The week in gadgets

13 Sep 2010

A look at gadget, game and geek happenings in the week ahead.

Sony attacks Kinect, loves buttons

Sony has launched a new, humourous website called, which promotes the Sony PlayStation Move and shows the importance of buttons.

The site itself shows the Sony PlayStation Move control and is navigated by pressing the buttons of the controller.

“See what you did there? You clicked it,” the site says on the first click of a button.

“It turns out that buttons are pretty important.”

The website seems to have been created to poke fun at the Kinect, Microsoft’s motion control-based system which doesn’t require the use of buttons.

“Could you imagine gaming without buttons?” it said.

“Where would the control come from? You couldn’t snipe. Couldn’t fire any sort of weapon at all, really.”

“Unless your finger turns into a gun. Pew! Pew! What are we, mimes?!?” the site said.

The website comes just before the launch of the Sony PlayStation Move, which will be released on 15 September.

Electronic skin to give robots the sense of touch

Engineers at the University of Berkeley, California, have made a breakthrough with pressure sensitive electronic skin for robots.

The rubber skin changes its thickness in response to pressure changes, which is also measured and controlled by built-in capacitors.

It can detect pressure between 0 and 15 kilopascals, ranging from the pressure required to type on a keyboard or holding an object.

“Humans generally know how to hold a fragile egg without breaking it,” said Ali Javey, member of the design team.

“If we ever wanted a robot that could unload the dishes, for instance, we’d want to make sure it doesn’t break the wine glasses in the process.

“But we’d also want the robot to grip the stock pot without dropping it,” said Javey.

The technology could also help give back restoration to people who have lost feeling in parts of their body, but it could be some time off.

“Connecting the artificial skin with the human nerve system will be a very challenging task,” said research leader Zhenan Bao.

“Ultimately, in the very distant future, we would like to make a skin which performs really like human skin and to be able to connect it to nerve cells on the arm and thus restore sensation.”

FaceTime for Mac and Windows computers?

Rumours are about that FaceTime could soon be coming to computers.

According to Mac4Ever, the video calling feature, currently available on iPhone 4, may come to both Mac and Windows platforms when iLife 11 comes out.

It is said that it could be integrated to iChat on the Mac OS X, however, nothing has been said about how it will be available on Windows.

While nothing has been confirmed, it seems inevitable that Apple will make this service more widely available on different platforms.