Scientists print eye cells using inkjet printer

What can you print with an inkjet printer? Researchers from the UK's University of Cambridge have added eye cells to the list.

The scientists printed two types of central nervous system cells (PDF) from the retinas of adult rats: ganglion cells (which transmit information from the eye to the brain), and glial cells (which provide protection and support for neurons). The resulting cells were able to grow normally and remain healthy in culture. … Read more

'Eyes-Free Yoga' turns Kinect into teacher for the blind

As anyone who has attempted a bakasana knows, perfecting certain yoga poses takes time, and watching an instructor twist and bend into position can help a lot.

The blind or sight-impaired, however, don't have the advantage of being able to see a teacher's movements.

Enter Eyes-Free Yoga, a software program out of the University of Washington that works with the cameras in Microsoft's Kinect motion sensor device to track users' position and offer spoken feedback in real time. "Rotate your shoulders left," it might say. "Lean sideways toward your left," "Bend your right leg further," or "Bring your arms closer to your head." … Read more

Do all amplifiers sound exactly the same?

The $25 Lepai LP2020+ integrated stereo amplifier plays exactly the same notes as a $42,000 D'Agostino Momentum amplifier. Exactly. The rhythms, melodies, and harmonies are all the same. Granted, the Momentum is considerably more powerful, so it can play louder, the bass will be more potent, the treble is clearer, and the stereo sound stage takes on an almost three-dimensional quality, but the notes, they're no different.

For me, the real difference between the two amps is how they translate music into sound. The emotional connection to the music is stronger through the D'Agostino Momentum; it'… Read more

World's first approved bionic eye to launch in U.S.

After more than 20 years in the making and FDA approval in February, the Argus II bionic eye is finally here. Well, almost. Developer Second Sight says it has selected clinical centers in 12 U.S. markets where it will begin rolling out the groundbreaking technology later this year.

The Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System, which was approved in February to treat adults 25 and older with severe to profound retinitis pigmentosa, doesn't actually restore vision to these patients, but can allow them to detect light and dark, and thus identify the movement or location of objects.… Read more

Review: WindowBlinds 8 goes modern with style

WindowBlinds version 8 brings a couple new features that include a brand new interface, better support for Windows 8, and SkinStudio, a theme designer that lets users create their own customizations.

There are four main aspects of your windows that you can modify: style, color, texture, and background. Styles are preset schemes to make your windows look new. Version 8 includes a couple new styles (including Win8, which mimics the flat style of Modern UI). Each style contains a substyle that'll modify a graphic or tailor your windows and taskbars to be more in line with your current version … Read more

Newly minted Odin Mobile sells phones for the blind

People with visual impairments just got a new champion in the cell phone world. Odin Mobile launched on Wednesday with a vision of bringing specialized cell phones to customers with limited eyesight.

Accessibility features -- inputs meant especially for those with special needs -- are baked into nearly every cell phone and smartphone, but the three handsets that Odin Mobile stocks in its online shelves are specifically created for blind and low-vision customers.

The Huawei Vision ($300), a Project Ray device backed by Qualcomm and built on an Android phone, was designed specifically for the blind.

Phone owners will navigate … Read more

First-ever Braille smartphone could hit stores this year

An interaction designer who makes sci-fi short films has spent the past three years developing what he says is the world's first Braille-enabled smartphone. He said that if testing goes well, the phones could hit stores by the end of this year.

Thanks in part to award money from Rolex, India-based designer Sumit Dagar has been collaborating with the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi and L V Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad to develop a prototype. The smartphone employs a haptic touch screen that elevates and depresses the content it receives, thereby transforming the data into touchable patterns.

Yes, this phone is essentially a shapeshifter.… Read more

Audio-based virtual gaming aims to help the blind navigate

A video game that uses audio cues and computer-generated building layouts has proven to be better at improving a blind person's spatial awareness of that place than does actually walking them through it, according to new research out of Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

The findings could have implications for how visually impaired people -- and possibly those without impairments -- best learn to navigate unknown territory.

"It is a tool to build a map of a place you have never been to before," Lotfi Merabet, the neuroscientist whose team developed the software used in the study (which appears in the Journal of Visualized Experiments), told Reuters. "The video game not only allows you to build a map in your mind, it allows you to interact with it mentally in a way that you wouldn't be able to if you were taught explicitly by walking through it."… Read more

Six tech features that should be standard in every new car

Air bags, antilock brakes, and stability control. CD players, power locks and windows, and air conditioning. These are all features that at some point were optional (and sometimes costly) in vehicles, but over time we've come to expect them in every new car on the road -- whether that's due to legislation or changing buyer tastes. As cars continue to evolve, so grow our expectations of what should be included in the sticker price. I've rounded up a few optional car tech features that I'd like to see make the jump to being standard equipment.

Bluetooth … Read more

The 404 1,210: Where where we survive on ramen and taxes (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- How a movie changed one man's vision forever.

- Google's stock breaks $800 for the first time.

- Report: OfficeMax, Office Depot discussing merger.

- Microsoft moves out of preview.

- Dow 14,000: Stocks near new crest.

- Middle class remains stuck.

- Free File: Do your Federal taxes for free!… Read more