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Published on September 14th, 2015 | by Gavin Cullen

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GimmeBytes

THE GLITCH

Owing to a slight technical glitch (EDITOR: The glitch may have been less technical and more user-related), we missed last week’s GimmeBytes, but we’re back again with some extra chunky bits to make up for it.  And speaking of glitches, we came across this fun tribute to gaming and the glitches that sometimes occur by Corridor Digital.



If you enjoyed this, you can check out more of their fun videos on their YouTube channel HERE.

HOME BATTERIES

Earlier in the year, the electric car geniuses over at Tesla announced that they will be bringing a renewable power device to the domestic market.  The Tesla Energy Powerwall Home Battery is a wall-mounted energy-storage unit able to hold up to ten kilowatt hours of electric energy, delivering it at a rate of around two kilowatts.

Tesla Powerwall
Tesla Energy Powerwall Home Battery on the left, with some fancy lookin’ car . . .  IMAGE: Tesla Motors

The Powerwall charges using electricity generated by solar panels, or the electricity network at low peak times (more likely in Ireland).  It is, as you’d expect from Tesla, a slick, modern looking device, weighing just 100 kilos, is 18cm deep and has a footprint (wallprint?) of 130cm by 86cm.

We’re not sure of availability in Europe yet, but you can find out more about the Powerwall at TeslaMotors.com.

SPEED READING FOR THE INTERNET AGE

Spritz
Spritz software.  IMAGE:  Spritz Inc

Now we think this next find is a pretty cool piece of software.  It’s called Spritz and it works by optimising the way the human eye and brain reads.  The folks at Spritz claim their software increases your reading speed without effecting your absorption and comprehension of the content.  And from our comprehensive tests here in GD Towers, we have to agree.

Traditional reading involves writing text in lines and having the readers’ eyes move sequentially from word to word, but there are other techniques such as skimming (when you don’t read every word), non sub-vocalisation (not speaking the words whilst reading) and even reading an entire page at a time by taking a ‘mental’ snapshot (called enlarging the peripheral scan).

Spritz takes reading to a new level, by centering each word on the screen and flashing up the sequence.  It’s novel and we were surprised and impressed at how easy and efficient the technique is.  The method is particularly useful on small screens, and given the rising popularity of smart wear such as smart watches, it could really take off.

Spritz is available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone and there are several websites that have already integrated the Spritz technology.  You can find out more about Spritz at Spritzinc.com and they even have a page where you can test it out and find your optimal Spritz reading speed.

Don’t just take our word for it though, check it out for YOURSELF.  Let us know in the comments what you think!

“BEEP, BEEP!  YOU ARE BORED.”

Smartphone
IMAGE:  Michael E @ Picasa  Image used under Creative Commons Licence

A group of researchers at Telefonica Research in Barcelona have developed an algorithm that will enable your smartphone to tell if you’re bored.  By looking at your mobile activity and considering all sorts of factors such as the time of day, how much you’re using the phone and the length of time since you last had or made a call or sent or received a text, your phone will be able to tell if you are bored or not.

Given the amount of time we spend staring at our phones, I’m not sure if adding “boredom recognition” as a selling point to smartphones is a good thing, but it shows how impressive smartphone technology can be. The research was presented in Japan at this year’s UbiComp and if you’re interested, you can read the entire paper HERE.

DIGITAL FABRIC WRISTBAND

Wove Band
Polyera’s Wove Band, the first fully-flexible, digital fabric, display wear.  IMAGE:  Polyera

Now this is something we got pretty excited about.  That rather smooth looking device above is the Wove Band from Polyera.  The company claim that it will be the world’s first “flexible touch display”, combining a flexible E Ink display with Polyera’s own digital fabric, which they have developed over ten years.  The display can be used flat or curved – perfect for the wrist.

Submissions for free Wove prototypes for developers opened on the Wove.com website this month and Polyera are expecting the first devices to reach the market around the middle of 2016.  You can sign up for email updates on the Wove Band on their website.

PORTAL:  NO ESCAPE

We’re big fans of well-made fan films, especially game tributes and Portal:  No Escape definitely hits the mark.  Yes, it’s a few years old now, but we just re-discovered it and felt it was our duty to share it with those of you who might not have seen it yet.  So sit back and enjoy Dan Trachtenberg’s seven minutes of hot Portal action.



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About the Author

Gavin Cullen

Gavin has been working in the TV industry in Ireland & the UK for over 15 years & recently produced TV3's The Gadget Buzz, Ireland's first & only TV show dedicated to all things "gadgety". Admitting to being a 60th level nerd, Gavin fits a love for gaming (computer & tabletop), comics & Lego into his busy schedule. He insists that "gadgety" is a real word.



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