Archive for November, 2010

Five-week Prize Giveaway Ends With Sharp 3D TV

November 29, 2010

Technologist Steve Makris and Co-host Mike Sobel in the Edmonton GlobalTV new HD studio with the Sharp 3D TV

GlobalTV  Edmonton Morning News second annual Global Great Gadget Giveaway just ended today with the Grand Prize giveaway, a 60-inch Sharp Aquos Quattron 3D LED LCD TV with a Sharp 3D Blu ray player. If you are not familiar with this cutting edge TV, with unique RGBYscreen, check it out:

The GGGG started five weeks ago with daily prizes like the Tom Tom Ease, Telus BlackBerry Torch, Panasonic Lumix ZS7, Sony S Frame and Epson WorkForce 633 totalling more than $9,000. The GGGG ran with a weekly introduction of each prize on my Monday live Tech Talk segment on Edmonton Morning News, with co-host Mike Sobel.

Thousands of contestants entered online on GlobalTV with a chance to win the high tech prizes. Susanne Rude of Camrose Alberta won the the Sharp TV worth more than $5,000.

60-inch Sharp Aquos Quattron 3D LCD LED TV boasts 8,000,000:1 contrast ratio thanks to LED sidelighting and a fourth yellow sub pixel to the traditional RGB screen.


Intel’s Gambit has its own Kinect Moves

November 8, 2010

Intel's Gambit plays chess against humans using 3D context aware data from a 3D sensor, similar to the Xbox 360 Kinect, as it sees players moves and uses its robotic arm to take out or play pieces. University of Washington's Cynthia Matuszek looks on, awaiting the occassional driver crash of the still-in-progress player. Steve Makris Photo

Say hello to my new friend Gambit, a chess-playing robot whom
I met last week  in Seattle.

Developed by Intel Labs Seattle researchers and students
from the University of Washington, it interacts with human chess

players by watching your every move, then tells you what your move was, reaches out with its mechanical arm and either gently picks your piece off the board setting aside and/or makes its move.

Gambit can adapt to any size board, using an
off-the-shelf computer chess game player in addition to a lot of programming for its human-like moves and smarts.

On the rare occasion Gambit accidentally
drops a piece, he simply asks for your help, before continuing the game.

The 3D sensor that picks up your every move and so
accurately lifts chess pieces off the board, is the same kind used in today’s Xbox 360 Kinect, manufactured and licensed by Israeli-based

Only in this case, Gambit is smarter and very human-like,
with the arm designed by Seattle-based robot designer Roberto Aimi of Alium
Labs.  For more information on Intel’s context-aware research, go to:

Check out Gambit in action at:

Toronto Kinect Launch in Pictures

November 4, 2010

Last night saw the official cross-Canada Xbox Canada launch of the Kinect, a new way for gamers and non-gamers alike to play on the Xbox game console. It uses special camera sensors, doing away with regular game controllers, to follow your body movements for simple but fun game-playing, recognizing hand, torso, legs and feet movement in three dimensions as well as voice recognition.

The public launch started in Toronto’s Yonge and Dundas Square with game demos, entertainment and a special shopping opp for die-hards who waited in line on a cool wet night for hours and a chance pick up the Kinect, $149, at the nearby FutureShop store. The Xbox folks had a raised glass-sided living room high abouve the square complete with plush sofas and off course, a Kinect setup. The last Kinect fans in the country to take in the midnight madness were in Vancouver.

At the same time,  the VIP party, some 300 strong, was happening at the nearby Kinect Hub where Toronto music and TV personalities mixed it up with Kinect gaming and party music . But I wondered, all this line-waiting could have been avoided if Kinect fans had skipped the party and stayed in their warm homes and simply pick up their Kinect the next morning.

Here are some snaps.

The Kinect playroom, an all glass living room with plush sofas and off course a Kinect system, stood high above the square. Steve Makris Photo

Travis Jensen, left, and his dad Carl, duke it out in Kinect Sports Boxing. Carl who liked the idea of not having to hold anything to play a game thought he got a real workout in just a few rounds. Combined photo showing the screen action. Steve Makris Photo

A long wait line under heat lamps for the early Kinect adopters waiting for the midnight sale. Steve Makris

Blake McGrath and Mia Michaels, far right, of So You Think You Can Dance Fame, walked the walk on Kinect Dance Central. Steve Makris Photo

The first Kinect buyer in Canada, Jacob Dupley from Brampton, said he was going straight home to Kinect. Steve Makris Photo

DJ sensation Christian Rich made their own grooves at the Kinect Hub nearby. Steve Makris Photo