3D printing and 60 cameras makes an insanely detailed human-shaped lump of plastic

Elizabeth Fish Contributor, TechHive

Elizabeth Fish is a freelance writer who happens to run a hyperlocal news website in Lincoln, UK. She also covers all things geeky for TechHive.
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If you're ridiculously photogenic, are in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, have 30 minutes and some money to spare, perhaps you should visit the Captured Dimensions studio to get a 3D figurine of yourself.

Captured Dimensions aims to capture your best pose and create a highly detailed 6-13 inch replica of it with a 3D printer. in order to make these incredible Mini-Mes, Captured Dimensions takes your photo using no fewer than 60 DSLR cameras, and the camera array captures everything from your profile to your toes. The company uses a rendering software suite to stitch the photos together and create a 3D model file, which it can then send to a 3D printer.

For up to $2295, you could have some really cool wedding cake toppers, a modern take on a bust, or if you strike a number of poses, some very strange new toys to present your kids with (Hey, who said vanity comes cheap?). Of course, it's not the first time we've seen this 3D figurine trend—Omote 3D and Twinkind offered a similar service—but this is probably the most intricate ones we've seen so far.

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Mens Amplio is a Burning Man project that turns your thoughts into pyrotechnics

Kevin Lee Contributor, TechHive

Kevin is a small-time tech hound, amateur photographer, and a general know-at-least-something of all things geeky hailing from New York.
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Attention neuroscience nerds, pyromaniacs, and makers: This is the Burning Man project for you. The Mens Amplio (Latin for "expanding your mind") is a massive 15-foot-tall human head sculpture dreamed up by designer Don Cain. Inside of this oversized head is a brain made out of warped pipes with an LED brain stem that blinks to life when it thinks. Oh, and it shoots fire out of its noggin too.

The Mens Amplio—a project in the works at American Steel Studios' massive six-acre makerspace in Oakland, CA—caught my eye simply because it was an interactive art installation you can hook your brain up to. The Department of Spontaneous Combustion (DSC), the folks building the big head, got their hands on a retired EEG headset, which scans your brain activity to create a readout of your mental and emotional state. The Mens Amplio uses this EEG machine to translate your brainwaves into a larger-than-life light-and-fire show.

It’s like the metaphorical light bulb that comes on in your head when you have an idea, except taken to a ridiculous level. Ridiculous in the best possible way, that is.

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All You Can Arcade lets you rent the arcade machine of your childhood dreams

Kevin Lee Contributor, TechHive

Kevin is a small-time tech hound, amateur photographer, and a general know-at-least-something of all things geeky hailing from New York.
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Owning an arcade machine isn't’ for everyone. At 400 to 800 pounds each, these vintage entertainment cabinets are heavy. They're also quite the financial investment, and they're the sort of thing you shouldn't go poking around in unless you know what you're doing—CRT screens retain enough of a charge to kill you.

All You Can Arcade is a new California-based vintage arcade rental service that hopes to become the GameFly of arcade cabinets. For $47 a month, you too could rent and play all your coin-op arcade favorites like NBA Jam, Robotron, and even some more obscure things like Ninja Baseball Bat Man.

Co-founders Seth and Timothy Peterson run their service by combing the Internet for used machines, which they purchase, refurbish, and then deliver to customers free of shipping charges. While the service is limited to only California for now, the duo plans on expanding their business to the East Coast by the end of 2013.

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Upcoming CyanogenMod will open up Chromecast streaming to more Android apps

Elizabeth Fish Contributor, TechHive

Elizabeth Fish is a freelance writer who happens to run a hyperlocal news website in Lincoln, UK. She also covers all things geeky for TechHive.
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If the announcement of Google's Chomecast  streaming adapter whet your appetite for new gadgets and you have penchant for tinkering with your Android phone, then next CyanogenMod update may just give you a reason to hand over the $35.

The latest update to the CyanogenMod firmware for Android phones lets you stream media directly to Chromecast from almost any app using the the default Android media player, which many Android apps rely on to play video. CyanogenMod developer Koushik Dutta recently showed the update in action in a recent video published to YouTube.

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DIY biohackers play with bacteria at Genspace, a community science lab

Kevin Lee Contributor, TechHive

Kevin is a small-time tech hound, amateur photographer, and a general know-at-least-something of all things geeky hailing from New York.
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You don't need a professional-grade lab or a science degree to mess around with microorganisms. A small group of New York-based biotechnology enthusiasts have created their own community biology lab called Genspace, and it's a place where anyone who's even remotely interested in life sciences can go and get their feet wet with biotechnology.

DIY biologists mainly work from home on their own little cultured experiments. For the most part, this underground biohacking scene regularly communicates through the Web on the DIYbio forums to ask for advice and equipment, as well as  to set up in-person meetups. But a growing number of biohacking spaces, such as Genspace and Biocurious in the San Francisco Bay Area, give biohackers proper laboratories to work on their projects.

It’s not impossible to assemble your own lab.
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'Listen to Wikipedia' turns heated edit wars into soothing music

Kevin Lee Contributor, TechHive

Kevin is a small-time tech hound, amateur photographer, and a general know-at-least-something of all things geeky hailing from New York.
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When you go to Wikipedia, you’re probably going to do one of two things; fall down a rabbit's hole of trivia and information or edit the crap out of said information. Listen to Wikipedia, on the other hand, offers a completely different —and calming— experience from the bustle of information bits and inappropriately cited information.

Developed by Hatnote, Listen to Wikipedia takes data from Wikipedia's recent changes feed and converts that data to sounds. Bells signal additions, while strings denominate subtractions. The pitch of each note also depending on the size of the edits—the larger the edit, the lower the pitch.

A color-coded visualizer consisting of overlapping multicolored circles shows you which article’s has been changed and the editor's user status: Green circles represent anonymous additions, white is for registered users, and purple indicates a bot is hard at work.

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Robots fill new roles at work

When Christian Johnson began his summer 2012 internship at the information management branch of NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, he little suspected that he'd soon be virtually tooling around the center via a vaguely humanoid robot on wheels.

Once classes began in the fall, the 18-year-old had to finish up his senior year of high school in Buffalo, New York and needed to telecommute to continue his work as data analytics specialist at the research center. One of his co-workers had heard about a company called VGo Communications that makes a wheeled personal avatar, or what it calls a "productivity improvement solution," that lets people see and hear—and be seen and be heard—from far away.

Vgo-robot
Christian Johnson's VGo commuter bot.

Using robots to stay relevant

Think Logistics, a Vaughan, Ontario-based third-party provider of supply chain services, has been thinking about its future. Its parent company, Duplium Corp., is a successful optical disk manufacturer that has produced CDs, DVDs and packaged disks for 15 to 20 years. But the handwriting is on the wall for Duplium: The software and entertainment industries have become heavily focused on digital downloads, making it hard to predict how long optical media will remain relevant, says Stuart Pearson, vice president of contract logistics at Think Logistics.

Think Logistics decided to concentrate on logistics—shipping a wide variety of products to consumers on behalf of its clients, which include retail stores and distribution centers, he says, since that is a growth area and a natural fit for the company, which already has experience in shipping and logistics.

Taking jobs away?

Although K'NEX and Think Logistics report that they have had no layoffs tied to their adoption of robotics, some skeptics say the increasing use of robots will ultimately eliminate jobs. But fans of the technology answer that dull, repetitive tasks are ideal for robotics and that it's better to take these boring jobs out of the hands of humans who are prone to error and inefficiency.

Indeed, some robotics aficionados insist that, although technology will inevitably lead to the elimination of some jobs now done by humans, robots will ideally free people up to focus on creative tasks, while helping companies save money and reducing the need for offshore labor.

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