Shapeways Introduces New Squishy 3D Printing Material, Elasto Plastic


While the name “Elasto Plastic” sounds like an 80s punk band, it is, in fact, a new material from 3D printing company Shapeways. The plastic is elastic to a certain degree yet maintains its shape after stretching or squeezing. It will break when pulled too hard and is still in the experimental stage on the Shapeways website.

The material is off-white and has a “grainy finish.” It’s laser sintered and a bit jagged because of the layer-by-layer requirement to build the model. Shapeways writes that it is “not ready for broader use” but can be used for personal models and experimental projects.

We recently featured Shapeways in our TC Makers series and they’ve begin printing this material on their nylon sintering machines in their US factory. It takes about eight days to print and ship and could be an interesting hinge material for 3D-printed projects. Considering it already looks like cartilage, I’d be curious to see how makers take the material to the next level.

via 3DPrintingIndustry

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Apple Adds A New iPod Touch With 16GB Of Storage And No Rear Camera For $229

ipod touch

Apple today dropped a mid-cycle refresh of the iPod touch, its iOS-based iPod, with 16GB of storage on board and without a rear camera, for $ 229. This slots in its existing lineup between the refreshed, fifth-generation iPod touch, which has a rear camera (and a loop for attaching a wristband), and the iPod nano.

The new iPod still has the same 4-inch Retina display you’ll find on the existing iPod touch and the iPhone, but it only comes in one color, black and silver, and it replaces the 16GB fourth generation leftover which Apple had offered since introducing the fifth-generation touch, presumably to fill the price gap between it and the 32GB $ 299 model of that lineup. The fourth gen models had been available for $ 199 for 16GB, and $ 249 for 32 GB, so this threads the needle between those two options in terms of price point.

You’ll still get the front-facing FaceTime camera, with 720p HD video recording on this device, the same A5 processor, and the same battery life. The new iPod touch variant is actually .06 ounces lighter than the existing versions, however, which is probably the weight of the rear camera module component. It also boasts the same Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi capabilities as the fifth-gen device.

As MacRumors points out, this refresh was actually predicted by KGI Securities’ analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has an impressive track record on products so far, though he also predicted an 8GB model, too. Still, the fact that he nailed the lack of a camera and the price point on the 16GB model is impressive.

Apple has seemed more open to making changes that go beyond internal specs on products mid-update cycle, including the iMac, which got a VESA-compatible variant earlier this year. I suspect that Apple needed its component and manufacturing costs to get to a point where this version would become viable in terms of its margin expectations, and also that it probably benefitted from clearing the supply lines of the fourth generation model by waiting this long to introduce this variant, but it still might be indicative of a new way Apple is thinking about product releases.

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Google’s Sundar Pichai Announces HTC One Google Edition, Available June 26 For $599


Google will make another mobile phone available with stock Android soon. Sundar Pichai, SVP of Android, Chrome, and Apps, announced at the D11 Conference that the company will sell the HTC One Google Edition for $ 599 on the Google Play store, beginning June 26.

Google has previously announced the availability of the Samsung Galaxy S4 with stock Android through the Play Store, which will retail for $ 649. That device was announced during I/O, with availability also set for June 26.

“We’re developing a user experience that scales across the world[…],” Pichai said, explaining why the Google Edition devices are now a priority for the company. “We’re making Android the operating system that is consistent across all of these devices.”

“The challenge is related to what is great about Android […] The scale and scope of Android is pretty breathtaking,” Pichai explained further. “From a Google perspective, we care about how users use Android and the user experience.”

HTC has already offered a similar device through its own online retail store, the HTC One Developer Edition. The Developer Edition is a $ 649.99 device that has 64GB of onboard storage, plus an unlocked bootloader. The new Google Play version of the One will differ in that it will also offer stock Android, and updates that arrive in time with those issued for Nexus devices and the Play version of the Galaxy S4. The Developer Edition also ships with Jelly Bean 4.1, but the HTC One Google Edition will ship with Jelly Bean 4.2.2. Also, the Google version will carry 32GB of internal storage instead of the 64 from the dev model. The Google HTC One works with GSM cellular networks.

HTC says it will continue to offer the Developer Edition direct from its own website, but the $ 599 Google Edition, with its GSM network support and initial U.S.-only availability, is probably the better buy for developers looking to not only try out the hardware but also stay up-to-date on the very latest from Google’s OS.

The HTC One has already been well-received by critics, and offering it with a stock Android experience is sure to be a hit with a specific audience. It’s also impressive that it will cost $ 50 less than the competition from Samsung. But now that Google is clearly interested in expanding the so-called “Nexus Experience” beyond its own line of co-branded devices like the Nexus 4 from manufacturer LG, it’ll be interesting to see what role those “blessed” handsets will have in the future, or whether “Nexus” becomes more of a designation than a specific device line.

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The Double Robotics iPad-Equipped Teleconferencing Robot Is Shipping


It’s impossible to be in two places at once. But Double Robotics, a wheel-equipped robot with an iPad for a face, has finally made that possible.

The company has begun shipping units of the Double to customers who pre-ordered and coughed up the $ 2,000 to get one. In fact, the first hundred are already safely in the homes and lives of their new owners.

By September, the company will have shipped another 1,000 units, showing that even with a high price tag, hardware startups can still rake in the cash and run a sustainable business. But of course, this has to do with the fact that the Double has all kinds of valuable use-case scenarios that span across various industries.

For example, we used the Double at CES to usher in a new kind of remote reporting. And we aren’t the only ones.

The $ 2,000 price tag, which was a special pre-order price, will remain in place until June 6, for those who feel that they’d like to get in on the robotic goodness. After that, the price will go up to $ 2,499.

TechCrunch » Gadgets

GamePop Subscription-Based Android Gaming Console To Cost $129, COM2US Joins Developer List

GamePop Cube

The latest product from BlueStacks, the GamePop Android-powered gaming console, will retail for $ 129 once it exists its free pre-order offer, which is ongoing and will continue through the end of June, the company announced today. And it will launch with a solid line-up of paid gaming titles for the all-you-can-eat subscription fee of $ 6.99 per month, thanks to newly announced partnerships with COM2US, Korea’s largest game developer, which will have its own dedicated channel in the GamePop menu.

Other newly announced partners included Intellijoy, and education developers that boasts three of the top 10 spots in the education app category of Google Play, which will be adding around $ 30 worth of software to the subscription package on offer from GamePop. At launch, GamePop plans to have 500 top paid gaming titles available to subscribers, with revenue split 50/50 between itself and those game developers chosen to be included in the roster.

GamePop also shared sparse details about its controller system, which will feature dedicated hardware as well as other mobile devices. I spoke with BlueStacks’ John Gargiulo about the new GamePop announcements, and about the controller in particular.

“It is not what people will expect, it’s much better, we will ensure that the experience is high quality game-by-game,” he said. GamePop will also support using Android or iPhone devices as controllers, via a virtual gamepad interface, and also using “new control paradigms that have recently been made possible,” he teased, though he couldn’t go into more detail about what exactly we’d be seeing in terms of unique control schemes. Most likely gesture-based controls that leverage the accelerometer in those devices will be in play, perhaps providing a Wii-style gaming experience. These will also be tailored to titles game-by-game.

Overall, the game-by-game approach is a key competitive advantage for GamePop, Gargiulo argues. Whereas others like OUYA have put the impetus on developers to bring their software to their platform and tweak it to make sure it fits, GamePop is doing the opposite, and making sure that developers can bring their software untouched to its device. That means devoting more resources from its own team to ensuring the experience is a good one on the console, but it’s a necessary step when you’re asking developers to embrace a new business model, and it’s something that will ultimately help lower the barrier of entry and ensure that Bluestacks can offer as strong a library as possible.

That library needs to include games that people already know and love, Gargiulo believes, and delivering that will be the difference between success or failure in this space according to him.

“What’s really helping us win developers is the fact that we’re using our resources, our funding, our engineering to build all of the IP around their apps and games working on GamePop,” he said. “Whereas, the old school console model, and what others are doing in this space, is asking quite a lot of developers. Developers don’t have a lot of bandwidth, and people are asking them to integrate SDKs, special controls, build special menus and that’s not something we’re asking for.”

Instead, developers are helping cross-promote the console through in-app advertising and other channels, which requires relatively no effort, and, depending on subscriber base, they stand to make a lot more money than they can by offering their titles on a pay-per-install basis. Gargiulo also says that in-app purchase mechanics will remain untouched, and that all proceeds from those sales will go direct to developers (minus the standard Google Play store cut), without BlueStacks taking any cut of the action.

The GamePop is still on track for a Winter 2013 release, the company says, and it arrived at the $ 129 pricing based on a desire to make sure that it has powerful enough hardware to support the most demanding mobile games, and provide some degree of future-proofing. Its 500-game selection may be subject to future expansion, since they company has seen tremendous developer interest, but will also feature a rotating crop of titles, with under performing games being dropped to ensure players always have access to the top titles.

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