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Showing posts from July, 2009

Mattel Releasing Augmented Reality Toy Line to Support Cameron's Upcoming AVATAR Movie

Virtual Worlds News reports that toy manufacturer Mattel has teamed up with AR company Total Immersion to add an augmented reality component to AVATAR action figures.
Each figure in the new line will come with a 3D web tag, or i-TAG, which consumers scan using a home computer's webcam. Scanning will reveal additional content on-screen such as biographical information or animated models which corresponds to the purchased product.Here what it'll resemble, as seen through your computer screen while being captured by your webcam:


Go here for some cool product example vids, including their AR Topps Baseball Cards, by Total Immersion.

Augmented Reality iPhone Apps

The first of the augmented reality apps hit the iPhone:






Though these may be light-weight, they clearly demonstrate a changing relationship with the world around us.

Facebook Will Do "Billions in Revenue" Annually by 2014 Predicts Marc Andreessen

Core Facebook investor Marc Andreessen believes that Facebook will easily clear $500 million in revenue in 2009 and "billions" annually in 2014, reports Reuters.
"This calendar year they'll do over $500 million," Andreessen said in an interview, noting that Facebook has more than 225 million users, so revenue per user is still small."If they pushed the throttle forward on monetization they would be doing more than a billion this year," said Andreessen, who made the cover of Time Magazine as founder of the world's first Web browser company, Netscape."There's every reason to expect in my view that the thing can be doing billions in revenue five years from now," Andreessen said.Barring sudden cataclysmic disruption or legal action, Andreessen's forecast seems pretty reasonable to me considering that 1) upwards of 1 billion more humans may well be online by then, 2) server costs will continue shrink, and 3) CPM rates will continue to …

The Rise of Community Genomics

My dad, a Latvian World War II vet, liked to compare human behavior to that of insects.

"We're all just ants," he would often say.

I didn't really grasp his full meaning until I swung into the social psychology kick of my early twenties. But then, when I did, I realized that this metaphor extended further into all biological systems. My current position is that we're not just humans, or ants, we're a biological mesh of knowledge generating organisms.

So it's interesting and a little bit validating to read that scientists are now (at last - due to reduced technological limitations) exploring community approaches to genomics, in this instance the "genomes of 17 different ants, fungi and bacteria that eat through hundreds of pounds of leaf matter a year could ultimately lead to new techniques for making biofuels."

Over time, the findings will help to paint a more accurate picture of how interdependent life systems cooperate and how exactly we humans …

Simulating How Incompetence Flows Through Hierarchical Organizations

The bulk of the world has long understood that large organizations = bureaucracy = inefficiency. Social historians Strauss and Howe have amassed evidence demonstrating how this occurs cyclically in national systems. But, still, it's been awfully difficult to quantify how and why this entropy consistently builds up over time... until now.

New research by Alessandro Pluchino and team at the University of Catania (talk about a flattening world), reported in Technology Review, confirms the conventional wisdom that incompetence can spread through a business as "individuals [are] promoted until they reach their level of maximum incompetence."

In other words, social climbers that can best navigate a system that fails to understand the diversity of human competency in different areas gradually, but steadily contribute to inefficiency in large organizations that can no longer rely on direct performance oversight.

Pluchino's research is based on a simulated agent-based model t…

Here Come Floating Prosumer Probes... Or Not...

Remember the floating Imperial probe droid (images) sent to the surface of the ice planet Hoth to systematically check for Rebel activity? Like many other speculative sci-fi concepts, it is proving to be a harbinger of things to come, especially now that steady hovering humming-bird-inspired flight has been prototyped and is actively being developed:


AeroVironment video showing progress with testing of a tiny flapping-wing "nano air vehicle" (NAV) designed to fly indoors. Testing culminated in a 20sec flight of an interim test vehicle, called Mercury, which demonstrated controlled hovering flight using a pair of flapping wings for propulsion and control. AeroVironment is now building a prototype for DARPA that will be samller, lighter and will closley resemble a hummingbird.

As such devices drop in cost they will dramatically expand the physical phase space for sensing devices (video, thermal, radar, sonar, networked, etc - all also quickly dropping in cost). No doubt peopl…