largest cities, all on one site


There goes the day.

My crack research team spent hours last night, while I was sleeping, looking for my Podunk town's daily (top), to no avail.

I guess you get what you pay for.

[via Milena]

March 13, 2009 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Alexander McQueen dresses the Red Queen


There's no doubt in my mind she's wearing the wonderful confection pictured above, unveiled this past Tuesday night at the showing of his new collection in Paris.

March 13, 2009 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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