Thursday, July 31, 2008

Femisapien videos

Article Link (Gizmodo)

Sega Hamster

Continuing with its series of animals robots designed to entertain kids, tenderize adults, and more importantly, don't poop, Sega is going to start selling their Hamster robot in Japan this August. The 3.5-inch robot is fluffy, does cute cute cute things, and you only need to feed it four batteries.

Article Link (Gizmodo)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Virtual Pursuits - Who’s on the Radar?

t’s been a week of talking about the future of virtual worlds
with VC’s, investors and research companies. The over-penetrated
sectors, the under-served niches and where the smart money should be
placed from an investment perspective. It’s also been a week of
looking at a lot of business plans for potential new worlds with the
founders not always realising there’s already competition in the
space they’re looking to enter.

On that note, I thought it would be be interesting and useful to segment the Universe graph by sector and genre to shed some light on the questions above.

So, I’m dieing to call this graph ‘The
Wedgie’, but I’ll settle on the ‘Radar’ (or
maybe even Vadar). Here we go:

There’s a lot going on - we know this, so to make this a
little easier to assimilate, it’s broken out a little below (and
a high-res PDF version can be requested here).

Socialising/chat, casual gaming and misc are shown below with bands
reflecting age groups. There’s about 25 worlds off the radar
(i.e. in stealth mode) not shown here. Blue dots refer to worlds in
development or closed beta. Red are live or open beta.

Mirror worlds, roleplay/fantasy/quests and toys/real world game
worlds are shown below. The toys and real world games sector is a hot
area right now, set for continued growth in the next 12 months. Mirror
worlds are one of the few categories tailored towards older users.

Music, fashion/lifestyle and education/development is the next
segment. For me, all three of these groups are primed for growth.
Education (termed Learning 2.0 by some) clearly has benefits across all
age groups, although its KT&T’s first-up as the target
market. Remote learning applications will penetrate into older groups
over time. Fashion and lifestyle remains popular and with the increased
take-up from real world clothing and luxury brands into these worlds
there’s good signs for the virtual goods sector. Thirdly, music
appears to be untapped but nevertheless a great sweetspot for both
investment, music companies, artists and let’s not forget the

The fourth slice shows sports, tv/film/books and content creation.
The true potential of the sports segment will be under the spotlight in
coming months with the launch of several worlds. The media category,
similar to the toys group shows early promise and as for the content
creation group - Second Life sits at the heart of this but
there’s several ‘new takes’ on enabling people to
‘make stuff’ in virtual worlds.

Article Link

Friday, July 25, 2008

YMCA of San Francisco Selects Dizzywood's Virtual World to Enhance Technology Program for Kids

San Francisco, Calif.—July 23, 2008Dizzywood, a virtual world and online game for children ages 8-12, today announced that it has been selected by the YMCA to enhance the youth program’s technology curriculum.

The YMCA is using Dizzywood's virtual environment to reinforce its
program emphasis on activities that promote values such as caring,
honesty, respect and responsibility. Children also learn about
important issues relating to virtual worlds, such as digital
citizenship and online safety, as well as complete storytelling and
team-building exercises that emphasize creativity, writing and reading
skills, and working together to achieve goals.

Article Link

Thursday, July 24, 2008

US Army turns to toy company to develop new weapon

It looks like the US Army was so impressed by toymaker Lund and
Company's Hydrogen Fuel Rocket that it decided to recruit the company
to build a decidedly more lethal version of it. The new system, dubbed
the Variable Velocity Weapon System, will apparently be able to be
switched between lethal and non-lethal modes.

Article Link (Engadget)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

WowWee Alive Tiger Cub

WowWee, makers of fine programmable robotic toys, is stepping back a bit with the "Alive" series of animatronic beasts sporting realistic skeletons that move according to how much attention they're given. You can't load custom Java code onto this White Tiger Cub though, so if that's your thing, stick with the RoboSapiens or, perhaps, an equally cuddly Pleo, which has its own upcoming SDK. The cub does have plenty of movements in its repertoire though, and it's kind of creepy to watch.

Article Link (Gizmodo)

This cute cat looks to be the perfect play toy for small children or adults hoping to rekindle some of that youthful innocence. We're also told that the eyebrow and mouth movements are "quite realistic," but its the individual personality that really makes it worth coming back to.

Article Link (Engadget)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Animatronic Dinosaur

Article Link (Gizmodo)

Putter Bot: The Cutest Golfer

The most [adorable golfer is] the Putter Bot. Falling just short of Pixar-level anthropomorphism, we'd still feel absolutely horrible to watch the little guy lose a shoot-out against the Phil Mickelson Bot.

After about a third of the way into the clip, a reveal may break your heart. The Putter Bot is just an R/C creation, not an autonomous creation. But we'd still pinch his wittle wobot cheeks all day long.

Article Link (Gizmodo)

Bandai Hex Bug Robotic Crab

Latest in the Hex Bug line from Bandai, the toys are designed to look, move and behave a little like the real deal. When you turn them on, they scamper sideways, changing direction if you make a noise and then coming to a stop when they find a shadowy spot to hide in. Quite neat really, and the 2.5-inch toy 'bots will cost just $25 when they're out in August.

Article Link (Gizmodo)

MechRC Robot Does Evolution of Robotic Dance

Based on Judson Laipply's "Evolution of Dance Video," but way better. We get to see a robot doing Vanilla Ice's dance moves better than he did. A robot doing the "walk like an Egyptian" dance. The upcoming MechRC robot has been under development for three years and has 17 independently-controlled servos, and built-in audio.

Article Link (Gizmodo)

Bandai Smart Berry

Bandai's new
mobile communicator “Smart Berry
toy kind of looks like a Mylo done up in pastel colors. The
Smart Berry includes a touchscreen LCD panel measuring roughly 2 inches
by 1.4 inches, a slide- out keyboard, and Wi-Fi capabilities for email,
chat and online games.

The device registers user profiles so that Smart Berry owners can
only send and receive mail from friends. Up to four units can
communicate with each other at the same time if they're all within a
10-meter diameter. Additionally, it also has a virtual Tamagotchi-like
pet you can play with. The toy costs $97 and is targeted at girls from ages 6 to 9.

Article Link (Gizmodo)

Robots of the Future Will Show Empathy, Be Good Listeners

European researchers are developing a software that will give robots
the power to learn when a person is sad, happy or angry. The Feelix Growing
project is putting together simple robots that can detect different
parameters—facial expressions, voice and proximity—to
determine emotional states. The aim of the project is to develop a
robot that can serve humans with special needs, such as the ill and the
elderly. Using adaptable neural networks, the robot can learn the
correct way to respond to people's emotions from experience.

For instance, if someone shows fear, the robot can learn to change
its behavior to appear less threatening. If someone seems happy, the
robot can make a mental (or, I guess, digital) note of what brought on
that response.

Article Link (Gizmodo)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Cartoon Doll Emporium recently surveyed over 10,000 of its members on how they consumed different Kidsbig
media. 64% said they spent more time "playing on CDE" than watching TV
and 89% said they spent more time on CDE than reading magazines. That
has some implications for advertising placement, but the survey also
points to a cultural shift for virtual goods and socializing: When
asked if users would rather "buy a pretty dress for yourself or a
pretty dress for your avatar," 54% chose their avatars; in another
question, over half the surveyed users said they felt closer to their
CDE friends than real-life friends. CDE is more of a dress-up
site/social network than a proper virtual world, but CEO Evan Bailyn
says he's definitely in the space.

As far as CDE's own numbers go, Bailyn reports that the site will
have 4.2 million unique visitors in July. And while the social network
only really kicked off in mid-March, one dress has been purchased over
453,000 + times since then. Overall 5.6 million items have been
purchased since the site came out of beta 5 months ago, with 2.3
million avatars creates since then.

"We average a new registered user every 10 seconds, and a new blog
is written every 93 seconds," said Bailyn. "As of this writing,
145,000 user-generated blogs have been written since the CDE community
came out of Beta 5 months ago."

All this engagement--and shifting attention--has already been making
marketers take notice. As Bailyn points out, our generation (he's 27
and I'm 25) took in most of our media, and ads, through the television.
That's increasingly not the case. Advertisers are looking online, but
Bailyn says they're also looking for something that really engages
their audience.

"I hear the following sentence from pretty much every single
prospective advertiser: 'We are looking for a more immersive
experience, something beyond banner ads,'" he said. "GoFish
[which handles all of CDE's advertising] sends us tons of requests for
integrated games, and that is what we sell most of. Since we are a
dress-up site, creating virtual environments and dress-up games of
movie characters is a top seller. We also just sold a very substantial
campaign to a major U.S. retailer, where we are creating a virtual
version of their store on CDE and the kids are buying their branded
virtual clothing for their avatars. This is not groundbreaking, since
Second life did it a while ago, but specifically in terms of the kids
virtual world / social networking space, it does show that there is
huge potential for large advertising spends around immersive

Article Link

Gaia Gets More Cash as Money Pours Into Virtual Worlds

With Web 2.0 fever finally starting to wane, the investor community
has been pumping some serious dollars into virtual worlds and MMOGs
— about $345 million in 39 virtual worlds
in the first six months of 2008. And the third quarter has started off
with a bang, with veteran (it was started in 2003) virtual world/online
community Gaia Online
announcing that it has raised $11 million in Series C funding from
Institutional Venture Partners. Gaia raised $12 million last year from
DAG Ventures, Benchmark Capital and Redpoint Ventures; its funding now
totals $32 million. Interestingly, none of the older investors
participated in the latest round. The new money indicates that the San
Jose, Calif.-based company might not be profitable just yet.

Last year, when Disney acquired Club Penguin
for about $700 million, the conventional wisdom was that Gaia would be
the next one to get snapped up. Since then, we’ve heard rumors
that the company was talking to quite a few suitors.

The reason there has been an increased investor interest in virtual
worlds is because the sector captures a highly lucrative younger
demographic, notably teenagers. eMarketer expects the number of teen
Internet users visiting virtual worlds to rise to 20 million by 2011
— from just 8.2 million in 2007. And unlike the demographic of
the traditional gaming business, which is facing a crisis of attention,
teens tend to be a more engaged audience, and are more likely to
participate in virtual economies and newer forms of advertising.

Gaia’s attempts at commercialization have met with some resistance from its community — read the comments in response to one of our previous posts. Nevertheless, it still has a thriving community and continues to grow at a rapid clip.

Article Link

RuneScape Moves to Come Out of the Shadows

RuneScape is one of online
gaming’s biggest success stories, but unless you play it or know
someone who does, you’ve probably never heard of it. Launched in
2001 by Jagex Software, an
independent studio based in the UK, it’s a traditional fantasy
role-playing game that boasts six million active monthly players,
almost all of them in the English-speaking world — making
RuneScape more popular in the West than World of Warcraft. (Over half
of WoW’s 10 million players are based in Asia.) Do a Google trend comparison of RuneScape to World of Warcraft and Age of Conan, the latest MMORPG darling,
and you’ll see that the web traffic of Jagex’s indie title
outstrips both of them. Despite all this, it’s received
comparatively little coverage, even by the gaming press.

That may change soon, because this week Jagex will make its first
appearance at one of gaming’s biggest trade shows — the Electronic Entertainment Expo
in Los Angeles — where it will debut a graphically upgraded
version of the game called RuneScape High Detail. Ahead of the launch,
I sat down with the Jagex team last week to find out how, with so
little attention, the modest-looking RuneScape has attracted so many

Originally created by Andrew Gower and his brother Paul while Andrew
was still an undergrad at Cambridge, RuneScape runs on Java, making it
accessible to anyone who can get on the web. It’s also free,
though 60 percent of the world’s content is restricted until you
upgrade to a $5 monthly subscription, which some one million RuneScape
players currently pay. And while even RuneScape High Detail
won’t win Jagex any graphics awards, the developers have
compensated by creating a game world with depth and variety of play.
“In terms of gameplay,” influential game developer Raph Koster notes, “RuneScape is a very worldy world, offering a diverse array of activities that frankly, resembles Ultima Online.”
(Koster was that classic game’s lead designer.) At the same time,
the Java code makes it easy to add new features and make quick fixes.
As Jagex CEO Geoff Iddison noted to me, “The beauty of Java is it’s platform independent.”

The result? Tremendous viral growth, especially from very young
gamers on a limited budget. Jagex won’t give out specific
numbers, but Iddison told me their greatest expense is payroll for 400
employees; he also said their profit margin is well over 50 percent.

More details on Jagex/RuneScape

- New content (questions, items, etc.) added to RuneScape every two weeks

- 1.2 megabyte Java app

- Peak concurrency: 250,000

- Average player time: 12.5 hours/week

- RuneScape is a sharded MMORPG (i.e. copies of the world run on separate servers)

- 250 RuneScape shards for up to 2,000 players each. Unlike many MMORPGs, player characters are not bound to a single shard.

- 200 servers total

- Main player demographics: 60 percent are from the U.S., 25 percent
from the EU, smaller percentages from Australia/New Zealand and Canada.
Player age typically 8-20, approximately 80 percent between 10-16.

- RuneScape HD feeds graphic data to computers with 3D cards for
dynamic rendering. Displays at 15 frames per second on minimum spec
computers, but can optimize up to 50 FPS. Can display in full screen.

Article Link

Thursday, July 10, 2008

SmartPal V

That's Yasukawa Electric Corporation's 1.3-meter tall SmartPal V in action. He's on display in Japan right now demonstrating how the domestic-helper bot can mop floors and pick up after the kids while you supposedly sleep in secure slumber knowing that a robot is loose in the house. Article Link (Egadget)

Walking Head Robot

Walking Head Robot

Meet Stelarc's Walking Head Robot. Sitting atop six piston-powered legs, an LCD screen displays a creepy animated face to lull you into submission once the robot sees you with its ultrasound sensors. It then makes faces as if to trick you into believing it's really not here to destroy you and yours like some monster from The Thing. It would be one thing if the Walking Head Robot was small, but its 4-meter footprint (13-foot) is big enough to make even the largest of men turn white. To be fair, however, this robot looks to be well-constructed out of aluminum, stainless steel, acrylic, and pneumatic actuators.

Article Link (Engadget)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Robot Snakes

Unlike Indiana Jones, I generally don't hate snakes. But seeing these modular mechanical snakes wriggling up some dude's leg gave me shivers. The video gets scarier still when they start climbing walls and shimmying up the inside of pipes. According to the Carnegie Mellon-based developers, the elaborate "gaits" that let these robot snakes maneuver on land and sea are achieved using low-cost hobby-grade servos. So before you kick sand in the face of some pasty Carnegie Mellon nerd at the Jersey Shore this summer, remember he may have a backpack full of cheap, wriggly killing machines.

Article Link (Gizmodo)

How Lively? Google’s Me-Too Virtual World

Comments (9)

The other virtual shoe finally dropped today– after a year and a half of rumors, Google (GOOG) now brings us Lively,
a web-driven mini-virtual world. Not a contiguous, immersive, fully
user-created metaverse like Second Life, as it turns out– so it’s not
really a direct competitor– but a series of virtual world chatrooms more akin to IMVU. (However, IMVU has a virtual economy of user-created content, while Lively does not, least not yet.)

On first glance, Lively seems too similar to several existing (and very large)
MMOs, making it an also-ran without a key market distinguisher to be
truly compelling (besides being from Google). You can stream YouTube
videos in these rooms and embed rooms on websites, and it’s got
appealing cartoon visuals and a fairly intuitive interface, but that’s
true of numerous online worlds already out there.

Of course Google is the Net’s dominant
force, but then, that probably won’t matter to the tens of millions
already happy in existing virtual worlds. Without some special magic
that I’m not seeing as yet, it could easily wind up being a virtual
world version of Google Video, easily eclipsed by the YouTube-level
dominance of Habbo Hotel/Club Penguin/Gaia Online/etc.

Of course, all this doesn’t answer the most salient question: why
would a search engine company create a virtual world in the first
place? Does it even fit into their larger plans? As Mel Guymon,
Google’s Head of 3D Operations, suggests to Virtual World News, the real takeaway is to validate a growing market for this space. “We’re basically saying this is a real space and everyone is doing this.” Sounds like the 800 lbs. gorilla is just saying, “Me too.”

Article Link

Virtual Worlds Are So Hot Right Now: $345 Million Invested So Far This Year

I feel like today is Virtual World Day. We started off the morning covering the public beta launch of Vivaty, then Second Life and IBM announced that they bridged two virtual worlds, and Google launched its own version of virtual worlds with Lively.

If it seems like everybody is starting their own virtual world, it
is because they are. A report put out today by Virtual Worlds
Management tracks $161 million put into 14 virtual-world investments
during the second quarter of 2008. In the first quarter
there was even more activity, with $184 million put into 23 virtual
worlds and supporting technology companies. That brings the total this
year alone to $345 million across 37 deals. Some notable deals (you can
see the full lists by clicking on the last two links above):

Second Quarter 2008

Grockit——————-MMO Learning Game——-$8 million——-Integral Capital and Benchmark

Nurien Software——–3D social networking——-$15 million——-Northern Light, Globespan, NEA

PrimeSense————-Gestural Interface———-$20.4 million—–Led by Canaan Partners

Realtime Worlds———-MMOG Developer———$50 million——–Maverick Capital, NEA

Stanford Parallel —-Parallel Processing————–$6 million——-Sun Microsystems, AMD, Nvidia, IBM,

Processing Lab for Virtual Worlds HP, and Intel

Turbine———————-MMOG——————-$40 million————–Time Warner and GGV Capital

First Quarter 2008

9You———–Virtual World/Casual Games——$100 million——–Temasek Holdings

Dizzywood —————Youth World————— $1 million——-Shelby Bonnie, Charles River Ventures

EveryScape————— Mirror World————–$7 million——–Dace, Draper Fisher Jurvetson

Fix8 ———————- Avatar Content————$2 million ——–SK Telecom

Gizmoz ——————- Avatar Creation ———- $6.5 million——-DoCoMo Capital, ngi group

iOpener ——————–Mixed Reality ————-$6 million———Triangle Venture Capital

Sparkplay Media——Casual MMO with Games—–$4.25 million—–Redpoint, Prism Ventureworks

Unisfair ——————–Virtual Events Platform—–$10 million——-Norwest, Sequoia Capital

Article Link

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

iRobot Eyes Your Lawn With Their Latest Bot


One of the more useful consumer bots to come out in the last
several years is the Roomba. Who wouldn’t want a robot that sweeps
their floor automatically? It’s a great gadget and all, however, we
need more robots around the house. According to a recent patent filing,
iRobot is eying your lawn with their next creation.

The 84-page patent filing shows us several new designs for a bot
whose sole purpose is to trim your lawn. They seem to be looking at
both an electric and a gasoline hybrid motor for power, and want to
include a variety of features such as an edge trimmer, and the ability
to remember the layout of your lawn for future mowings. What I wouldn’t
have given for one of these as a kid. Then again I’m not sure it would
be quite up to mowing 3 acres of land.

Article Link

Wall Climbing Robots

Developed by a team in SRI's Mobile Robotics and Transducers Programme, the machines are about the size of a remote-controlled car and have caterpillar tracks similar to those on toy tanks.

Inside these tracks are materials with electro-adhesive properties, which mean that when a current is applied, the tracks are attracted to the wall, preventing the robots from falling off.

"What we've invented is a way to induce charges on the wall using a power supply located on the robot," research engineer Harsha Prahlad told BBC World Service's Digital Planet programme.

"The robot carries with it positive and negative charges, and when the walls sees these charges it automatically generates the opposite charge. The robot can then clamp onto those charges.

The technology, called compliant electroadhesion, uses a very small amount of power and the robots can crawl at a speed of about one body length per second.

The team is now working on a way to apply their technology to more insect-like robots, to mirror the way that creatures such as flies are able to walk upside-down.

This will be done by putting electro-adhesive pads on the robot feet.

"We often think of electrostatic forces as very weak - but if you get very close, you can get very strong forces from this," Mr Prahlad added.

Article Link (BBC, with video)

Infrared Tracking R/C Car

This remote-control car has an infrared follower system built in, so you steer it simply by pointing the IR beam from the controller somewhere ahead of the car, and it works out where you want it to go. The "magic dot" can be up to five feet ahead of the 9-inch car and it'll still work, and you get about 20 minutes of racing, cat-bothering action from one charge of its batteries. Available now for $49.95.

Article Link (Gizmodo)

Monday, July 7, 2008

What teens want

* 93 per cent say internet rather than TV.

* 71 per cent say texting rather than instant messaging.

* 69 per cent say magazines rather than blogs.

* 65 per cent say Mac rather than the PC.

* 57 per cent say Facebook rather than MySpace.

Article Link

Friday, July 4, 2008

A Documentary on ShowBiz Pizza's Rocka-fire Explosion Animatronic Band

showbiz pizza

Faithful readers will know I am not even close to finished exploiting
my painful job experiences at the Chuck E. Cheese in the Bergen Mall
for Gizmodo fodder. God I hate that place. When I was growing up, the
cooler place to be with way better pizza and far better games was ShowBiz Pizza. ShowBiz also had another advantage: this terrifying but captivating animitronic musical band called Rocka-fire Explosion, which is the subject of this documentary. I am watching it, and lighting a candle in remembrance. And Fuck Chuck E. Cheese

Article Link

Inside Neopets Creators' Ambitious New MMO


It's so early in development that it doesn't
have a name yet, but I'm already quite intrigued by the new massively
multiplayer online game from the creators of Neopets.

Adam Powell and Donna Williams struck it rich with Neopets,
an online virtual-pet site that grew so popular with kids and female
gamers that the pair sold their creation to Viacom in 2005 for $160
million. Now, as founders of a startup called Meteor Games,
they're working on something markedly different for an encore: A new
MMO game that blurs the lines between traditional massively multiplayer
games, social networking and casual gaming.

"We're World of Warcraft players ourselves," says Powell,
"and we wouldn't want to compete with them. The game is really more
casual -- we want players to be able to play it for five, 10 minutes at
a time."

Imagine sitting down for a game of chess inside the 3-D virtual
world of the MMO. Your opponent is a real live person, but they're
playing the game in a simple Flash browser window, without all of the
fluff around it. Or imagine playing a version of the classic cellphone
game Snake, but at the end of the game, the snake comes to life in the MMO and starts attacking enemies for you.

Williams and Powell readily admit, is often seen now as a child's
pastime. But that game's original target audience was an older set --
teens and young adults. After the pair launched Neopets in
1999, the game took on a life of its own and became so popular with the
younger audience that the twosome didn't want to sacrifice the
intensely lucrative market.

The goal of their unnamed new project is to capture traditional
gamers. The art style is going to be cartoonish, certainly, but unlike Neopets
it won't trade realism for saccharine sweetness. Instead, Williams and
Powell are drawing inspiration from a litany of sources near and dear
to children of the 1980s.

Article Link

In virtual worlds, child avatars need protecting -- from each other

On the playground, kids pilfer lunch money and push each other around.
But in the cyber clubhouses they're filling by the millions, kids rig
elections, sell fake products and scam each other out of every
virtual-worldly possession.

Sophia Stebbins recently joined one such online community, Webkinz,
which lets its young members create avatars, play games and hang out.
The 9-year-old from Irvine worked in a virtual hamburger shop, earned
virtual cash and bought a virtual bed, couch and TV for her virtual

Article Link

Ypulse Research: Sulake's 2008 Global Habbo Youth Survey

We're excited to announce that Sulake (the parent company of the massive virtual world Habbo Hotel) has joined our growing list of Ypulse Research
partners who are selling their Gen Y related research through us,
helping to realize our vision of creating a "one-stop-shop" for all of
the latest market research available about tweens, teens and early
twentysomethings. You can now purchase Sulake's 2008 Global Habbo Youth Survey on Ypulse.
Based on a survey of 58,000 teenagers aged from 12 to 18 years old from
31 countries, the report covers values and attitudes (from "I Want a
Normal Life" to "I'm Young, but I Worry"), interests, media usage and
online habits, consumption habits (including "My Cash Flow") and brand
preferences. Here are just a few of this year's findings:


- 75 percent of all respondents say TV is an important medium for them (six percentage points up on from the 2006 study)

- When looking at the most popular TV content, teen tastes are very
similar all over the world. Amongst both boys and girls the overall
favorite TV show is "The Simpsons," which was also the clear favorite
in 2006


- Girls read more magazines whereas boys are slightly more interested in reading newspapers

- Overall, respondents viewed newspapers as the least important medium with 25 percent stating them to be not important at all.


- Music, along with clothing and appearance, is one of the main ways of
expressing identity to others, both connecting and dividing today's
younger generations through the sub-cultures associated with different
genres. This is reflected by the three highly distinctive bands that
emerge as most popular on a global scale: Fall Out Boy, Linkin Park and
Tokio Hotel.

- also some surprising findings. For example hip hop listeners are
more likely to have an interest in more traditional sports such as
football and basketball, whereas extreme sports are associated with an
interest in rock. Cooking is rated highly by those with an interest in
girl and boy bands; however it is shunned by the rockers who are at the
complete opposite end of the scale.


- Compared to the previous 2006 survey, mobile phone usage was the one
single area that showed the most significant growth compared to other
topics surveyed.

- In the 2006 survey only 38 per cent of teens used their handset to
listen to music; now 71 per cent of teenagers are using their mobiles
as a portable mp3 player. 80 percent of teens in Singapore, Italy and
Austria listened to music in this way, though teens in Japan and
Finland listen to music on their mobiles the least.

- 70 per cent of teens are now using their mobile to take photos and
videos, an 11 percentage points increase compared to 2006.

- 64 per cent now play games on their mobile compared to 51 per cent in 2006.

- Over a quarter of teens also use their mobile to surf the net, email and send instant messages.

Article Link

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Komondor Dog

curves = organic

Anima machines robotic art is freakishly organic

Article Link (Gizmodo)
Article Link (Engadget)

Asahi Bartender Robot

Article Link (Gizmodo)

Giant Styrofoam Robots

Article Link (Gizmodo)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Gamings' Future - seven innovations

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Habbo Hotel Teen Survey Results - Teenage Game Play

Another interesting finding revolved around popular online games. Though Vivendi's (VIV.PA)
World of Warcraft is by far the world's most popular massively
multiplayer online game, less costly and less time-demanding games have
proven more popular with multitasking teens trying to make the most of
their pocket money. Runescape, which is free, ranked as the top online
game, chosen by nearly three times as many participants as World of
Warcraft, which was tied in popularity with Electronic Arts' (ERTS) The Sims and Disney's (DIS) Club Penguin.

Article Link

Habbo Hotel Survey - Clothing Preferences Around the World

sample page shows results chosen for popular clothing brands.
Respondents were allowed to rank their top three brands. Global fashion
picks included Adidas (ADSG), Nike (NKE), and Hennes & Mauritz (HEN). But those results weren't evenly distributed: Nike, for example, didn't register among U.S. teens' top preferences.

Article Link

Habbo Hotel - Teen Report

The Details from Denmark

down by each of the 31 countries from which there were respondents, the
results could be instructive for companies looking to target potential
customers. This sample page from the report shows the results from
Denmark, which in some areas contrasts markedly with results from other
nations. Compared with teens in the U.S., for instance, Danes play far
fewer online games (53% vs. 37%). But techno music is much less popular
in the U.S. than in Denmark (32% vs. 41%). That information could help
a marketer, for example, decide to use different music to promote the
same brands in different countries, tailoring campaigns according to
regional preferences.

Article Link - Helvetica iPhone Font

Created by Dean Robinson, a Web developer at Australia's University of
Newcastle, Hahlo is a sleek iPhone-optimized interface for Twitter.
Robinson aimed to "provide as much of the functionality as
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Some smart elements of the usability design: enlarged buttons (big
enough for a finger to tap), and a font, Helvetica, that's easy to read
even at small sizes. (Bonus: Helvetica is the font used in native Apple
apps on the iPhone.)

Disney Channel attracts girls, Cartoon boys

There’s certainly a generation gap on cable television, where shows narrowly target the very young to the very old.

But when it comes to gender, you see an intriguing gap among the very young.

Girls tend to watch Disney Channel. Boys watch Cartoon Network.

By contrast, Nickelodeon draws a fairly equal number of kids 6-11s, and
that may go some distance in explaining why it's the biggest of the

The divides between Cartoon and Disney are stark, according to second
quarter Nielsen data analyzed by Turner Networks. Disney drew a
total-day audience of 538,000 kids 6-11 during second quarter, 65
percent of which were girls.

The network ranked second in 6-11s but an easy first among girls 6-11, 17 percent ahead of No. 2 Nickelodeon.

Cartoon ranked third in 6-11s with 350,000 average viewers. Of
those, a steep 72 percent were boys, putting Cartoon second in the demo
behind Nickelodeon.

So why the disparities? It’s likely all about the programming, no surprise.

Nick manages to draw both girls and boys because of the diversity of its leading characters.

Its most popular shows include male and female protagonists, including
Timmy of “Fairly Odd Parents,” Jimmy of “The Adventures of Jimmy
Neutron, Boy Genius,” Dora of “Dora the Explorer,” and Bessie of
“Mighty B!.” It also has numerous gender-neutral programs, like “The
Wonder Pets” and, dating back a few years, “Rugrats.”

On Disney, the biggest shows of recent years are “Hannah Montana,”
“That’s So Raven” and “Lizzie McGuire.” They all attract girls because
of their strong female leads. They are traditional live-action sitcoms
about peer pressure, friendship and chasing boys.

Cartoon has animated shows with male protagonists and more
fantastical storylines that appeal to boys, focusing on good versus
evil, hero work and inventing things. Such programs include “Chowder,”
“Batman,” “Ben 10” and “Dexter’s Laboratory.”


Meanwhile, in other younger viewer ratings for the week ending June 22:

Among teens 12-17,
Fox led with a 1.4 rating and 6 share, followed by ABC at 1.2/5,
Univision at 1.1/4, NBC at 0.9/3, the CW at 0.7/3, CBS at 0.5/2,
Telemundo at 0.2/1,Telefutura at 0.1/1 and Azteca at 0.0/0.

Among kids 2-11,
Univision was first with a 1.3/6, followed by Fox at 1.1/4, ABC at
1.0/4, NBC at 0.8/3, the CW at 0.5/2, CBS at 0.4/2, Telemundo at 0.2/1,
Telefutura at 0.1/1 and Azteca at 0.0/0.

The top five shows among kids 2-5:
1. Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob SquarePants” (Monday 1 p.m.); 2.
Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob SquarePants” (Monday 1:30 p.m.); 3.
Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob SquarePants” (Monday 2 p.m.); 4. Nickelodeon’s
“SpongeBob SquarePants” (Saturday noon); 5. Disney’s “Mickey Mouse
Clubhouse” (Sunday 9:30 a.m.)

The top five shows among kids 6-11:
1. Disney’s “Camp Rock” (Friday 8 p.m.); 2. Disney’s “Hannah Montana”
(Friday 7:30 p.m.); 3. Disney’s “Wizards of Waverly Place” (Friday 10
p.m.); 4. Disney’s “Wizards of Waverly Place” (Friday 10:30 p.m.); 5.
Disney’s “Hannah Montana” (Friday 11:30 a.m.)

The top five shows among kids 9-14:
1. Disney’s “Camp Rock” (Friday 8 p.m.); 2. Disney’s “Wizards of
Waverly Place” (Friday 10 p.m.); 3. ABC Family’s “Camp Rock” (Sunday 8
p.m.); 4. Disney’s “Hannah Montana” (Friday 7:30 p.m.); 5. Disney’s
“Wizards of Waverly Place” (Friday 10:30 p.m.)

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