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Congress But who will use the tiny machine? “If you


look at the interest that we have got so far, it’s been from a lot of different industries, all the way from aviation and automotive to mobile phone companies who see some synergies in this, and everyone in between. Tere’s a lot of different applications, and for us to support that we found out that the best way is actually to open up the sales so the developers of these com- panies, could take the device and do what they need to do with it for their application.” A development version will be available in


April at £139 and ‘consumer’ versions will fol- low this summer.


”From here I can get to any content on my Mac that I want”, says Hong Bui, of Polkast, demonstrating the company’s cloud software with his iPad. “You see how fast the content is coming over – all my photos. You see them coming over as we speak”


pulls your fingers slightly towards the surface. It’s a tiny force, but fingers have great sensitivity, specifically on certain frequencies.... We can tar- get our electrostatic signal to specific frequencies that hands are sensitive to. And then, modulat- ing them we can replicate a lot of the surfaces that exist in the real world. All of these areas and borders, they correspond to a pattern of vibra- tion or pressure, and that’s what we replicate here. It’s from around 20 to around 500 Hz.” Senseg’s demonstrations include a treasure-


hunt game, in which you have to find the hidden cache by running your fingers over the screen. But beyond gaming, the company believes its technology will lead to many new applications, from tactile text editing to head-up navigation controls for driving – as well as simply providing an additional channel for subtly communicating cues to the user. To add haptic sensation to a tablet will mean


inserting Senseg’s chip and some electronics, plus a surface coating on the screen, similar to an anti-friction coating. “We use it to transport the charge close to the finger, which actually cre- ates this effect”, Mr Mäkinen explains. Since the technology is electrostatic, he adds, it will have little effect on battery life. “We create a charge, but that doesn’t really go anywhere, so we are talking about minimal currents.” Te company has been in talks with manu-


facturers in the Far East, but in the meantime Mr Mäkinen believes there is still room ro refine Senseg’s haptic experience. “Believe me, that is one area where we are going to do rapid improve- ment”, he continues. “Tis is very rudimentary signals still, more like square waves – but perfect wave control is coming with our next electron- ics, which has been evolving all the time.”


32


Computer stick “Tis is the world’s smallest computer”, said Borgar Ljosland, chief executive of the Norwe- gian company FXI Technologies, holding out a couple of USB sticks in his hand. “It goes out for pre-orders today.” Packed into the little stick, nicknamed Cot-


ton Candy, are an ARM 1·2 GHz processor, a powerful graphics engine, a gigabyte of main memory, a microSD card slot for storage, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for connecting to the Cloud and perhaps to a keyboard and mouse, a micro-USB port for accessories such as a camera – and on the other end of the stick, an HDMI plug for delivering the 720p/1080p HD graphics out- put. For an operating system, the user is offered a choice of Ubuntu Linux or Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). “Obviously it can connect to any HDMI-


equipped screen, like a TV screen or a PC moni- tor, but it also has a very special use of the USB”, Mr Ljosland continued. “It can connect to an existing computer like a Mac or Windows PC and it will basically provide a user interface – your own user interface on that machine. So you can treat the PC as a thin client.”


Cloud with security Shaping the Internet Cloud into a more user- friendly form is a software company called Pol- kast, which offers a solution to the problem of uploading and managing Cloud content, for business as well as personal users. “Everyone talks about the cloud”, said Hong


Bui, founder and chief executive of the compa- ny. “Everyone talks about having your content everywhere, but none of them really deliver that. We turn everything you have into the cloud and connect them directly. So that’s exactly what you see. So what you do is much faster, there’s no 5 Gbyte limit and no bandwidth limit. “Once you’ve installed Polkast on your com-


puter, you can build your own cloud within two minutes. It starts to index the information that you have, and then after that you download Pol- kast on any devices that you want to get assets to, and then you pull the content over. And then from then on you will be able to see your con- tent from anywhere. “It doesn’t matter where you are – you get ac-


cess to all the content you have. It’s all on your local device. Tat’s why people like it, because they control their own privacy. Te only thing that we host on our cloud is your account in- formation and whereabouts are your different devices. So you can think of this as an operator: just like you when you use your cellular phone: it doesn’t matter where you are, people can get assets to you. “How often, when you are travelling on the


road, people ask you, ‘hey, where’s that docu- ment or video?’’ You have all the documents, with a keyword. “It’s extremely secure, because at any given


time only your devices can connect to each other and they are encrypted. So business also like it. A lot of people think it’s one of the hottest cloud solutions now because of our ability to give you all cloud benefits and remove all the limitations and security concerns.” Currently Polkast is free for personal users


From FXItech, a powerful all-in-one ARM- based graphics computer in a tiny outline


connecting their mobile devices to a single PC, but for business users or multiple PCs the service is chargeable.


LAND mobile March 2012


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