Get your own CNN Magic Wall touch TV

You tell I’m a gadget geek at heart, because I know I have no real use for this device, and yet I still want one: the iTable can apparently give you a Microsoft Surface-style, CNN Magic Wall-ish multi-touch television experience for as little as $2,400. As CrunchGear describes it, that will give you an overlay for a 32-inch LCD TV. For a little more — as much as $10,000 for the ultra-sophisticated version — you get a giant table-style TV with touch sensors built in and a computer that runs Windows XP.

More than a decade ago now, I remember seeing an IBM research labs demo in which they had a desk that was a touch surface (although single-touch only), where you could drag your documents around and pop up windows with photos in them or even videos. I thought it was a fantastic idea then, and I still do now. And having used the iPhone, the multi-touch interface just makes such a huge difference when working with photos or things like maps. Google Earth on a giant multi-touch table would be incredible.

Cool interlude: Human hair tattoo

This isn’t really relevant to much of anything, but I think it’s extremely cool: it’s a “tattoo” — or more of a micro-etching, really — done on the side of a single human hair with a focused ion-beam microscope, by the engineering department at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. The tattoo would be cool enough all by itself, but the fact that my oldest daughter goes to McMaster makes it extra cool 🙂

Video: My new favourite robot

My most recent favourite robot was the so-called “Big Dog” robot from Boston Dynamics, which has an amazing ability to remain standing, even when walking on ice and being shoved by the foot of its human master — but the Yellow Drum Machine is my new favourite, I think. Its sole purpose in life is to seek out flat surfaces and then tap on them, and simultaneously record itself doing so. Then it plays the sound back and plays along, before seeking out a new surface. Like its creator, I love how the speaker sticks straight up like a smokestack on an old steam locomotive.

Video interlude: Big Dog robot

This is very cool, and yet kind of creepy at the same time. If you thought robots still couldn’t do very well at walking like regular people — or even animals — watch how the Big Dog handles walking through the forest, or crossing the slippery ice on a pond (turn down the sound though, because the buzzing of the motor is pretty irritating). Be sure to watch the part where the guy pushes it as hard as he can without knocking it over.

(found via a link on FriendFeed)

Update:

This video now has about 1.3 million views, just two days after it went up on YouTube. There’s more info on the robot in this NineMSN story.

The future of the newspaper?

The Mobile Gadgeteer at ZDNet has some amazing video of the Readius eInk mobile reader, which folds up into something that looks about the same size as a bulky cellphone or first-generation mp3 player. The text appears to be very similar to the Sony e-book reader (although faster, as the video notes), but the amazing part is how easily it folds up at the end of the video. If you’re impatient, fast-forward to about 2:08.