You might think yourself too grown-up to be wowed by shiny, glittery things, but we doubt many will be able to watch NVIDIA’s new Glow Ball tech demo without a smidgen of childlike glee. Built to run on the company’s quad-core Kal-El processor, it shows us the first example of true dynamic lighting on mobile devices and also throws in some impressive physics calculations like fully modeled cloth motion. Instead of the pre-canned, static lights that we see on mobile games today, NVIDIA’s new hardware will make it possible to create lighting that moves, fluctuates in intensity, and responds realistically to its environment — all rendered in real time. The titular glow ball can be skinned with different textures, each one allowing a different amount and hue of illumination to escape to surrounding objects, and is directed around the screen using the accelerometer in your tablet or smartphone.
NVIDIA demoed the new goodness on a Honeycomb slate with 1280 x 800 resolution and the frame rates remained smooth throughout. In order to emphasize the generational leap that we can expect with Kal-El, the company switched off two of the four cores momentarily, which plunged performance down to less than 10fps. That means the simulations we’re watching require a full quartet of processing cores on top of the 12-core GPU NVIDIA has in Kal-El. Mind-boggling stuff. Glow Ball will be available as a game on Android tablets once this crazy new chip makes its way into retail devices — which are still expected in the latter half of this year, August if everything goes perfectly to plan. One final note if you’re still feeling jaded: NVIDIA promises the production chip will be 25 to 30 percent faster than the one on display today. Full video demo follows after the break.
Where Samsung leads, LG inevitably follows (and vice versa, of course). The Korean electronic arms race has now heated up by an extra few degrees with LG’s demo of a crazy new 47-inch display that packs in everything a geek could want: IPS technology, 1080p resolution, multitouch, and some good old transparency… just because. This so-called Window Display is sadly intended for advertisers and other digital signage proprietors, meaning that even if it wasn’t still at the concept stage, it likely wouldn’t be populating living rooms anyway. Ah well, so long as LG makes sure John Anderton and the precrime unit get one, we’ll be happy. Video for the rest of us after the break.
We were all aflutter this time last year when it was announced that the Martin Jetpack was finally available commercially and would be heading out to eager buyers in exchange for $86,000. Regrettably, the time since then hasn’t been filled with bunches of happy new owners levitating on the power of their dual-fan-equipped Jetpack and even less encouragement can be found on the product’s website, which still says that sales to private individuals will begin only once “development and refinement” of the vehicle is complete. To that end, we’ve got video of the Jetpack’s latest test, which shows it elevating as high as it’s ever done, but even that’s tinged by the fact it’s carrying a testing dummy and is remotely controlled by a grounded human below. Ah well, at least the company itself seems to be in good shape still and is looking forward to floating about 30 percent of its value on the local stock market in order to gain extra funding. We get the feeling if they could just start selling the darn things, cashflow shouldn’t be a problem. Video after the break.
NASA's Global Hawk completes unmanned airborne refueling simulation, will do it for real next year (video)
While some bot makers are busying themselves designing AI to simulate humans’ natural and distinct lack of intelligence, it’s nice to see there are still old-fashioned researchers out there keeping the Skynet dream alive. Northrop Grumman’s aeronautics gurus have paired together a Global Hawk unmanned aircraft with a manned Proteus ship way up in the skies — 45,000 feet, to be precise — with the vessels of ingenuity managing to fly in tandem at a distance as short as 40 feet. Unsurprisingly, this is the first time such intimacy has been reached between UAVs (the Proteus had a monitoring crew on board to ensure the insurance bill wasn’t through the roof) in high altitude, and the ultimate goal of having two Global Hawks doing the deed without any human intervention is said to be within reach by next year. That’s when these light and agile air drones will be able to refuel themselves and go on for a mighty 120 hours in the air… plenty of time to complete a well planned extermination down below, if one were so inclined.
What might Android gaming look like on a Samsung Galaxy S II? You’re staring it in the face right now. We spotted Samsung’s Orion / Exynos 4210 at GDC 2011, showing off the power of its dual-core 1GHz ARM Cortex A9 CPU and Mali-400 graphics on a nice big 1080p television screen — with a completely playable asteroid obstacle course that ran at a butter-smooth 60 frames per second in stereoscopic 3D. ARM representatives told us the chip actually has even more headroom, but was actually constrained by its HDMI 1.3 port, and could push stereoscopic content at up to 70fps if their reference board had HDMI 1.4. When we asked if there were any plans to publish the TrueForce space shooter demo, ARM said it might indeed be done; the company’s thinking of releasing it on the Android Market as a benchmark of sorts.