Archive for the 'Hardware' Category

Sport through Technology

A quick search on the Internet shows that the use of game consoles in physical education classes is becoming popular in various countries. Many times it is reported that the Wii game console and others like Xbox Kinect and Playstation Move are used to bring inactive students into ‘virtual PE’. In a programme which will be held at St Ignatius boys secondary, Wii Sport will be used to introduce various sports to students. Other games may be also be used in class such as Wii Dance or Wii Fit. A Wii console is already available in each Maltese college. The following are articles showing how sports may be practiced through game consoles;

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Sony reveal next-generation PlayStation Portable

During the “PlayStation Meeting 2011″ which was held earlier today in Japan, Sony have unveiled their new, upcoming portable device (which as you can see in the photo below looks very similar to the PlayStation Portable), which will be temporarily known as NGP (Next-Generation Portable).

Next Generation Portable

Next Generation Portable

Slotted for a Christmas 2011 release, this little ‘monster’ boasts some very high-end specifications, including:

- ARM Cortex A9 4-Core CPU
- SGX543MP4+
- 5 inch 16:9 touchscreen with OLED technology
- Rear touch pad
- Rear and front cameras
- In built microphone
- Built-in 3G + WiFi + Bluetooth
- Built-in GPS
- Software will come on a special type of flash memory
- Can produce graphics which are on par with those on the PlayStation 3
- Price: Not yet available

It seems that Sony have not cut any corners for this new system, not just as regards the processor and the GPU used, but also for the fact that they are pushing social gaming through the in-built 3G and WiFi connections. The built-in GPS combined with the fact that the NGP is always online (via 3G/WiFi) should provide opportunities for interesting programs and not just entertainment applications.

On a finishing note, considering what this machine has crammed into it, one cannot expect this device to be cheap, and I would be surprised if the retail price is anywhere lower than the €500 mark. On the other hand, the new, soon to be released Nintendo 3DS costs €270 – one wonders if the ‘raw power’ and wide range of features that come with the Next Generation Portable will be enough to win Sony a substantial market share.

Welcome to the Jungle

After a twenty year absence from the videogame console market, Panasonic have unveiled their upcoming device -  ‘Jungle’ which features a rugged look and houses a single largish screen, a full QWERTY keyboard as well as two control knobs. Information is very sparse at the moment, but it seems that device is targeted at the MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) crowd, which is quite big in the Asian region. Price is rumoured to be around the USD400 (€290) mark, which is not exactly cheap.

With competition such as the Nintendo DS family and PSP, it is really a jungle out there.

With competition such as the Nintendo DS family and PSP, it is really a jungle out there.

At the moment it is unknown if the Jungle will feature an open source operating system, making the creating of software and applications by the end user possible. More news as we have it, meanwhile you can view the teaser site about this device Panasonic have put up here.

Major interactive whiteboard manufacturers agree on a common software format

BECTA (British Educational Communications and Technology Agency) has announced that major white board manufacturers, including Promethean, Hitachi and SMART Technologies have agreed on a common file format – at last software created on one platform can be exported and used on setups from other vendors.

Interactive WhiteboardThis means that content created by educators can be shared across platforms, thus reaching a wider audience. Thanks to this new agreement, a common file format (.iwb) has been created, as well as a viewer application with support documents and a code library. Some of the vendors are already supporting this new format in their software, while others will do so in upcoming updates.

News Source

Update: Due to BECTA’s recent closure the common file format for interactive whiteboards (.iwb) has an uncertain future. It is yet unknown if companies will continue development on the common format.

New addition to the Nintendo DS family to be released soon

Nintendo have announced that the ‘3DS’ will be released to retail in Japan on February 26th, 2011 for the price of ¥25,000 (€218). This new revision of the incredibly popular gadget is the first handheld console to support 3D visuals (like in movies), with an added difference that one does not need 3D glasses for the effect to be experienced.

Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo 3DS

It will be interesting to see how well the 3D effect works – it is understandable that Nintendo are pushing the console by telling people to try it out at expos and conferences rather than through videos and images distributed over the internet, after all, it is only possible to view the effect in person using a real Nintendo 3DS.

One wonders how developers will use 3D to provide new experiences which gives a new dimension (no pun intended) to entertainment on the go and how we as educators can use it to make learning more exciting.