- FedEx gets amped about electrifying its step vans
If, like ours, your ears are finely tuned to the sound of the delivery van’s engine, prepare for lots more collection slips. FedEx is working with gas-to-EV converters, Amp, to switch some of its wagons over to the electric side of the fence. At the moment, just two vehicles will be ditching the diesel, but should the Washington, D.C.-based testing go well, it could lead to a further 9000 vans getting the petro-snip. Amp Electric Vehicles identified fleets such as FedEx’s as ideal candidates for the conversion, based on the shorter daily range requirements and typically poor gas mileage. Good news and all, and we admire the firm’s forward thinking, but how are we going to hear our latest impulse-purchase coming round the corner now?
- Google drops cost of Maps API to keep developers, gives Foursquare puppy eyes
Google must be feeling the pinch from developers like Foursquare who’ve jumped ship from Google Maps in opposition to costs, as it just cut the price of heavy Maps API use in a big, big way. Where it used to cost $4 for every 1,000 map hits beyond a 25,000 daily limit, the company is now charging as little as $1 in addition to eliminating the lower usage cap for app writers who tweak the map look. The olive branch won’t make Apple change its mind, of course, but Google clearly isn’t keen on anyone else using the price tag as an incentive to join the exodus. Mountain View is no doubt eager to keep as many mobile and web app developers on its side as it can — with Google I/O just around the corner, it wouldn’t do to have customers leaving at the very moment Google is trying to rally support for a big Maps update.
Google drops cost of Maps API to keep developers, gives Foursquare puppy eyes originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 23 Jun 2012 15:27:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- Ringbow hits Kickstarter, promises directional pad-assisted touch gaming
When we first saw the Ringbow finger peripheral, it was a gangly prototype, tethered to an external battery — not exactly ideal for a portable tablet accessory. The idea is to strap a D-pad to a user’s finger, netting them extra control for touch-based games. Now the duo behind the device is showcasing a self-contained unit on Kickstarter, hoping to garner enough interest to send it off to production. The Bluetooth-compatible band boasts an adjustable one-size-fits-all grip, a nine-way directional nub and a five hour battery life. A $45 contribution buys a standard black Ringbow and a game package, though more generous backers can score additional colors, exclusive hardware and dev kits. Without $100,000 in support, however, the ring won’t be minted. Follow the links below if you’re compelled to fund the digital circlet.
Ringbow hits Kickstarter, promises directional pad-assisted touch gaming originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 23 Jun 2012 14:23:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- Phase change memory breakthrough could lead to gigahertz-plus data transfers, make SSDs seem pokey
Often considered the eventual successor to flash, phase change memory has had a tough time getting to the point where it would truly take over; when it takes longer to write data than conventional RAM, there’s clearly a roadblock. The University of Cambridge has the potential cure through a constant-power trick that primes the needed hybrid of germanium, antimony and tellurium so that it crystalizes much faster, committing data to memory at an equally speedy rate. Sending a steady, weak electric field through the substance lets a write operation go through in just 500 picoseconds; that’s 10 times faster than an earlier development without the antimony or continuous power. Researchers think it could lead to permanent storage that runs at refresh rates of a gigahertz or more. In other words, the kinds of responsiveness that would make solid-state drives break out in a sweat. Any practical use is still some distance off, although avid phase change memory producers like Micron are no doubt champing at the bit for any upgrade they can get.
Phase change memory breakthrough could lead to gigahertz-plus data transfers, make SSDs seem pokey originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 23 Jun 2012 12:19:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- Google’s Turing doodle celebrates his genius, reminds us how dumb we are (video)
This week sees many corners of the globe celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Alan Turing. A man whose contribution to the worlds of tech and gadgets is immeasurable — a sentiment not lost on Google. Today, geeks and norms worldwide will be waking up to possibly the most complex doodle to date. Can you set the machine and spell out “Google”? If you can, you’ll be sent off to lots more information about the man himself. This isn’t the only thing Mountain View’s done to keep his legacy alive, having previously helped Bletchley Park raise funds to purchase (and display) Turing’s papers, and more recently helping curators at London’s Science Museum with its Codebreaker – Alan Turing’s Life and Legacy exhibition. If you haven’t already, head to Google.com and pop your logic hat on, and if you get stuck, head past the break for a helpful video.
Google’s Turing doodle celebrates his genius, reminds us how dumb we are (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 23 Jun 2012 10:27:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- Olympus reportedly in final talks for Sony investment
If the recent chapter in Olympus’ history was a photo, it’d be a blurry thumb covering the subject’s head. But, if reports from Nikkei are correct, it looks like the next one might be a happy family portrait. As suggested earlier this year, Sony is reportedly close to agreeing on a 50 billion yen (about $620 million) investment in the scandalized firm. This would likely give the Japanese electronics giant a 10 percent stake in Olympus, making it the largest single shareholder. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the troubled camera and optics brand associated with other electronics firms, and with Olympus telling Reuters that “This is not something that we have announced” we’ll just have to wait and see exactly how this next frame develops.
Olympus reportedly in final talks for Sony investment originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 23 Jun 2012 08:02:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- Excalibur Almaz wants to offer the first private trip to the Moon — provided you’ve got £100 million
Sir Richard Branson might want to look over his shoulder, since Virgin Galactic now has an even more ambitious rival. Britain-based Excalibur Almaz is planning no less than a trip to the Moon using reworked, Soviet-era Salyut space stations and Soyuz capsules as the vehicles for the multi-stage, 500,000-mile total voyage. Accordingly, no one will be living in the lap of luxury on the way there: there’s just two habitation modules that will take three people each, and the six-month trip isn’t going to leave much room for perks other than an isolated room in the event of a solar radiation blast. Not that there’s as much of a rush given the efforts involved in making this look-but-don’t-touch Moon orbit a reality. Anyone who travels needs to be in tip-top shape — and the £100 million ($156 million) ticket will make Virgin’s Spaceship Two rides seem downright frugal. Be sure to pack your gym shorts and a briefcase full of cash.
Excalibur Almaz wants to offer the first private trip to the Moon — provided you’ve got £100 million originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 23 Jun 2012 06:15:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- Negative radiation pressure in light could make some tractor beams real, we’re already sucked in
Developing a real, working tractor beam has regularly been an exercise in frustration: it often relies on brute force attempts to induce a magnetic link or an air pressure gap, either of which falls a bit short of science fiction-level elegance. The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology’s Mordechai Segev has a theory that would use the subtler (though not entirely movie-like) concept of negative radiation pressure in light to move objects. By using materials that have a negative refraction index, where the light photons and their overall wave shape move in opposite directions, Segev wants to create a sweet spot where negative radiation pressure exists and an object caught in the middle can be pushed around. His early approach would use extremely thin crystals stacked in layers to manipulate the refraction. As it’s theorized, the technology won’t be pulling in the Millennium Falcon anytime soon — the millimeters-wide layer intervals dictate the size of what can be pulled. Nonetheless, even the surgery-level tractor beams that Segev hopes will ultimately stem from upcoming tests would bring us much closer to the future that we’ve always wanted.
Negative radiation pressure in light could make some tractor beams real, we’re already sucked in originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 23 Jun 2012 04:18:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
- D-Link unveils Cloud Router 1200 and 2000, dishes out WiFi in tube form
We’ll admit: one of the biggest appeals for us in D-Link’s new Cloud Router 1200 and 2000 is that tube shape, which is a nice break from the amorphous blobs we’re used to as our WiFi routers. Not to say that there aren’t convincing technical reasons to like them. Both will let you remotely administrate the 802.11n router’s devices from an Android or iOS app, and they both carry four gigabit Ethernet jacks as well as a USB port for some network media storage. The differences lay exclusively in the wireless support, where the single-band 1200 caters to the frugal set at 300Mbps and the simultaneous dual-band 2000 hums along at 600Mbps. Thankfully, the prices of the just-shipping access points are both about right for what you get: the Cloud Router 1200 is a cheap and cheerful $60, and the 2000 won’t strain the wallet much more at $100. You can catch the full details of our new cylindrical
overlordsfriends after the break.
D-Link unveils Cloud Router 1200 and 2000, dishes out WiFi in tube form originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 23 Jun 2012 01:14:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.