Your next smartphone may very well be able to bend in half — if LG’s technology ever comes to market, that is. Following news that both Samsung and LG are preparing smartphones with curved displays, LG has announced that it is developing flexible batteries that could make their devices virtually bendable.

LG has recently started production of what it calls “cable batteries,” which are flexible, wearable batteries that utilize low electricity and are waterproof, according to an LG news release issued through the Korean Newswire. Their durability, energy efficiency and flexible form factor make them an attractive option for upcoming wearable devices, and LG claims that they can even be tied into a knot.

This isn’t likely to be the battery that ends up in LG’s alleged G Flex curved display phone, however. The Korea-based company has another component called the curved battery that is optimized for devices with curved displays, and LG says that will power its next generation of mobile devices.

LG has already been implementing non-traditional battery design into its current products, such as the “stepped battery” form factor that is present in devices such as the G2. This type of battery refers to a design that stacks two batteries on top of one another, creating what looks like a step. This method is said to take full advantage of a mobile device’s internal space, allowing for more battery without compromising its design.

That could explain why the G2 lasted longer than most phones during the LAPTOP Battery Test, which consists of continuously surfing the Web over LTE with the display brightness set to 40%. The T-Mobile G2 lasted for an astounding 13 hours during that test, which is longer than any phone we’ve ever tested.

The introduction of flexible batteries marks a rather significant breakthrough in the future of both smartphones and wearable devices. Although companies such as Samsung have been flaunting bendable displays since CES 2102, the prospect of flexible gadgets had seemed far-fetched because of necessary internals, such as batteries, that couldn’t be bent until now.

Both Samsung and LG are rumored to unveil the world’s first commercially available smartphones with curved displays sometime this month, which would mean that these gadgets would have virtually unbreakable displays. The touch screens on these devices would be made of plastic and would use flexible properties to keep them from breaking, but the displays themselves won’t be bendable.

It’s clear that LG built its latest flagship phone to last. If its blazing fast Snapdragon 800 processor wasn’t enough, the G2’s 3,000 mAh battery lasted a record-setting 13 hours and 44 minutes on the LAPTOP Battery Test. The AT&T version lasted 10 hours and 42 minutes, while the Verizon model lasted 9 hours and 14 minutes. All of these runtimes are great. While the back-mounted power and volume keys aren’t for everyone, overall the G2 is a formidable Android phone that’s built to go the distance.

Image: LG PR

This article originally published at LAPTOP Magazine

Read more: http://mashable.com/2013/10/08/lg-bendable-batteries/


If Francisco Aguilar and Dave Young get their way, police officers and firefighters will someday carry baseball-shaped, throwable cameras along with the rest of their equipment.

As the founders of Bounce Imaging, Aguilar and Young are developing spherical, camera-laden gadgets that can be tossed into dangerous places—such as the rubble of a building leveled by an earthquake—and then wirelessly relay 360-degree panoramic images of the scene back to a tablet or smartphone.

First responders and military personnel increasingly use technology to scout out places of interest without putting themselves in harm’s way. Often this means using robots capable of crawling into a building or toward a suspect vehicle. iRobot has even developed a compact, throwable reconnaissance robot called FirstLook.

Aguilar and Young, who met as graduate students at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, believe that their device will be easier to operate and cheaper than existing devices. They hope to sell the device for less than $500 initially.

“The idea behind this is, we get it to a point where if you toss it into a room and it’s dangerous to go get it, the unit is essentially disposable,” Aguilar says.

Aguilar came up with the idea for Bounce Imaging’s ball-shaped device while working as a volunteer in Haiti after the country’s devastating earthquake in 2010. While there were some fiber-optic cameras that could be used to search through rubble for survivors, the equipment was expensive and required a skilled operator, he says.

Earlier this year, he started working on Bounce Imaging with Young. They’ve since won $60,000 in funding—$50,000 in prize money from a contest organized by startup accelerator MassChallenge and $10,000 in another contest, the VenCorps NYC Impact Challenge—and are working on a prototype of their first product, which they hope to start testing in January. Several police departments and SWAT units are interested in trying it out, Aguilar says, including MIT’s own police department.

Young, who previously served in the Army in Iraq and Afghanistan, thinks Bounce Imaging’s ball-sized device could be particularly useful for the military. It would be easier to lug around than some of the unwieldy equipment he had to carry while on duty, he says. And, since it’s much cheaper than other imaging tools, it could be abandoned, if necessary.

Others have demonstrated spherical camera systems. For example, researchers at the Technische Universität Berlin built a foam-covered ball with 36 cameras inside that is capable of taking complete panoramas when thrown into the air (see “Eye Ball“).

Bounce Imaging’s device is expected to a weigh half a pound to a pound with a battery inside. It includes six wide-angle cameras that are each surrounded by an infrared LED flash. An external casing protects the components from being crushed on impact and allows the device to bounce.

The cameras can snap pictures every second or half-second, depending on the device’s settings; six pictures will give a full 360-degree view of the scene. An accelerometer and gyroscope help orient images, which are sent wirelessly to an Android-running smartphone or tablet where software stitches the images together.

Young and Aguilar hope to incorporate different sensors into the device for different applications. A firefighter might use one that includes smoke, temperature, and oxygen sensors, for example.

One obvious problem that Bounce Imaging faces is retrieval of its balls—the gadget doesn’t currently include a mechanism to bounce or roll itself back to whomever threw it, so you’d either need to go in and get it or leave it behind. The company may add a tether to allow the user to pull it back, or a beacon that allows the device to be found later on. Aguilar suggests that at some point, the company could even add motion capabilities, like that offered by robotic ball maker Sphero.

This article originally published at MIT Technology Review

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/11/08/bounce-imaging/


Online education made it possible for people to continue studies while juggling jobs, parenthood and other responsibilities that formerly inhibited the learning process.

Teachers are integrating tools like the cloud and social media to provide a better learning experience for students. Platforms like Facebook and Tumblr are used heavily every day. But adding another platform to the daily routine can seem overwhelming. By bringing new light to how each tool is utilized, students might be more inclined to participate.

Cameron Pittman, a high school physics and chemistry teacher at LEAD Academy, uses video games stored in the cloud to teach physics.

“Any successful education system prepares students to enter the world as knowledgeable, responsible citizens,” says Pittman. “We’re doing students a disservice if their education does not reflect the challenges they’ll face. Technology has irreversibly altered the world around us, and as such, education must follow suit.”

The game, called Portals, runs through a school-friendly game distribution service, Steam. Portals has a site called Teach With Portals, which allows teachers to access lesson plans and unique puzzles, and join a teachers-only community forum to share experiences.

Below, we’ve rounded up a few other ways that social media and technology are bring innovation to the classroom.

1. The Cloud

A big part of nontraditional studies comes from the cloud. Virtual communities provide the same quality education, while meeting the unique needs of students.

Indiana University High School is one of the schools utilizing the cloud, and it enables students worldwide to earn an accredited diploma through virtual learning. Because everything is in real-time, students and teachers have access to all material at all times — all they need is an Internet connection.

The cloud also makes education more streamlined for students and teachers, and at times, less expensive. Rather than carrying notebooks, textbooks and other physical learning materials, all resources are stored in the cloud, making it easy to send and save files for assignments and note-taking.

2. Facebook

In April, Facebook tapped into its former “College Only” days with Facebook Groups for Schools. These online communities serve as digital bulletin boards, so group members can share files, post jobs or internships and stay up to date on what’s happening on campus.

Students and professors are also utilizing Facebook as an online study group — one that can be open or closed to the public.

Schools such as John Cabot University created a public forum to keep students and parents informed, share photos or videos from classroom activities or schedule upcoming events.

Facebook also provides tips and guidelines for educators and school counselors.

3. Twitter

Twitter may not provide the same cloud-like backup that a site like Facebook has, but that doesn’t make it less valuable.

At Virginia Commonwealth University, professor Les Harrison required all students register a Twitter account (if they didn’t already have one) and use it collectively as a book club.

Just as Twitter users carry out television and movie-related conversations online, students can apply the same methods to reading assignments or projects. Harrison requires the students to tweet thoughts and inquiries on reading assignments. Each student was asked to also respond to other classmates’s comments.

Students and teachers are encouraged to bring other notable figures and organizations into the conversation, or they can subscribe to lists of people who are relevant to the subject matter.

Twitter is particularly useful for lecture courses that are too big for in-class conversation. To get students involved without interrupting, University of Texas-Dallas history professor Monica Rankin used Twitter so students could post messages or ask questions during class.

4. Tumblr

Instead of doodling in a notebook, students can create a more organized and less messy collection of notes, thoughts and clips with a micro-blogging platform like Tumblr.

Professors at the Columbia School of Journalism utilize Tumblr in a way that’s similar to online education sites such as Blackboard. With the pages feature, professors can post their syllabus and other relevant information in a way that’s easy to access. At Missouri School of Journalism, Jen Lee Reeves’ class Tumblr is a great resource for students and anyone else interested in journalism trends.

Students can either have individual Tumblr accounts, or professors can set up a group blog. They can then submit assignments, reblog, ask and answer questions, and engage with each other on a platform they’re already using heavily.

Tumblr also has an education tag — managed and curated by a handful of professionals in the education industry — that’s a great resource for students.

5. Pinterest

Don’t think Pinterest is only useful for your wedding plans. The hot social pinboard can be a valuable resource for teachers, too, as a way to create and organize lesson plans online.

Furthermore, it can be a great tool for collaboration — whether that’s with like-minded professionals, or encouraging parents and students to post pictures or ideas that pertain to the classroom.

Students can use Pinterest as an individual tool for organization, or in a group project. It’s a great way to keep ideas and visuals in one storyboard. Similar to Tumblr, it can also be used as a digital notebook, full of quotes, images, artwork and videos.

How does your school — or your kids’ school — integrate tech into the classroom? Tell us in the comments.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/08/20/innovative-tech-classroom/


New photos of what Apple’s iPad Mini may look like started making the rounds on the web Monday.

Considerably smaller than the current iPad, the tablet has two rear speakers rather than the single speaker on the current iPad, and uses the new lightning connector Apple introduced with the iPhone 5. Placed beside a third-generation iPad in the photos, you can really see how the size difference between the two tablets will come into play.

Originally posted on Twitter by Sonny Dickson, the photos line up with current iPad Mini rumors. However, they could also simply be mockups of the device based on those rumors.

In addition to being smaller, the iPad Mini is also expected to be less expensive than the current iPad, pitting it against tablets such as the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire in the marketplace. Recent rumors also suggest a 3G version of the tablet will be available.

Screen protectors for the yet-to-be-announced iPad Mini are already on sale at Zagg.com. Rumors suggest that Apple will be sending out invitations to an event to announce the tablet this Wednesday, with an event to announce the tablet taking place on October 17.

Apple is traditionally very secretive about its products and product announcements, but photos and details about its iPhone 5 were heavily circulated on the web prior to the official announcement of the phone.

Do you think Apple will announce an iPad Mini this month? What do you think we’ll see in the tablet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

[via Business Insider]

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Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/10/08/ipad-mini-twitter-pics/