Friday Tech Roundup (01 March 2013)

SuperDaE

By on March 1, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Welcome to the Friday Tech Roundup! Contained herein is a weekly dose of some of the best tech news from across the internet, rounded up for your edification and entertainment. Read on for all the details of the arrest of one of Australia’s most notable hackers, the tech behind Lara’s latest luscious locks, and the suit that can give you one of Spiderman’s most useful abilities.

Australia’s very own SuperDaE raided by Australian police and an FBI agent

According to a recent article at Kotaku, the hacker known as SuperDaE has been arrested by Australian police working in conjunction with an FBI agent. SuperDaE, who self-identifies as an Australian resident named Dylan, claims that he is being investigated for his recent hacking activities, most notably that which targeted Epic Games and Microsoft Corporation. He maintains that his activities were born of curiosity, and from a desire to see the companies whose work he loves and supports to shore up their security efforts.

SuperDaE also claims to have development kits for Microsoft’s next-gen console codenamed Durango, which were listed on eBay before being pulled. The article goes into quite a bit of detail regarding the communications between SuperDaE and Kotaku’s Stephen Totilo, but is careful to constantly remind the reader to “judge for yourself” when it comes to the unverified evidence provided by the hacker. Alleged copies of the search warrant and evidence seizure manifests were provided to Kotaku and are included in the article.

Leap Motion set to leap into motion in May

San Francisco-based startup Leap Motion hopes to take motion waggle control to the next level, and potentially encroach upon the Kinect for market share in motion control for Windows applications. Their Leap Motion controller is a small desk-mounted device which can translate the motions of the users’s hands and ten fingers into multiple point control within a 3D environment. Leap Motion mentions in a recent press release that “a few of the expected applications for the Leap Motion Controller include: plug-ins for 3D design software leader Autodesk; Corel’s Painter apps; Disney Interactive’s Wreck-It Ralph: Sugar Rush Speedway racing game; top independent game maker Double Fine’s music game Dischord; The Weather Channel app; and ZeptoLab’s optimized Cut the Rope, a top casual game app.”

The Leap Motion is due for release on May 19th.

Maybe she’s born with it? Maybe it’s TressFX

This week, AMD unveiled their latest innovation in TressFX Hair. Hair rendering has long been the butt of many a joke at videogames’ expense and rightly so; accurately calculating and rendering the movement of so many individual fibres has required a level of computational sophistication and raw power that simply hasn’t existed in average consumer PCs and consoles up until this point. According to AMD, this is all about to change with the release of the upcoming Tomb Raider, claiming that “TressFX Hair revolutionizes Lara Croft’s locks by using the DirectCompute programming language to unlock the massively-parallel processing capabilities of the Graphics Core Next architecture.”

TressFX Hair is designed to treat “each strand of hair as a chain with dozens of links,” which means that it can be acted upon by the physics simulation in game, and in real-time. AMD claim that graphics cards that feature their Graphics Core Next architecture are best suited to the task, but given the fact that DirectCompute isn’t an AMD technology, there is nothing stopping Nvidia from including support on future cards. It remains to be seen how severely TressFX Hair will affect framerates in modern titles.

No cross-platform support for Diablo III, in any sense

When long-time Blizzard game designer Chris Metzen took the stage during the Sony PlayStation 4 announcement, many held their breath. Despite the audibly underwhelmed applause that followed the revelation Diablo III would be coming to Sony’s next-gen console, the Internet has been a-flutter at the idea of being able to play Diablo III with their staunchly console-only friends. Unfortunately, this hope has been dashed by a post on the Battle.net forums that clearly states that there are no plans to allow connectivity between the PlayStation Network and Battle.net.

Those hoping to be able to plug a controller into their PC for a more lean-back Diablo III experience were equally deflated by the post, as were console owners hoping to make use of a mouse and keyboard on PS3 or PS4.

My SpiderSense is tingling: The suit that lets you feel sound

Victor Mateevitsi of the University of Illinois in Chicago has developed a suit he calls SpiderSense, which is designed to provide the wearer with an ability akin to that which gives Spider-Man his superhuman capacity for avoiding danger. By making use of an array of directional ultrasound microphones, SpiderSense reacts to sounds by actuating small robotic arms, which in turn apply pressure to corresponding points on the wearer’s body.

In a series of tests with fellow students, Mateevitsi blindfolded the wearer and tasked them to throw cardboard throwing stars at any targets presented by SpiderSense. “Ninety five per cent of the time they were able to sense someone approaching and throw the star at them,” said Mateevitsi in an interview with New Scientist. He hopes that the suit could be put to use in giving cyclists greater awareness of the traffic around them, or to help the blind to safely negotiate their environment. Mateevitsi and his collaborators plan to present SpiderSense at the 4th Augmented Human International Conference in Stuttgart next month.

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