Archive

Posts Tagged ‘technology’

Attenborough working on a documentary for the Oculus Rift

Attenborough working on a documentary for the Oculus Rift

Attenborough is reprising his work with production company Atlantic to create a nature documentary for the Oculus Rift.


Beloved nature documentary veteran Sir David Attenborough has announced that he is working on a project for the Oculus Rift.

Conquest of the Skies is currently being filmed for the virtual reality headset in Borneo’s jungles using an eight-camera setup to produce a full 360 degree experience. It is being produced by a joint venture between production company Atlantic and broadcaster Sky.

Attenborough, best known for his documentaries aired through the BBC, has worked with Atlantic before with nature programs that have been filmed in 3D.

Production company Atlantic has already acquired several Oculus Rift development kits and the company’s commercial director John Morris told Realscreen that he considers this new virtual reality technology as being ‘a new platform you can monetize’ and predicts that millions of the headsets will be sold.

Morris also added that the company is excited by the fact that there are no rules of convention around what a non-fiction experience on the Oculus Rift should be like, comparing this phase of virtual reality to the beginning of cinema. This will be one of the first non-gaming productions to be considered for the Rift.

Oculus VR has achieved a significant level of mainstream recognition outside of the gaming industry thanks to Facebook acquiring the company for $2 billion last month. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg explained that he sees the technology as having massive potential for the future of communication beyond its gaming capabilities.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bit-tech/news/~3/e1F2cADpnbU/1


Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/GamingRipplesWeb/~3/z1Ti8AhyWpE/

Quantenna promises 10Gb/s Wi-Fi in 2015

Quantenna promises 10Gb/s Wi-Fi in 2015

Quantenna’s existing MU-MIMO chipset can be found in Asus’ newest router, but its success next year promises up to 10Gb/s of bandwidth via 802.11ac’s MU-MIMO technology.


Wireless communications specialist Quantenna has announced the development of a Wi-Fi chipset capable of ten gigabit per second (10Gb/s) throughput, with plans to release it commercially next year.

Perhaps the biggest complaint regarding Wi-Fi – aside from alleged health implications, disproved by scientific rigour – is that its performance can lag behind that of a wired connection. Even if you’re right next to an access point, the actual throughput of a 1.3Gb/s 802.11n Wi-Fi link is usually well below that of a 1Gb/s wired Ethernet connection – and the further away you travel from the access point, the slower it gets. Said bandwidth is also shared between all users; if you’re on a heavily-congested access point, you can expect the performance of your connection to drop significantly.

Quantenna is hoping to resolve this problem by giving wireless connections significantly more headroom, starting with a 10Gb/s chipset based on the 802.11ac standard which improves support for Multi-User Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MU-MIMO) connectivity. Extending the existing MIMO technology, which uses multiple antennas to isolate signals and reject noise, MU-MIMO allows for multiple connections to individual client devices which are no longer competing for the same bandwidth. The result: significantly improved performance and reliability.

Quantenna’s 8×8 architecture with adaptive beamforming demonstrates that the ‘massive MIMO’ promise of significantly higher throughput, robustness, and reduced interference can be realised in practice,‘ claimed Andrea Goldsmith, Stephen Harris Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, in support of the company’s work. ‘This architecture will also significantly enhance the capabilities of MU-MIMO, allowing it to support interference-free transmission to many more devices simultaneously. These technology advances will transform the landscape of applications and devices that Wi-Fi can support.

Quantenna’s MU-MIMO chipset is already used in Asus’ latest Wi-Fi router, but the version due for release in 2015 will be considerably improved. ‘Wi-Fi is no longer a convenience,‘ claimed Quantenna chief executive Sam Heidari at the announcement. ‘People expect it to ‘just work’ even with demanding applications like HD video streaming. With Quantenna’s 10G Wi-Fi, they’ll always get the performance they expect—even as their expectations continue to rise.

The company’s existing chipset, which supports 4×4 MU-MIMO antenna configurations, will be extended in 2015 to support 8×8 MU-MIMO setups offering a total aggregate throughput of 10Gb/s. How much such a feature will add on to the cost of commercially available routers and access points that choose to implement it, however, has not been announced.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bit-tech/news/~3/m9CHaY5Meeg/1


Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/GamingRipplesWeb/~3/9pSldeYswdk/

Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth announced

Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth announced

Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri is receiving a spiritual successor in the form of sci-fi-themed Civilization: Beyond Earth, launching this year on Windows, OS X and Linux.


A spiritual successor to Sid Meier’s intergalactic classic Alpha Centauri has been officially announced, and it brings the promise of treats for PC gamers including support for AMD’s low-level Mantle application programming interface (API) and cross-platform gaming on Windows, OS X and Linux – the latter to include Valve’s SteamOS.

Released in 1999, Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri was a spin-off from the Civilization franchise, acting as a follow-on of sorts for anyone who had completed a space victory in the game. The player was given the task of colonising Chiron in the eponymous star system, and later the option of playing as one of two non-human races – previously limited to non-playable characters in the game.

The game was critically acclaimed, but a poor seller; following its release, the Civilization franchise would again return to historical rather than futuristic settings and never again venture beyond our solar system – until now. Firaxis has announced Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth, the first space-based title to carry the official Civ branding – and a spiritual successor to Alpha Centauri.

Announced at PAX East this weekend, the game promises to revamp the Civilization experience with a new web-like technology tree, a more open-ended progression system no longer tied to real-world history, and many of the developers who worked on the original Alpha Centauri. For PC gamers, the news gets better still with Firaxis announcing that the game will launch later this year on Windows, OS X and Linux platforms – the latter to include support for Valve’s SteamOS Linux distribution. The company has also promised support for AMD’s Mantle API at launch, giving hope that the game’s performance will be acceptable even on lower-end hardware.

If all that has whetted your appetite the company has offered a teaser trailer for the title, reproduced below.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bit-tech/news/~3/YqXpROZmAmA/1


Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/GamingRipplesWeb/~3/b1CyQ0AYUhE/

Google invests in Savioke, another robotics specialist

Google invests in Savioke, another robotics specialist

Google has invested in a $2 million seed fund round for robotics start-up Savioke, pictured, who are planning customer trials of personal service robots later this year.


Advertising giant Google is continuing to show an interest in the field of robotics, announcing its part in a $2 million (around £1.2 million) finance round by specialist Savioke.

Established in 2013, Savioke – “savvy oak,” if you were wondering about pronunciation – specialises in autonomous robots for the services industry, developing technology to power everything from robot waiters to medical staff. Based in Sunnyvale, California, the company has raised its funding from a group comprised of AME Cloud Ventures, Morado Venture Partners and Google Ventures. While the advertising giant hasn’t confirmed how much of the pot it is responsible for, previous moves by the company into robotics suggest it may be a major investor.

Although best known for its search engine technology, Google makes its profits from advertising. The company has recently been branching out into the hardware realm, however, investing in wearable computing – including its own Google Glass wearable computing platform and soon-to-launch Android Wear smartwatch ranges – and self-driving vehicles. This latter interest has spread into general robotics, with the company’s venture capital arm investing in or outright acquiring more than eight robotics companies in the last twelve months.

As the lines continue to blur between industrial and personal robotics industries, Google Ventures is thrilled to be working with an exceptional group of people at Savioke,‘ claimed Google Ventures general partner Andy Wheeler of the investment. ‘Steve [Cousins, Savioke chief executive] and his team already have had a lot to do with moving the robotics industry forward. The next act promises to be even more revolutionary.

We are passionate about delivering easy-to-use yet sophisticated robots that can help people,‘ claimed Cousins, who previously acted as president and chief executive of robotics firm Willow Garage. ‘Our goal is to improve the lives of people by developing and deploying robotic technology in service environments.

Trials of Savioke’s service robots are due to begin later this year.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bit-tech/news/~3/W3ZT2xyersY/1


Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/GamingRipplesWeb/~3/a5puTAO9P2Y/

Wolfenstein’s Doom beta bonus a next-gen exclusive

Wolfenstein's Doom beta bonus a next-gen exclusive

Those buying Wolfenstein: The New Order for access to the secretive Doom beta are advised that it won’t be available on the Xbox 360 or PS3.


Bethesda has warned gamers that the upcoming beta version of wholly-owned subsidiary id Software’s Doom reboot will be exclusively available on next-generation platforms, including PC.

While id Software itself has so far kept a lid on exactly what the reboot of its seminal Doom franchise, considered by many to have truly kicked off the first-person shooter craze as the follow-up to Wolfenstein 3D, Bethesda had previously announced that access to a closed beta would be a benefit of pre-ordering Wolfenstein: The New Order. With the game launching on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and Windows, that was considered to be an open offer to users of all platforms; sadly, Bethesda has now clarified that isn’t the case.

While Wolfenstein: The New Order will be available on previous- and latest-generation consoles as well as Windows, the Doom beta will be exclusively available on latest-generation hardware: Windows PCs, the PS4 and the Xbox One. Those pre-ordering Wolfenstein: The New Order specifically for access to the Doom beta, then, should be aware that while Xbox 360 and PS3 orders will still receive beta codes, these will only be redeemable on their respective replacements: Xbox 360 gamers will need an Xbox One to redeem the code, while PS3 gamers will need a PS4.

For gamers with both consoles and an adequately-specced PC, the news that the beta codes won’t be redeemable cross-platform – you can’t pre-order Wolfenstein: The New Order on PS3 and use the code to gain access to the Windows beta – may be a blow, but could suggest great things in store for the Doom reboot. Following the poor critical reception of 2005′s Doom 3, id Software has concentrated on other projects; if Doom proves, like its beta, to be exclusively available on the very latest console and PC hardware, it could represent a return to form with the potential for impressive visuals and ground-breaking technology.

For now, though, this is all conjecture: neither Bethesda nor its id Software subsidiary have spoken publicly on what form the new Doom will take, nor whether its beta programme will open on the 20th of May when Wolfenstein: The New Order launches.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bit-tech/news/~3/9lQYbyhU6UY/1


Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/GamingRipplesWeb/~3/oKZObCF2Nc4/

GlobalFoundries rumoured to be sniffing around IBM’s fabs

GlobalFoundries rumoured to be sniffing around IBM's fabs

GlobalFoundries has been named as the strongest contender in a deal to purchase IBM’s unwanted semiconductor fabrication facilities.


GlobalFoundries has been named as a possible buyer for IBM’s unwanted chip-making facilities, although a deal is not considered imminent thanks to IBM’s high asking price.

Once a subsidiary of AMD, GlobalFoundries was created in 2008 as a joint partnership btween AMD and the Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC). All AMD production would continue in the fabs it once owned, but AMD would pay GlobalFoundries for the privilege. In 2012, its final financial ties were severed when its spin-off agreed terms to purchase AMD’s stake outright. Since then, AMD has continued to use GlobalFoundries thanks largely to pre-signed wafer supply agreements still in place.

IBM, meanwhile, is looking to exit the fabrication business thanks to declining interest in the company’s Power architecture for mainstream products. With its fabs sold IBM would, it is claimed, look towards service provision rather than hardware sales for its profit. The news came on the back of IBM’s sale of its low-end x86 server division to Lenovo, the Chinese technology giant which also bought the rights to IBM’s consumer PC business.

The Wall Street Journal, quoting unnamed sources ‘familiar with the matter‘, claims that talks are in progress for GlobalFoundries to buy the now-unwanted IBM plants. Another company named as a bidder for the facilities is Intel, but with the company having recently opted to abandon a fully-finished fabrication plant due to a lack of demand for its capacity, GlobalFoundries is considered to be in a stronger position.

The WSJ’s sources warn that a deal is unlikely to happen imminently, however. IBM is claimed to be looking for at least $2 billion for the facilities, while bidders including GlobalFoundries and Intel have yet to offer substantially more than half that price.

Neither GlobalFoundries nor IBM have commented publicly on the claims.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bit-tech/news/~3/bSw-vGG_7zk/1


Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/GamingRipplesWeb/~3/7GNWXiaqM-0/

Intel invests in China with Smart Devices venture

Intel invests in China with Smart Devices venture

Intel has announced the formation of a Smart Device Innovation Centre in Shenzen, back by a $100 million Intel Capital fund, alongside the release of an IoT gateway product line.


Intel is continuing its push into the it’ll-take-off-any-day-now-honest wearable computing market with a major investment in China, founding a Smart Device Innovation Centre backed by a $100 million fund from Intel Capital.

That Intel is focusing heavily on low-power embedded systems for wearable computing is no secret. Having been caught on the hop with the mobile computing boom, allowing Cambridge-based rival ARM to gain an overwhelming majority market share, the company is adamant it won’t make the same msitake twice. In September last year, Intel Capital invested in Recon Instruments, Intel proper recently picked up Basis Science, and the Quark processor and Edison computer-on-module are clearly designed for low-power ultra-compact computing.

Now, chief executive Brian Krzanich has announced a new plan to push its low-power and wearable computing efforts still further with a little help from Shenzen. Announced at the company’s Chinese Developer Forum today, a new deal will see the company establish the Intel Smart Device Centre in Shenzen and introduce a $100 million Intel Capital China Smart Device Innovation Fund to encourage the use of Intel products in future low-power devices.

The China technology ecosystem will be instrumental in the transformation of computing, claimed Krzanich in his speech. ‘To help drive global innovation, Intel will stay focused on delivering leadership products and technologies that not only allow our partners to rapidly innovate, but also deliver on the promise that “if it computes, it does it best with Intel” – from the edge device to the cloud, and everything in between.

Krzanich also announced the launch of the awkwardly-named Intel Gateway Solutions for the Internet of Things, a router based on Intel’s Quark and Atom chips for connecting low-power wearable and embedded sensors to a network, and demonstrated for the first time his company’s SoFIA integrated mobile system-on-chip design, an all-in-one chip for smartphones and tablets with which Intel hopes to challenge ARM’s dominance.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bit-tech/news/~3/S7HngR8GmuQ/1


Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/GamingRipplesWeb/~3/IzlkrYNZNEw/

Researchers unveil polymer-based TIM

Researchers unveil polymer-based TIM

A thermal interface material created from aligned nanofibres of polymer could be the future of chip cooling, offering impressive performance in a layer just three microns thick.


Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have announced what they claim is a novel way of improving the transfer of heat from computer chips to heatsinks: a polymer-based thermal interface material (TIM) which can be applied in a layer just three microns thick.

Polymers may not be the obvious choice when it comes to conducting heat or electricity, but the team has developed a method which aligns the polymer chains themselves in nanofibres – avoiding problems with the previous technique of forming aligned crystalline structures which are too brittle to be of use. Using polythiophene, the team has been able to modify the polymer’s structure in such a way to boost the thermal conductivity 20-fold and yet have the new material operate reliably at temperatures of up to 200 degrees Celsius.

Thermal management schemes can get more complicated as devices get smaller,‘ explained Baratunde Cola, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. ‘A material like this, which could also offer higher reliability, could be attractive for addressing thermal management issues. This material could ultimately allow us to design electronic systems in different ways.

The team’s initial target market is high-temperature devices which can’t use solder as the thermal interface material. Commonly used to connect large heatspreaders to the far smaller die on processors, solder proves problematical when the temperature of the device begins to approach that required to turn the solder molten once more. ‘Polymers aren’t typically thought of for these applications because they normally degrade at such a low temperature,‘ Cola explained. ‘But these conjugated polymers are already used in solar cells and electronic devices, and can also work as thermal materials. We are taking advantage of the fact that they have a higher thermal stability because the bonding is stronger than in typical polymers.

Another advantage of the new material is that it can be applied in a layer just three microns thick while still maintaining its performance, compared with the usual 50 to 75 micron layer required of traditional thermal interface materials. The thinner the layer, the closer the heatsink can be positioned to the chip being cooled – and the more efficient the heat transfer. Stresses normally associated with thermal cycling – constant heating and cooling cycles, common to semiconductors as they are loaded and unloaded – are also avoided, Cola claims.

While Cola has already applied for a patent on the technique and formed a start-up company, Carbice Nanotechnologies, for its commercialisation, it could be a while before it’s product-ready: Cola admits that the theoretical processes behind the manufacturing are not yet fully understood, and the technique itself requires further development to improve yields.

The team’s work is published in the latest Nature journal, under the title ‘High thermal conductivity of chain-oriented amorphous polythiophene.’

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bit-tech/news/~3/StkVp5CaOKg/1


Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/GamingRipplesWeb/~3/A3nGRqYQeaA/

Microsoft unveils Kinect for Windows v2

Microsoft unveils Kinect for Windows v2

Microsoft’s Kinect for Windows v2 hardware is slightly more understated than its Xbox One equivalent, but requires two external boxes – a data hub and a dedicated power supply – to operate.


Microsoft has formally unveiled the Kinect for Windows v2 hardware, based on the updated Kinect depth-sensing camera system developed for the Xbox One console.

Like its predecessor, the Kinect for Windows v2 will officially only support Microsoft’s own operating system – although it didn’t take long for hackers and tinkerers to get its predecessor running on rival platforms – and come complete with a software development kit for coders who want to add support for the tracking technology to their own products.

The design of the Kinect hardware has changed little from its Xbox One incarnation, aside from Microsoft replacing the Xbox logo from the top-left of the panel with a more platform-neutral Kinect version. The power indicator, previously a glowing-green X shape, has also been revised a subtle single LED.

The Kinect for Windows v2 isn’t purely plug-and-play, however: while the Xbox One version works with but a single cable, its Windows variant needs a couple of extra boxes which come bundled. The first is a power supply, suitable for international use and accepting a laptop-style figure-eight cable; the second is a separate hub box, which takes power from the PSU and accepts a USB 3.0 connection to the host PC. A single cable combining both data and power then leads to the sensor unit itself.

The Windows port of Kinect v2 is expected to include all the functionality of its Xbox One cousin, including the ability to track a user’s heartbeat by looking for micro-fluctuations in skin tone caused by the pumping of blood. Its specifications suggest, however, that it will require a USB 3.0 port to operate – an indication of the increased data traffic caused by the higher-resolution sensors.

Microsoft has not yet provided a release date or pricing information for Kinect for Windows v2.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bit-tech/news/~3/O491MNuyaQ0/1

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/GamingRipplesWeb/~3/1XAyp6vkOmw/

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes Review


Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes Review

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes Review

Price: £29.99
Developer: Kojima Productions
Publisher: Konami
Platforms: X360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4
Version Reviewed: Xbox 360

Whatever you may think of Kojima Production’s decision to split off Ground Zeroes from the rest of Metal Gear Solid V and release it as a full game, there’s no denying that it is a remarkable creation. In terms of its politics, its technology, its systems, and its artistic direction, Ground Zeroes is absolutely fascinating. It departs radically from many of the conventions the series has established over the years, while at the same time it is truer to the motto of “Tactical Espionage” than any of its predecessors.

Ground Zeroes is set in 1975 – a year after the events witnessed in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, and casts you as Big Boss on a mission to infiltrate a heavily guarded detention camp in order to rescue two prisoners. Prior to the game’s start, there’s a brief summary of events leading to the Ground Zeroes mission, and a short cut-scene that introduces “Skull Face”, the leader of the mysterious XOF organisation which opposes Big Boss’ FOX unit.

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes Review
It’s a refreshingly terse opening to a Metal Gear Solid game, and makes it immediately apparent that Ground Zeroes strives to be different. Kojima’s writing has grown increasingly indulgent since the release of the first MGS, his games burdened by exhaustive cut-scenes and rambling dialogues. Ground Zeroes, on the other hand, is nearly all about play, only removing you from control during a couple of key moments while you’re on mission.

In fact, Ground Zeroes is a very restrained game in general. Aside from the much-discussed running time, the weirder elements of the Metal Gear Solid universe have been dialled back, with only the appearance of Skull Face acting as a nod to the series’ penchant for science fiction and the supernatural. Similarly, Ground Zeroes’ approach to stealth is very straightforward – stay low, stay shadowed, stay quiet. The most advanced gadgets in Big Boss’ arsenal are an “iDroid” that gives a real-time updated map of the detention centre, and a pair of binoculars that can mark guard positions on a map.

What most definitely isn’t dialled back, is the technology that powers the game. Ground Zeroes looks, sounds, and feels superb. Even on the Xbox 360, visually it’s a cut above most other games. This is because the FOX engine’s approach to graphical fortitude has nothing to do with resolutions or anti-aliasing or post-processing effects or any other technical gimmickry. Rather, it’s about attention to detail. FOX’s physically-based rendering techniques are based on vast amounts of research into how different types of light react with different types of surfaces in different conditions, and replicating the results in a virtual environment.

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes Review
It’s tempting to say the results are spectacular, but that would be to miss the point. FOX isn’t about spectacle, it’s about creating a convincing environment, and Ground Zeroes’ Camp Omega is very convincing indeed.

The reason we bring this up is because Ground Zeroes’ pinpoint production values feed into the design intent for the rest of the game. Ground Zeroes is entirely about attention to detail. Navigating your way through the maze of tents and fences and rocky coastline without being spotted by a patrol or a searchlight requires careful planning and speedy execution.

Deciphering the story behind Camp Omega involves searching every corner of the Black Site to collect audio logs, listening into guard conversations, and interrogating them for information. There’s a particularly brilliant section where you have to find a specific location within the camp by figuring out the route taken there from the ambient sounds on an audio cassette. It’s all geared toward making you feel like a spy, the way you collect snippets of information and piece them together to form a plan.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bit-tech/gaming/~3/Lv-8nLWW7Yk/1


Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/GamingRipplesWeb/~3/s_iznUpA6Tk/