The week in gadgets: a physical controller for Angry Birds (video)

13 Aug 2012

Panasonic Lumix G5

A look at gadget happenings, as Panasonic’s latest mirrorless interchangeable lens camera makes its debut, Denon bring us a wireless speaker that’s not married to just one smartphone operating system, and students from Copenhagen make Angry Birds tangible.

The promise of the Panasonic Lumix G5

Compact cameras with interchangeable lenses are the next big thing in consumer photography, and Panasonic’s latest in the Lumix range claims to set a new standard. The Lumix G5’s 16MP Live MOS sensor promises clean and clear images, backed up by the processing power of Venus Engine VII FHD. This sensor and processor combination also allows for video recording in full HD with stereo sound.

Touch controls allow users to focus with just a tap and, while a viewfinder is provided, users can also take advantage of the flexibility offered by the high-resolution 3-inch free-angle LCD, which enables them to take shots from any angle.

An ISO range stretching from 160 to 12,800 means the camera is equipped to capture images and video in low-light situations, but true novices won’t even have to concern themselves with such adjustments, thanks to Intelligent Auto Plus and Intelligent Scene Selector, Panasonic’s intuitive technology that selects the right settings based on the environment.

The Lumix G5 also claims to have ‘light-speed’ auto-focus and comes with a wide range of AF modes, including multiple area, face detection and tracking. Rapid burst shooting allows users to snap six frames per second at full resolution or up to 20 frames per second at lower quality.

The device itself is compact, classically designed with an easy-to-grip body, and is compatible with Micro Four Thirds lenses and accessories, including the new Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm with f2.8 brightness.

Stream music from any smartphone

The Denon Cocoon is a wireless speaker and dock that does not discriminate. Though it is optimised for use with iPhones and iPods, complete with AirPlay functionality, the Cocoon can actually play tunes wirelessly from Android and Windows Phones, too. These users simply need to download a Denon app that allows them to stream music from their devices to the speaker. Thanks to AirPlay, any computer with iTunes can also stream directly to the device.

Denon Cocoon

The two-way speaker system is also enabled to browse internet radio stations and up to three stations can be stored as presets. And, to keep everything sounding at its best, the device lets users extend deep bass and treble performance even at low volume.

Angry Birds enter the physical realm

Just when you think they’ve done it all, students from the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design have figured out yet another way for us all to enjoy Angry Birds. Super Angry Birds is a physical controller for the popular app, comprising a slingshot and detonator connected via USB.

The slingshot is actually a hacked motorised slider hooked up to technology that judges how the bird should fly based on the trajectory and how far you pull it back. The detonator is a push-button control that unleashes the selected bird’s extra power.

Hideaki Matsui and Andrew Spitz created Super Angry Birds as part of a class on haptics and used technology found in audio-mixing consoles to simulate the force that would be felt in using a slingshot.


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Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.