- Gocen optical music recognition can read a printed score, play notes in real-time (hands-on video)
It’s not often that we stumble upon classical music on the floor at SIGGRAPH, so the tune of Bach’s Cantata 147 was reason enough to stop by Gocen’s small table in the annual graphics trade show’s Emerging Technologies hall. At first glance, the four Japanese men at the booth could have been doing anything on their MacBook Pros — there wasn’t a musical instrument in sight — but upon closer inspection, they each appeared to be holding identical loupe-like devices, connected to each laptop via USB. Below each self-lit handheld reader were small stacks of sheet music, and it soon became clear that each of the men was very slowly moving their devices from side to side, playing a seemingly perfect rendition of “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.”
The project, called Gocen, is described by its creators as a “handwritten notation interface for musical performance and learning music.” Developed at Tokyo Metropolitan University, the device can read a printed (or even handwritten) music score in real-time using optical music recognition (OMR), which is sent through each computer to an audio mixer, and then to a set of speakers. The interface is entirely text and music-based — musicians, if you can call them that, scan an instrument name on the page before sliding over to the notes, which can be played back at different pitches by moving the reader vertically along the line. It certainly won’t replace an orchestra anytime soon — it takes an incredible amount of care to play in a group without falling out of a sync — but Gocen is designed more as a learning tool than a practical device for coordinated performances. Hearing exactly how each note is meant to sound makes it easier for students to master musical basics during the beginning stages of their educations, providing instant feedback for those that depend on self-teaching. You can take a closer look in our hands-on video after the break, in a real-time performance demo with the Japan-based team.
Gocen optical music recognition can read a printed score, play notes in real-time (hands-on video) originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 08 Aug 2012 17:23:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- iPad estimated to be cornering nearly 73% of Chinese tablet market
We’re used to seeing tablet market share illustrated on the world stage. China, however, has usually been untouched. Analysys International has taken a crack at decoding the market and has bucked a few expectations in the process: according to its estimates, the iPad’s lead is even larger in China than it is worldwide. About 72.7 percent of all tablets sold in the country during the second quarter were Apple-flavored, while homegrown hero Lenovo was a distant second at 8.4 percent. Everyone else had to contend with less than four percent and reflected the more diverse Chinese technology sphere — relative heavyweights like Acer, ASUS and Samsung had to hob-nob with brands that have little recognition elsewhere, such as Eben and Teclast.
The researchers credit Apple’s lead, a 7.8-point gain, to a combination of the new iPad and a price-cut iPad 2. We’d add that Analysys’ figures might not tell the whole story, though: China is well-known for its thriving shanzhai market, where legions of KIRFs and very small (usually Android-based) brands likely slip under an analyst group’s radar. That said, it’s still an illustration of how Apple’s influence in tablets is a distinct reversal of its much smaller smartphone share, even in a nation that’s a hotbed of Android activity.
Filed under: Tablet PCs
iPad estimated to be cornering nearly 73% of Chinese tablet market originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 08 Aug 2012 17:08:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- Shader Printer uses heat-sensitive ‘paint’ that can be erased with low temperatures (hands-on video)
Lovin’ the bold look of those new Nikes? If you’re up to date on the athletic shoe scene, you may notice that sneaker designs can give way long before your soles do. A new decaling technique could enable you to “erase” labels and other artworks overnight without a trace, however, letting you change up your wardrobe without shelling out more cash. A prototype device, called Shader Printer, uses a laser to heat (at 50 degrees Celsius, 120 degrees Fahrenheit) a surface coated with a bi-stable color-changing material. When the laser reaches the “ink,” it creates a visible design, that can then be removed by leaving the object in a -10 degree Celsius (14 degree Fahrenheit) freezer overnight. The laser and freezer simply apply standard heat and cold, so you could theoretically add and remove designs using any source.
For the purposes of a SIGGRAPH demo, the team, which includes members from the Japan Science and Technology Agency and MIT, used a hair dryer to apply heat to a coated plastic doll in only a few seconds — that source doesn’t exactly offer the precision of a laser, but it works much more quickly. Then, they sprayed the surface with -50-degree Celsius (-58 Fahrenheit) compressed air, which burned off the rather sloppy pattern in a flash. There were much more attractive prints on hand as well, including an iPhone cover and a sneaker with the SIGGRAPH logo, along with a similar plastic doll with clearly defined eyes. We also had a chance to peek at the custom laser rig, which currently takes about 10 minutes to apply a small design, but could be much quicker in the future with a higher-powered laser on board. The hair dryer / canned air combo offers a much more efficient way of demoing the tech, however, as you’ll see in our hands-on video after the break.
Shader Printer uses heat-sensitive ‘paint’ that can be erased with low temperatures (hands-on video) originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 08 Aug 2012 16:54:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- Super Angry Birds USB controller puts the sling back in your shot (video)
Yeah. We know. There are pretty much as many ways to play Angry Birds, as there are people who play it. That’s a lot. However, the Super Angry Birds controller you see above speaks to us. Why? Because it’s not just a sling shot, or a fudged use of existing technology. That wooden “sling” hides one of those motorized faders you see in big music studio desks. Using some coding magic (i.e. a force curve stored in a table), the creators were able to give it a realistic resistance feeling, sans elastic. The rest of the hardware is programmed in Max / MSP and Arduino, with a “Music and Motors” microcontroller. It’s not just the sling part, either, with angle and special power triggering available from the same device. A pretty neat solution, we think. Now, we wonder if we could scale this thing up?
Super Angry Birds USB controller puts the sling back in your shot (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 08 Aug 2012 16:34:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- Antec SP1 portable Bluetooth speaker stops by the FCC
The last Antec product that blipped on our radar was many moons ago, but it looks as though the company is having a second stab at audio hardware in its latest filing with the FCC. The documents reveal a new Bluetooth speaker going by the handle SP1 and assuming more of a Braven form factor, as opposed to the pocket-sized trend. Antec’s Rockus 3D|2.1 speakers were aimed at the higher end of the market, but we would be tempted to bet that the SP1′s focus is a little broader. We’ve struggled to dig up any more detail on the speaker, like launch plans or pricing, but did stumble upon a particularly glamorous advert, which you’ll find after the break.
Antec SP1 portable Bluetooth speaker stops by the FCC originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 08 Aug 2012 16:20:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- HP expects to take $8 billion hit over its purchase of EDS
Normally shake ups in management and earnings outlooks don’t really grab our attention. But, buried in the PR for just such moves from HP today was a particularly intriguing tidbit of information. In Q3 the company expects to be hit for $8 billion in pre-tax assets (but not cash) as part of an “impairment of goodwill” charge related to the purchase of Electronic Data Systems. That’s in addition to a $1.5 billion charge it’ll be absorbing following the layoff of some 27,000 employees in May. While the company has actually raised its earnings outlook for the quarter, we’ll have to wait till August 22nd to find out just how much these two charges will affect the bottom line. For some more detail, check out the PR after the break.
Filed under: Misc. Gadgets
HP expects to take $8 billion hit over its purchase of EDS originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 08 Aug 2012 16:17:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- Samsung patents perfume-packing cellphone… again
Seriously, Samsung, what the heck is with the scented cellphone patents? This isn’t the first, or even the second time you’ve thought to put pockets of perfume in a handset. This latest patent is slightly different from earlier concepts, we suppose. We see this one has a scent refilling station built into the charging dock. So, when you set the phone down to charge the battery, it also “charges” the aromatic sponge in the body. It’s also notable that this isn’t a passive scented strip or a spraying mechanism. Instead the “absorbant material” is heated, either by the battery directly or by circuitry triggered as part of an alert. So, every time your hippy buddy calls, your phone could blast Phish and fill the air with the scent of patchouli (or, something else…).
Filed under: Cellphones
- NPD: Apple, Samsung control 55 percent of the smartphone market, prepaid sales up 91 percent
According to NPD DisplaySearch, Apple and Samsung control more than half of the American smartphone market. The second-quarter figures reveal that while contract phone sales are flatter than month-old soda, those for pre-paid handsets have shot up by 91 percent compared to the same quarter last year. The upswing is credited to last year’s flagship handsets falling down the price ladder, snaring lower-income customers who were unable to afford to be early adopters. Cornering that element of the market has helped the battling duo increase their sales by 43 percent, leaving the rest of the technology pantheon scraping around for crumbs. Speaking of which, HTC is a distant third, having 15 percent of the market, while Motorola (12 percent) and LG (six percent) round out the top five.
Filed under: Cellphones
NPD: Apple, Samsung control 55 percent of the smartphone market, prepaid sales up 91 percent originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 08 Aug 2012 15:50:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- NASA’s X-48C hybrid wing-body plane completes first test flight
After planting a rover firmly on Mars’ surface and testing a new methane-fueled lander, NASA has squeezed in the first test flight of its X-48C hybrid wing-body aircraft. Thanks to its design, which combines those of flying-wing and conventional planes, the X-48 could offer 20 to 30 percent more fuel-efficiency, greater fuel capacity and a quieter ride in its final form than traditional craft. The finished model has a projected range of 11,000 nautical miles and a 240-foot wingspan. As an 8.5 percent scale of the full-sized airplane, the remotely piloted prototype weighs in at 500 pounds with a 20-foot wingspan. During the test, it successfully took to the skies for nine minutes and peaked at an altitude of 5,500 feet — though it’s capable of soaring for 35 minutes and climbing nearly twice as high. Another version of the craft (likely with a human behind the flight stick) is estimated to be at least four years down the road, and the final model isn’t expected to arrive for another decade.
Filed under: Science
NASA’s X-48C hybrid wing-body plane completes first test flight originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 08 Aug 2012 15:39:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.