10-micron-wide flowers can bloom just like the real thing

10-micron-wide flowers can bloom just like the real thing

A team of researchers from the RMIT-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology Research Centre has developed a technique to create 10-micron-wide flower-like structures that bloom like the real thing. The group mixed two ingredients in water to make that happen: NDI-bearing phosphonic acid and melamine. As the water evaporates, the components undergo a chemical reaction that resembles a flower blooming. It takes three hours for the combination to fully form, which you can see below the fold. Note that each “flower” is so small, the researchers say you can fit ten along the width of a single human hair strand.

Now, if you’re thinking “So, what do we do with a microflower?” According to lead scientist Dr. Sheshanath Boshanale, microscopic flower structures could “break frontiers in a range of scientific fields.” The team’s creation might be tiny, but it could lead to advancements in biotech, nanotech and organic electronics, among other fields.

10-micron-wide flowers can bloom just like the real thing


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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2015/10/04/microflower-research/

Google wants Glass-like headsets with holographic displays

Google wants Glass-like headsets with holographic displays

Google Glass (aka Project Aura), as cool as it is, isn’t very immersive: you’re still looking at flat pictures superimposed on a 3D world. You may see some added depth in the future, though. Google has filed for a patent on a “head wearable display” that would show holograms. The hope is that this would create an augmented reality experience that’s more involving than what you get today, including a wider field of view a more efficient, easier-to-wear headset.

There’s no certainty that Google will do something with the technology, assuming the patent is granted. Microsoft’s HoloLens may not get fresh competition any time soon. However, it’s no secret that Google is not only working on the next version of Glass, but has poured lots of cash into augmented reality efforts like Magic Leap’s still-mysterious project. Don’t be surprised if you’re one day playing games against opponents who seem like they’re in the room, or driving a car where traffic alerts float above the road itself.

[Image credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images]

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2015/10/03/google-wearable-holographic-display-patent/

Disney Research AR app turns colored drawings into 3D characters

Disney Research AR app turns colored drawings into 3D characters

A new Disney Research project can make coloring books more exciting for those of us with limited art skills. The team has built an interactive Android and iOS coloring book app using the Unity game engine that can take a colored drawing and turn it into an augmented reality object on screen — and, yes, as you can see above, it retains the original artwork’s texture. In fact, the app can generate parts of the object in the same texture even if you only color a 2D picture. For example, if you fill in the front-facing line drawing of the elephant above, the app will show you a backside that resembles your masterpiece. It’s definitely not perfect, but it works.

The app does that by copying pixels from your piece and adapting them for use on the object’s other regions. It also transforms your drawing into a 3D object in real time, so you can actually watch it getting colored on screen. We hope the researchers expand the app’s capabilities in time — it could, for instance, use the characters in interactive games. Unfortunately, you can’t download the app or buy the accompanying coloring book for now, but you can read more about the study on the lab’s website and watch the tech in action below.

Disney Research AR app turns colored drawings into 3D characters

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2015/10/03/disney-research-augmented-reality-coloring-book/

Rare shows the ‘Conker’ game that never was

Rare shows the 'Conker' game that never was

If you know your Rare history, you probably know that Conker’s Bad Fur Day began life as a tame, kid-friendly game and evolved into the foul-mouthed ‘mature’ title that reached your Nintendo 64. Have you wondered what that original squirrel adventure looked like in action, however? Rare is happy to help. It just posted unreleased footage of the game when it was still known as Twelve Tales: Conker 64. To say that this early version was playing it safe would be an understatement. As you’ll see below, Conker’s companion Berry (aka Berri) wasn’t nearly so sexualized. Meanwhile, the gameplay mechanics involved innocuous things like unicycles and differently-themed hats — no feces monsters here.

The peek helps you get a sense of why Rare pushed Conker in a very different direction. Twelve Tales was going to be just another 3D platformer with a cutesy mascot, and that an especially big problem when Rare’s own Banjo-Kazooie largely covered the same turf. While you could criticize Bad Fur Day for going too far in the other direction and chasing offensiveness for its own sake, the end result at least stood out in a crowded field.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2015/10/03/unreleased-conker-game-revealed/

‘Rare Replay’ puts 30 classic games on your Xbox One this August

'Rare Replay' puts 30 classic games on your Xbox One this August

It’s Rare’s 30th anniversary, and the game studio is marking the occasion in style: It’s releasing Rare Replay, a 30-title compilation for the Xbox One. The pack includes everything from the mind-numbingly difficult Battletoads through to Banjo-Kazooie and Perfect Dark. There isn’t mention of whether or not the games are getting visual upgrades or new modes, but there are 10,000 Gamerscore points up for grabs if you’re playing for bragging rights. Replay arrives August 4th, so you won’t have to wait long to relive the Rare games of your childhood.

Check here for everything happening at E3 2015!

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2015/06/15/rare-replay/

‘FTL: Faster Than Light’ soundtrack on vinyl looks out of this world

'FTL: Faster Than Light' soundtrack on vinyl looks out of this world

One of the direct results of folks helping Subset Games, the developers of FTL: Faster Than Light, absolutely demolish their Kickstarter goal was hiring Ben Prunty to score the game. And now thanks to iam8bit you’ll soon be able to listen to it on the best sounding format possible: vinyl. The two LP set features some truly incredible artwork from designer Leif Podhajsky, trippy starburst green and black vinyl and a download code. To make sure those atmospheric sci-fi sounds are at their best, the soundtrack was mastered for wax at Telegraph Mastering Studio whose clients include Sufjan Stevens and Steve Aoki among many others. The release is up for pre-order right now, ships early next year and will run you $35 plus the cost it takes to get it to your door. Don’t have a vinyl fetish obsession but still want these tunes? They’re available for $5 over on Prunty’s Bandcamp page.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2015/10/03/faster-than-light-soundtrack-vinyl/

Uncut beta version of Conker’s Bad Fur Day touted in fan fundraiser

Uncut beta version of Conker's Bad Fur Day touted in fan fundraiser

Conker’s Bad Fur Day is one of the Nintendo 64’s more infamous releases. Originally pitched as a family-friendly adventure in the vein of developer Rare’s own Banjo-Kazooie, Conker‘s direction changed drastically during its development, resulting in an M-rated adventure featuring squirrel hangovers, frequent profanity, and opera-singing turd creatures.

Conker tested the limits of Nintendo’s publishing guidelines, and while much of the game’s salty content made it to store shelves unscathed, some scenes were changed or removed prior to the game’s completion. A fan-driven fundraiser seeks to release an uncut beta version of Conker’s Bad Fur Day to the public as a downloadable ROM image.

The debug footage above, captured by demo cartridge owner Borman, shows an uncut scene in which the Nazi-like Tediz are performing experimental surgery on a live squirrel soldier. Nintendo apparently decided that this little vignette pushed things too far, as the retail version of the cutscene plays out quite a bit differently. Additional differences between Borman’s demo and the retail release have been noted, spurring fan demand for a ROM release.

Along with the promised ETCS demo build, Borman will also release a second debug version of Conker, along with PAL and NTSC beta versions of Rare’s Perfect Dark, once his $2,500 funding goal is met.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2013/05/07/uncut-beta-version-of-conkers-bad-fur-day-touted-in-fan-fundrai/

The Joystiq Indie Pitch: FTL: Faster than Light

Indie developers are the starving artists of the video-game world, often brilliant and innovative, but also misunderstood, underfunded and more prone to writing free-form poetry on their LiveJournals. We believe they deserve a wider audience with the Joystiq Indie Pitch: This week, Justin Ma and Matthew Davis of Subset Games describe their quick rise to space roguelike-like fame with FTL: Faster than Light, which recently launched on Steam for PC and Mac.

The Joystiq Indie Pitch: FTL: Faster than Light

What’s your game called and what’s it about?

Justin Ma: Our game is called FTL: Faster than Light and we’ve been describing it as a “spaceship simulation roguelike-like.” The focus is on managing a spaceship and her crew as they explore a randomized galaxy. Combat requires you to control the crew to keep your ship running and fight off intruders, balancing your power distribution, and trying to wreak havoc on the enemy ship. In between fights the game is filled with “choose your own adventure” style text-based events with many possible outcomes.

Matthew Davis: The core game can be compared to something like Weird Worlds or Flotilla where the player is travelling to various star systems, encountering events and upgrading their ship. But the combat is focused on the ship interior as opposed to “dogfighting” in space.

What’s the coolest aspect of FTL?

Justin: Each element of the game is pretty simple on its own: Blast doors can restrict enemy movement on your ship; oxygen can be vented by opening the airlocks; fire spreads through open doors. When all of these interact you can get some amazing and unpredictable situations. Your crew might be trapped putting out a fire in the weapons rooms while at the same time boarders are trying to break the doors down because they’re suffocating after mistakenly sabotaging your oxygen system.%Gallery-166005%

Your Kickstarter was a gigantic success, raising more than $200,000 when you asked only for $10,000. How has that extra cash helped development or your personal lives?

Matthew: FTL was already so far along in development it would’ve been difficult to make any massive changes to the core game (especially if we wanted to meet our deadlines). We still found ways to make FTL better thanks for the funding. It has allowed us to dramatically expand our sound budget to include a much larger, absolutely brilliant soundtrack from Ben Prunty. And we’ve also contracted out our writer, Tom Jubert, to greatly expand the galaxy of FTL. The previous five alien races has turned into seven, all with unique personalities, ships and encounters that really add to the in game exploration.

On a personal level, it’s just pleasant to be able to release the game without worrying about how we’ll pay for food or rent.

What do you think intrigues players about FTL, so much so that they’ve over-funded its production and it’s been nominated for several awards, before the game was even released?

Matthew: FTL has managed to tap into something that people have wanted. Many of the early responses to the game were something along the lines of, “Oh I always wanted to make a game like this.” It’s thanks to the TV shows and movies that inspired us that other people have also been wanting games like these. I hope FTL starts to fill the gap in the gaming pantheon and inspires more people to make “spaceship simulation roguelike-likes.” There’s not enough supply and plenty of demand at the moment.

The Joystiq Indie Pitch: FTL: Faster than Light

What inspired you to make FTL?

Matthew: Sci-fi classics like Star Trek and Firefly provided the base inspiration. We wanted to create the tactical experience of being a ship captain, yelling out orders and making decisions during a thrilling space adventure.

Justin: There are a lot of games that task the player with commanding a spaceship, but there are too few that focus on what goes on inside the ship. What does the crew do when missiles destroy the aft shields? What happens when the captain yells to vent the living quarters and prepare to be boarded? These are things we had never experienced in a video game before so we decided to make it.

Matthew: Inspirational credit also belongs to the previously mentioned “space roguelikes” Weird Worlds and Flotilla. And while the video game world has been lacking in internal ship control, board games like Red November, Battlestar Galactica, and Space Alert demonstrated to us how awesome the subject matter could be.

The Joystiq Indie Pitch: FTL: Faster than Light

Has FTL retained its Firefly and Star Trek inspirational roots? How?

Justin: The entire premise of the game was inspired by those types of shows, books and movies, but it’s most obvious in the variety of text-based encounters. The randomized events capture the spirit of an episodic sci-fi show, where the ship and her crew never know what’s at the end of the next jump. It might be something silly like a massive space whale. Or it could be the dreaded Mantis engaging you in an epic battle so they can collect your fingers as trophies.

Matthew: And once combat begins, every action you do in the game would be something awesome for Lt. Commander Worf to yell: “Full power to engines! Target their starboard artillery! Shields down!” The game set out to put you in the shoes of your favorite commanders and FTL hasn’t lost that focus through to the end.

“Great design can be found everywhere and I hope the passion you often see in the independent world is also present in the rest of the industry.”

– Matthew Davis

Why develop independently, rather than work for an established company?

Matthew: We both worked for a bigger game studio when we started in game development. Personally, I was having troubles getting excited about the projects I was working on, and was eager to do something on my own. Once we had the savings it seemed like an obvious choice to give it a go and see what we could make. FTL was created as something for ourselves that we could get excited about, and it’s amazing that it’s something other people want as well.

Do you see yourself as part of a larger indie movement?

Matthew: I’d see myself as part of any movement that puts good game design forward as the primary goal. I don’t think that independent development necessarily has the monopoly on that. Great design can be found everywhere and I hope the passion you often see in the independent world is also present in the rest of the industry.

Sell FTL in one sentence:

Justin:Firefly by way of Spelunky,” as Tom Francis put it.

What’s next?

Matthew: One thing at a time! We have enough on our plates making sure FTL is the greatest game we can make it without worrying about future projects. FTL is a unique design that has a lot of potential to be expanded on in future content, but that’s all up in the air. We’ll see how FTL works out and plan accordingly from there. A vacation from working seven days a week might be nice though.

FTL: Faster than Light is on sale on Steam (PC and Mac) to celebrate its launch, currently running $9 instead of the normal $10. Get it fast no, faster!

If you’d like to have your own shot at converting our readers into fans, email jess [at] joystiq [dawt] com, subject line “The Joystiq Indie Pitch.” Still haven’t had enough? Check out the Pitch archives.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2012/09/19/the-joystiq-indie-pitch-ftl-faster-than-light/

Twitch streams its first live concert tonight

Twitch streams its first live concert tonight

If this weekend’s Lollapalooza festival doesn’t have enough electronic music for you, tonight you can catch a live DJ set from Steve Aoki (above) as he spins from Ibiza, Spain. The Twitch broadcast starts at 10 p.m. Eastern, so you might have to pull the neon hula-hoops and rainbow leggings out of the closet a bit earlier than you’re used to. It’s a free show of course, and you can watch it on basically every platform at hand — gaming console, mobile device or even via this Chromecasted browser tab on your flat-screen. If competitive gaming is more your style, however, the streaming behemoth has something more traditional in store for you. Following its PAX Prime booth broadcast, Twitch is doing a digital premiere of Die Noobs, a documentary following two decade-long online gaming pals as they finally meet in person and then train to compete in their first-ever eSports event.

Should the initial August 29th broadcast date not work with your personal schedule, there’ll be a rerun 24 hours later at 9 p.m. Eastern — maybe Google will have finally fessed up to its purchase by then.

Watch live video from SteveAoki on www.twitch.tv

[Image credit: Getty]

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/30/steve-aoki-twitch/

Scottrade learned about a data breach from law enforcement

Scottrade learned about a data breach from law enforcement

Companies typically find out about data breaches first-hand, and bring in the police after the fact to (hopefully) identify the culprits. Unfortunately, Scottrade didn’t even have that luxury: the investment firm only learned about a huge breach after federal law enforcement showed up at its door with word of an ongoing investigation. The intruders compromised roughly 4.6 million accounts between late 2013 and early 2014. They focused primarily on snagging contact information, but the targeted system also included information as sensitive as Social Security numbers.

Scottrade is quick to stress that neither passwords nor trading platforms were at risk, and it’s offering a free year’s worth of identity protection services if you’re still worried about fraud two years after the incident took place. Still, the revelation isn’t exactly confidence-inspiring. It suggests that the company’s security measures weren’t thorough enough to even detect the hacking attempt, let alone stop it, and that millions of customers were unaware of the danger until the feds stepped in.

[Image credit: Chris Yunker, Flickr]

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2015/10/03/scottrade-data-breach/