Create a 3D cardboard avatar mini-me for 12 bucks

The same people who brought you Olly the smelly robot have taken the next logical step into creating miniature 3D cardboard avatars. Yep, I said "huh?" when I heard that, too.

But "huh?" isn't a bad thing. Mint Digital's Foldable.Me is an online design tool that lets you customize your blocky little avatar. Next, you pay $11.99 and your little friend shows up in the mail a few days later. The avatar comes flat for you to fold into shape.… Read more

Create a new you on IMVU, the world's largest 3D chat and dress-up community

IMVU is "the world's largest 3D Chat and Dress-Up community." Launched in 2004, Instant Messaging Virtual Universe is simple in concept: Combine the social networking power of IM chat with a 3D virtual "universe." Participants create elaborate new identities, called avatars, that give free rein to self-expression. As with other virtual communities, you can make friends among IMVU's millions of users. But IMVU is much more than a 3D chat room: it's a real simulated world (or the real world, simulated). You can design, make, buy, and sell things like clothes and accessories, … Read more

Avatar on Blu-ray 3D available to all October 16

It took nearly two years, but "Avatar" on Blu-ray 3D is finally being offered in-store to anyone who wants to purchase it.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment today announced that the film version will be available globally starting October 15. The company will launch the movie in North America on October 16.

"Avatar" has been available on Blu-ray 3D since 2010. However, the film was offered exclusively to Panasonic customers who purchased one of the company's HDTVs or other devices. All others were forced to stick with the Blu-ray version.

Why it took so long … Read more

Lumoback sensor funded in just days on Kickstarter

When I started reading about Lumoback's Kickstarter campaign this morning, my left foot was curled under my right thigh and my back was slouched so far forward it was almost cartoonish. A few sentences in and I was sitting tall, but by the end of the page a few minutes later I was back to my old ways, an offense I'll surely pay for in ibuprofen costs in the years to come.

Enter Lumoback, the sensor and app that hopes to rise above its competition. (Yes, there are several sensors and apps aimed at improving posture.) And having hit its $100,000 goal in a matter of days, with 26 left on the calendar, it looks like it will at the very least see a round of production.

The brainchild of three Stanford grads -- an engineer, physician, and entrepreneur -- Lumoback is essentially a sleek little waistband that tracks movement data and syncs wirelessly to an iPhone 4S or new iPad. The team says it's prioritizing support for Android as well.… Read more

Jury to hear No Doubt's case against Activision's Band Hero

No Doubt's lawsuit against Activision is going to be heard by a jury.

The pop rock band sued gaming giant Activision in 2009 on allegations that the company's game Band Hero lets players convert the avatars "into a virtual karaoke circus act." The case has been ongoing ever since, and today Superior Court Judge Ramona See ruled that the decision will now be up to a jury, according to the Associated Press.

The lawsuit was first brought when No Doubt claimed that Activision didn't tell the pop musicians that players would be able to unlock … Read more

The 404 1,062: Where we actually like hotspacho (podcast)

Jeff's still gleeful after the results of this weekend's NHL Eastern Conference Finals, but there are other things going on in the world of The 404 too.

On today's show, Jeff gives a 50/50 review of "The Avengers," Justin gets an East Coast geography lesson, airports around New York announce holographic avatars designed to "help" lost passengers, Facebook reveals plans to develop yet another Facebook-exclusive phone, and Sony files a patent that could pause games to show players advertisements.… Read more

Perky avatars bring 'Uncanny Valley' to NYC airports

A cheery, two-dimensional lady will soon be arriving in New York City area airports to make the agony of modern air travel a little easier -- if she doesn't totally creep you out, that is.

The Port Authority of New York yesterday unveiled new customer service avatars at Newark and La Guardia airports. For now, the quarter-million-dollar units are essentially woman-shaped, motion-activated looping video billboards that dispense the same prerecorded but helpful information about shuttle buses and restrooms to anyone who walks by. Port Authority representatives said they hope future versions of the technology will be more interactive and capable of holding conversations.… Read more

Why 'Rango' and 'Hugo' won at the Oscars

If there's been one thing you could count on every year since the Academy Awards started honoring animated features, it's that Pixar would walk away with the Oscar. Through last year, six of the studio's eight films won golden statuettes.

But Pixar's 2011 entry, "Cars 2," a box office success but a critical failure, not only didn't win on Sunday, it wasn't even nominated. And that meant a golden opportunity for a slew of other animated filmmakers.

In the end, it was "Pirates of the Caribbean" director Gore Verbinski's &… Read more

DARPA plans 'Avatar' surrogate robots

Could soldiers of the future fight battles in robot bodies controlled from afar? DARPA apparently thinks so, and the agency wants to create an army of surrogate fighting droids.

The U.S. military's research wing apparently is planning surrogates like in the film "Avatar" but with robots instead of giant Na'vi. It has a $7 million program code-named "Avatar" in its 2013 budget, according to Wired.

The robots would reduce risk to human fighters, just as thousands of aerial drones are already keeping pilots out of harm's way. … Read more

Top 10 pirated movies in the world (infographic)

The top 10 most pirated movies in the world are either fantastical, involve superheroes, or have some serious fight scenes ("The Hangover" might have all three).

According to data collected by TorrentFreak, tens of thousands of movies are pirated every day using either BitTorrents or some other type of file sharing.

Say what you will about people downloading pirated movies, but according to TorrentFreak's list of the top 10 pirated movies these downloaders seem to have strikingly similar taste to those who go to the box office. (See IMDb's list of top 10 box office grosses … Read more