Eyes-on: University of Pennsylvania’s TitanArm exoskeleton (video)

Eyes-on: University of Pennsylvania's TitanArm exoskeleton (video)

TitanArm already took home silver in a competition for senior projects at the University of Pennsylvania, and now the team behind it is visiting Orlando to compete in the Intel-sponsored Cornell Cup for embedded design. We stopped by the showroom and snagged a few minutes with the crew to take a look at their creation: an 18-pound, untethered, self-powered exoskeleton arm constructed for less than $2,000.

To wield the contraption, users attach the cable-driven mechanical appendage to themselves with straps from a military-grade hiking backpack, and guide it with a thumbstick on a nunchuck-like controller. If a load needs to be held in place, the wearer can jab a button on the hand-held control to apply a brake. A Beagle Bone drives the logic for the setup, and it can stream data such as range of motion wirelessly to a computer. As for battery-life, they group says the upper-body suit has previously squeezed out over 24 hours of use without having to recharge.


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When it comes to real-world applications, the machine’s creators envision the low-cost gear can be used for physical therapy, help those who are disabled and assist workers who pick up heavy loads. The minds behind TitanArm are heading to grad school, and they plan to add a second arm, work on powered shoulder joints and ditch the current controls in favor of sensors that move the arm when muscle activity is registered. Check out the bordering gallery for photos of the device or hit the jump to catch a chat with its designers and see it in action.

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2013/05/04/eyes-on-university-of-pennsylvanias-titanarm-exoskeleton/?utm_medium=feed&utm_source=Feed_Classic&utm_campaign=Engadget

This May the Fourth, look back at amazing ‘Return of the Jedi’ art

A conceptual drawing of the Rebellion holding a strategy session regarding the destruction of the second Death Star.


Ralph McQuarrie/Lucasfilm, courtesy of Eric Carl

Spark your sabers, feed your Rancor, and fire up the X-Wing. It’s May 4, a fabulous makeshift holiday that plays off the saying “May the Force be with you” and gives fans of the sci-fi saga yet another reason to openly celebrate “Star Wars” films and culture.

To commemorate the occasion, check out an incredible collection of conceptual drawings for “Return of the Jedi” by legendary artist Ralph McQuarrie.

The illustrations, which hugely influenced the aesthetics of the sets, characters, and vehicles in the movie — astounds due to McQuarrie’s sensational use of color and detail. You’ll explore the wretched depths of Jabba’s Palace, hop on the back of some Ewoks, and see epic spaceship battles near the second Death Star. “Return of the Jedi” celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.

Once you’ve scrolled through the gallery, come back and tell us in the comments how you plan to mark Star Wars Day.

May the Fourth be with you!

Spectacular ‘Return of the Jedi’ concept art (pictures)

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/cnet/pRza/~3/V9U4Z7-hEb4/

PanaVise 15504 PortaGrip car mount keeps a fierce grip on phones

The PanaVise 15504 PortaGrip holds smartphones to windshields with a strong grip.

Josh Miller/CNET)

Standing out as the 800-pound gorilla among smartphone mounts for cars, the PanaVise 15504 PortaGrip feels like it’s been spending evenings and weekends at the gym. The thick pieces of this mount look like they could support a whole car, let alone a smartphone. The screws and hinges move as if manufactured to military spec.

I had no fears that this mount would fall apart while cradling my precious smartphone.

This suction cup mount, designed to stick to a car’s windshield while keeping a smartphone visible to the driver, has multiple pivot points on its arm and uses a ratcheting clamp to hold smartphones in place.

However, it lacks any sort of power pass-through, USB ports, or channels to run a phone-charging cable down to a car’s 12-volt power point.

Suction with a twist
The sucker end uses a twist switch to increase suction, rather than a lever like many other windshield mounts. Placing the suction cup against the windshield of a car, I twisted the switch and the suction locked it in place. In fact, it became so strongly locked that as I pulled on it to test its hold, the entire car rocked on its suspension.

I like this suction mechanism, as it feels solid and locks well, and PanaVise includes helpful engravings in the plastic showing the lock and unlock positions of the switch.

A 3.5-inch plastic arm comes off the suction cup mechanism, featuring hinges at each end with screws to lock the position. It takes a little effort to move the hinges, but I like that the smartphone’s position can be adjusted not only at the clamp end, but also at the end near the windshield.

Twist these tabs to increase suction on the windshield.

Josh Miller/CNET)

The clamp hooks up to the other hinge end of the plastic arm on a ball joint, which also features a locking screw to fix its position. The ball joint swivels in all directions by 45 degrees. That means the PanaVise 15504 PortaGrip gives three points of adjustment, although two of those are linear.

The clamp end, the part that grips a smartphone, slides on and off the suction cup mount and has a soft backing, so as not to mar any smartphone placed in its care. The short, or bottom end of the clamp, has two little feet that swivel so they can be pushed out of the way.

Two spring-loaded ratcheting arms do the job of holding a smartphone in place.

At the press of a button, the arms pop out, opening up to a 3.75-inch width. That means it will easily hold a Samsung Galaxy S4, and even smaller tablets. After placing a smartphone between the clamp arms of the PanaVise 15504 PortaGrip, push them together and they ratchet closed, holding the smartphone firmly in place.

One-handed operation
With the PanaVise 15504 PortaGrip suction-cupped to a windshield, I found I could operate the clamp with one hand, simultaneously holding my phone against its soft backing and squeezing the clamp arms together. Pushing the button to pop open the arms, I quickly learned to keep a grip on the phone, lest it fall out and hide under the car’s seat.

With the arms firmly closed, the phone was not going anywhere. As I drove over disgruntled asphalt, the bumps did not dislodge the phone in the slightest.

The mount can swivel to a horizontal position, but the clamp hold does not seem to support a phone as well.

Josh Miller/CNET)

I tried positioning the clamp arms just loosely enough that I could slide the phone in and out of its embrace, making for easier placement and removal, but the reduced hold allowed the phone to be jostled more, to the point where it looked like it would fall out while I was driving, never a good thing.

Given the design of the clamp arms, the PanaVise 15504 PortaGrip is intended to hold a phone in a vertical position. The ball joint allows it to be swiveled to horizontal, and tabs on the clamp arm can be moved to grip the phone closer to its center, but the narrowness of those tabs made for a questionable horizontal hold.

Leave it in the car
The PanaVise 15504 PortaGrip would be a good smartphone-mount choice for people comfortable leaving it on their car’s windshield. Its sheer bulk and strong suction cup make it a pain to continually remove and reattach.

The strength of this mount is definitely a virtue, especially if you’re frequently traveling over rough roads. Its multiple hinge points make it easily adjustable, although its relatively short arm might put it too far from the driver in some cars.

And given its strength, it might serve as an emergency tow hitch.

The clamp end features spring-loaded arms that grip a smartphone.

Josh Miller/CNET)

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/cnet/mHpI/~3/_6XvOOGsiy4/4505-3425_7-35755681.html

Mavs adding former Portland interim coach

Former Portland Trail Blazers interim coach Kaleb Canales will join the Dallas Mavericks as an assistant coach, replacing Jim O’Brien on Rick Carlisle’s staff.

O’Brien, who had a 303-327 record as a head coach for the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers, informed Carlisle on April 16 that he planned to retire after spending one season with the Mavs.

“Jim said he loved working in the Mavs organization, but being away from family made his decision easy,” Carlisle said in an email. “I consider Jim O’Brien a great basketball man of high integrity and thank him for everything he taught me, my staff and our players this past season. We are fortunate that Kaleb Canales became available and had interest in joining the Mavs organization. Kaleb has worked for the Portland Trail Blazers organization in multiple capacities for the last 9 years, and brings great knowledge, enthusiasm and work ethic to the Mavs. He will join Monte Mathis and Tony Brown on the bench and take over in Coach O’Brien’s capacity of coordinating our offense.”

Canales was a finalist for Portland’s head coaching position after the Blazers went 8-15 when he filled in following Nate McMillan’s firing in 2012. The Blazers hired former Mavs assistant Terry Stotts, and Canales remained in Portland as the defensive coordinator on Stotts’ staff.

The 34-year-old Canales is a Texas-Arlington alum who worked his way up the ranks in Portland after being hired as a video intern in 2004.

“I’m very grateful to Paul Allen and Bert Kolde for the opportunity to work with a first class organization for the past nine seasons,” Canales said in a statement.

“At this time, I am excited to have the opportunity to join the Dallas Mavericks. I treasure the relationships I built with the players, staff and fans here in Portland and also want to thank Neil Olshey and Terry Stotts for the opportunity to remain with the club this past season.”

Canales’ departure from Portland for Dallas was originally reported by The Oregonian.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4695948/report-mavs-adding-former-portland-interim-coach

Fullscreen BEAM app sends Google Glass videos directly to YouTube


Sure, using Google Glass to record a video is a pretty neat trick, but how about uploading it to YouTube without a computer? Thanks to Fullscreen’s BEAM video sharing app for Glass, you can do just that. After setting up an account with the company’s website, Glass owners can use their high-tech eyewear to send clips to YouTube along with a tweet linking directly to the video. If you’ve managed to get hold of Google’s modern-day monocle and would like give BEAM a try, you can register at the source link below. As for the rest of us, at least we can watch the demo video after the break.

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2013/05/03/fullscreen-beam-google-glass-youtube/?utm_medium=feed&utm_source=Feed_Classic&utm_campaign=Engadget

Crave Ep. 119: The flexible MorePhone contorts when you get a call

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This week on Crave, we take a look at a concept phone that can change its shape when you get a notification. Plus, Microsoft shows off the IllumiRoom
projector that puts gamers inside video games and we play another round of “Into It Not Into It”!

Crave stories:

– Flexible smartphone curls up when it gets a call

– IllumiRoom projector explodes Xbox action out of your TV

– See how beautiful a DDoS attack can look

– Filmmaking at the atomic level? IBM nets Guinness world record

– How to sing a cutesy love song in Klingon

– Crave giveaway: OtterBox Realtree Camo case for HTC One

Into It Not Into It:

– Coming soon: A Breathalyzer for pot and cocaine?

– Caffeine-infused lingerie claims to blast fanny fat

– Will the next Xbox be called Xbox Infinity?

– Athletic gear cools you down with your own sweat

– Sculpture carrying human DNA to be sent into the depths

Social networking:

Stephen on Twitter

Stephen on Google+

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/cnet/pRza/~3/ILJjSKchOSw/