Archive for April, 2013


Science fiction authors have long been envisioning a future where robots handle all the cooking and cleaning. We haven’t quite reached that level yet, but the Grillbot gets us one step closer. In case it’s not entirely clear from the name, the Grillbot is a robot that cleans your grill. Like a tiny, heat-resistant Roomba.

Each Grillbot has three small brushes around its perimeter that spin to remove the grease and grime from your grill as it pulls itself along. It will reportedly work on gas or charcoal grills, and you don’t even have to wait for it to cool down. The robot is powered by a rechargeable battery and has a small LCD used to program it for either a light or deep clean. Some of the advanced features include an LCD alarm and timer, replaceable brushes, and rechargeable batteries.

It’s not yet known how the Grillbot navigates around the grill or an identify dirty or clean spots. Floor-cleaning robots like the Roomba and and Mint has multiple sensors and advanced algorithms for this sort of thing, but they are faced with much more complex tasks.

The inventor of the Grillbot claims to have spent a few years and a small fortune developing the device. Apparently the heat issue and uneven surface gave even seasoned engineers a challenge. The origin of the Grillbit is almost too good to be true — the inventor, a Mr. Ethan Woods, used to clean his grill using a wire brush attached to a power drill. While this surely worked great, why spend your time doing it, when a robot could do it fore you? The Grillbot was designed fro the task, complete with a rotating wire brush (see below in gold).

Grillbot

The Grillbot will be available in mid-June for $69.95 if you want the base model. A premium version, with some as yet unannounced extras, will sell for $99.95. Grillbot will come in four colors, but I’m sure they won’t retain that shiny finish after the cleaning commences.

tizen 2.0 os samsung bada

The Tizen 2.0 source code and SDK has officially been released, according to a post on the project’s developer website. The alpha release came just five months ago, so clearly someone has been putting a lot of effort into the operating system equivalent of the mythological Phoenix. Tizen has been re-born twice already, first transforming from Moblin into MeeGo, and subsequently taking its current form after Samsung stepped in to play the lead role.

The list of new features and updates is an extensive one, though a lot of the changes are under-the-hood and aimed at offering a more attractive platform to application developers. Access to critical hardware like NFC, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi (including Wi-Fi Direct) has been added, and hardware accelerated graphics have been flipped on to provide a performance boost. Tizen also now offers scalable UI tools, which should make the process of supporting multiple screen sizes easier for developers. That’s an important tweak, since Tizen is aimed at everything from phones and tablets to in-dash multimedia systems… and probably refrigerators, knowing Samsung.

Just about every part of the OS has been polished up. On-device encryption hearkens back to Samsung’s not-so-secret desire to gobble up the corporate market once dominated by BlackBerry. New camera, gallery, and music apps have been added, and Tizen’s native web browser (which is, of course, WebKit-based) has been updated to offer drastically improved support for HTML5 and emerging W3C specs like Widgets (Packaged Web Apps), Web Audio, and Touch Events. Tizen’s social networking and messaging core has also undergone an extensive overhaul. In addition to the Tizen 2.0 source code and SDK, the project is offering up an assortment of sample web apps so that testers can quickly get a feeling for what the updated OS can do.

2012 was quite a rollercoaster ride for Tizen. In January, Samsung showed its commitment to the platform by merging the Bada OS code. Samsung had previously pegged Bada as the go-to OS for lower-end smartphones, so the integration seemed to indicate profound interest in doing something commercial with Tizen. After getting a look at all the progress on Tizen 2.0, it’s pretty clear that Samsung is building something that can play a much larger role in its future. With plans in place for Android support on Tizen devices, Samsung may be ready to pull double down on its own software and move away from Windows Phone as a backup plan.

Bungie has finally revealed the project it left Microsoft and shacked up with Activision to build back in 2007. And having left a franchise it created and nurtured into an iconic industry presence over the course of a decade to make it, this should be something truly special. The only problem is they haven’t actually shown anything. Details are light, as although Bungie has been working on the game for years only concept art was actually shown, with the high concept of the game explained by executives.

destiny

Bungie’s official reveal of its monolithic project also comes with a few technical caveats. The game is hitting all current consoles (PC is unconfirmed) and has a planned life cycle of 10 years, so will presumably be transitioning to the next generation of consoles while maintaining cross platform play. But considering Activision’s history, it’s not that surprising to learn the game can only be played with a permanent connection to the Internet.

Bungie-Destiny-Leak_11-27

If you use an iPhone or an iPad for work, you’ve almost certainly heard of Readdle, and no doubt have several of their apps in your collection. From scanners to annotators, calendars to note takers, they’ve spent years making iOS more productive for more people.

Now they’ve added Documents to their portfolio, an app that brings all your stuff together, making it easy to find, organize, view, and play. At Macworld|iWorld 2013, Readdle’s Denys Zhadanov gave us a look.

  • Free – Download now

More: Readdle

iMore show. Tonight. 6pm PT. 9pm ET. Be here!

Tonight on the iMore show I’m joined by special guest Arnold Kim of MacRumors to talk Tim Cook at Goldman Sachs, Apple TV rumors, Apple’s retail expansion, and iOS 6 bugs.

We go live at 6pm PST, 9pm EST. If you’ve got any questions or topic requests, leave them in the comments. Then be here!

Death toll estimated at more than 60 with 180 injured in remote-control bomb attack in Quetta

At least 60 people were killed by a bomb in a Shia Muslim quarter of the Pakistani city of Quetta on Saturday.

The attack which also injured a further 180 people was believed to have been carried out by Sunni Muslim extremists who regularly target Pakistan’s estimated 20 million Shias.

Officials said most of the dead were members of the Shia community which has been demanding protection from the government after attacks by militant groups led by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ).

Wazir Khan Nasir, deputy inspector general of police in Quetta, said: “The explosion was caused by an improvised explosive device fitted to a motorcyle. This is a continuation of terrorism against Shias.”

Nasir said the bomb was detonated by remote control. Another officer, Samiullah Khan, said police were investigating whether the bomb was planted in a rickshaw parked in the crowded vegetable market. He said the bomb was detonated while dozens of women and children were shopping for the evening meal.

More than 400 Shias were killed in Pakistan last year, many by hitmen or bombs. The perpetrators are almost never caught. Last month, LeJ claimed responsibility for a bombing in Quetta that killed nearly 100 people, one of Pakistan’s worst sectarian attacks.

Uncle of athlete accused of girlfriend’s murder says he ‘was happier in his private life than he had been for a long time’

South African athlete Oscar Pistorius was planning a future with the woman he allegedly shot, his uncle has said.

Reeva Steenkamp, 29, was allegedly shot four times by Pistorius in what initial reports suggested was an accident but what South African prosecutors are calling premeditated murder.

Arnold Pistorius said in a statement released by his nephew’s agent on Saturday: “They had plans together and Oscar was happier in his private life than he had been for a long time.”

He said Pistorius was not guilty of the premeditated murder of the woman he started seeing in November. “After consulting with legal representatives, we deeply regret the allegation of premeditated murder,” Arnold Pistorius said. “We have no doubt there is no substance to the allegation and that the state’s own case, including its own forensic evidence, strongly refutes [sic] any possibility of a premeditated murder.”

Oscar Pistorius, 26, appeared in court in Pretoria on Friday and broke down in tears when he was accused of the murder of his girlfriend. He was not asked to enter a plea during the 40-minute bail hearing.

His uncle said on Saturday: “We are in a state of total shock – firstly about the tragic death of Reeva who we had all got to know well and care for deeply over the last few months.”

The British police officers that raided Ian Driscoll’s Tewkesbury home found the mortar they were looking for. They just didn’t expect it to be plastic. Or a model.

“The Action Man looked a bit like me, so I decided to put it as my Facebook picture,” Driscoll, who makes models for a living, explained to the Daily Mail. “I didn’t even notice the mortar in the background.” But someone else did and promply reported him to authorities.

Not to be accused of being soft on gun crime, the police obtained a search warrant and sent officers round to Driscoll’s home to investigate. Five vans-worth of police—armed with real guns—apparently without bothering to actually look at the photo. Otherwise, they’d probably have noticed that the mortar in question is just slightly larger than an action figure and roughly as long as the remote control also pictured.

“It’s tiny and quite clearly a toy. I can’t stop laughing. I think it’s hilarious,” Driscoll said. The raiding officers were understandably chagrined at the mix-up but defend their response.

According to Gloucestershire police spokesman Alexa Collicott,

The information was given to us in good faith and we acted with good intentions. We are sure that the community would rather we acted quickly on information given to us of this nature, in case it had turned out to be a weapon. The officers attending were hugely relieved that it wasn’t anything more sinister and we would much rather have a result like this than to put the public in harm’s way by not taking action.

Or, you know, perform a bit of “police work” before sending in the brute squad.

[Daily Mail via CNet - Image: Chris Matyszczyk / CNet]

gollum muscles vfx

If we took issue with The Hobbit, it wasn’t because of the special effects. Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital studio is known for its stellar effects work, and has released a video showing how some of the movie’s scenes were composed. It’s stunning to see entire environments conjured from thin air, and, as /Film points out, Weta Digital’s work makes the CGI cityscapes of Looper look tame in comparison. The effects company has a few more “behind the scenes” videos on its YouTube page, so if you’re interested in how Andy Serkis was transformed into Gollum, you can head over for a more in-depth look.

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