Plus attaching eagle claws to robots, and a new 'Stinky Footboard' peripheral.
By Jason Imms on March 22, 2013 at 11:36 am
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 Nvidia’s dismissal of next-gen console processing power, a videogame controller for your feet, real-life Medi-gel, and more on science’s intention to destroy us all with robots.
Nvidia bares teeth, gnaws on PS4 specs
“Compared to gaming PCs, the PS4 specs are in the neighborhood of a low-end CPU, and a low- to mid-range GPU side,” said Nvidia’s senior vice president of content and development Tony Tamasi in a scathing interview with TechRadar. “If the PS4 ships in December as Sony indicated, it will only offer about half the performance of a GTX680 GPU (based on GFLOPS and texture), which launched in March 2012, more than a year and a half ago.”
Tamasi goes on to point out that the closed nature of console platforms means that upgrades are impossible, and if history repeats itself, “these next-generation consoles, while being more powerful than the current ones, will very quickly end up more than an order of magnitude behind the PC.” In a tonally similar interview with Gamespot, Tamasi insinuated that Nvidia considered and discarded the idea of working with Sony on the PS4, “I’m sure there was a negotiation that went on and we came to the conclusion that we didn’t want to do the business at the price those guys were willing to pay.”
Logitech release G series rebranded line of gaming peripherals
It’s been a while since Logitech last refreshed their range of gaming peripherals, but the newly announced Logitech G series is set to change that, and bring with it some thoughtful design choices that could benefit gamers of any stripe. The lineup includes four new mice, two keyboards, and two headsets. The new series focuses on comfort and customisation options, with vented surfaces, hydrophobic coatings, and fingerprint-resistant shiny bits designed to protect the fancy new gear from we sweaty users. Stay tuned for some fast-talking with Charles, the Gaming Community Coordinator at Logitech as he runs us through the new range.
The Stinky Footboard turns fancy footwork into keyboard inputs
While the name is somewhat self-deprecating, the company behind the Stinky Footboard is confident in the need for their upcoming oddball foot-controlled peripheral. “Why should we limit ourselves to two hands to control games?,” says Luc Levasseur, co-founder and R&D Director, Stelulu Technologies to MaximumPC’s Paul Lilly. The concept is that the Stinky Footboard sits on the floor, and the user rests their foot on the surface.
The Footboard should remain centred when the user is at rest, but respond to them tilting their foot in any of the four cardinal directions. Tension springs can be individually switched out for heavier or lighter versions based on the preference of the user. The four buttons can be mapped to keyboard inputs, and used in the same way. For example, forward and back could be respectively mapped to accelerate and break in driving games, or the four buttons could be used for weapons or inventory management in shooters and character action games. Stelulu intend to float the concept on Kickstarter after gathering public hands(feet?)-on impressions at PAX East.
Taking the “fiction” out of science fiction: Medi-gel is very nearly an actual thing
A substance named Veti-Gel has been developed by NYU student Joe Landolina, which is astonishingly similar to the all-purpose Mass Effect fixer-upper, Medi-gel. Veti-Gel is designed to instantly stop bleeding upon the application of the substance to any open wound, without the need to apply pressure. “In all of our tests we found we were able to immediately stop bleeding,” says Landolina in a recent interview with Humans Invent. “Your skin has this thing called the extracellular matrix,” he explains. “It’s kind of a mesh of molecules and sugars and protein that holds your cells in place.”
Landolina is able to synthesise ECM using plant polymers, which forms the basis of Veti-Gel’s amazing restorative properties. “It goes into the wound and the pieces of the synthetic ECM in the gel will recognise the pieces of the real ECM in the wound and they’ll link together. It will re-assemble into something that looks like, feels like and acts like skin.” The video below demonstrates Veti-Gel’s ability to stop profuse bleeding, but if the sight of blood makes you queasy, maybe you’d be better off taking our word for it.
Robotic birds of prey could spell the end of aquabots and robo-rodents everywhere
Okay, what is it with researchers attaching claws to robots? First BigDog was given a cinderblock-throwing arm, and now researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have attached a claw to a quadrotor, which can snatch up stationary objects while flying past at horrifyingly high speeds.
Taking inspiration from birds of prey, an articulated 3D-printed claw has been designed to hang from centre-point of a quadrotor chassis, and can scoop up its “prey” while travelling at a startling three meters per second. The researchers plan to add a camera to the system that would allow the quadrotor and claw to automatically adjust angle of attack and elevation to improve accuracy and success. Eventually the researchers hope that UAVs fitted with limbs will be used to open doors and carry burdens from locations unsafe for human access.