Archive for September, 2009

Fitbit Advanced Pedometer

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009


The Fitbit tracker is an advanced pedometer that promises to track, in addition to number of steps taken and distance traveled, the calories burned and even the amount of sleep you got. The wait for Fitbit, which has been under development and eagerly anticipated for about a year, is finally over and units will soon begin shipping for advance orders. Using technology similar to that found in the Nintendo Wii, the Fitbit tracks motion in three dimensions and then silently uploads the information to The Fitbit looks like a small clip that can be attached to any article of clothing. A wireless base station is included that the Fitbit uploads to whenever it’s nearby. The price is $99, not much more than traditional electronic pedometers.

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Nuvifone: Garmin’s New GPS Smartphone

Monday, September 21st, 2009


According to an article in Infoworld, AT&T will release the Garmin Nuvifone G6 this week. The new smartphone integrates the Garmin GPS touch-screen navigation and comes with turn-by-turn navigation features found in Garmin’s high-end GPS systems. Voice directions and built-in points of interest like restaurants, hotels and gas stations will be standard features. The phone will support a windshield mount, just like a GPS device. It also includes a full set of smartphone features, including Wi-Fi, 3G, a 3-megapixel camera, Bluetooth and an HTML browser. The price is said to be $299 after rebates, contingent on a two-year AT&T contract. Read the full article here: AT&T Launching Location-Centric Garmin Nuvifone or visit the Garmin website for more information.

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Bing’s New Visual Search Capability

Monday, September 14th, 2009


As part of its continuing effort to catch up with Google in the search engine arena, Microsoft recently announced that its Bing search engine has been enhanced to allow users to perform image-based searches. According to InformationWeek, Bing’s new visual search capability is currently in the beta stage and is available in only a limited number of search categories. The target application for visual searching is consumers searching for products. The visual search capability is enabled by Microsoft’s Silverlight Web display technology.

Google currently demands an 83% share of the worldwide search market, so Microsoft has an uphill battle to wage.

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AI Controlled Super Mario Brothers

Friday, September 04th, 2009

Julian Togelius of the University of Copenhagen recently sponsored a competition to test the programming skills of artificial intelligence (AI) researchers. The competition used a souped-up Java version of the well-known Super Mario Brothers video game. Competitors programmed an AI controller to play the game. The winner was Robin Baumgarten, a PhD student at Imperial College in London. Watch Baumgarten’s winning program play the game in this YouTube video:

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