Old-fashioned ATM meets modern-day phone recycling program. That’s the idea behind EcoATM, a startup aimed to help reduce electronic waste and beef up your wallet at the same time. Of course, it’s not a new concept: phone recycling programs have been around for a while now, helping you stay green by giving you some green. Trading in an old phone for the almighty dollar, however, typically involves filling out paperwork, printing labels, shipping the device to the facility and waiting for four weeks for a check. EcoATM’s goal is to eliminate all of that in favor of a simple 5-minute process that ends with cash in-hand. The company has machines set up in popular shopping malls in various cities across the country, ready to help you part ways with your old device. The only deterring factor is that this setup wants to scan your driver’s license as well as your fingerprint. Although for a good cause, these methods might be seen by many people as intruding privacy.
Take a look at the full demonstration video below.


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Sony’s new TV Size Guide tool definitely fits in the awesome category, even if it’s just because for a moment we can see what the electronics giant’s latest top of the range telly would look like adorning our living room wall. The process is simple, simply print off an AR marker, pin it to you wall and take a picture of it in place. Then use Sony’s online tool to see what various sized TV models would look like if mounted – and you can even add movie or sports images to get a better sense of realism.


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Visidon’s Applock will prevent the privacy-adverse from messing with your personally curated app collection. Snap a pick with your front-facing cam, enable the face-lock in your settings, and those confidential emails are as good as blocked. It’s far from foolproof, however, as some comments indicate an extended bit of facial-wriggling tricks the app into unlock mode. But it is a great start.


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‘flora’ a digital flower vase concept by Japanese designer Yoshiki Matsuyama, provides a way to share virtual flowers and greetings across the world. A flower placed in this vase can be sent to another ‘flora’ creating a virtual, self-updating representation of the gift via a 3D scanning camera and projector.


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Google’s had a mobile-friendly version of Google Docs available for some time now, but it’s now finally gone the extra step and released a dedicated Android app. That will of course let you access and edit your documents on your smartphone, but the real standout feature is the ability to capture text with your phone’s camera and have it instantly made editable thanks to some optical character recognition. This might not work with handwriting or some fonts, but Google promises that it will get better over time.


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In technology that is lifted straight from Robocop, Brazilian cops will be outfitted with glasses that can scan faces in a crowd and automatically pick out criminals.

Facial profiling! The camera analyzes 46,000 biometric points on up to 400 faces per second – data that then gets compared with a database of up to 13 million people. If a mug happens to match a wanted person or known troublemaker, a red light will appear on a small screen connected to the glasses. And, in a twist particularly befitting Robocop, the glasses can be calibrated to zoom in from 12 miles away, though they’ll typically be used to manage crowds at a much more personal 50 meters (164 feet).


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Since we all know that light can not travel through solid objects, we use extra short waves to “scan” the object, such as an X-ray machine for instance. As light passes through the layer (a solid object) it is scattered in both time and space, so an image projected on one side emerges blurry and unfocused on the other. However, Jochen Aulbach at the FOM Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and colleagues, have found a way to sharpen things up. They figured that it should be possible to manipulate light so that the scattering it experiences as it passes through the layer leaves it focused.

The team achieved this through a trial and error process. They used a liquid crystal device which allows precise control of light, called a spatial light modulator (SLM), to manipulate 64-femtosecond-long laser pulses being projected onto a layer of paint. A detector measured the intensity and duration of the pulses that emerged from the other side. This information was then passed to a computer program that used it to tweak the SLM to make the next pulse arriving at the detector both brighter and less spread out in time.


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Google Goggles now solves Sudoku

There are no surer signs of the apocalyptic onset of middle age than a preoccupation with puzzle-solving and an unhealthy interest in adverts and barcodes. And those just happen to be the three new features Google has added to version 1.3 of its Goggles software. The visual search application for Android is now intelligent enough to decipher tricky Sudoku puzzles (and thereby suck all the fun out of them), while its algorithms have also been tweaked to make barcode scanning “almost” instant. Popular printed ads will be recognized as well, taking you to a Google search on the relevant topic. US newspapers and magazines from August 2010 are being supported for now, but we can’t imagine the rest of the world should have to wait too long for this added convenience. Video of the new Goggles’ Sudoku skills inside.


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