VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Apr 2013 Issue


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A monthly roundup of VR-Zone.com Technology News covering PC Hardware & Mobile gadgets from Intel, AMD, Apple, Google, Samsung, NVIDIA, Sony, HTC, LG, Xiaomi, ASUS, Android, iOS, iPhone, iPad, iWatch, Smartphones, Tablets

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VR-Zone Tech News for the Geeks Apr 2013 Issue

  1. 1. April 1st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Ibis Sleep Art app: Turns one's slumber into a work of art Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ibis-sleep-art-app-turns-one-s- slumber-into-a-work-of-art/19464.html April 1st, 2013 French hotel chain Ibis has launched a free iPhone app that will interpret your sleep pattern and turn it into a work of art. Prior to launching the sleeping art app, Ibis had a few physical beds in its hotels that were equipped with sensors and robots that drew artworks by interpreting the way the guests slept. That same concept was then transferred over to a digital canvas, and the best part is people don’t have to book a room to find out how their sleeps look like. The Sleep Art app works by monitoring a sleeper’s breathing pattern, noises, and movements using the phone’s built-in sensors. Just lay the phone next to you and once you’ve arisen from your slumber, a digital painting will be ready for your viewing pleasure. There’s probably very little science involved in the Sleep Art app, and you’ll have to just take it for what it is. How pretty or ugly your sleep art will turn out may vary. So if you’re wondering how beautiful your snoring looks, check out the app. Earn Xbox LIVE rewards with new "Play To Earn" from Microsoft Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/earn-xbox-live-rewards-with-new- play-to-earn-from-microsoft/19457.html March 31st, 2013 Microsoft is looking to entice new users into the Xbox LIVE world with a new rewards program that can earn you all kinds of goodies. It's called MyPunchcard, and it is a new rewards program Microsoft is introducing starting April 1, 2013, for all the Xbox LIVE Rewards Members out there. It is a way for you to earn reward points while doing what you love to do the most - playing games. For the month of April, the new program will be centered around arcade games tagged with the Play to Earn offers, and it involves blacking out all three Arcade Punchcards which will get successful players a spot in an upcoming VIP Exclusive. Also, by simply playing your favorite arcade games, and adding to your game collection, you will be able to earn rewards. There are three ways you can win rewards in April: • Play 20 hours of any combination of arcade games, receive a free avatar item • Purchase any four arcade games for 400 Microsoft Points or more from Xbox LIVE, receive a one month Xbox LIVE Gold membership • Spend 3200 Microsoft Points on arcade games, receive 800 Microsoft Points in return. Some of the games that are a part of the rewards program are: • Minecraft • Terraria • Trials Evolution • Counterstrike: GO • Castle Crashers • The Walking Dead • LIMBO Also, Microsoft will be launching some new games in April that will all be a part of the program, and they are: • BattleBlock Theater • Double Dragon II • Motocross Madness • Sacred Citadel • God Mode • Monaco Of course you will need to be an Xbox LIVE Rewards member in order to sign up.
  2. 2. April 1st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 $121 million supercomputer becomes defunct in just five years Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/-121-million-supercomputer- becomes-defunct-in-just-five-years/19462.html March 31st, 2013 Roadrunner, a $121 million supercomputer composed of IBM’s Cell and AMD’s Opteron technologies, has been decommissioned today, ending a five-year stand as one of the world's fastest supercomputers. Five years ago, when the Roadrunner was born, it was one of the few supercomputers to break the petaflop barrier, and it took up only 278 refrigerator-size racks to do so. During its glory days, Roadrunner helped researchers understand viruses, energy flow, and many other mysteries that once haunted the minds of scientists. “Roadrunner got everyone thinking in new ways about how to build and use a supercomputer,” said Gary Grider, an official at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. “Specialized processors are being included in new ways on new systems and being used in novel ways. Our demonstration of Roadrunner caused everyone to pay attention.” Just as most of the world may not ever know Roadrunner’s contribution to the advancement of technology and science, so, too, will it go out with little to no fanfare. Prior to its full dismantling, researchers will spend the next month or so experimenting with Roadrunner’s operating system, and techniques for compressing memory. Specialists are expecting supercomputers to easily break the exascale barrier within a decade or two, and by that time an array will cost only a fraction of what it does now. “And to think of where we’re going to be in the next 10 to 15 years, it’s just mindboggling,” said Kevin Roark, another official at the Los Alamos lab. USPTO denies Apple's application to trademark "iPad Mini" Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/uspto-denies-apple-s-application-to- trademark-ipad-mini-/19461.html March 31st, 2013 According to the reviewer, “the applied-for mark merely describes a feature or characteristic of the applicant’s goods.” Furthermore, the reviewer also added that the term Mini “describes something that is distinctively smaller than other members of its type or class.” The Cupertino-based tech company is constantly filing for patents and trademarks for its products—released and unreleased. However, it is given that the term “Mini” is ubiquitous in consumer electronics, and therefore it’s completely understandable as to why Apple is having a hard time trademarking the terms iPad Mini. Apple has until July 24th to appeal to the USPTO’s decision, and chances are Apple will swing its bat aimlessly until it gets what it wants. AMD unveils "the world's fastest GPU" & discusses PS4 at GDC 2013 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/amd-unveils-the-world-s-fastest- gpu--discusses-ps4-at-gdc-2013/19458.html March 31st, 2013 AMD certainly has made an impression at GDC 2013 with its new line of dedicated cloud gaming graphics cards--the Radeon Sky Series--along with the Radeon HD 7990, which they labeled as the "world's fastest graphics card". AMD also delved into the PlayStation 4's hardware and discussed how they "gave it the hardware that Nvidia couldn't".
  3. 3. April 1st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 During their presentation at this year's Game Developer's Conference, AMD mystified the crowd by unveiling the first public showing of the "world's fastest graphics card": the Radeon HD 7990. The chipmaker also shed light on its new lineup of GPUs dedicated to cloud gaming--the Radeon Sky Series--and discussed how they gave Sony's next-gen PlayStation 4 console the "hardware that Nvidia couldn't". The dual-GPU unit that AMD showcased during the presentation was just a preview of the Radeon HD 7990 so details were a bit scarce, however AMD Product Manager Devon Nekechuck did have a few things to say about the new card: "This packs two of our 7990 series GPUs. This is only a preview series today, so I'm going to have to hold back some of the details for you guys, but this is not only the world's fastest graphics card, this thing is whisper quiet with these three fans over here. This thing delivers massive performance and this is really the gamer's dream card." Nekechuck also revealed that the Radeon HD 7990 is a member of the same family as other 7990's on the market, such as the Asus Ares II and the PowerColor Double 13. The GPU itself is believed to be based on two Tahiti GPUs and carry a total of 6GB (3GB per) of GDDR5 memory that's carried over a dual 384-bit memory interface. Additionally, the core speeds for the GPUs are believed to be in the range of 1 - 1.1 GHz. "This is the world's first preview of this card," AMD's Devon Nekechuck said. "This is the first public showing ever." Details concerning a release date of the new GPU are scarce, however AMD is anticipated to launch the card in Q2 2013 for a price range that approaches $1,000. EA has also made use of the Radeon HD 7990 during their recent GDC 2013 presentation, as the dual-GPU powered the official Battlefield 4 reveal. The footage worked in tandem with EA's new Frostbite 3 Engine, showcasing the card's impressive and dynamic capabilities with 17 minutes of gameplay. The Battlefield 4 reveal shows that AMD's dual-GPU is fully functional and operational, but its not yet ready to be introducted to the retail market. Mail delivering drones being tested in France Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/mail-delivering-drones-being-tested- in-france/19460.html March 31st, 2013 A province in France is becoming the testing ground for a new drone-based postal delivery service. Welcome to the future. A French postal service is hoping to revolutionize the mail delivery service, and steal jobs from thousands of kids hoping to supplement their allowance: The postal service “La Poste Groupe” intends to use drones to deliver local newspapers.
  4. 4. April 1st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 The province of Auvergne is being tested out for the new delivery program, which will employ the well known Parrot quadricopter for the service. The testing will begin in May and will utilize 20 drones controlled by Android and iOS devices, and hopes to successfully pull off the postal service’s 7am deliveries. There are a few hurdles to overcome however: The Parrot only has a range of 164 feet, with a battery time of 30 minutes. There’s no word as to how the La Poste Groupe plans to overcome this limitation, because there certainly wouldn’t be any point in using the drones if the mailman has to come along anyway (apart from giving the mailmen a fun way to start the day). UCLA researchers use big data to help treat patients with traumatic brain injuries Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ucla-researchers-use-big-data-to- help-treat-patients-with-traumatic-brain-injuries/19459.html March 31st, 2013 Researchers at University of California, Los Angeles are conducting studies to see if big data can help prevent complications to patients with traumatic brain injuries. The ongoing research utilizes an IBM-developed system and Excel Medical Electronics to predict increasing brain pressure before it occurs. By monitoring thousands of data points per patient in real time, the computer system is able to generate and interpret information that may help guide doctors to the right path of treatment or preventive care. Real time inputs such as pulse, heart activity, and respiration are all recorded and interpreted by the system. The field of neurology can often be convoluted as there are many diagnoses and interpretations of a given symptom. However, with the aid of computer modeling and big data, it might be possible for doctors and caregivers to narrow down specific treatment plans in a much more decisive manner. According to the Center for Disease Control, 1.7 million people in the U.S. sustain traumatic brain injury every year, and within that group about 52,000 die and 275,000 remain hospitalized. Thanks to advances in medicine, 1.365 million are treated and then released, but the brain injuries, unlike broken bones, can be volatile at times. Therefore, the use of real time big data analytics can help to mitigate a brain injury’s unpredictability. “The field of big data analytics is evolving to include new kinds of data from sources such as medical monitors, giving us insights into patients that weren’t previously possible,” said Martin Kohn, MD and chief medical scientist for IBM. “We believe that UCLA’s promising research may one day transform the way that doctors and nurses interact with patients inside the neuro-intensive care unit.” “Through its research, UCLA is changing the way that analytics may eventually be used inside hospitals, and how we think about using data to improve patient outcomes,” John Hoffman, President of Excel Medical Electronics, added. Jay Wilson: "Real Money Auction House hurt Diablo 3" Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/jay-wilson--real-money-auction- house-hurt-diablo-3-/19431.html March 31st, 2013 Jay Wilson, former Blizzard game director for Diablo III, has admitted that the game's Real-Money Auction House (RMAH) and Gold Auction House (GAH) have had a detrimental affect on Diablo III as a whole. During this year's Game Developer's Conference (GDC 2013) former Diablo III game director Jay Wilson sat down and revealed how the game's virtual auction houses had a negative affect on the game as a whole. "The auction houses (both the Gold and Real Money Auction Houses) hurt the game," Jay said during a talk at GDC 2013 in San Francisco. Wilson also divulged that before Blizzard had launched Diablo III the company had assumed how the Auction Houses would work. Wilson thought that the RMAH and GAH would reduce fraud and provide a helpful service that only a small percentage would make use of.
  5. 5. April 1st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 Just an example of some of the exorbitant bids and amounts of profit that are earned on Diablo III's RMAH every day. Diablo III's Real Money Auction House (RMAH) allows gamers to sell and purchase in-game weapons and equipment for actual money (up to $250 for a single item) via PayPal, something that has been met with severe criticism from the game's core constituency. Long-time Diablo fans felt cheated with the ultimate "pay- to-win" sentiments that the RMAH introduced, and both in- game auction houses nearly wiped out the game's trading system Once the game went live, however, Blizzard soon realized that they were mistaken on their assumptions, and that nearly every gamer made use of both Auction Houses--and that over 50% of them used them regularly. "I think we would turn it off if we could," Wilson said, "It's not as easy as that--Blizzard has no idea how many players approve of the Auction Houses or how many dislike it." Wilson also says that Blizzard doesn't want to scrap a feature that many players enjoy--yet he did say that Blizzard is working on implementing a solution that will help patch up the game's notoriously bad reputation...but didn't go into any real detail on the planned fixes. Jay Wilson stepped down as game director for Diablo III back in January after working on the game for seven years. "I've reached a point creatively where I'm looking forward to working on something new," Wilson said in his official farewell on the Battle.net forums. Since its release, many gamers have lambasted Diablo III for its in-game mechanics, storyline, and of course the Auction Houses, which many felt gave those who are willing to pay an unfair advantage. Both the RMAH and GAH are still up and running, and Blizzard is still receiving portions of currency--both real and digital--from each transaction. It will be interesting to see what changes (if any) that Blizzard applies to Diablo III's Auction Houses, and if the upcoming PlayStation 3 port will also utilize the RMAH and GAH systems implemented by its PC counterpart. First appearance of PS4 rumored in June, may release in October Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/first-appearance-of-ps4-rumored-in- june-may-release-in-october/19456.html March 31st, 2013 Sony has yet to officially unveil the PlayStation 4's physical presence, even during the official See the Future event last month. Recent rumors speculate the PS4 will make its first appearance during this year's E3 event in June, and that we may see its release as early as October. Sony has been quite busy with their focus on the next- gen PlayStation console: they've taken the opportunity to reveal many elements regarding the PS4 during the console's official See The Future reveal event last month in New York, and again at this year's Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco. Despite the plethora of information that Sony has delivered during their presentations, the PlayStation 4 has yet to be unveiled in any physical capacity. We've seen a variety of features including the console's impressive specs, the new DualShock 4 controller, and even mockups of the PS4's User Interface; yet the console's appearance still remains a mystery. Recent rumors have speculated that the PlayStation 4 will make its debut appearance during this year's E3 2013 show in June, where Sony will most likely attend and unleash the floodgates on everything still unknown about the console itself. Additionally, it's been well established that Sony plans to release their next-gen PlayStation 4 console during the "Holiday 2013" release window, yet the rumor mill has also speculated a PS4 release as early as October of this year.
  6. 6. April 1st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 Seeing an official bona-fide physical version of the PS4 at E3 2013 does indeed make sense, considering the Electronic Entertainment Expo is one of the major premiere gaming events of the year. Furthermore Microsoft's absence at recent gaming events points to the likelihood of an Xbox 720 reveal during E3, which would behoove Sony to make an appearance to facilitate the PlayStation 4 so that Microsoft doesn't dominate the event. The rumors themselves must be taken as speculation and have yet to be officially confirmed. Sony hasn't said anything else on an exact release date for the PlayStation 4 other than the "Holiday 2013" window, nor have they confirmed that the PS4 will debut during E3. We have also reported on a recent statement from GameStop's president Tony Bartel regarding the PlayStation 4's popularity. According to Bartel, over 900,000 people have signed up for the PS4's "First to Know List", a list that reveals pertinent information on the availability of PS4 pre- orders and more. Bartel believes that when pre-orders for the PS4 become available, that the demand for the new console will "far out space" the supply at launch. Although it's unclear whether or not this supposition is true, one thing is for sure: gamers seem to be excited about the PS4. The validity of these claims will be put to the test when June rolls around and the giants of the industry come together to showcase the next generation of gaming. It will certainly be interesting to see the new developments that take place during the event, and how Sony and Microsoft duke it out with their respective consoles. FBI hid the use of 'Stingray' spying technology from federal judges Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/fbi-hid-the-use-of-stingray-spying- technology-from-federal-judges/19419.html March 31st, 2013 New evidence suggests that the Department of Justice has been using ‘Stingray’ technology without a warrant from a federal magistrate. Stingray technology is a type of spoofing that tricks a cellular phone into thinking it is a cell tower and then tracks and captures all data being transmitted from that cell phone. Recent evidence suggests that the FBI has been monitoring cell phone communications by means of the technology that tricks the phone into thinking it is just another cell tower. Stingray (AKA, WITT or Triggerfish [pdf file link]) can locate the position of a cell phone and even intercept live communications coming from that particular phone, however, it also sees other phones on that network as well, which adds additional controversy to its legality. The controversy surrounding the FBI’s use of the technology comes by way of a Daniel Rigmaiden who is on trial for wire fraud, conspiracy and identity theft in 2008. Rigmaiden’s defense sought discovery evidence that shows the federal agency tracked their client by the use of the Stingray device and that it was done so without a federal warrant or by any current law. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) along with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a grievance in support of Rigmaiden’s defense, and they have requested that all the evidence gained on Rigmaiden, by use of the Stingray technology, be thrown out of court. The ACLU of Northern California is claiming that they have hard evidence suggesting that the Department of Justice has hid this ill-gotten evidence (by way of the Stingray technology) against Rigmaiden knowingly and willfully from the federal courts. Linda Lye who serves as a staff attorney for the ACLU of Northern California recently wrote online about the ordeal, and she says the FBI has been using this type of technology illegally for sometime. “The federal government was routinely using stingray technology in the field, but failing to ‘make that explicit’ in its applications to the court to engage in electronic surveillance,” Lye writes in an ACLU blog posting. “When the magistrate judges in the Northern District of California finally found out what was happening, they expressed ‘collective concerns,’ according to the emails. Notably, this email chain is dated May 2011, some three years after the Stingray’s use in Rigmaiden’s case – meaning the government was not ‘forthright’ in its applications to federal magistrate judges for at least three years.” The ACLU and EFF maintains the defensive argument that the government never disclosed any intent on any warrant that they would be using such an intrusive device to gain
  7. 7. April 1st, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 evidence. They also argue that such a device is ‘highly intrusive and indiscriminate’ use of technology that takes information in a broad manner from an entire network of communications in any given area. This latest case is another argument on how federal police agencies, such and the FBI, have routinely violated the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Many feel that federal police agencies are now routinely misrepresenting and often neglect to inform federal judges how they intend on gathering intelligence on a subject. The ACLU and EFF are asking the courts to see the precedent with the Supreme Court’s opinion in US v. Jones, which states that police cannot use a GPS physically attached to a moving vehicle without a warrant to do so. While this case does not involve any physical device, it does show tracking without a warrant from a federal magistrate
  8. 8. April 3rd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. HTC One for China has removable back plate for microSD and dual-SIM Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/htc-one-for-china-has-removable- back-plate-for-microsd-and-dual-sim/19492.html April 3rd, 2013 The HTC One built for China will have a removable back plate for insertions of dual-SIM as well as a microSD card. A recent image uploaded onto Weibo has revealed that HTC is going to let Chinese consumers do more with their One handsets. For those that don’t already know, the International and U.S. One variant are full “zero- gap” unibody devices, meaning no microSD expansion or removable battery. For most, a handset with 32 or 64GB of internal storage is more than enough, but it’s always nice to have an option to swap in a memory card to gain access to files without having first hook up the device to a computer. Moreover, if HTC did indeed make the back plate removable for the Chinese HTC One variant, why not cut a hole on top of the battery spot so people can replace the battery, too? If the Weibo picture is of an authentic HTC product and not just another knockoff, then perhaps people around the world may have more incentives to hop onto eBay or other third party channels to grab the much more customizable HTC One variant from China. Search for dark matter finds excess positrons Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/search-for-dark-matter-finds-excess- positrons/19489.html April 3rd, 2013 An international team running the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) has announced the results of its search for dark matter during a CERN seminar. The team has discovered an excess of positrons in the flow of cosmic rays. The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) is been floating around 400km above earth, where over the past year and a half, it has recorded some 25 billion detections of cosmic rays, including 400,000 positrons with energies between 0.5 and 350 GeV. The positron is the antiparticle to the electron and the AMS has thus completed the largest ever recording of antiparticles in space. The concentration of positrons increases in the 10-250 GeV range, and leveling out in the 20-250 GeV region. This excess in positrons are consistent with the theory that positrons originate from the annihilation of dark matter in space, but the research is not yet conclusive enough to determine this as being the absolute origin of antiparticles. "Over the coming months, AMS will be able to tell us conclusively whether these positrons are a signal for dark matter, or whether they have some other origin." Says Samuel Ting, spokesperson for the AMS Possible distribution of matter and energy in the universe The theory linking positrons to dark matter is known as Supersymmetry. It states that when two dark matter particles collide, they destroy each other, but may produce a positron as a byproduct. The theory is consistent with the observed positron distribution detected by AMS, which was uniform. Unfortunately, at this time, the observations have
  9. 9. April 3rd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 not been able to rule out the opposing theory that positrons originate from pulsars on the galactic plane. "When you take a new precision instrument into a new regime, you tend to see many new results, and we hope this will be the first of many," added Ting during the CERN seminar, "AMS is the first experiment to measure to 1% accuracy in space. It is this level of precision that will allow us to tell whether our current positron observation has a Dark Matter or pulsar origin." The same theory also suggests a hitherto unproven cut-off exists for energies above the mass range of dark matter particles, but the AMS has as of yet not been able to prove this. Laser could zap away cocaine addiction Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/laser-could-zap-away-cocaine- addiction/19491.html April 3rd, 2013 Addiction to drugs, cocaine in particular, may one day be easily treated just like patching up a cut with a Band- Aid. A study currently being conducted by researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) have found that laser stimulation of the prelimbic region of the prefrontal cortex in rats wiped away the compulsive urge to take cocaine. The laser treatment in the lab rats work through both mechanical as well as biological pathways. First, researchers inject into the neuron of the rats genetically engineered rhodopsins—light-sensitive protein. Then, using a technique called optogenetics, the researchers aim a laser at the rhodopsins to induce non-compulsive behaviors by turning on the rhodopsin. Essentially, the rhodopsin is the light bulb, and the laser is the switch mechanism. Turning on the rhodopsin by pointing a laser at it will wipe out compulsive behaviors and when the protein is turned off, it’s back to being in the dark for the poor rat. Currently, a similar prelimbic treatment for depression in human is being done through a process known as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and researchers believe that there is a strong link between the rat’s laser addiction treatment and the current human-approved depression treatment. Antontello Bonci, MD and one of the scientists of the study at NIH, is planning to run a few clinical tests on humans using the laser-rhodopsin method. An in-depth coverage of this study is found here. Google to launch second- generation Nexus 7 tablet in July Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/google-to-launch-second-generation- nexus-7-tablet-in-july/19490.html April 3rd, 2013 Google will launch a second-generation version of the Nexus 7 tablet in July, according to sources cited by Reuters, paving the way for stronger competition in the already crowded tablet computer market. Google will launch a second-generation version of the Nexus 7 tablet in July, according to sources cited by Reuters, paving the way for stronger competition in the already crowded tablet computer market. The revamped tablet is expected to come with a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, replacing the Nvidia Tegra 3 of the current model. The Qualcomm chip was apparently chosen for its more efficient use of power, according to the sources. The tablet should also feature a higher screen resolution and a thinner overall design. The sources, who refused to be identified, also revealed Google's sales targets for the Nexus 7: six to eight million in the second half of the year alone, almost double the estimated 4.6 million it sold for the last six months of 2012.
  10. 10. April 3rd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 While Google makes the majority of its income from advertising, more Google-designed tablets in the hands of consumers, especially consumers that might be tempted by rival products like Amazon's Kindle Fire, will ensure it maximises its advertising audience. However, with the Kindle Fire priced at $199, Google already faces a steep battle. This gives rise to the belief that the new model will match or significantly outdo this low price point, with a potential retail price of $149. Google will likely be losing money on the hardware at such a price, but, like Amazon, it will be playing the long game for the much more lucrative advertising dollar. The old Nexus 7 may also get a price cut or may simply be discontinued. Europe takes solar storm preparedness measures Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/europe-takes-solar-storm- preparedness-measures/19485.html April 3rd, 2013 Europe has launched its first space-weather coordination center to prepare for solar storms or other activity which could cause problems on Earth. Large solar storms are currently one of the biggest threats to our modern way of life. A large enough storm can knock out the internet, telephone lines, tv and transportation for a long time. The earth would be left without electricity and for a species that is largely dependent on it for business and economics, we would all be in dire straits. Some precautions can be taken to protect our most valuable electronics and digital information, but on a larger scale, an early warning system is important. The European Space Agency (ESA) space weather division head, Juha-Pekka Luntama, explained just how serious the consequences of a solar storm can be: "A pilot can always land a plane... because they have alternatives [to satellites] for navigation, but if they get the disturbance without warning, at the wrong time, that can be dangerous.” Even a minor glitch in the electronics onboard a GPS satellite can give a faulty readout on the pilot’s instruments and inform him that the ground is much further away than it really is. This could happen to a transformer near you if the Sun decides to be mean In 1859, a coronal mass ejection sent an electric surge through global telegraph lines, starting fires and electrocuting the operators. Modern equivalences would be broken satellites, blown transformers and a cascading blackout after the power grid becomes overloaded. Luntama explains that though such occurrences are exceedingly rare, they happen around the solar maximum, the period of greatest solar activity in the solar cycle and a period which we are currently in. This is why the ESA has launched its first solar weather coordination center (a similar center exists in the United States). By observing the solar activity, the center could receive a 17-48 hour head start between detecting the coming storm, and the effects first being felt on Earth. During this precious time, satellites could be shut down, air traffic grounded and power could be turned off to reduce the load on the power grid. Even astronauts onboard the ISS would need to take precautionary measures, and with the warning system, they’d have ample time to hide in protected parts of the station. The new weather center will draw on expertise from several universities, institutions and companies and coordinate their knowledge in a central point. Blizzard announces 2013 World Championship for StarCraft II Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/blizzard-announces-2013-world- championship-for-starcraft-ii/19488.html April 3rd, 2013 Blizzard has announced the new World Championship Series 2013 for StarCraft II, establishing the first official global ranking system for the game's eSports fans. Blizzard has announced the new World Championship Series 2013 for StarCraft II, establishing the first official global ranking system for the game's eSports fans. The developer has teamed up with top eSports organisations, including Korea eSports Association, Ongamenet, GomTV, Major League Gaming, Turtle Entertainment, and Twitch, to manage three leagues for elite StarCraft II players: one for Korea, one for America, and one for Europe. The Championship will include three seasons per league, with another three global season finals, all of which will earn players points towards being crowned the StarCraft II World Champion after the final grand final match at BlizzCon in November.
  11. 11. April 3rd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 “The structure of the StarCraft II World Championship Series is the result of an ongoing collaborative effort between Blizzard and our partners,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and co-founder of Blizzard. “Our collective goal was to make StarCraft II eSports even more exciting and easier to follow for fans than ever before. On the heels of the successful launch of StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, we're all very excited about the present and future of StarCraft II eSports.” The Korean league of the StarCraft II World Championship Series will launch on 4 April. The various eSports organisations will alternate operation of the seasons and will work in collaboration to broadcast all of the Korean tournaments via TV and the internet. Dates for the American and European leagues have yet to be decided. Disney unplugs LucasArts to "minimize risks" Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/disney-unplugs-lucasarts-to- minimize-risks-/19486.html April 3rd, 2013 LucasArts is done, and by done we mean Disney has essentially unplugged the workstations and locked up the front door to the studio. The video games market is certainly not what it was a decade ago, and Disney feels like it is time to steer LucasArts away from the “risks” to “achieve a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games.” What this means for the Star Wars game franchise is up for debate, but what we do know is that Mickey and his pals have already given the pink slip to many developers in the Old Republic. “After evaluating our position in the games market, we’ve decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model, minimizing the company’s risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games. As a result of this change, we’ve had layoffs across the organization. We are incredibly appreciative and proud of the talented teams who have been developing our new titles.” New HIV-treatment solutions may be on horizon Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-hiv-treatment-solutions-may- be-on-horizon/19483.html April 3rd, 2013 By studying the early immune response to the HIV virus, scientists may have found a new avenue through which to to defeat the virus. Barton F. Haynes, MD and John Mascola, MD are leading a research team that may have discovered a new way of looking for a vaccine toward the HIV virus. Their research involves the study of the body’s initial response towards the HIV virus and is the first time the co-evolution of virus and anti-body has been mapped in a person. Most vaccines work by inducing an antibody response which neutralizes the virus, but due to the rapidly evolving nature of the HIV virus, most antibodies become redundant before they can eradicate the infection. By tracking the evolution of both the virus and immune response, the researchers have filled gaps in knowledge that has kept a successful vaccine from being created.
  12. 12. April 3rd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 "For the first time, we have mapped not only the evolutionary pathway of the antibody, but also the evolutionary pathway of the virus, defining the sequence of events involved that induce the broadly neutralizing antibodies," says Haynes, who led the project as part of the Duke University Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology-Immunogen Discovery consortium. The evolutionary mapping was possible thanks to an African person whose HIV infection was detected early enough that the virus had not yet mutated. In addition, the person’s immune response produced broadly neutralizing anti-bodies, a trait which only occurs in about 20% of the population and attacks the virus in places which remain unaltered as it evolved. What the study revealed was that the broadly neutralizing antibodies were triggered by the outer layer of the viral surface glycoprotein. The study has allowed the research team to produce a roadmap to help the development of a final, universal cure. The cure would most likely involve immunogens containing glycoprotein to produce the broad-scoped immunoresponse. "The next step is to use that information to make sequential viral envelopes and test them as experimental vaccines," Haynes said. "This is a process of discovery and we've come a long way with regard to understanding what the problem has been." Jimmy Fallon to take over Jay Leno's throne in Spring 2014 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/jimmy-fallon-to-take-over-jay-leno- s-throne-in-spring-2014/19484.html April 3rd, 2013 Jay Leno, NBC’s long time late night show star, will step down in the spring of 2014 to make way for Jimmy Fallon. “Congratulations Jimmy. I hope you’re as lucky as me and hold on to the job until you’re the old guy,” Leno said following the announcement. “If you need me, I’ll be at the garage.” “I’m really excited to host a show that starts today instead of tomorrow,” Fallon said, adding his own comedic touch. The 62-years young Jay Leno has been hosting NBC’s late night shows since 1992. Recently, NBC’s restructuring efforts ended with Leno agreeing to a 50 percent pay cut, which is still a hefty sum considering his salary was still somewhere in the range of $15 million. Currently, Fallon’s 12:35 A.M. slot is still up for grab as NBC has yet to announce a replacement for Fallon at that time. Canon unveils world's smallest and lightest digital SLR camera Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/canon-unveils-world-s-smallest-and- lightest-digital-slr-camera/19482.html April 3rd, 2013 Canon has announced the world's smallest and lightest digital SLR camera, making it ultra portable for easy storage and travel. Canon has announced the world's smallest and lightest digital SLR camera, making it ultra portable for easy storage and travel. The EOS 100D has a width of 116.8mm, a height of 90.7mm, and a depth of 69.4mm. It weighs in at just 370 grams. The camera features an APS-C-size 18-megapixel CMOS sensor, a high-speed DIGIC 5 image processor, a maximum IOS speed of 12800, which can be expanded to 25600, and a 9-point Auto Focus system.
  13. 13. April 3rd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 Canon has also include a number of modes to maximise the quality of images for certain purposes. Live View mode and movie recording allow the Auto Focus system to automatically and rapidly sharpen and focus subjects within 80 percent of the image display area, which should result in fewer blurred pictures. Playback mode allows cropping of photos into four aspect ratio sizes, including the popular 4:3 ratio. The original photo will be kept after the crop. Six family-oriented scene modes, such as Kids, Foo, Candlelight, HDR Backlight Control, Night Portrait, and Handheld Night Scene, can help budding photographers tailor the camera settings to their needs. Blur Simulation gives users a look at what a blurred background will look like in real-time, to help focus the viewer's attention on certain content. Canon also announced the EOS 700D, a high-performance digital SLR camera with a touch-screen. It comes with most of the same features and modes, but the fold-out screen adds additional usability. The EOS 100D and Kit will be available at the end of April. The EOS 700D and Kit will be available mid-April. Prices have yet to be announced. Hands-on with PROLiNK's Hesperus and Xanthinus gaming mice Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/hands-on-with-prolink-s-hesperus- and-xanthinus-gaming-mice/19449.html April 3rd, 2013 Yesterday at a media event held at Clarke Quay in the sweltering heat of Singapore, long-time IT equipment vendor PROLiNK unveiled its latest line of bat-themed gaming peripherals, as well as their collaboration with local gaming mousepad specialist Barracuda Technologies. We go hands-on with some of their latest offerings... Yesterday at a media event held at Clarke Quay in the sweltering heat of Singapore, long-time IT equipment vendor PROLiNK unveiled its latest line of bat-themed gaming peripherals, as well as their collaboration with local gaming mousepad specialist Barracuda Technologies. We go hands-on with some of their latest offerings... First up is PROLiNK's flagship gaming mice - Hesperus ("evening star"). Built for right-handed homo sapiens, the mouse is loaded with a slew of features usually found on high end offerings from the likes of Logitech, SteelSeries and Razer - including an adjustable weight cartridge system, braided cable with gold-plated USB connector and teflon mouse feet (an additional set is included in the package). All these ingredients help to ensure longevity and and consistency during extended gaming sessions when the stakes and emotions are running high. From the top of the Hesperus, we see a glossy plastic shell with rubber coatings at the sides, which I personally feel is a tad gaudy (one of our writers thinks it looks like "Darth Vader's helmet"). A typical 5-button system (left/ right/center and two at the sides) is deployed here, with no major complaints about its ergonomics for palm-grip
  14. 14. April 3rd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 gamers. The "4D" scroll-wheel also has additional button relays on its sides to allow for horizontal input. Two minature buttons on the in the middle controls the active DPI (four steps, defaults to 800/1600/2400/3200) and profile mode respectively. The bundled software utility can be used to redefine button/dpi assignments which will then be saved onto the persistent onboard memory of the mouse. This eliminates the need to install software/drivers when you are playing somewhere else (for instance, at a LAN venue). At the bottom of the rodent, we see the compartment for the six pellet weights under a spring loaded cover. The laser sensor is positioned right in the middle, which some mouse aficionados say can help avoid unwanted Z-axis issues. Inside the mouse, we observe the use of Japanese-made Omron switches for the primary left-right buttons and a TTC mechanical encoder scroll wheel, augmented by the best in class Avago ADNS-9800 laser sensor (1000Hz polling, 8200dpi) for high precision across various hard/ cloth mouse surfaces and sensitivities.
  15. 15. April 3rd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 During a quick test of the Hesperus, we found no anamolies with its stated technical qualities and no pesky mouse prediction behaviour when attempting to draw straight lines. Real world in-game performance with CS:GO and BF3 was good as well, with this reviewer still topping the frag charts as usual. In a bid to differentiate itself from the competition, the company also shared details about its custom skinning services for buyers who wants a personalized mouse design. Overall, we found PROLiNK's first foray into the local gaming peripherals market to be promising. The Hesperus (SGD$109) has a rubberized counterpart in Xanthinus (SGD $89), which uses the same laser setup but forgoes the weights system. Also on show at the event was the Nivatis mousepad (developed in collaboration with Barracuda) and the TRON-inspired Volaris LED backlit keyboard.
  16. 16. April 3rd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 9 War Z down after hack-attack Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/war-z-down-after-hack- attack/19479.html April 3rd, 2013 The controversial, (or lousy according to many), game War Z was taken offline after a hackers attack that compromised players account data and passwords. As a result, the game and its forums are down until further notice. An official statement by OP Productions was published today on the game’s forums page. According to the report, the hackers gained access to players’ character data, e- mail addresses, forums IDs and passwords. In general, they totally hacked the game’s database. The only comforting thing was that a third-party company was responsible for the payment transactions, so OP vouches that no player’s payment detail was exposed. The company investigates the problem and every necessary measure has been taken to solve it. As the announcement says: “We are sorry to report that we have discovered that hackers gained access to our forum and game databases and the player data in those databases. We have launched a thorough investigation covering our entire system to determine the scope of the intrusion. This investigation is ongoing and is our top priority. As part of the remediation and security enhancement process we will be taking the game and forums down temporarily.” BioShock: Infinite Review Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/bioshock-infinite-review/19477.html April 3rd, 2013 Irrational Games' third chapter in the critically acclaimed BioShock series is here; does it soar in the heavens or does it fall from grace? Jump in to find out! Developer: Irrational Games, Human Head Studios Publisher: 2K Games Platform: Xbox 360 (Reviewed), PS3, PC
  17. 17. April 3rd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 10 Genre: Action Adventure, FPS MSRP: $59.99 With BioShock: Infinite, Irrational Games has brought a visual masterpiece that introduces gamers to a vibrant and sprawling world rife with impressive features and gameplay mechanics. With a story full of mystery and dynamic plot arcs, BioShock: Infinite takes players on a timeless journey through the heavens and the very fabric of time and reality. The last two chapters of Irrational's fan-favorite BioShock series took players to the Atlantean undersea city of Rapture, which made use of a variety of mythical and symbolic representations that culminated in a fantastically original environment to behold. Two of Columbia's soldiers stand watch, no-doubt looking for Vox Populi anarchists. Now gamers are taken to the sunlit sky-city of Columbia, further expounding upon many religious themes and cultural symbolism which have been staples of the series since its inception. BioShock: Infinite has been hailed across the world of gaming as one of the best games of 2013, and for good reason: the game itself encompasses a variety of rich aesthetic elements and a multi-faceted story that's infused with the series' distinct bizarre flair to bring an incredibly original experience to fans across the world. The game features a multitude of action-oriented gameplay that compliments the dazzling and signature visuals quite nicely, offering a balanced array of breathtaking vistas and explosive FPS gameplay. Whether you're swinging across Columbia's sky-rails with the new Sky Hook, picking off enemies in a glorious firefight that culminates in a hail of gunshots and bullets, or slinging bolts of electricity with the Shock Jockey Vigor, BioShock: Infinite's combat is infused with exhilarating action that has evolved from its predecessors. Booker De Witt, the game's protagonist, escorts Elizabeth to safety. Irrational's new iteration also brings a fully-fleshed cast of characters; from the game's flawed protagonist Booker De Witt to Columbia's tyrannical religious figurehead, Zachary Hale Comstock, each main character and NPC are quite realistic in their behaviors and personas. Their graphical representations and dynamic voices merge to bring a believable set of characters that players can identify with, adding to the allure of the game itself. All of these elements combine to bring an amazingly original experience to the world of gaming, offering hours upon hours of entertaining gameplay that immerses gamers in a fantastic world full of mystery and magic. From the game's impressive alternate reality that reflects authentic historical events to the original premise of "tears" in the fabric of reality, BioShock: Infinite blends the traditional elements you'd come to expect from a game in the series with a variety of new features that only add to the experience as a whole. Teenager tweets "YOLO" during a test and gets suspended from school Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/teenager-tweets-yolo-during-a-test- and-gets-suspended-from-school/19481.html April 3rd, 2013 Texas recently implemented some different testing standards using the new STAAR (State of Texas Assessment of Academic of Knowledge and Skills) test, but students like Kyron Birdine (the boy who was punished) won’t be graduating from his junior high school under the updated standards. Rather, he and his fellow classmates are still bind to the old standards which is found in the TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) test. Essentially, the teenager felt that he shouldn’t have to sit through a test that won’t have any impact on his graduation or college acceptance later on. So instead of bubbling in the correct answers and write meaningful essays on the STAAR test, he simply wrote the following message and then uploaded an image of his work onto Twitter:
  18. 18. April 3rd, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 11 “Today there was an incident with a student tweeting a picture of an answer booklet for a STAAR field test. We have made an initial report of the incident to TEA and will continue to investigate further. The student has been punished in accordance with district disciplinary procedures.” Apple iOS 7 to boast significant UI changes Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/apple-ios-7-to-boast-significant-ui- changes/19480.html April 3rd, 2013 According to various reports, Apple is hard at work revamping iOS, and that these new visual tweaks will be very noticeable when compared to the current iOS 6. iOS 7 is reportedly going to make its appearance alongside the next-gen iPhone, but the bad news is development of the new iOS is running behind schedule—to the extent that engineers from the OS X department had to be pulled. (Jonathan "Jony" Ive is one of the leading figures behind Apple's product designs.) There has been a lot of Apple rumors floating around lately, and the talks are not limited to just iOS. Talks of products like the iWatch and a low-end iPhone are all on the table, but as always Apple have remained tight-lipped about what’s going on in the lab. Regardless of whatever Apple products are coming our way; expect significant UI changes in iOS 7 as some seem to think that there were no significant changes made from iOS 5 to iOS 6. Mini-robots trained to group and work together Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/mini-robots-trained-to-group-and- work-together/19475.html April 2nd, 2013 A swarm of 40 mini-robots, programmed to group and work together like mechanic ants, can successfully perform tasks like carrying heavy objects or regrouping after being scattered. The tiny-bots can recognize each other, can co-operate to move an item, can regroup and organize themselves by priority order. The impressive thing about this project, though, is not what the robots can do; it is that they operate under the least possible amount of information and memory. Hence their small size. The medical and military potential applications of such a programmable group of robots are numerous, if not scary, especially if we are talking about nanobots – tiny robots in nanoscale sizes. As Dr Roderich Gross, head of the project, said: “The key is to work out what is the minimum amount of information needed by the robot to accomplish its task. That’s important because it means the robot may not need any memory, and possibly not even a processing unit, so this technology could work for nanoscale robots.” The little robots are currently ‘living’ in Sheffield Centre for Robotics, and they are about to be demonstrated at the Gadget Show Live in Birmingham later this week.
  19. 19. April 4th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Facebook unveils Home for Android: A deeply integrated ads experience? Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/facebook-unveils-home-for-android- a-deeply-integrated-ads-experience-/19508.html April 4th, 2013 The new Facebook mobile feature is not a highly spun version of Android like MIUI. Rather, Home is a “family of apps” that allow Facebook to supplant itself and build its presence among other non-Facebook apps on Android devices. For instance, the Facebook Chatheads feature will overlay whatever app a user is currently using without having to exit the non-Facebook app first. “Chatheads gives you this immediate persona connection to the people you care about,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said. In regards to the overall user experience of Home, Zuckerberg says that Facebook wants people experience the “system software rather than an app.” “All of the interactions are really smooth and natural,” Zuckerberg said. “With Home, you see your world through people, not apps.” Not all Android handsets will support Facebook Home at launch, and currently only a few Samsung and HTC devices support Home. Starting April 12, Facebook Home will be available for the Samsung Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note II, Galaxy S IV, HTC One, One X (X+), and the HTC First will come pre-loaded with Home. Facebook has also confirmed that OEMs and carriers including Sony, ZTE, Lenovo, Alcatel, Huawei, Qualcomm, EE and Orange will ship handsets with Facebook Home pre-installed in the future. To monetize on Home, Facebook will integrate ads into the launcher. The amount ads and their intrusiveness haven't been determined yet, but users who want to try out Home won’t have to worry about ads at launch. “There are no ads in this yet, I’m sure that one day there will be,” Zuckerberg said when asked how the firm plans to monetize on the launcher. Once the ads are implemented, there is a high possibility that Home users will begin seeing ads along with their friend updates on their home screen. Anonymous declares cyber- war on North Korea Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/anonymous-declares-cyber-war-on- north-korea/19498.html April 4th, 2013 The hacktivist group Anonymous has recently taken a collective stand against the ‘Hermit Kingdom’ with a bold statement claiming to have in their possession 15 thousand passwords stolen from the North Korean government. They call their new plan, “Operation Free Korea”, and the hacktivists are demanding total democracy in the hard-line communist state. Anonymous has taken up many causes in their history ranging from disclosing corrupt politicians or going after rogue cult groups, such as the Westboro Baptist church. Now Anonymous has taken up one of their largest political
  20. 20. April 4th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 goals to date with demanding democracy in the ultra- communist state of North Korea. Regarding hacktivist group's latest cyber-attack, they claim to be holding thousands of passwords said to be retrieved from North Korea’s highly secured intranets and mail servers and the North's official website, www.uriminzokkiri.com. “We got all over 15k membership records of Uriminzokkiri.com and many more,” Anonymous writes. “First we gonna wipe your data, then we gonna wipe your badass dictatorship ‘government.” While the recent attacks on North Korea may appear to be a unified effort with the United States and South Korea, Anonymous denies any association with either entity. “Don’t misunderstand us: As well we disagree with the USA government too – these guys are crooks, USA is a threat to world peace too, and direct democracy (or any kind of democracy) doesn’t exist there. The American government is a target and enemy of Anonymous as well!’’, Anonymous writes. "This is not about country vs. country – This is about we, the people, the 99% (of USA and of North Korea) vs. oppressing and violent regimes (like USA gov. and N.K. gov)! We, the people, are gathering together because we are stronger now and we won’t fight your wars anymore…” Anonymous has demanded that Kim Jong-un resign his seat and bring about democracy. A few other of their demands include the North ending their nuclear bomb endeavors and open up the Internet without censorship immediately so the people can see the real uncensored world. Before their message conclusion telling the North Koreans to rise up, Anonymous left a message for the leaders of North Korea. Anonymous writes, “- We are inside your local intranets (Kwangmyong and others)- We are inside your mailservers - We are inside your webservers. …Enjoy these few records as a proof of our access to your systems (random innocent citizens, collateral damage, because they were stupid enough to choose idiot passwords), we got all over 15k membership records of www.uriminzokkiri.com and many more.” Star Wars 1313 was going to be about Boba Fett Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/star-wars-1313-was-going-to-be- about-boba-fett/19506.html April 4th, 2013 With the closure of LucasArts, Star Wars 1313 is likely never going to be released, but with Disney's announcement today comes the news that the game was going to focus on Boba Fett. LucasArts is dead, and it's dragging a few victims down with it. Star Wars 1313; the gritty, more adult Star Wars game that wowed the world at last year's E3 and was expected by many to be a breath of life for the franchise, is likely never going to see a release. Though it and a few other in-development titles may be auctioned off to other developers, several sources are agreeing that chances of that happening are slim. Is this our last glimpse of 1313? That’s unfortunate news for Star Wars fans, but perhaps more so because we just received a pretty big announcement about it: It was going to be about Boba Fett. Though his screen time in the original trilogy is fairly limited, the bounty hunter is a fan favorite character, and the game refocused on him after George Lucas surveyed development on the game and told the team he wanted Fett to be the focus of the story. Development of the game has been on hold since last fall, but the change in focus to feature Boba Fett happened way back in May after a series of scrapped and refocused iterations of the game had gone through the studio. Development of the game apparently, has been troubled from the start, as one source told Kotaku: "They ended up with movie tech that wouldn't fit in a game, and game tech that wouldn't fit in a movie. 1313 was always in danger of not being made." Photon brings 3D-scanning to a hobbyist level Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/photon-brings-3d-scanning-to-a- hobbyist-level/19505.html April 4th, 2013 The 3D printing revolution is spilling over into the field of 3D scanners. The Photon is a new scanner aimed at hobbyist 3D modelers who want to bring real objects into the virtual world. 3D printing is slowly but surely moving to the consumer level, and it seems to be pulling a few other industries with it. Photon is a 3D scanner featured on Indiegogo, which means to bring the power of scanning three dimensional objects down to a level that anyone can afford. The device scans over any object placed on its pad, tracing lasers across the surface and translating that surface into a “point cloud” in your computer. The point cloud uses dots spread out in 3D space as markers for the edges and features of the object, and then creates a model from the cloud that can be exported into a 3d program.
  21. 21. April 4th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 The Photon, amazingly, has been custom built from the ground up; from the casing down to the circuitry level. The creators wanted to have complete control over the creation of the scanner, so leaving even the smallest detail to stock items was out of the question. Check out the Photon in the video below! Baidu developing eyewear to rival Google Glass Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/baidu-developing-eyewear-to-rival- google-glass/19504.html April 4th, 2013 Google's biggest search engine rival in China, Baidu, has confirmed that it is working on a prototype for digital eyewear similar to Google Glass. Google's biggest search engine rival in China, Baidu, has confirmed that it is working on a prototype for digital eyewear similar to Google Glass. The project, called Baidu Eye, is being tested internally, but it is not yet clear if it will be made available for the public. It is likely that the success of Google's product will be a deciding factor in whether or not Eye enters production. Kaiser Kuo, a spokesperson for Baidu, said that the eyewear could make use of Baidu's image search and facial recognition technology, where people can, for example, take pictures of celebrities and check against the Baidu database, all through a wearable visual device. Baidu said the eyewear would feature a headset with a small LCD screen, with the capability of issuing voice commands and making facial recognition searches, largely mirroring the capabilities of Google Glass. However, Baidu said the comparison to Glass was “premature” at this stage, because it is not necessarily a product that will be commercialised. Wearable computing is seen as the next big thing in the technology sector, and despite the somewhat gimmicky nature of many proposals so far, the major names are keen to get a slice of the action. Google's rival Apple is working on the iWatch, something that Samsung is also allegedly prototyping, and Baidu's entry into the market will likely be just one of many competitors to Glass. New cancer treatment proves successful with no side- effects Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/new-cancer-treatment-proves- successful-with-no-side-effects/19503.html April 4th, 2013 A new cancer treatment is currently undergoing testing. The treatment, a type of radiation therapy, is free from all the harmful side-effects associated with chemo- and radiation- treatments. A new form of cancer treatment is being developed by Professor M. Frederick Hawthorne at the University of Missouri. The treatment, which utilized radiation to cause remission of cancer cells, has successfully treated mice with cancer, without giving them the harmful side-effects of aggressive treatments like chemotherapy or traditional radiation therapy. Cancer - kill it with neutrons! The treatment works because of a defining trait of cancer cells; they grow faster, and thus require more nutrients, than regular cells. Hawthorne’s team injected a boron isotope into the mice, essentially feeding it to the cancer cells. Once infused with the isotope, Hawthorne bombarded the cells with neutrons, which shattered the boron atoms and tore apart the cancer cells, leaving the healthy ones untouched. The particular boron isotope used has the unique property of splitting into lithium and helium when capturing a neutron, thus facilitating the effect.
  22. 22. April 4th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 "A wide variety of cancers can be attacked with our BNCT technique," Hawthorne said. "The technique worked excellently in mice. We are ready to move on to trials in larger animals, then people. However, before we can start treating humans, we will need to build suitable equipment and facilities.” Hawthorne was recently awarded the National Medal of Science by President Barack Obama Samsung announces Wi-Fi version of Galaxy Camera Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/samsung-announces-wi-fi-version- of-galaxy-camera/19502.html April 4th, 2013 Samsung has announced a Wi-Fi version of the Galaxy Camera, offering budding photographers a way to more easily share their photos and save backups. Samsung has announced a Wi-Fi version of the Galaxy Camera, offering budding photographers a way to more easily share their photos and save backups. The point-and-shoot camera will receive the connectivity boost to entice consumers who don't want to have to use a cable to transfer or share pictures, especially given the luxury of easy sharing from smartphones that many are used to. “The Galaxy Camera Wi-Fi blends cutting-edge digital imaging technology with Samsung’s latest line of class- leading Android devices,” said Ron Gazzola, VP of Marketing for the Digital Imaging division of Samsung Electronics America. “Focusing on features that simplify the user experience, the Galaxy Camera Wi-Fi offers an intuitive approach to feature-rich photography, without the need to be constantly connected. The camera itself comes with a 21x optical zoom, 16 megapixel backside illuminated CMOS sensor, and 4.8-inch HD Super Clear Touch LCD. It is also powered by Android Jellybean 4.1, giving users access to apps from Google Play. Smart Mode, Photo Wizard, Smart Content Manager, and Paper Artist provide users with a slew of ways to enhance photographs. The Samsung Galaxy Camera (Wi-Fi) will be available later this month for $449.99. There may be 100 billion Earth-like planets our there Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/there-may-be-100-billion-earth-like- planets-our-there/19501.html April 4th, 2013 Scientists at the university of Auckland is proposing a new strategy for finding Earth-like planets in the Milky Way, and expects that there could be an estimated 100 billion such planets floating around. Reseachers from the university of Auckland have devised a new method of detecting Earth-like plantes, which involves utilizing gravitational microlensing; the physical phenomena that massive objects bend space time around them, producing a visual artifact as if a curved lens had been placedin front of the object. The research team utilized a combination of data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope as well as data on microlensing to complete the study. There could be a lot of Earths out there Microlensing has previously been used to detect large planets the size of Neptune and up, but the research team believed that it would be possible to detect even moderately small planets, such as ours, if a worldwide network of
  23. 23. April 4th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 moderate robotic telescopes could be linked up to make the observations. As happens, such a system, the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network, is being deployed right now with telescopes in Chile, South Africa, Australia and the United States. "Kepler finds Earth-sized planets that are quite close to parent stars, and it estimates that there are 17 billion such planets in the Milky Way,” explains lead author on the paper, Dr. Phil Yock, “"Our proposal is to measure the number of Earth-mass planets orbiting stars at distances typically twice the Sun-Earth distance. Our planets will therefore be cooler than the Earth. By interpolating between the Kepler and MOA (Microlensing Observations in Astrophysics) results, we should get a good estimate of the number of Earth-like, habitable planets in the Galaxy.” Dr. Yock’s estimate is an astounding 100 billion planets. Exhaled breath is a molecular fingerprint Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/exhaled-breath-is-a-molecular- fingerprint/19500.html April 4th, 2013 New research shows that our breaths are unique and could be compared to a fingerprint. Scientists may use this new discovery to diagnose medical conditions in the future. Blood and urine is often analyzed by doctors to determine whether your body is harboring an infection or metabolic disease, and even to detect cancer or organ failure. Now, new research at the ETH institute of technology and university hospital in Zürich has determined that your breath may also serve as a good diagnostic tool. The research determined that our breaths function as a “breathprint”; a unique collection of chemicals and molecules that depend on your metabolism. The breathprint was analyzed in 11 voluenteers over the course of 11 days by using a modified mass spectrometer, and was found to remain consistent over that time. The breathprint analyzers are going to have to be smelling bad breath for a living. Your job doesn't seem so bad anymore, does it? Because of the consistency in the breath’s composition, any change in the chemical markup of the breathprint would easily be detectable. Such changes do indeed occur in patients with various diseases; a well established fact within medicine (previously, dogs have even been able to detect cancer from the breath of patients). Diagnostically however, the breathprint hasn’t been widely used as an indicator of disease due to technical constraints: Previous analyzers have either been unable to detect a wide range of chemicals, or have simply been too slow for practical use. Speed, in particular, is where the new diagnostic method truly excels. Where a urine sample or blood sample may take a long time to analyze, the breath fingerprint can be read in mere seconds. Currently, the mass spectrometers used for the analysis are too large and expensive for use in everyday clinics. However, as Renato Zenobi, research leader on the project suggests: "Small, portable mass spectrometers already exist; if their performance can be improved, they will eventually find their way into clinics and doctor's offices." Science discovers massive scale of plant-life water usage Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/science-discovers-massive-scale-of- plant-life-water-usage/19499.html April 4th, 2013 A study from the University of New Mexico has discovered that plants use a massive amount of fresh water in their lifetimes; something which has severe implications for climate models. According to research by doctorate student Scott Jasechko at the University of New Mexico, fresh water as used by plants, accounts for the largest movement of fresh water on the planet. In total, the movement caused by plants is more than one and a half times of that which is caused by rivers, and the water released into the atmosphere by plants is more than five times greater than the water which naturally evaporates on land through heat. “The study is important because it suggests research should focus on water transport in plants when assessing the availability of fresh water in a future, warming climate in order to better predict how much water will be available for drinking water, manufacturing and food production," said Jasechko.
  24. 24. April 4th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 Ah, plants: nature's sprinklers. The research was conducted by observing isotopes of oxygen and hydrogen in bodies of water. These isotopes store information on how they were formed, whether through evaporation, or the plants’ “breathing process” known as transpiration. The research indicated that collectively, plants on earth transpire about 10 Amazon rivers’ worth of flow per year. As carbon dioxide is processed and taken in as the plants transpire water out, Jasechko was able to use existing satellite data on CO2 levels to verify his claim. Indeed, the results of the research are in agreement with the carbon dioxide data. "This study acknowledges the importance of plant life in controlling the amount of precipitation that ends up in our rivers," continues Jasechko, pointing out how nearly every aspect of our lives, from food and shelter to manufacturing, on some level depends on fresh water. This means our changing climate actually requires that we keep as much watch over the health of earth’s flora, as we do on our emissions. Ion thrusters deliver effeciency in air propulsion Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/ion-thrusters-deliver-effeciency-in- air-propulsion/19494.html April 4th, 2013 Ion thrusters have been around since the 1960's, but until now they've been considered as low-efficiency devices. Now their potential may be realized, with efficiency far outweighing that of the jet engine. Electrohydrodynamic thrust, or Ionic wind, is a phenomenon first identified in the 1960’s. Since then, it has had limited applications beyond hobbyists, primarily being conceptualized as a low-energy, low-thrust spacecraft propulsion system. The problem ionic thrusters have had until now is that they require a massive amount of electricity to produce enough thrust to drive a vehicle. Researchers at MIT however, have discovered that this may not be the case. After running their own efficiency tests on ion thrusters, they’ve discovered that it may in fact be much more efficient than conventional jet engines. Their experiments found that ionic wind could produce thrusts of up to 110 Newtons per kW, as compared to the jet engines 2 Newtons per kW. This astounding revelation may change propulsion forever. Steven Barrett, an assistant professor in aeronautics and astronautics at MIT, suggests that Electrohydrodynamic thrust could one day be used to power light aircraft, and due to it being completely silent and invisible in the infrared, they may be excellent candidates to power surveillance vehicles. Another step towards making my life more like Star Wars - good work, science! An ionic thruster is composed of three principal components: A thin copper electrode, called an emitter; a collector, essentially an aluminum tube; and an air gap between the two. When an electric voltage is applied, the air molecules in the thruster are stripped of their electrons. The charged ions then begin moving in an electric field – away from the electrode, and towards the collector tube. As they do this, they collide with other air molecules, creating a wind, or thrust. The research team was able to measure the thrust of the ionic wind by suspending the thruster from a scale and measuring the difference in weight as the device began lifting off the ground. The distance between electrode and collector was varied during the test in order to find optimal working conditions. The most efficient thrust was observed while the device was producing a low velocity wind. This is because higher velocity winds are turbulent and leave a lot of unused kinetic energy in its wake. Currently, there are still a few difficulties with deploying these thrusters to power aircraft. First and foremost, they require a lot of voltage to work; the necessary range lies in the hundreds, or even thousands of kilovolts. "The voltages could get enormous," Barrett says. "But I think that's a challenge that's probably solvable." Another problem is that the thrust is directly proportional to the size of the air gap
  25. 25. April 4th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 7 in the device. This means that to power an aircraft, the thrusters would likely have to encompass the entire vehicle. Japanese create genuine 'Smell-O-Vision' Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/japanese-create-genuine-smell-o- vision-/19478.html April 4th, 2013 Watching those cooking shows might be a lot different if we could smell what’s cooking on the screen. Now Japanese scientists says they have created a genuine working ‘smell- o-vision’ TV that might let you do just that! For many years television viewers and personalities alike have joked about how they wished they had a TV where you could smell what was happening on the screen. Imagine watching a popular cooking program and you can actually smell the steak searing on the grill or the vegetables frying in the wok? Now those days are here to an extent thanks to some Japanese scientists from the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology. A live demo of the product was on display at last month’s IEEE Virtual Reality conference, which took place last month in Orlando, Florida. A description of the smelling screen read in part, “The smelling screen is a new olfactory display that can generate a localized odor distribution on a two-dimensional display screen. The generated odor distribution is as if an odor source had been placed on the screen, and leads the user to perceive the odor as emanating from a specific region of the screen.” As one might guess the smelling screen works with different fans placed in special regions around the screen. The aroma being produced doesn’t come from any of the fans but from at the bottom of the screen. As the aroma rises, the fans, which are only gently blowing, give the illusion that the smell magically appears from a specific area of the screen as you sit in front of it. The screen is only in its experimental stages but may in the future be used by doctors to study human senses in controlled laboratory experiments. However, any chances for the home consumer getting one is highly unlikely. There's gold in those iPhones, but are they mineable? [Infographic] Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/there-s-gold-in-those-iphones-but- are-they-mineable--infographic-/19496.html April 4th, 2013 With the next version of the iPhone just around the corner, many folks are wondering where they'll be able to find the money to pay for the newest and greatest. Well, it seems that your current iPhone may be just the buried treasure you need, if you don't mind getting your hands dirty mining it for its hidden wealth. You might not realize it, but the guts of your favorite iPhone is littered with all kinds of precious metals and lots of "rare earth" minerals. In fact, that electronic marvel holds any where from 6 to 300 times more precious metal that the same weight of ore from a mine. For example, each iPhone 5 contains $1.58 of gold, $0.12 of copper, $0.36 of silver, and $0.05 of platinum, but the riches don't stop there. It is also a container for "rare earth" minerals like Europium, Lanthanum, Yttrium, Neodymium, and Gadolinium; all of which are needed in order for all our modern gadgets to work. Before you rush out to get yourself some mining gear, you have to understand that currently there is no good, or environmentally safe way to get these minerals out of the phones. It is because of this difficulty that less than one percent of the rare earth minerals used in phones are ever recycled. Here's an infographic with a bunch more interesting facts about the metal wealth inside your phones courtesy of 911 Metallurgist. AMD says Nvidia is bitter about Sony's decision to go with AMD for PS4 Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/amd-says-nvidia-is-bitter-about- sony-s-decision-to-go-with-amd-for-ps4/19493.html April 3rd, 2013 AMD’s director of ISV relations Neal Robinson recently took a stab at Nvidia by saying that perhaps the rival chip maker is “a little bitter” about Sony’s decision to go with AMD instead of Nvidia.
  26. 26. April 4th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 8 “If the PS4 ships in December as Sony indicated, it will only offer about half the performance of a GTX 680 GPU, which launched in March 2012, more than a year and a half ago,” Nvidia’s Tony Tamasi said last month in an interview with TechRadar. Robinson downplayed Tamasi’s statement by saying that AMD’s touch on the PS4 is not comparable to what Nvidia is offering for the PC. “Well, of course they’re going to do that,” Robinson said. “They’re a little bitter. For us, really by looking at the APU that we designed, you can’t pull out individual components off it and hold up and say, ‘Yea, this compares to X or Y.’ It’s more than just a CPU doing all these amazing calculations and a GPU doing calculations. We are now going to be able to move certain tasks between the two.” The debate will be ongoing of course as many feel that AMD is pushing old tech into a supposed next-gen console, but some are also arguing for the fact that optimization to the software and hardware can do wonders for the PS4 if done correctly.
  27. 27. April 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 1 VR-Zone.com | Tech News for the Geeks! VR-Zone | Stuff for the Geeks is a bi-weekly publication covering the latest gadgets and stuff for the geeks. Man arrested for double- texting while driving Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/man-arrested-for-double-texting- while-driving/19522.html April 5th, 2013 An Alabama man was arrested for texting with both hands while driving a car which he was steering with his knees. The Alabama Sheriff’s department has arrested a man, Dandre Moore, who was pulled over in a tunnel in Mobile because he was driving a car with his knees while texting with both hands. Did I mention there was also a three-year- old in the back seat, as well as two women? The 19-year- old Moore claimed to have been driving and texting in this manner since he was 15. Sheriff’s deputies additionally found an estimated $4,500 and prescription drugs in the car after they stopped the vehicle and found several Xanax and a prescription of Oxycodone. The Oxycodone prescription had been filled a week earlier with 720 pills, of which 386 remained. Oh, and Dartavious Moor, a passenger in the front seat, had an ounce of marijuana in his underwear as well. Moore, who certainly knows how to do a lot of things wrong at once, was charged with illegal possession of Xanax, and the possession of a controlled substance. Dartavious was arrested for marijuana possession. The women were also arrested. Originally, the car was stopped for weaving in and out of traffic, something which should hopefully be a lesson to Moore: You should always have your hands on the wheel. Girl has hiccups for ten weeks Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/girl-has-hiccups-for-ten- weeks/19521.html April 5th, 2013 Emily Marsh is a 13 year old girl from Wallington, in Surrey. One day this January, while walking to math class, she inexplicably began hiccupping, and it hasn’t stopped for ten weeks. It continues throughout the entire day and even through the night, which interrupts her sleep. The ordeal has been so tiring for her that she now has to take afternoons off from school to rest up. Marsh has had a lot of tests done in order to diagnose and hopefully help tret her ailment, but so far, nothing has worked. She’s had X-rays, endoscopies and MRI scans, but so far, nothing has given doctors any insight into what might cause the hiccupping. To make things worse, medications which may help against hiccupps are deemed too strong for the young girl, leaving few options.
  28. 28. April 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 2 With the medical world clueless, she’s attempted osteopathy and hypnosis too, before resorting to several old school remedies like eating vinegar and holding her breath. Needless to say, these methods haven't worked and it seems she may be in it for the long haul. So far though, she still has a long way to go before hitting the record set by Charles Osbourne, a man who had hiccups for 68 years, between 1922 and 1990, at which point they strangely stopped. In case you ever get hiccups, a radical cure which may help is to induce a gag reflex. In cases such as Marsh’s, this probably won’t work, but for a normal hiccup it can do the trick: Since hiccups are an involuntary spasm in the diaphragm, tensing the diaphragm by inducing a gag can release the spasm and relax it, ending the hiccup. Just make sure you don’t throw up! China's Baidu may compete with their own version of Google Glass Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/china-s-baidu-may-compete-with- their-own-version-of-google-glass/19497.html April 5th, 2013 Baidu Incorporated, which is the largest Internet search engine in China, is in the process of developing something very similar to Google Glass. Baidu says their version will focus on facial recognition and image search. Google may be in the works to produce their Google Glass, but now they have a direct competitor with another search engine from the east – China’s Baidu. Baidu Inc. is currently in the process of developing what they call the “Baidu Eye”, and they do have a prototype that is being tested. However, the company says they aren’t sure if they will actually be marketing the idea and may wait to see how Google does with their own version first. Kaiser Kuo, who serves as an official spokesman for Baidu, describes the device as something similar to the Google Glass. It will contain a small LCD screen in the eyewear that would allow for voice commands. Kuo said it would also be able to interpret facial recognition match, which is something Google glass has not promoted. The image search along with facial recognition allows for the user to check images against Baidu’s stockpile of images, much like Google's popular image search. The user could then verify a person or persons captured with their eyewear. It is obviously apparent that Baidu is trying to copy some of the ideas that Google has brought about in recent years, but they do not want to be compared to Google. Kuo said that comparisons to Google Glass were ‘premature’ since the company has not decided on a real production run. In an interview with Reuters News, Kuo said that the company has not decided if they will release the eyewear and emphasized that Baidu is working on all kinds of technology. "We haven't decided whether it is going to be released in any commercial form right now,” Kuo said “…[W]e experiment with every kind of technology that is related to search.” Atari founder Nolan Bushnell favors Xbox 720, says "Microsoft will win next-gen" Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/atari-founder-nolan-bushnell-favors- xbox-720-says-microsoft-will-win-next-gen-/19514.html April 5th, 2013 Atari founder and gaming visionary Nolan Bushnell has recently spoken out on his belief that Microsoft will reign triumphantly in the next-gen war, praising the Xbox 720's "strong software tools" as the console's saving grace. In a recent segment featured on GameTrailers.com, Atari founder Nolan Bushnell has named Microsoft his personal victor in the next-gen war and has openly praised the Xbox 720's "powerful software tools" which he believes will stand tall against Sony's PlayStation 4. To support his claim, Bushnell further remarks that Sony will be held back by "lame" and "difficult-to-understand software tools", regardless of the company's stance on making things easier for developers with the PS4. "I personally believe Microsoft is in a superior position, and the reason is Sony, whenever they change consoles, the software tools that they have
  29. 29. April 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 3 are lame," Bushnell said during GameTrailers' Rollin' With Nolan segment. "A lot of times in the past they were in Japanese; not well documented and getting the software development community up to speed…they may have been able to do it in Japan, but the American software community just says 'Oh boy, what a pain.' A lot of people don't realize how strong the software community is at making the hardware platform sing and dance." Bushnell's stance on Sony's PlayStation 4 is interesting, considering the PS4 has been met with both acclaim and praise by many developers including Gearbox Software's CEO Randy Pitchford, id Software's John Carmack, and even Avalanche Studios' Linus Blomberg made a comment saying that the "PS4 will outpower most PC's for years to come". Additionally, Sony has promised a new wave of simplicity in terms of game development for the PS4, which may open up new doors in terms of efficiency and overall satisfaction for developers as a whole. Bushnell further contends that software drives hardware sales, and claims that Microsoft will surpass Sony in this regard and thusly become victorious in the next-gen battle. "Microsoft, because of their strong software tools, will end up with much better products sooner [and] easier, in my estimation," Bushnell continued.With that, I think will be an advantage. And also don't forget, Microsoft actually has so much money to defend this. Plus, they have a good infrastructure with the [Xbox Live Arcade], with their online world." The Atari founder also presented Sony's PlayStation Network as a shortcoming, stating that Sony "really needs to get their action together" and fix the "god awful" online service. On the topic of essential important features for next-gen consoles, Nolan Bushnell spoke highly of the Oculus Rift and counted virtual reality integration as "really important" for future consoles--as long as latency is held in check. Bushnell also said that next-gen consoles should feature 1TB hard drives, citing the current affordability of internal memory. Bushnell's stance on the ongoing next-gen battle is certainly a unique perspective, yet since Microsoft has yet to reveal the console in question we don't have anything solid to go by other than Microsoft's actions in the past. It's definitely interesting to see Bushnell's point of view on the matter considering he's been in the gaming industry for so long, and we'll most likely find out more about the Xbox 720 in the upcoming months. Microorganism found to thrive on rocket fuel components Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/microorganism-found-to-thrive-on- rocket-fuel-components/19520.html April 5th, 2013 A study has found that deep sea microorganisms can thrive on the chemical compounds which exist in fireworks and rocket fuel, which are toxic to most animals Archaeons are single celled anaerobic microorganisms that live in the outflow of geothermal vents in the deep sea. These vents, which result from volcanic activity, are low in oxygen, highly pressurized and can be close to boiling, sometimes reaching 95 C. A dutch research team led by Martin Liebensteiner has recently shown that one of the most common achaeons, Archaeoglobus Fulgidus, is able to survive and grow by
  30. 30. April 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 4 reducing chlorate and perchlorates, chemicals not usually found in their natural habitat. Perchlorate in particular, is a chemical found in among others fireworks and rocket fuel. This is the archaeon we're talking about A few species of bacteria have previously been discovered with the same ability as A. Fulgidus, but they reduce the chlorate in a different manner. The bacteria split the chemical into chlorite during metabolism (and then further into chloride and oxygen), but the archaeon lacks the necessary enzyme to do so. Instead, a series of reactions involving sulfur compounds breaks down the chemical. No oxygen is produced during this reaction, which is good for A. Fulgidus, since oxygen is poisonous to it. The importance of the finding is that Liebensteinier believes the first organisms to evolve on earth were similar to archaeons, and likely had the same reducing ability for chlorate and perchlorate. Their existence may have prevented buildups of those chemicals in the atmosphere long before life similar to what we see today came about ASUS GeForce GTX Titan gets a place in 3DMark Hall of Fame with four world records Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/asus-geforce-gtx-titan-gets-a-place- in-3dmark-hall-of-fame-with-four-world-records/19517.html April 5th, 2013 ASUS proudly announced that the GeForce GTX Titan graphics card set four new 3DMark world records and got the title of the most powerful single-GPU card, currently available. In the 3DMark11 tests, ASUS GeForce GTX Titan got 36658 marks in the Entry preset, 37263 for Performance, 22076 in the Extreme and the world record of 21818 marks in Fire Strike, Futuremark’s hottest benchmark. ROG overclocker Andre Yang set up the records, using liquid nitrogen-cooled Titan cards in a four-way NVIDIA SLI configuration, with an ROG Rampage IV Extreme motherboard and an Intel CoreTM i7-3970X processor. The Fire Strike record was achieved by Yang and fellow overclocker Shamino, with two cards in NVIDIA SLI and the same Extreme motherboard and Core i7 processor. For those who want to see to believe, here is the pick (straight from Andre Yang’s submission details). ASUS GeForce GTX Titan has a dual-slot design with a full NVIDIA Kepler GPU (originally reserved for supercomputer applications), 2688 CUDA cores and 6GB GDDR5 memory, at 384-bit, clocked at 6000MHz. It’s the dream card for any serious pc gamer, DirectX 11.1 compatible and able to run smoothly any game in resolutions 2560x1600 and above. Titan simulation experiment shows life sustaining possibilities Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/titan-simulation-experiment-shows- life-sustaining-possibilities/19495.html April 5th, 2013
  31. 31. April 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 5 One of NASA's missions is to explore our planets and discover if there is, or was, any life on them--with Mars being the latest exciting frontier. However, Mars isn't the only one as a recent simulation experiment done here on Earth has shown that there are more possibilities than the red planet. While there is a lot of talk among scientists about the possibility of finding life on Europa, one of the moons circling Jupiter, there are some who believe that Saturn's moon Titan could also be a candidate, especially after a recent experiment carried out at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In fact, the experiment shows that there is the possibility of a whole new region of the moon that was previously thought to be devoid of life sustaining elements. In the experiment, scientists simulated the atmosphere of Titan and found that complex chemistry could very well extend lower into the atmosphere than had previous been thought. It is believed that the building blocks of life could be found in these strands, which is in direct contrast with the previously held belief that the moon's atmospheric chemistry was inert and dull. Just as light drives biological chemistry here on Earth, the scientists believe that even though Titan receives much less light, there could be enough to drive the chemistry on Titan. A full press release of the findings can be found here. India police investigating Google map contest Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/india-police-investigating-google- map-contest/19519.html April 5th, 2013 Authorities in India are investigating search giant Google for alleged violation of competition rules after it asked users for information about their local areas for use on Google Maps. Authorities in India are investigating search giant Google for alleged violation of competition rules after it asked users for information about their local areas for use on Google Maps. Police in the country are probing Google's Mapathon contest, which it ran in February and March, but Google claims that it did not break any laws when asking for the data. The complaint against Google was made by Survey of India, the national survey and mapping agency, which said that the contest was not only illegal, but could threaten national security. Google has been expanding its Maps service over recent years, sending staff to remote parts of the world. The Mapathon contest was designed to create better maps of India, with Google offering prizes of tablets, smartphones and gift vouchers to the top 1,000 suppliers of map information. Google said it takes security and national regulations very seriously, but stated that the Mapathon adhered to applicable laws. Spokesperson Paroma Roy Chowdhury said the company is open to discussing the concerns with the authorities. Nuclear power saves lives Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/nuclear-power-saves- lives/19516.html April 5th, 2013 A new study concludes that nearly two million lives have been saved due to the emission free nature of the nuclear power plant. Nuclear power has always been criticized by those who don’t understand it. The first blow to its reputation came in 1986, when the Soviet-built 30 year obsolete Chernobyl power plant was mismanaged during a training exercise and the fourth reactor had a disastrous meltdown. Today, this still spooks people, despite the fact that modern nuclear plants are sealed; capable of surviving jet planes flying into them head on. During meltdown it would be practically impossible to contaminate the outside – the one exception being perhaps when the whole superstructure is damaged by a massive earthquake, like in Japan. Still, add a dash of “what do we do about the waste”, and you have a sizable population that would rather have nuclear power go away. “I was very disturbed by all the negative and in many cases unfounded hysteria regarding nuclear power after the Fukushima accident,” says Pushker A. Kharecha at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. What almost everyone fails to consider, surprisingly given how climate conscious the world is becoming, is that nuclear power is clean and emission free. Whereas fossil fuels release tons of greenhouse gasses and pollutants into the atmosphere, the only thing coming out of the cooling towers on a nuclear
  32. 32. April 5th, 2013 Published by: VR-Zone 6 plant is water vapor. It is this fact that has become the focus of Kharecha’s new study. They're friendly, too Kharecha decided to investigate the number of preventable deaths attributed to the lessened pollution of nuclear plants, but was unable to find any data. What he and partner James E. Hansen did find was a 2007 study on the number of deaths attributed to fossil and nuclear power, per unit energy. Their research has concluded that nuclear power has saved an estimated 1.8 million lives from health related deaths due to pollution, mining, oil drilling etc. Kharecha and Hansen went on to extrapolate the data into a prediction about how many deaths would occur from those causes if nuclear power was replaced with fossil fuels entirely until 2050. Natural gas would cause an additional 400 000 deaths, while coal would produce another 7 million deaths, due to the heavier emissions. The study also compared the data for raw pollution, and found that if natural gas had taken the place of nuclear power, an extra 64 gigatons of carbon would be in the atmosphere from the years 1971-2009. The team also reached the conclusion that if natural gas replaced nuclear power until 2050, the power plants would release an additional 80 to 240 gigatons of carbon. “The nuclear power issue is so polarized that people who oppose nuclear power will immediately dispute the numbers,” says environmental economist Bas Van Ruijven, but also reveals that he agrees with the numbers and with the research team’s conclusion on the importance of nuclear power. Smart bracelet designed to help protect civil rights activists Source: http://vr-zone.com/articles/smart-bracelet-designed-to-help- protect-civil-rights-activists/19518.html April 5th, 2013 Civil Rights Defenders has designed a smart bracelet that could help save the lives of civil rights activists and aid workers operating in dangerous areas. Civil Rights Defenders has designed a smart bracelet that could help save the lives of civil rights activists and aid workers operating in dangerous areas. The bracelet features cellular and GPS technology that will send warning messages to Facebook and Twitter to notify people that the activist is in danger, including their location, which could help prevent them being kidnapped or aid in their rescue. The messages can be sent manually by the worker, but the bracelet will automatically issue warnings to social media if it is forcefully removed. The data will also be sent to other aid workers in the area, and widespread knowledge of the existence of such devices could act as a deterrent to kidnapping and murder. “Most of us, given the chance, would like to help others in danger,” said Robert Hardh, executive director of Civil Rights Defenders. “These civil rights defenders are risking their lives for others to have the right to vote, or to practise religion or free speech.” Activists constantly face the threat of abduction or murder, either by oppressive government forces, military regimes, local militia, or criminal gangs. The murder of Natalia Estemirova, who was uncovering alleged abuse of civilians in Chechnya, in 2009 prompted development of this device. Bracelets are now being given out to activists and aid workers, with 55 expected to be distributed by the end of 2014. Civil Rights Defenders is looking for funding in order to create and supply more of these potentially life-saving