Gaming with just a mouse and keyboard might soon be considered old school if all the new tactile feedback technologies gain traction. There already exists several virtual reality devices (see Norman Chan's Killing Box column in the Holiday 2008 issue of PC Gamer), and coming soon, VR technology will start knocking around your noggin.
TN Games, the same company responsible for the 3D Space Gaming Vest, announced it is working on a force feedback helmet. The company says the HTX helmet is designed to work in conjunction with its gaming vest and will deliver "blows to the head when are you are fired upon." Near-misses will also be registered, letting you "feel bullets whizzing by your helmet."
Rather than use haptic feedback, TN Games' approach to force feedback involves a small air compressor system capable of delivering up to five pounds of force per actuator. As TN Games puts it, five pounds of force feels similar to dropping a roll of pennies on your stomach from six inches above. The question is whether or not blows to the head can be considered safe, and TN Games says it is, claiming the helmet will pose no physical danger so long as it's used according to the instructions.
No pricing information information is yet available, though TN Games says you can expect the helmet sometime in 2009.
It looks like Toshiba has been keeping the Japanese gamer market satisfied lately, with a very beefy line of Qosmio laptops that boast some pretty impressive stats.
The Qosmio line has been pretty successful, releasing some 20 notebooks over in the land of the rising sun. Their most recent additions include the Qosmio FX (15.4-inch screen) and GX (18.4-inch screen). Both feature a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo P8600, an Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT, 4GB of RAM and a 320GB HDD.
Their even beefier SpursEngine G50 will feature the same specs of the FX and GX, but with the addition of a SpursEngine graphics system, a second 250GB HDD, a digital TV Tuner, four USB ports, a eSATA socket, 1.3-mexapixel camera, a fingerprint sensor and a dual-layer DVD burner.
The pricing has been listed between $2,327 and $3,767, and they should be available before the end of the year.
Years from now, when future geeks muse over the history of PC tech, what will they remember about 2008? That’s the question we sought to answer when we compiled this comprehensive technology retrospective of the last year. Make no mistake, identifying and sorting the year’s most significant tech events was no easy task. We locked ourselves in a room where we mentally relived the last 12 months, pondering hundreds of items of note and debating the importance of each to find its appropriate rank on our list. Behold the result: our countdown of the 250 items representing the most noteworthy events and product releases that shaped the PC computing landscape in 2008.
One way to show off your wealth is to invest in an OLED keyboard, but do the brightly lit keys really mesh with your many leather-bound books in a home office that smells of rich mahogany? No, of course it doesn't. To complete your home office decor, what you really need is a leather-wrapped keyboard, and now you can get one.
The Japan-made Gokukawa keyboard comes hand-wrapped in rich black leather with a glossy black-on-black design and takes workers two weeks to make. And like Metadot's Das Keyboard, you can order the leathery Gokukawa with or without labeled keys. But what isn't so luxurious is the decision to saddle the plank with a USB 1.1 hub instead of 2.0. We're also not digging the lack of a numpad, which can make adding up all that extra money needlessly difficult.
The Gokukawa has one other dirty little secret, this one for the better. At the current exchange rate, the marked and unmarked versions run about $550 and $600 respectively, a veritable bargain next to the $1,580 Optimus Maximus.
eSATA ports are starting to become more mainstream in mid to low end motherboards, and OCZ thinks the time is right to start adding on non hard drive based peripherals. Its new lineup of memory sticks will do just that and come in 8, 16, and 32GB capacities. The new drives will both communicate and receive their power from the eSATA port. To ensure backwards compatibility they have also included a rear mounted mini USB connection which will allow users to plug the device into laptops or other USB only machines.
No official benchmarks are have been taken by us, but the company is reportedly boasting read speeds of up to 90MB/s, and writes speeds as fast as 30MB/s. No comment has yet been made on pricing, but it will likely be in the same ballpark as its USB brethren.
It certainly is an interesting idea, but I can’t help but wonder if this type of device is really necessary with USB 3.0 right around the corner. USB 3.0 has a maximum theoretical throughput of 4.8Gbps which would easily max out most flash memory keys several times over.
Would you be interested in an eSATA flash drive? Hit the jump and let us know.
The CherryPal could computer has been in and out of the ether for the past months, but finally the folks over at TG Daily can confirm that it exists. Sadly, while there were some good impressions, it’s clear that there’s plenty of work left to be done on this little black box.
First, let’s start with the good. The machine’s size is diminutive; they compare it to the size of an iPod. And what’s better is that it has zero moving parts, making it entirely silent. The default ports on the back of the box are a VGA monitor port, Ethernet, two USB ports and a headphone/speaker jack. Inside, it’s also got built in wireless card that picked up on their present wireless network effortlessly.
Now, it’s time for the all too dreaded bad. While the box is tiny, it’s also flimsy. The enclosure is nothing to be impressed with, and gave pretty cheap feel. And while this machine is meant for simple desktop functions, the Freescale 400MHz processor under the hood was barely able to do so. Firefox was consistently struggling to load, and it’d really only be manageable as a word processing machine . Also, you should note that you get zero extras with a machine of this size. No analog microphone port, no CD/DVD drive, and the two USB ports fill up pretty quick.
Overall, it sounds like a nice idea, but it looks very much like a rushed product. If you want to read the whole preview, be sure to check it out here!
Rumors that XFX might be defecting from Nvidia have been stirring for months now, and at the time, Evga was also being mentioned. More recently, it's just been XFX at the center of speculation, and according to Fudzilla, it's a done deal.
"We've managed to confirm that XFX will join the ATI camp at the start of the new year," Fudzilla writes. "XFX won't drop Nvidia products either, but obviously, Nvidia won't be thrilled by this turn of events."
Nvidia might not be thrilled at losing an exclusive add-in-board (AIB) partner, but AMD should be, and rightfully so. While AMD's graphics division has finally caught up with Nvidia in terms of performance, some enthusiasts found their buying decision coming down to brand. XFX, Evga, and BFG all offer lifetime warranties and other end-user perks, and all have been exclusive to Nvidia. If Fudzilla's confirmation turns out to be correct, AMD gains a major player for its graphics division, and one has to wonder how long it would be until Evga and BFG start playing both sides as well.
Research in transparent electronic devices isn't anything new, but for the first time (that we're aware of), a group of scientists have created what they say is an "almost completely clear" computer chip. Credit goes to the Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) team responsible for creating the see-through transparent resistive random access memory (TRRAM) based on maturing RRAM technology. RRAM technology is currently being developed by companies like Fujitsu, Samsung, Micron, and Spansion as a non-volatile memory technology that will attempt to replace flash, TGDaily says.
The KAIST team said its TRRAM device is based on an ITO (indium tim oxide)/ZnO/ITO capacitor structure with a transmittance of 81 percent in the visible region of the chip. Creating the chip consisted of essentially sandwiching the RRAM's metal oxide materials between equally transparent electrodes and substrates, which gives the chip its transparency. According to the researchers, the chip is capable of retaining data for 10 years.
There hasn't been a ton of interest in clear electronics up to this point, but the KAIST team is hopeful their discovery might change that. Eventually, the technology could enable the development of clear computer monitors and TVs that are embedded inside glass.
The number of available OLED keyboards has just doubled with the release of the United Keys OLED Display Keyboard. Unlike the Optimus Maximus, United Keys' plank doesn't sport a fancy name or boast 16-bit color support, nor does it cost a small fortune. What you do get are nine monochrome OLED display keys slapped onto an otherwise standard keyboard.
The USB-powered keyboard measures about 20.5 inches long by 7.25 inches wide and emits a blue glow on each side. Each of the 64 x 64 resolution OLED keys can be mapped to a command and customized with an image (.png) or text, and the included software, which is pre-loaded in flash memory, works on both Windows XP and Vista.
For those unwilling to give up their favorite plank, United Keys also offers a separate nine-key OLED keypad with the same feature-set for $60 less. Both the keyboard and keypad and manufactured by Foxconn and carry and 1-year warranty through United Keys.
The United Keys OLED keyboard and keypad are available now for $260 and $200 respectively.
While it’s presently believed that 22nm will be the maximum achievable process shrink using silicon, recent discoveries might allow chip makers to cut the 2020 goal set by Moore’s Law loose.
The discoveries come in the form of a manganese-doped germanium substrate, which will allow the creation of nanowires that can be easily magnetized. The magnetizing effect is reportedly showing “the potential of using these nanowires as building blocks for electronic devices,” such as “ferromagnetism above 300 K and a superior performance with respect to the hole mobility of around 340 cm2/Vs and other industrially relevant parameters.”
So what does all this mumbo-jumbo mean? Well, in short there’s a chemical element (number 32 on the periodic table, if you’ve got one handy) that, when mixed with a magnetic field, is showing some promise for chipmakers looking to break the 22nm barrier. With any luck, in the 10 years between today and the marked date for the 22nm barricade, the research will come full circle.