Recently in Mobile computing Category

Look who's talking

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Statues across London and Manchester are finding their voices, thanks to Sing London.

Sing London have commissioned writers and actors to animate 35 public statues across London and Manchester.

Russell Tovey brings Alan Turing to life in Manchester, while Ed Stoppard reads words written by Antony Horowitz to voice Sherlock Holmes in London.

Passersby just have to enter a short URL into their browsers, tap an NFC enabled handset, or scan a QR code to hear the statue's monologue.  

Royal British Legion uses Near Field Communications and QR codes for Poppy Appeal donations

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Proxama PLC has teamed up with Paythru to create a Near Field communication (NFC) system that allows the public to make a donation to the Poppy Appeal via their smartphones.

Posters and collection tins have been spread across Birmingham urging people to 'tap the poppy' in order to donate. Contactless, wireless and secure communication then transfers information and money between the user's smartphone and the NFC tag via antennae communication.

Rupert Potter, Director of Strategy, Paythru said he hoped this new way of donating would increase the size and frequency of donations to the cause.

For those who don't have NFC enabled devices, QR codes will also be available. If your smartphone doesn't allow QR scanning, then you're just going to have to follow the traditional route and buy a poppy, badge or wristband.

This year's Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal aims to raise £37 million to support the British Armed Forces past and present, and their families.

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One giant leap for teddy-kind

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A teddy bear has managed to leap from space to recreat Felix Baumgartner's record-breaking 24 mile skydive.

The teddy, named Babbage, was controlled by a Raspberry Pi computer and rose to a height just over Baumgartner's record using a hydrogen-filled balloon.

The RaspBerry Pi was inside the bear's body and it recorded altitude and location, while shooting video footage of the journey which was streamed back down to earth and watched by enthusiasts.

The bear returned safely back to earth at 4pm on August 26, landing near Shaftesbury.

Check out Ted's giant leap in pictures here: http://ssdv.habhub.org/PIE

I'm on the foam!

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It's a rare morning when Downtime does not need a large shot of caffeine to get us off to a productive start, but one coffee shop in Taiwan seems to have taken the idea of your own personalised Latte a step too far.

Let's Cafe, which operates coffee kiosks in the FamilyMart chain of convenience shops in the country, have devised a system where a customer can take a selfie on their smartphone and upload it to the machine, which then recreates the image on the coffee foam in brown, edible powder.

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Apart from being perplexed at who on Earth is narcissistic enough to want to sip their own face from their morning Java, Downtime does recognise this as an excellent solution to the chaps at our local, generic coffee shop regularly misspelling our name, apparently mistaking us for an abbey from a popular ITV period drama.

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Latest Ice Cream Sandwich causes cyber security threat for Android owning Eskimos

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A Samsung Galaxy Nexus has been hacked to reveal its contents by researchers who put the device in a freezer for an hour.

According to the BBC, the device when reached a temperature of -10C, was then accessible to a cyber attack by German security researchers.

The researchers discovered that by freezing a phone, it allowed them to bypass the encryption data scrambling system on the phone. This added security element was available on the latest version of  Android called Ice Cream Sandwich (the irony).

During the attack, researchers gathered contact lists, browsing histories and photos. 

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The iPhone coffee cup holder

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Ever found yourself in that unbearable situation where you just can't put your phone down to stop texting your friend, but you've just bought yourself a hot cup o' Joe. What do you do? Put your phone in your pocket so you can drink you Mocha? Precariously hold the plastic cup between your teeth while you finish your text? Or put your coffee down and let it go cold? 

Well, hopefully you won't need to worry for much longer as an iPhone case which also provides a perch for your brew is on the horizon - the Uppercup, at an ideal retail price of £21.

And it will surely be a big hit, until you get an important phonecall halfway through your message and you quickly lift the phone to your ear, only to hurl boiling hot java over your face!
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iPotty - waterproof accessory for the iPad

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At CES in Las Vegas this year, there was a varied amount of weird and wonderful technology being showcased, but the iPotty has to be up there with one of the strangest.

CTA Digital, which manufacturers accessories for iPads and Kindles, had a potty training contraption fits your iPad onto a child's toilet.

So, effectively it is a giant iPad stand on which you child sits while trying to do its business. Apparently children like to be occupied while potty training, so this means that a parent can distract a child with a smartphone device without having to hold it with their own hands.

Additionally, the part of the plastic potty that holds the iPad has a touch-screen protector, just in case your child misses.

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Teasing a frog with a smartphone

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Inspect-a-Gadget investigated what objects you could use to operate your smartphone back in February, and deduced that in addition to a finger, you could also use your nose and your tongue.

And apparently a capacitive touchscreen will also recognise a frog's tongue, as it must have similar electrical conductivity as a human, which is the reason why touchscreens do not work while wearing gloves.

Watch what happens show a frog juicy bugs on the screen of a smartphone - would you be brave to tease this amphibian?

One-in-20 people use their mobiles during sex

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Yes, you read the headline right, more than half of people regularly use their mobile devices in bed, with 5% shockingly using their mobile while in the middle of having sex with their partner.*

Narly half check their social networks and emails on their mobile devices instead of listening to their partner, while 40% use their phones while sat on the toilet - please remember to wash your hands!

So apparently 45% of people admit that technology prevents them from ever truly switching off and relaxing in their spare time. Well we don't know about relaxing, but if there's a drop in birth rates next year, we can all blame the iPhone 5.

*Study conducted by UK technology manufacturer, Storage Options

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Silk worms spin self-destructing spy cameras

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So when a press release about silk material and self-destructing spy cameras landed in the Computer Weekly inbox, we thought it may have been intended for 007's boss 'M' and sent to us by mistake.

While most people think of silk as a luxury material for clothing? In fact it also has techy properties allowing it to coat electronics leading to a "new generation of spy cameras" by helping to control the lifespan of devices and help them to degrade at a certain rate

The US military funded the research which could be significant in the creation of self-destructing spy cameras, environmentally friendly electronic devices, and implants which break down in the body and leave no residue behind.

Surely playing on the back of the new James Bond film, the press release stated: 

"As the funding for the project came from a US military research agency, it goes without saying that the intended uses for the new devices are highly classified, but it doesn't take a superspy or super villain's intellect to imagine the ways in which these inventions might be utilised in the future."

So stock up on your silk pyjamas because our poor little silk worms have to work extra hard to produce enough of the stuff to cover all of Bond's gadgets in the future, and they might be knackered by the time they're finished with MI6's order.

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