Saturday 10 December 2016

Digital Life: This mini projector is a little wonder

Published 25/01/2011 | 05:00

Fourteen-year-old Robert Nay
(right), the inventor of the world's
most frequently downloaded free
iPhone application, shows off his
Bubble Ball video game to pal
William Graham
Fourteen-year-old Robert Nay (right), the inventor of the world's most frequently downloaded free iPhone application, shows off his Bubble Ball video game to pal William Graham

What the bloody hell are our scientists playing at? More than 30 years after the release of Star Wars in 1977, we're still not much closer to 3D holograms as a form of communication.

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Admit it, you wanted one when you saw a miniature Princess Leia appealing for Obi-Wan Kenobi's help via a video played back in 3D form. Or was that just me?

While we wait for the boffins to get their priorities straight (world hunger, pah!), we'll have to settle for clever 2D devices such as the MiLi Pico Projector. This portable miniature projector fits comfortably into a coat pocket and connects to everything from an iPod to a laptop to a PS3.

Hook it up and it can project movies/pictures/whatever at sizes up to 70 inches in diameter on to any white surface. It works best with an iPod/iPhone but the MiLi generously includes cables that enable input from many other devices. The battery lasts about two hours but can also run off the mains.

Most people will use it to watch videos and photo slideshows in places where they don't have a TV. But maybe you want to take your Xbox on holidays. Or maybe you'd like to do a quick presentation from your laptop. This projector has you covered.

Understandably, the MiLi has its shortcomings. It requires almost total darkness to produce an acceptable picture. The loud fan and electronic crackles detract from the already weedy audio.

But so long as you don't expect high-def, pristine-sounding movies, it's impressive.

As a feat of miniaturisation, it's a little wonder.

The MiLi Pico Projector costs €300 at the Carphone Warehouse.

www.carphonewarehouse.ie

Still on the subject of desirable future technology, where's Dick Tracy's watch-phone? Sony Ericsson tried a few years ago but its Bluetooth timepiece was overpriced and under-engineered.

Now SE is back for another go with the LiveView, a wearable, wireless remote control for your Android phone that happens to look like a cheap Casio watch.

Pair it up with any Android and the LiveView's small screen will notify you of new texts/incoming calls/appointments and enable to stop and start music playback, among other things.

The concept of the LiveView is interesting but alas the execution is shoddy, with several bugs in the software, terrible battery life and (fatally!) it doesn't have the ability to talk Dick Tracy-style on the phone. For €70, you should at least be getting a good-looking watch but its nylon strap just makes it look tacky.

www.sonyericsson.ie

Game on

Majin and The Forsaken Kingdom

Rating 7.5/10

Gamers of a certain vintage will fondly recall Ico, a PS2 classic from 2002 wherein you led a tremulous princess to freedom through a shadowy castle. Majin wants to be its modern equivalent in which the player teams up with a lumbering colossus to set the world to rights.

The lovably dumb hulk supplies the brawn while you apply the brains to solve puzzles and defeat the wraiths snapping at your heels. It's a valiant mix that creates some ingenious challenges.

But Majin lacks Ico's atmosphere while shallow combat and occasional bugginess will test players' resolve to see the story through.

Ilomilo

Rating 8.5/10

If the Monty Python team made videogames, they would be proud of Ilomilo. Echoing the wacky animation and brass-flavoured tunes of Terry Gilliam's cartoons, this whimsical puzzler challenges you to reunite two friends separated in a maze of blocks.

It kicks off simply enough, passing control between Ilo and Milo as they move blocks and bypass obstacles to eventually meet up. But even as you grin at the kooky characters and the twisting levels -- all apparently made of decorated felt -- you get an inkling that some fiendish puzzles lie ahead.

The game gradually introduces gravity-shifting blocks, roving platforms and trapdoors. Suddenly, you're facing a three-dimensional headache. But in a good way.

It's often too easy to get a little lost in the bigger mazes and some solutions don't quite follow logic. But as a cheap download, Ilomilo's delightful style and gentle brain tickle is worth every penny.

Worms 2: Armageddon

Rating 7/10

iPhone/iPad

Through many editions, the turn-based worms-at-war game has barely changed since its 1995 debut. This new version gains online multiplayer and a glossy look but remains difficult to control via the touchscreen.

Yet long-time fans looking for a new dose of worms will eat it up.

Eat Them

Rating 6/10

PS3

Shamelessly aping '80s coin-op Rampage, Eat Them puts you in the scaly shoes of 50-ft monsters tearing up a city. But despite its crisp comic-book cel-shading and riffs on Japanese Godzilla flicks, Eat Them is too mindlessly chaotic to be worth the download.

Bits and Bytes

Bubble Boy's iTunes beater

  • Talk about precocious -- Robert Nay is only 14 but his iPhone game has shot to the top of the iTunes chart within weeks of release.

The youngster from Utah created Bubble Ball because he loved playing games and wanted to write his own. Now the free app has been downloaded more than two million times; it's the most popular one at the iTunes App Store in the US and is quickly gaining fans in Europe too.

JFK -- a presidency in tweets



  • To mark the 50th anniversary of John F Kennedy's inauguration, his official archive has begun to chronicle his 1,000 days in office via Twitter.

Relive classic quotes such as: "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country." Or follow the links to pictures and clips of the man himself from 1961 to 1963.

www.twitter.com/Kennedy1961

Nintendo's 3DS is priced out



  • Nintendo raised more than a few eyebrows when it unveiled pricing last week for the new 3DS -- due in shops here on March 25.

The 3D-enabled successor to the wildly popular Nintendo DS will cost roughly €270 -- more than the cost of many consoles, including its own Wii. You can't fault Nintendo's judgment usually but many buyers will consider it a bridge too far in these economically straitened times.

www.nintendo.co.uk

Browse the body with Google



  • The eggheads at Google never take a rest, do they? Their latest creation is the free Body Browser which shows in intimate, accurate detail the inside of the human body. You can zoom right in to see muscles, veins, organs and bones from any angle.

Note it works only in ultra-modern browsers such as Chrome and Firefox -- none of your Internet Explorer muck here.

bodybrowser.googlelabs.com

Irish Independent

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