Category Archives: Gadget News, Reviews, And Features

Handie prosthetic uses 3D printing and smartphones for much cheaper bionic hands (video)

Handie prosthetic uses 3D printing, your smartphone for substantially cheaper bionic hands video

The main aim of Handie, already a James Dyson award nominee, was to develop an artificial hand that offered a large degree of functionality without the brutal prices associated with prosthetics. With the latest model, it apparently skirts below a $400 price tag, substituting a smartphone for previously dedicated processing hardware as well as 3D printing. The use of printable parts makes Handie repairable, meaning it should last as long (or possibly longer) as models that use substantially more expensive materials. Because all the components (aside from the motors) can be printed, it means customization, design improvements and repairs are all possible — and cheaply too. The team also has a customized mechanism for finger flexing, reducing the number of motors needed to just one per three-segment digit.

These single motors are still able to passively change direction of fingers depending on the shape of an object. The heavy thinking is all assigned to a companion app on a nearby smartphone, which cuts the costs once again. The prosthetic makers demonstrated the Handie’s capabilities at an early press event for this weekend’s Maker Faire Tokyo. After working on prosthetics in college, development has focused on the fact that high functionality might not be the biggest priority, especially for users that may require two hand replacements, bringing us back to Handie’s simple aim: “sufficient functions at an affordable price.” Compare and contrast the rougher fresh-from-the-3D-printer model against a glossier Portal-ish version in our gallery below, and check out the full video explanation after the break.

Handie prosthetic at Maker Faire Tokyo

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Woz: If I were at Apple, we’d be partners with Google

He’s dreaming.

Thomson Reuters video/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)

Parallel universes are always fun to contemplate.

So please mount the No. 42 bus with me to a world in which Tim Cook is still COO of Apple and Steve Wozniak is calling the shots.

Here’s what would be happening: Apple and Google would be deep and loving partners and would share all their knowledge in one vast openfest.

The iPhone would have all the finest parts of Android, and
Android phones would finally enjoy a little magical, revolutionary taste.

How do I know this would be? Well, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak gave an interview to the BBC, in which he said: “I wish to God that Apple and Google were partners in the future.”

But when pressed as to how realistic it would be that Apple and Google would ever cuddle up and make nice, he was vigorous in his feelings.

“I don’t know. If I were there, it would be pretty likely,” he said. “I’m probably wrong, there’s probably an awful lot I don’t know about the business concerns, and one thing you’ve got to remember is a company has always got to make money.”

Oh, to hell with business. What’s business ever done for most of humanity, other than corrupt, enslave and bore?

Let’s be idealistic. I am imagining a world in which Apple and Google have happy-hour drinks parties together and share their latest ideas. Samsung would be invited too, as long as that was OK with Judge Lucy Koh.

Woz explained: “I believe you should have a world where you’ve got to license something at a fair price. There are good things I see on Samsung phones that I wish were in my iPhone. I wish Apple would use them and could use them, and I don’t know if Samsung would stop us.”

I have a feeling Samsung might. Unless, that is, Steve Wozniak CEO could intercede and stop the lawyerly madness.

Flip goes the smartwatch
In the same interview, Woz also expressed his desire for a smartwatch that wraps around the wrist — one that would flip open and shut with a flick of your arm.

“For about three or four years I’ve been talking about organic LED displays that could be theoretically printed on plastic, wrapped and folded,” he said.

He expanded on this very flexible thought: “It could be on the inside of your arm and then when you flip your arm up it could actually flip open into your own hand.”

Woz is always good for a quote or 10. But at least he thinks openly and with heart.

A world in which companies collaborate and cross-license would be one that many might enjoy. Few among them would be lawyers.

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Ask Engadget: best stepper motor and drive?

We know you’ve got questions, and if you’re brave enough to ask the world for answers, then here’s the outlet to do so. This week’s Ask Engadget inquiry is from Dylan, who has the rarest of all beasts: a question relating to engineering for us all to get our teeth into. If you’re looking to ask one of your own, drop us a line at ask [at] engadget [dawt] com.

“I currently own a Koyo Click programmable logic controller and I’m looking at getting a Raspberri Pi. What I need to ask you, is what would be a good and versatile stepper motor and drive combination that is both cheap (sub-$50) and doesn’t tie me down to a specific hardware platform? All of my searches seem to converge to Arduino stuff that, while cool, isn’t the platform I’m investing in. I know cheap motors and drives can be found on eBay and the like, but can you suggest a proven and reliable name? Thanks!”

If there’s one thing we love, it’s meaty questions that venture beyond asking us which smartphone you should buy. The question here is to find a platform-agnostic stepper motor and drive for under $50, so let’s turn this puzzler over to you, our brilliant community, in the hope that together, we can come up with the perfect solution.

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Great news! Engineers aren’t psychopaths (but CEOs are)

What do we think?


I’ve been feeling a little disturbed lately. Slightly insane things are happening all around me and nothing seems to make sense anymore.

So I thought I’d seek out some information about psychopathy, in the hope of making myself feel better — or at least understood.

Somehow, I stumbled upon an article on The Week that disturbed me even more. In casual style, it wondered which professions contained the greatest number of psychopaths and which ones had the fewest.

Honestly, I thought engineers would be somewhere near the top of the list. The ones I know are intense creatures, prone to excessive rational thought and irrational action.

They believe they can solve everything, yet don’t see that in their own lives, they have solved very little.

I expected, therefore, that they would at least be higher up the psychopathic scale than, say, clergymen. I was disabused.

The data comes from a book by Kevin Dutton called “The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success.

Already knowing that engineers are not in the Top 10 of psychopathic tendencies, you might think that Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, and their ilk are extremely well-adjusted beings.

You might also think that cheerleaders’ uniforms are designed by Chanel.

The occupation with the highest proportion of psychopaths is CEO. Is it possible that though most engineers are middling in normality, the ones who rise to CEO are dangerously bonkers?

I fear it may be the case. Somehow, the need to grab power all for yourself might be revelatory.

It’s fascinating, though, which other professions are on the list. Just behind CEOs come lawyers. The jokes do write themselves sometimes. Third on the list is media. Please, lower thy cudgel. This specifically refers to TV and radio media. We’re looking at you, Sean Hannity and Jon Stewart.

Lower down we find salesperson (naturally), surgeon (they’re mostly nuts), and then, well, journalist. That last one is probably a typo. Police officer, clergyperson, chef (good Lord, yes), and civil servant round out the Top 10.

Engineers don’t find themselves in the Top 10 list of the least psychopathic, but I feel sure they can live with that.

This is a slightly more expected list. It features care aide, nurse, therapist (are you kidding? all the ones I know are loopy in the extreme), craftsperson, beautician/stylist, charity worker, teacher, creative artist, doctor (oh, they’re so different from surgeons), and accountant (what?).

Those who try to explain such results offer that the least psychopathic professions deal with feelings and involve deep human connection. Accountants?

It is said that psychopaths are entranced by professions in which there is access to power and a distance from feelings-based actions.

Perhaps engineers, while bathing in rational action, still aren’t moved by power itself. Or perhaps this data needs to be updated to reflect the new, new world and all who sail in it.

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Instagram serves its first advertisement, users unsurprisingly irked

DNP Instagram ads have begun

A new era has begun in the kingdom of photo filters and hashtags. Instagram has recently served users in the US its first ad ever, and (as par for the course for a change this big) not everyone’s happy. The unlucky guinea pig getting all the hate is fashion designer Michael Kors, who featured one of his timepieces on the sponsored post. It may have shown up, unannounced, on plenty of people’s timelines, but it was at least properly labeled as an advert, as the Facebook-owned firm promised earlier this month. The image-sharing service didn’t say whether this is merely a test run, but if it’s a full launch, we can expect more from its first batch of advertisers. That list includes Ben Jerry’s and Levi’s, which we hope won’t run ads simultaneously — nobody wants to feel hungry yet fat at the same time.

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Kids’ No. 1 holiday wish? The iPhone, says a survey


It may well be that they’re fleeing Facebook for sexier climes.

But please don’t think that today’s American teens are talking about a revolution. Unless you have in mind a magical one.

For a survey of their deepest holiday season needs reveals a certain stasis in their hearts.

Performed on behalf of online cash-back shopping site Ebates, the survey probed deeply into the desires of 12- to 17-year-olds.

88 percent of them said they most wanted to get some sort of gadget, come family gifting time. The most desired item among them was the iPhone.

You might think that the survey somehow equated “iPhone” with “cell phone.” But, no. These kids know their brands, and only 12 percent of them were most desperate for a Samsung Galaxy phone, as opposed to 32 percent for Apple’s offering.

Indeed, the second most desired gadget was another Apple product: the

Should you wonder whether there might be some glimmer of light for a gadget maker not named after a fruit, there is one.

The iPhone wasn’t the most popular choice of gadget among boys. They — clearly needing to release copious amounts of pent-up boyishness — chose the
PlayStation 4 as their No. 1.

However, such was the iPhone dominance among the girls’ desires (41 percent) that the overall results gave Apple the win.

It’s clear that there’s a certain generational shift going on.

Last year’s survey revealed that 16- to 18-year-olds wanted laptops the most, while their younger kin already wanted iPhones and iPads. As the youngers have grown, their desires have remained constant.

Should you be the parent of one of these volatile beings, you will, no doubt, take note. However, Ebates decided to check with parents in advance to see whether they were au fait with their kids’ needs.

Remarkably, 54 percent declared that something from Apple would be their intended purchase for their teens.

One can only hope that this portends a rare harmony in America’s households, so often punctuated with late December pouting at desperate desires unfulfilled.

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