Plus quantum internet a reality, and the open-source gun controller.
By Jason Imms on May 10, 2013 at 10:10 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 the monstrous Haswell overclock, the realities of the quantum internet, and the door lock that automatically responds to your iPhone.
Intel’s upcoming Haswell processors could be scary fast
Due to launch to consumers in June, Intel’s first Haswell-based processor, the i7-4770K, has reportedly already been ravaged by an enterprising overclocker. Using a mysteriously obtained engineering sample of the chip, “rtiueuiurei” managed a staggering 7012.65 MHz, with a base clock of 91.07 MHz, multiplier of 77.0x, and horrifying 2.56V core voltage. It is worth noting that the source site ocaholic mentioned that it is possible that CPU-Z could have misreported the voltage due to “bugs related the [sic] CPU-Z’s voltage reading,” citing the fact that the same 22nm process transistors found in Ivy Bridge processors begin to fail at a voltage of 2.00 (thanks to PalZer0 for sending this in).
Somebody builds an automated Xbox Disc Changer out of Lego
This is exactly the kind of completely unnecessary and complicated contraption that Lego Mindstorms was meant to produce. YouTube user zwenkka has built an immense, slow, and rickety automated disc carousel and changer for Xbox 360, using three Lego NXT bricks, around 3000 lego parts, and a series of sensors and motors. The array is governed by the NXT bricks, simple embedded programmable computers which use the Mindstorms NXT software to send commands to actuators and retrieve readings from sensors, and is controlled via Bluetooth from an app that previously existed in the Google Play store.
Given how much time must have been spent in putting the system together and troubleshooting the precise placement of each of the system components, not to mention the ponderously slow 42 seconds each successful disc change requires, it could be difficult to glean why someone would go to so much effort to produce such an impractical contraption. The perhaps self-evident answer likely lies in the same delight we get from watching Rube Goldberg machines complete their circuit, or from seeing the last domino in a run topple: we do it because we’re the only species on the planet clever enough to be frivolous with complexity, and damn us if we’re not proud of that fact.
The Delta Six Controller: An Arduino-based, open-source gun controller
As children, light-gun games were like some sort of magic, and as such sat atop birthday and Christmas lists until parents caved and made the purchase. Since then, the dream of reducing abstraction by actually putting a gun into the player’s hand for games deeper than mere shooting galleries, has been a pipe-dream. It seems that a new Kickstarter may have the answers we seek in the Delta Six controller for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.
This open-source, Arduino-based controller uses a combination of motion sensors, gyro sensors, and buttons to translate player’s actions with the device into inputs that can be used to control many modern shooters that already exist on the market, without removing the player from the experience by mapping in-game actions to arbitrary buttons on a controller or keyboard. The Delta Six allows the player to reload by hitting the bottom of the clip, aim by raising the scope to their eyeline, and even hold their breath for sniping by pressing the rifle butt into their shoulder. Imagine combining the Delta Six with an Oculus Rift and the Omni treadmill from a couple of weeks ago!
The Kickstarter pitch video goes into more detail but be warned, it doesn’t shy away from hyperbole.
Quantum internet isn’t a dream, in fact it already exists
Quantum internet may sound like science fiction, but it seems that not only is it possible, it has existed in active use for two and a half years at Los Alamos National Labs. By harnessing the laws of quantum mechanics, quantum internet purportedly allows for utterly secure network communication. In quantum mechanics the act of measuring a quantum object, a photon for instance, always changes it. Quantum internet, then, secures data packets by causing them to become corrupted by the simple act of observing them. The primary disadvantage is that normally this kind of communication occurs via a point-to-point connection over a single length of fibre, where even attempting to pass the message onto another point irrevocably changes it.
Los Alamos National Labs solved the problem by implementing a hub-and-spoke network. Technology Review goes into more detail on how the system works in practice: “Their approach is to create a quantum network based around a hub and spoke-type network. All messages get routed from any point in the network to another via this central hub… The idea is that messages to the hub rely on the usual level of quantum security. However, once at the hub, they are converted to conventional classical bits and then reconverted into quantum bits to be sent on the second leg of their journey. So as long as the hub is secure, then the network should also be secure.”
The Kwikset Kevo door lock makes your iPhone the key to your home
Security-conscious people are quite well aware of the fact that their smartphone represents a serious security risk. It holds all of their contacts, email, private messages, logged-in apps, and password lockers within its small, easily-misplaced frame. All that stands between their data and a malcontent hoping to gain access to their private information is—at best—a 4-digit pin code. Well, home security company Kwikset have produced the Kevo door lock, which adds the physical security of your home to the perhaps overlong list of responsibilities placed upon the chamfered shoulders of your iPhone 5.
With a Kevo lock installed, all that is required for entry is the simple act of approaching your door with your smartphone in your pocket. Using a combination of Bluetooth and location services, the lock senses your approach and unlocks the door without requiring physical interaction from the user. Those without iPhones are also able to use the device through the purchase of a Kevo Fob. The lock itself runs on two AA batteries, which Kwikset claim will last for around a year. Fear not, if the batteries die the lock can also be disengaged with a traditional key, like a peasant may have done back in the Stone Age.