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  • Alt-week 7.13.13: cancer-smelling machines, singing synchronicity and the solar system's tail

    Alt-week takes a look at the best science and alternative tech stories from the last seven days.

    Altweek 71313 cancer smelling machines, singing synchronicity and the solar system's tail

    Science and research. Two of our favorite words around these parts. This week, we have both in spades. From the first good visualization of the solar system’s tail, to the prospect of diagnosing cancer through smell — this is alt-week.

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  • Lernstift is the vibrating pen that critiques your spelling (video)

    Lernstift is the vibrating pen that critiques your spelling video

    One reason that we prefer keyboards to pens is the dignity-saving presence of a spell checker — but that won’t help your average schoolchild, obligated to learn their language scrawling on dead trees. Now, a pair of German inventors have developed Lernstift, a learning pen that’ll ruthlessly nag you into improving your spelling and handwriting with the power of vibration. Packing a stripped-down Linux system with a non-optical motion sensor, it’ll work out what you’re writing and buzz you if it thinks you’ve made a mistake, even if you’re scrawling in mid-air. In addition, there’s a calligraphy mode, which’ll let you know exactly how you could make your penmanship a little more, you know, legible. The makers have taken to Kickstarter to raise £120,000 ($181,476) in funding, with a pledge of £99 ($150) snagging you a device. If you’re not sold, then you can head past the break, but we’ve already pre-ordered a ton for our local doctor’s office.

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    Via: The Telegraph

    Source: Kickstarter

  • Halo: Spartan Assault to be available first on Verizon's Windows Phone 8 devices

    We knew Halo: Spartan Assault would be making its debut sometime this month; what we didn’t know, however, is that it would only be reaching Verizon-branded Windows Phone 8 handsets initially. According to the Big Red network, its subscribers will be the first in the US to be able to download the popular franchise’s mobile title, although no word was given on when exactly we can expect it to launch. Halo: Spartan Assault is set to cost $6.99 once it eventually hits the Windows Phone store — the good news is July’s almost over, so it won’t be much longer before you can get in on the action. For now, it looks as if our hands-on preview will have to hold you over.

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    Source: Verizon

  • Oculus explains the battles against latency and motion sickness in VR

    Oculus Rift staring into space

    Current VR just can’t match our natural experiences — real life doesn’t have much lag, for example. However, Oculus has just published a pair of research posts showing the ways that it’s closing the gap between simulation and reality. Steve LaValle, Oculus’ Principal Scientist, explains how prediction minimizes the latency inherent to head tracking; coder Tom Forsyth, meanwhile, has advice on what developers can do to reduce motion sickness. Both studies dive deep, and may not be for the faint-hearted. If you’re willing to follow Oculus down the rabbit hole, however, you may learn a thing or two about VR’s future.

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    Via: Oculus Blog

    Source: Oculus (1), (2)

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