ZephVR Adds Wind Simulation to Virtual Reality

If you’ve ever strapped on a proper virtual reality headset like an Oculus Rift or an HTC Vive, you know how truly immersive today’s VR experiences can be. But there are still some things that break the illusion, like not being able to truly walk around, and the way things FEEL versus the way things LOOK.

In the interest of making VR experiences even more realistic, ZephVR is developing an inexpensive add-on for VR goggles that is designed to produce simulated wind while you make your way through the VR landscape.

The ZephVR adds a pair of lightweight fans to your goggles, and hits you with a breeze of air that’s synchronized with your VR games. Apparently, it uses audio from VR games and machine learning algorithms to listen for wind noise to determine when to blow its fans, rather than detecting player movements. I think that approach seems a little odd, but I’m guessing it’s easier to intercept the audio compared to trying to determine movements in 3D space.

In addition to the autonomous mode for gameplay, the fans can be turned on full time in case you just want to keep cool while playing. Plus, the system is compatible with all three major VR platforms, Rift, Vive, and PlayStation VR.

The early bird deal for the ZephVR has the add-on priced at just $75, so it’s a reasonably inexpensive add-on to your VR rig. It’s an interesting idea, though I think you might want to wait to test one out before jumping into the Kickstarter fray on this one.

Coca-Cola PC Casemod: Have a CPU and a Smile

We used to feature lots of awesome PC casemods here on Technabob, but the rise of laptops and mobile devices has all but killed the desktop PC except for high-end gaming and professional workstations. So with that, the number and frequency of cool mods has decreased dramatically. But here’s one recent casemod I really thought was worth sharing.

Built as a collaboration between PC maker MAINGEAR and tooth decay maker Coca-Cola, this amazing custom PC build is loaded with the latest and greatest tech, and also looks amazing.

The PC features Coke’s iconic red and white color scheme, and a slick liquid cooling system that incorporates an actual glass Coca-Cola bottle. They even managed to figure out a way to make the cooling liquid look like Coke, complete with fizzy bubbles inside. They even went so far as to use the actual mix of dyes that Coke uses in their soda for authenticity. There’s also a slight green tinge to the side glass, which matches the “Georgia Green” that Coke bottles are made from.

The gaming PC is based on the MAINGEAR Rush, running an Intel 6950x CPU and HyperX memory. However, it’s been highly customized for this build. One of the highlights of the system is the dual GTX 1080 graphics card stack that they managed to mount at a 90º angle relative to the motherboard, and the visible liquid cooling that flows through see-through plumbing and into a cooling reservoir on top of the card.

It’s a really beautiful build, though I really wish it had a Coke dispenser built in. Actually, I prefer Diet Coke.

These Raspberry Pi Cases Make Tiny Retro Computers

If you’re a fan of classic computer systems from the 1980s, then check this out. These custom-made cases let you build a working Raspberry Pi computer system that looks like a mini version of iconic retro systems.

RetroPiCases makes miniature cases based on the Commodore 64, VIC-20, Amiga 500, BBC Model B, and my personal favorite, the Atari ST – which was the last great computer system that didn’t run either Windows or Mac OS if you ask me.

Each 3D-printed case perfectly fits a Raspberry Pi board (be sure to read the descriptions on Etsy to see which board it requires), and provides proper access to its ports, and some cases include an LED power light as well.

The cases sell for about $20 to $35 (USD) each, not including the cost of the Raspberry Pi board itself. Naturally, I think these would be best when loaded up with Emulation Station and system appropriate software so you can use it to run classic computer software.

 

This Stand Turns Your iPhone into a Classic Macintosh

Are you a fan of the original Apple Macintosh? This smartphone stand can transform your modern day Apple device into a 1984 model Macintosh in a snap.

Elago’s M4 phone stand looks like a classic Mac, but it’s been stretched and distorted horizontally in order to accommodate the widescreen landscape orientation of today’s smartphones. The result is pretty goofy looking if you ask me, but it’s a bit more convincing if you connect a bluetooth keyboard to your phone. I suppose if you jailbreak your iPhone and run Mini vMac on it, that’s where the fun would really kick in.

The stand is made from scratch-free silicone, and has a slot in the side which can hold the iPhone 6, 6S, 7, and presumably the iPhone 8 as well. There’s also a larger version for iPhone Plus models. However the slot is pretty narrow, so you can’t have a case on your phone when you dock it.

The stand is available in classic off-white or black over on Amazon for $29.99(USD). The larger iPhone Plus model goes for $39.99.

The 2017 Amazon Fire HD 8 Is the Perfect iPad Mini Alternative

The current generation iPad Mini 4 is a great tablet if you want something compact but capable of playing media, checking emails, surfing the web, and playing games. But it’s also ridiculously expensive for what it is – selling for $399 or more. On the other hand, there’s the latest gen Amazon Fire HD 8, which packs a similarly sized screen starting at just $79.99.

Sure, the Fire HD 8’s display isn’t as razor sharp as Apple’s display, with “just” a 1280 x 800 resolution, but at 189 ppi pixel density, it’s still about twice the sharpness of your typical computer monitor.

The new Fire HD 8 packs a speedy 1.3 GHz quad-core CPU, and 50% more RAM than its smaller brother, the Fire 7. Battery life is great too, with up to 12 hours of typical use, and it also packs a 2-megapixel rear camera and a front-facing VGA camera for video chats. In addition, the Fire HD 8 supports Amazon’s Alexa personal assistant, so you can use it to ask questions, have it control apps, or smarthome appliances all from the tablet.

Of course, you get access to the complete Amazon content ecosystem on the tablet too, with hundreds of thousands of books, movies, music tracks, videos, games, TV shows and more available for purchase and download. Kindle Unlimited or Music Unlimited subscriptions are also available for full access to a massive book or music library.

The Fire HD 8 comes in four colors, and either 16 or 32GB of on-board storage, expandable by up to 256 GB using a microSD card, or unlimited cloud storage for Amazon content. And if you’re concerned about the tablet holding up to abuse, Amazon says the Fire HD 8 is substantially more durable than the iPad Mini 4.

Base price for the 16GB Fire HD 8 is just $79.99 if you’re willing to watch Amazon’s special offers advertisements, or $94.99 without the ads. The 32GB model starts at $109.99 with special offers, or $124.99 without.

Commodore 64 Mini Slated for Release in 2018

Between the Nintendo Classic Mini, SNES Classic Mini, Atari Flashback, and Sega Mega Drive Classic, there’s a clear miniaturization trend when it comes to retro gaming systems. The next system to go in front of the shrink ray? The Commodore 64.

The 1982 8-bit system is getting a mini version, scaled down to 50% of the size of the original. The new version looks exactly like the real deal, though it does away with the original 9-pin joystick connectors, replacing them with USB ports. Those USB ports will likely come in handy if you want to use the C64 Mini as a full computer, rather than just a gaming system, since the mini keyboard is just for show, and you’ll need to plug in an actual keyboard if you want to type and run programs in BASIC. If you prefer your systems full-sized, the company says they’re working on a 100% scale version of the updated Commodore 64, which will have an actual working keyboard built in.

While some retro emulators aren’t perfectly accurate, the makers of the C64 Mini say that their system provides “Accurate 64 operation.” Hopefully, that means the emulation is spot on. There are also some modern upgrades, including an HDMI video output, pixel filters for emulating CRT and scanline effects if you want, and the ability to save game states. The system also includes one classic C64 style joystick, and comes pre-loaded with dozens of classic (and not so classic) C64 games.

The C64 Mini is expected to ship in early 2018, and will sell for just $69.99(USD) – which is a bargain if you ask me.

[via SlashGear]

Ctrl-Alt-Del Keyboard Ring: Punch to Reset

They’re three little keys that every Windows user dreads having to use, but Ctrl-Alt-Del have been part of PC life since all the way back in the 1980s. If you’ve endured your share of soft reboots and Task Manager app quits, then wear these as as a badge of honor with this awesome ring.

Joy Complex’s cast steel statement ring looks almost as badass as a set of brass knuckles, but I don’t recommend using it to punch your computer monitor or the guy at Geek Squad who told you that all your data is gone.

The Ctrl-Alt-Del ring is available in a few different steel finishes, and a variety of sizes over on JoyComplex’s Etsy shop, and prices range from $40 to $50(USD). They need to make a “Command-Option-Esc” version for Mac users.

IBM’s simulated molecule could lead to drug and energy advances

IBM's quantum computer has made a small advance that could ultimately lead to a major chemistry breakthrough. A team of IBM researchers has successfully used IBM Q to accurately simulate the molecular structure of beryllium hydride (BeH2), the larges...

This USB-C Adapter Has You Covered for Any Kind of Port You May Need

Struggling to keep track of all your adapters for your numerous devices? Now you only need one adapter that has you covered on any kind of port you need. The CASA USB-C 6-Port Hub is the perfect accessory for MacBooks and other systems with a USB-C port.

Maximize your multitasking with this aesthetically pleasing and comprehensive USB Type-C hub that will meet your every need. You can charge any device you need using two USB 3.1 Type-A ports, a USB 3.1 Type-C port, plus HDMI, ethernet, and an SD card reader. Since it’s compatible with so many devices, this is likely the only adapter you’ll ever need.

The CASA USB-C 6-Port Hub can be a great addition to your technology arsenal. It’s just $79.99(USD) in the Technabob Shop.

For an additional 15% off this great deal and more, use code BYESUMMER. And shop the rest of the sale here before it ends tonight (9/5/17).

These Steampunk Flash Drives are Insanely Awesome

Flash drives used to have some value, but these days, I’ve got boxes full of them – mostly handed to me by vendors presenting their products. To garner attention, companies have handed me USB drives that look like everything from a metal horse, to a twig, to a key fob from a $100,000 car. But all of those designs pale in comparison to these beautiful handcrafted flash drives from artist Magen Kening.

These one-of-a-kind steampunk flash drives are crafted from materials like copper, brass, and glass. They look kind of what Doctor Who’s Sonic Screwdriver would look like if he lived in Victorian times.

Most of the drives have LED lighting built in, but the coolest one has to be the one with the spinning DNA double helix inside.

You can see the spinning helix in action in the video below…

Is that not the coolest flash drive you’ve ever seen? Incredible work, Magen. And check out this motorized gatling gun flash drive:

Amazing! They’ve also got one with a nixie tube that lights up:

If you’re interested in getting your hands on one of these amazing pocket-sized works of art, you can find them all over on Etsy. Prices start around $199 and go up to as much as $499 (USD).