Free software makes Hollywood-style effects (and other things we didn't cover)

Moo.com

Friday is here, and the week is almost over. Just before you go off to enjoy the last remnants of summer, it's time to be amazed by some of this week's best geeky technology feats that we weren't able to get to otherwise.

Inner ear implants can restore lost balance [Maastricht University Medical Center]

The vestibular system is located in our inner ear, and it coordinates our movement with the outside world, thus helping us stay upright, walk straight, and even see. When this system malfunctions, the results can be devastating for the patients. Two teams in the Netherlands and Switzerland have created and implanted new vestibular implants that register movement and accelerations from the outside world and send signals straight to the nerve in the inner ear. Three human patients currently wear the implants as part of a trial, and it's only a matter of time before researchers know if they actually helped.

Amazing 3D effects created with open-source software [YouTube]

Tears of Steel is a 12-minute long movie, with effects you might expect to see in a Hollywood movie. When you watch a movie with life-like spaceships and robots, you immediately assume the filmmakers used super-expensive software to achieve such effects, but the whole thing was created usingBlender, a free open-source 3D content-creation suite. Watch and be amazed. Mind blowing, isn't it?

MOO takes business cards to the next level with NFC chips [Vimeo]

Are business cards obsolete in the online world? Not quite. After creating beautiful cards based on original photos or Facebook Timeline covers, Moo.com wants to take business cards to next level with near field communication (NFC) chips. The idea behind these NFC-equipped cards—which will launch soon in a 150,000-user beta, these new cards—is that you'll be able to hold the cards up to an NFC-equipped phone and unlock website addresses, promotions, and other goodies. The cards will be available for everyone at the beginning of 2013.

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