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JUST for Geeks

Nintendo Adds Papercraft to Switch

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Nintendo Adds Papercraft to Switch

Nintendo remains on a quirky streak as it announces Labo-- a range of "experiences designed to inspire creative minds and playful hearts alike" customers build out of cardboard.

As seen in the announcement video, Labo sets consists of sheets of perforated cardboard. Customers pop out the different shapes and fold them according to on-screen instructions to create objects such as a piano, fishing rod, bike or even a robot suit. Nintendo calls these results "Toy-Cons," and they spring to life when the users slot the Switch controllers or tablet into place.

Thus the cardboard piano becomes a playable instrument, with the IR sensor in the right Joy-Con detecting which key is being pressed before the console plays it through the built-in speakers. Other Toy-Cons use the combination of controller and console to create drivable motorbikes, fishing games and what looks like an interactive house.

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HTC Intros Vive Pro Headset

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HTC Intros Vive Pro Headset

HTC presents an update of the Vive headset at CES 2018-- the Vive Pro, a VR offering featuring higher resolution 2880 x 1600 (1400 x 1600 per eye) dual-OLED displays, a 78% increase over the original Vive.

According to the company, the Vive Pro is aimed at "VR enthusiasts and enterprise users who want the best display and audio for their VR experiences." As such, the headset also features improved audio through integrated headphones with built-in amplifiers promising "overall richer sound." Further additions include dual microphones complete with active noise cancellation and dual front-facing cameras.

On the ergonomic side the headset should be more comfortable to wear, thanks to a redesigned headstrap, decreased weight on the front of the headset and a redesigned face cushion. The nose pad is also improved to block off more light.

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Magic Leap Reveals Mixed Reality Headset

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Magic Leap Reveals Mixed Reality Headset

Mysterious startup Magic Leap finally reveals the hardware behind its supposedly revolutionary augmented reality technology-- the One, a headset the company claims adds "another dimension to computing."

Magic Leap has been around for a few years, even if its existence so far was something of a conundrum. Founded in 2011, it received $1.9 billion in funding from names as big as Google, but it never actually showed its technology outside of a 2016 Wired report, instead simply hyping its supposedly incredible take on VR. Until now, that is.

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Microsoft Ends Kinect Production

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Microsoft Ends Kinect Production

A Co. Design feature confirms what many were suspecting-- Microsoft has stopped production of the Kinect, the arguably revolutionary Xbox camera accessory and former device sales dark horse.

The news via interview with Kinect creator Alex Kipman and Xbox Devices Marketing GM Matthew Lapsen. The two tell Microsoft has be de-emphasising the Kinect for a while, even if the technology continues to exist in other products. The core sensor is now inside the Hololens augmented reality headset, while Kinect team members are working on the Cortana voice assistant, the Windows Hello biometric system and a future UI Microsoft calls Gaze, Gesture and Voice (GGV).

Kinect launched in 2010 as an accessory for the Xbox 360. Formerly known as "Project Natal," it essentially maps a space in invisible infrared dots in order to track the human movements. It was a surprising success, selling 8 million units in its first 60 days on the market, earning it a Guinness World Record for "fastest selling consumer electronics device."

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Twelve South Candle Promises to "Inspire"

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Twelve South Candle Promises to

Twelve South follows on last year's "New Mac" candle with a more inspirational "Mac Candle No. 2"-- the "Inspire" candle promises to, well, inspire with "strong notes of bergamot, lemon and tarragon."

The iDevice accessory maker claims the collection of scents will "clear your mind of clutter and stimulate creativity," which might make it ideal for customers using their Macs for creative tasks such as graphic design.

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An Analogue Super Nt for Playing SNES Carts

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An Analogue Super Nt for Playing SNES Carts

Nintendo might already offer an official miniature Super Nintendo console, but more serious retro gaming fans get a second option from Analogue-- the Super Nt, a recreation able to play game cartridges of old.

The Super Nt promises to be superior to the SNES Mini, since it does not use emulation to play retro games. Instead it uses a complete FPGA (field-programmable gate array) promising to "preserve videogame history, with the respect it deserves" while pushing 1080p 60Hz visuals compatible with modern HDTVs. In addition fans also get features such as scanlines and aspect ratio preservation, as well as 48kHz 16-bit stereo audio.

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The Standalone Oculus Go Headset

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The Standalone Oculus Go Headset

Oculus presents what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg claims is "the most accessible VR headset yet"-- the Oculus Go, a lower-cost headset positioned somewhere between the Rift and Gear VR.

The Go is a standalone VR device, meaning it does not require a smartphone or tethering to a PC. It is built out of a lightweight mesh fabric, held together with a soft elastic fabric and carries a next-generation version of the optics found in the Rift.

The lenses feature the same wide field of view as the Rift, while the display is a "fast-switch LCD" with 2560 x 1440 resolution. Oculus claims the display has a higher pixel fill factor than OLEDs, with a "dramatic effect on visual clarity." Audio is also improved, with built-in drivers promising an integrated spatial audio experience with no headphones required.

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Sony Bringing Aibo Back?

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Sony Bringing Aibo Back?

Sony plans to return to household robots, Nikkei reports-- specifically through what sounds like a sequel to Aibo, the much loved robot dog first launched back in 1999.

The Japanese giant abandoned robot development in 2005, but unnamed sources tell Nikkei the company is bringing together a number of former Aibo team members, such as AI expert Masahiro Fujita. Interestingly, while the robot will act like a dog it will also take the role of an Amazon Alexa or Google Home, allowing users to control smart home appliances through voice commands.

Behind the robot dog is a proprietary OS based on an open platform allowing developers to work additional features, as well as "advanced technologies" ensuring the robot can, well, act like a dog.

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C64 Gets Mini Version

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C64 Gets Mini Version

Older customer with nostalgia for non-Japanese gaming hardware might get a retro kick with the C64 Mini, a "reimagined" miniature version of the 1982 Commodore 64 computer.

Clearly inspired by the NES Mini, the C64 Mini is around 50% the size of the original. It ships 64 preinstalled licensed games, with titles including California Games, Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe, Paradroid and Impossible Mission, and connects to TVs via HDMI. Games are played via joystick plugged into one of two USB ports.

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