Flobi robot head realistic enough to convey emotions, not realistic enough to give children nightmares

We've seen our fair share of robots meant to convey emotions, and they somehow never fail to creep us out on some level. At least Flobi, the handiwork of engineers at Bielefeld University in Germany, eschews "realism" for cartoon cuteness.


But don't let it fool you, this is a complicated device: about the size of a human head, it features a number of actuators, microscopes, gyroscopes, and cameras, and has the ability to exhibit a wide range of facial expressions by moving its eyes, eyebrows and mouth.

The thing can even blush via its cheek-mounted LEDs, and it can either take on the appearance of a male or female with swappable hair and facial features. And the cartoonish quality of the visage is deliberate. According to a paper submitted by the group to the ICRA 2010 conference, the head is "far enough from realistic not to trigger unwanted reactions, but close enough that we can take advantage of familiarity with human faces."

Sony Ultimate Weapon Gaming headsets

According to Sony, your Ultimate Weapon when it comes to schooling fools on the FPS battlefield is a 3D surround sound headset. Just like its newly minted DR-GA500 above, what a coincidence!

According to Sony, your Ultimate Weapon when it comes to schooling fools on the FPS battlefield is a 3D surround sound headset. Just like its newly minted DR-GA500 above, what a coincidence! Coming with a separate box to process your computer's audio into a 7.1-channel surround sound environment, this mic-equipped set of cans is targeted squarely at gamers looking to optimize every last inch of their fragging experience.

There's also a GA-200 model that makes do without the extra audio processing. Both variants share the super special "triple enfolding" padding design, which is intended to make the headgear comfortable for prolonged use. Prices and retail dates aren't yet available, but just to underline that gaming connection one extra time, Sony will be bundling a free copy of the latest Medal of Honor with these 'phones starting in mid-October.

Genius MousePen M508 and M508W Multimedia Tablets

Genius introduces two new multimedia tablets for designers, the MousePen M508 and the wireless MousePen M508W. These tablets feature a 5×8-inch switchable working area, 4000 LPI high accuracy and sensitivity for a highly reactive cursor, 1024-level pressure sensitivity and 13 Programmable keys.

The M508W uses 2.4GHz wireless technology and offers four express keys for Desktop, Flip 3D, Next Page, Previous Page, while the wired M508 gets a creative touchpad for scrolling, zooming in/out and brush control functions and four express keys for eraser, undo, layer and brush.
Coming in September, the MousePen M508 and M508W are priced at $149 and $199 respectively.

iXP1-500 USB Adapter Lets Your iPad Charge Anywhere

iXP1-500 USB Adapter Lets Your iPad Charge Anywhere

Tired of not being able to charge your iPad on non-Apple computers or even older Apple hardware? Well with this $4.95 iXP1-500 USB adapter from XP1-Power you’ll never see that annoying ‘Not Charging’ message ever again. It sits between the iPad’s sync cable and the USB port on any PC and does some kind of hokus-pokus allowing the iPad to charge no matter the hardware. The website is completely vague and useless when it comes to how it works, but for just $5 this could be a case of who cares, as long as it does.

Axon Haptic 10-inch Tablet lets you choose between Windows, Linux and Darwin OS

Axon Haptic 10-inch Tablet lets you choose between Windows, Linux and Darwin OS

A company called Axon Logic is going to release its Haptic, a 10-inch slate style tablet PC. One of the main features of the device is its support for multiple OS including Windows, Linux and Darwin OS. According to the company, the Darwin kernal and system specific kexts have been pre-loaded on a hidden EFI parition, meaning users can install their Darin OS effortlessly.

The Axon Haptic is boosted by an Atom N270 1.6GHz processor, 2GB of RAM, 320GB hard drive. It comes with a 10.1-inch 1024×600 resistive touchscreen with LED-backlit and stylus. It supports WiFi 802.11b/g/n, optional CDMA EVDO 3G and optional Bluetooth. You can also find a 1.3 Megapixel webcam, card reader and a 3000mAh battery. The Haptic weighs just 0.9 kg.

Tocky Touch Rolling Alarm Clock

Remember Clocky? It was the alarm clock with a set of rubber tires that allowed it to drive off when the alarm sounded, forcing you out of bed in order to hunt it down and silence it. Well Tocky here is billed as its “tech savvy” younger brother, and instead of driving away on a set of tires, Tocky is able to simply roll away on its own once again forcing you to find where its ended up before you can silence the alarm.

Annoying for sure, though it’s probably a very effective way to wake up in the morning. But Tocky isn’t just a one-trick pony. Besides its built-in escape mechanism it also has a touch sensitive interface which makes setting the clock and alarms as easy as spinning your finger around the dial. It’s also got a voice recorder if you prefer to wake up to the sound of your own voice and can be connected to a PC in order to upload MP3s if you prefer to wake up to music. Tocky is available in bright, playful colors like orange, white, aqua and kiwi and were it not for its $79 price tag I’d say it was a must-have for those of us who have to fight our way out of bed each morn.

Overheating iPod delays rush-hour train in Tokyo

Overheating iPod delays rush-hour train in Tokyo

Poor Apple. The company just can't catch a break these days. On Wednesday, Apple Japan began offering customers iPod nano replacements, giving in to local government demands to better address an overheating battery issue affecting Apple's first generation iPod nano players. 

Then Friday morning (making the English-language press only now) a busy rush-hour commuter train was stopped in Tokyo to investigate a smell. According to a spokesman, "When a member of staff went to investigate inside the train, a passenger came over showing him that the iPod she was listening to had burst apart." No injuries were reported and the exact iPod model is still unknown. However, we can be certain that the eight minute delay on Japan's notoriously timely railway system caused many commuters to question their ability to go on.

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