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Google Glass Gets a Fashion Upgrade: VIDEO


Google has struck a deal with VSP, the antion's largest optical health insurance provider, to offer frames and subscription lenses for Google Glass.

The company has also released four new styles for the frames.

The NYT reports:

The agreement with VSP, which insures one-fifth of Americans, is also a coup for Google, which plans to begin selling Glass to the public this year. Resistance to Glass has grown from privacy fears that the devices could be used to secretly record conversations or take photos. Some establishments have banned Glass wearers, and just this month, a man in Ohio was removed from a movie theater and interrogated after wearing Glass to a movie. With traditional-style frames and prescription lenses, which Glass did not have before, the computer and screen for the device are less evident and the device looks more typical — and is available even to people who wear glasses.

Check out the frames, AFTER THE JUMP...

Will you be wearing Google Glass or would you prefer a wearable on the wrist?

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Looking: Art Installation In Madrid Calls Attention To Issues Of Surveillance


A street artist in Madrid has taken over one narrow block in an effort to raise awareness about surveillance and the technology used to perform it. The artist, named SpY, who incidentally began his career as a graffiti artist, has installed over 100 CCTV cameras on a wall overlooking the tiny street. The cameras are all aimed in the same direction and at the same angle, giving the overwhelming impression that anyone on the receiving end of their gaze is being closely watched and scrutinized. Though they are not in fact recording passers by, their mere presence gives off an air of suspicion and danger.

The Verge reports:

"The piece invites reflection about our present and daily interaction with technology and who is behind [it]," SpY writes in an email to The Verge. "The cameras are a symbol that represents it, however it is clear that we are surrounded by devices that act as tools of surveillance."

...SpY says that he's seen a variety of reactions; some people wonder whether the cameras are on, while others assume that they are and interact with them as though they're being recorded.

"I like to generate some type of reaction with my work," SpY says. "I try to awake and create a more lucid conscience with my interventions. Irony and humor are a way to make the receiver an accomplice, create a dialog, and make one think that the work communicates something with which one identifies."

..."As a side note regarding its location, all the cameras point to the house of a well-known drug dealer," SpY says. "Well known even by local police."

Check out more beautiful photos of the art installation at The Verge.

Behold The Future Of Jell-O Shots: VIDEO


A clever person named Jeroen Domburg used a 3D printer to create uniquely beautiful Jell-O shots for his friend's 25th birthday. The printer inserted a needle into each shot and released a combination of corn starch, food coloring and banana liquor to make awesome 3D shapes like spirals and cubes.

Suddenly, the mango-flavored Jell-O shots served at your local gay bar seem kinda tame, don't they?

Watch a video of the printed Jell-O shots AFTER THE JUMP...

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Meet the Little Robot Cube That Can Walk, Jump, Rotate and Balance All By Itself: VIDEO


Researchers at the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control in Zurich, Switzerland have created the Cubli, a robot cube that uses controlled motor torques to move around in surprising ways all on its own.

Some researchers hope this locomotion technology will be utilized in future planetary explorations and self-assembling robots.

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

[gif via Colossal]

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Will Gay Hook-Up Apps Soon Reveal the STD Status of Potential Partners?

Hula, a new app that verifies STD results for users, hopes to make hooking up safer:

HulaHula is also hoping that it can help to reduce the risk of sex with people met through the proliferating location-based dating apps. Last month it announced that it was partnering with the gay dating app MISTER, which has a geolocator that helps men find other men by location. MISTER is currently publicizing the Hula service on its app and encouraging users to tap it to find local testing centers and obtain test results. MISTER is also encouraging users to link to Hula from within their profiles, making their test results available to online “friends.” Verified test results on gay sex apps would be a big change from current approaches, where it is common for individuals to self-report that they are HIV-free on their profiles. “In the not too distant future you’ll be able to see a badge on someone’s dating profile showing they’ve verified STD status by Hula,” says Hula founder and CEO, Ramin Bastani. “That can help you make better decisions about how you want to connect.”

MIT Media Lab Unveils Amazing New Tactile Technology: VIDEO

Screen Shot 2013-11-14 at 11.18.20 AM

For several years, technology has been moving away from skeuomorphism, the concept that the digital devices and technologies we interact with should mirror their real-life, physical analogues.  The relative rigidity of hardware has given way to the flexibility of software--think of the decline of BlackBerry, with its many-buttoned devices, and the rise of the iPhone, an homage to the power of software idealized in a single pane of glass.

MitFor Sean Follmer of the MIT Media Lab, that's a problem. "As humans, we have evolved to interact physically with our environments, but in the 21st century, we're missing out on all of this tactile sensation that is meant to guide us, limit us, and make us feel more connected," he told Fast Company. "In the transition to purely digital interfaces, something profound has been lost."

This week, Follmer, along with his colleague Daniel Leithinger and under the supervision of Professor Hiroshi Ishii, unveiled inFORM, a so-called 'scrying pool' that allows its user to interact with digital information in a tactile, three-dimensional way.  Fast Company has the details:

The technology behind the inFORM isn't that hard to understand. It's basically a fancy Pinscreen, one of those executive desk toys that allows you to create a rough 3-D model of an object by pressing it into a bed of flattened pins. With inFORM, each of those "pins" is connected to a motor controlled by a nearby laptop, which can not only move the pins to render digital content physically, but can also register real-life objects interacting with its surface thanks to the sensors of a hacked Microsoft Kinect.

To put it in the simplest terms, the inFORM is a self-aware computer monitor that doesn't just display light, but shape as well. Remotely, two people Skyping could physically interact by playing catch, for example, or manipulating an object together, or even slapping high five from across the planet. Another use is to physically manipulate purely digital objects. A 3-D model, for example, can be brought to life with the inFORM, and then manipulated with your hands to adjust, tweak, or even radically transform the digital blueprint.

For now, inFORM might seem like mostly an academic novelty: cool to look at and think about but limited in its real-world applications.  But as Follmer points out, the ingenuity of today often becomes the technology of tomorrow--and it can do so much more quickly than imagined:

"Ten years ago, we had people at Media Lab working on gestural interactions, and now they're everywhere, from the Microsoft Kinect to the Nintendo Wiimote.  Whatever it ends up looking like, the UI of the future won't be made of just pixels, but time and form as well. And that future is only five or ten years away. It's time for designers to start thinking about what that means now."

inFORM really is one of those see-it-to-believe-it innovations--check out a video of MIT's demonstration of the new technology, AFTER THE JUMP...

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