A teenage boy who lost an arm and a leg as a baby has become the first person in the UK to be fitted with a prosthetic hand that is so advanced it can be controlled via a smartphone app.
Patrick Kane, 16, is now sporting the i-limb ultra revolution, which can be remotely-controlled and comes complete with an iOS app allowing the wearer to control its grip.
Patrick can also take advantage of five individually powered digits – including a rotating thumb – on the prosthetic, which is Scottish firm Touch Bionics’ most advanced yet.
The teenager, from London, lost all of the fingers on his left hand after contracting meningococcal septicaemia – the virulent form of meningitis – when he was just nine-months-old.
Doctors were also forced to amputate Patrick’s right leg below the knee, and part of each finger from his right hand.
The student – who was fitted with his first prosthetic through the NHS shortly after his first birthday – previously wore an i-limb ultra, but has now become the first person in the UK to be fitted with the new, more advanced version from the brains at Touch Bionics.
Featuring a rotating wrist and an aluminium chassis, the firm claims their creation is the most dextrous prosthetic limb ever made.
It’s unique app capability means the wearer can choose from a range of 24 different grips at the touch of a button. The app can also offers training on how to best use the device and can diagnose problems with it.
Previously Patrick could use only four pre-set grips on the go, and would have to return to his computer to alter the settings.
The i-limb is so sensitive it can be used to grip a single sheet of paper, play Connect Four or tie shoelaces – but it is also powerful enough to withstand the strain of 90kg weights in the gym.
The covering can be made to match the wearer’s natural skin tone, but Patrick chose a jet black version of the i-limb, which costs from ÂŁ25,000 to upwards of ÂŁ80,000, depending on how far up the arm it needs to extend.
‘I have only had it for 24 hours and it’s not so much that it allows me to do new things but it will allow me to do things more smoothly and naturally,’ Patrick said.
‘The movement runs much more smoothly. I have been practising playing Connect 4 with it.
‘There are custom grips I can choose so if I have a certain tennis racquet or cricket bat I could choose a grip for it to fit it perfectly and it will remember that.
‘I also use it in the gym, on the rowing machine and using weights and pulleys,’ he said.
The advanced prosthetic uses muscle signals to shift into a series of pre-set patterns.
It achieves this by using electrodes in the wrist to pick up electrical impulses created by contracting muscles, which are interpreted by a computer in the back of the hand.
Each of the fingers bends at the joints and can be adapted to fit around any shape of object the owner wants to hold.
These pictures show Patrick using his new bionic hand to grasp a range of items from a smartphone and a water glass to a rubber ball and a single coin.
The bionic hand can also be used for various tasks from typing to tying shoe laces.
It comes in black or neutral, can automatically return to a natural position after a period of inactivity and is powered by a battery.
The device is so technical that users have to undergo rigorous training in order to get the most out of it.
It is the biggest smartphone on sale, with a giant 6.3inch screen.
Samsung’s new Mega Galaxy handset look more like a tablet than a phone – and has already been slammed as ‘just too big’.
Samsung hopes the big design will appeal to commuters and others who regularly watch films on their gadgets.
‘The newest addition to the Galaxy family balances an optimal viewing experience on a 6.3-inch HD screen, yet is ultra-thin and portable enough to put into a pocket or hold in one hand,’ the firm said.
‘The GALAXY Mega offers a mix of popular smartphone and tablet features such as an effortless user experience, a split screen, multitasking between video and other apps and more.’
It claims video and web browsing will be the main uses for the Mega.
‘We are aware of a great potential in the bigger screen for extensive viewing multimedia, web browsing, and more,’ said JK Shin of Samsung.
‘We are excited to provide another choice to meet our consumersâ varying lifestyles, all while maintaining the high-quality features of the award-winning GALAXY series.’
However, experts are less impressed.
Rik Henderson of Pocket Lint said ‘The screen size of the Galaxy Note works as you take notes – but the Mega is just a massive phone, it’s just too big.
‘However, I think we’ll see an arms race to get to that size, there’s a real blurring of the lines between phones and tablets now.
‘But for consumers, I think its a fad – it’s just too big.’
Samsung helped popularise the so-called ‘phablet’ category – in which phones approach tablet dimensions – with its original 5.3in Galaxy Note, which was released in 2011.
Analysts have deemed a ‘phablet’ is a mobile gadget with a screen more than 5inches diagonally.
The word comes from blending phone and tablet.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note was the first popular ‘phablet’, but others are expected to follow this year.
Experts have predicted that 2013 could be the year of the ‘phablet’.
Analysts claim the emergence of so-called ‘giant mobile’ which blend tablets and mobile phones, will lead to a whole new category of gadgets.
The upshot is a market for phablets that will quadruple in value to $135 billion in three years, according to analysts at Barclays.
Shipments of gadgets that are 5 inches or bigger in screen size will surge by nearly nine-fold to 228 million during the same period, though estimates vary because no one can agree on where smartphones stop and phablets start.
But that’s the point, some say.
‘I think phone size was a preconceived notion based on voice usage,’ said John Berns, a Singapore-based executive who works in the information technology industry.
TECNO GHANA, a leading dual SIM mobile phone brand, has launched its new 3.75G Android smartphone – TECNO N7â onto the Ghanaian market at a short but colourful ceremony in Accra.
Designed for users with high demand for smartphones, the TECNO N7 will be available at all TECNO outlets in Ghana, the company noted.
Building on the success of the popular TECNO N3, the TECNO N7, a dual SIM smartphone, features the combination of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with a 1GHz dual core CPU and runs on a 5-inch touch screen.
âWith the TECNO N7, we want to offer young Ghanaians a more superior smartphone with high-end performance and a better user experience,â Mounir Boukali, PRO of TECNO Mobile, commented.
With a 1GHz dual core processor, the device offers users a fast data processing speed and the ability to use multiple applications at the same time, along with a smooth web browsing experience.
TECNO N7 users can download over 800,000 innovative and interesting apps.
The TECNO N7 presents users with an amazingly smooth operation experience while viewing messages, multimedia, web content or games, among others.
The device comes with a variety of applications that allow the consumer to connect to their social networks with ease.
And one such application worthy of note is Flash Share, a unique transfer software that allows one to share files of any format and size at an amazingly fast speed and does not require internet connectivity, WIFI or SIM card.
Other notable features of this Android-driven smartphone include a 5 mega pixel rear camera with flash, a 0.3 mega pixel front camera and a powerful 2,300mAh battery, which allows the users to enjoy five hours of talktime. Also, the device combines a 4GB ROM and 512GB RAM with expandable memory of up to 32GB.
TECNO also offers an 8GB memory card.
âWe always endeavour to provide suitable products to the consumer based on market demand. There is no doubt that peopleâs demand from smartphones is met in the N7. We will have more smartphones coming onto the market soon, which will meet the needs of diverse groups of people,â Boukali confirmed.
By Samuel Boadi
Samsung has unveiled the biggest smartphone to date – the Galaxy Mega, which features a 6.3in (16cm) screen.
The firm suggested its size made it ideal for watching videos or running two apps alongside each other.
Samsung helped popularise the so-called “phablet” category – in which phones approach tablet dimensions – with its original 5.3in Galaxy Note in 2011.
That proved more popular than many expected, but one analyst suggested the latest device might be a step too far.
Samsung isÂ marketing the Android-powered handsetÂ as having a high-definition screen – however, a spokesman was unable to confirm whether it supported 720p or the “full HD” 1080p resolution.
Another South Korean firm, Pantech, currently lays claim to offering the biggest “full HD” smartphone with itsÂ 5.9in Vega No 6Â which was announced in January.
China’s Huawei had previously boasted having the biggest largest-screened 720p smartphone with its 6.1in Ascend Mate.
Samsung suggested that, despite its dimensions, the Galaxy Mega was still small and light enough – at 199g (0.44lb) – to fit into users’ pockets and be used with one hand.
However, the firm is hedging its bets by offering a smaller 5.8in-screened version as an alternative.
Both will go on sale in May, with Europe and Russia the first regions to be offered the devices.
Tech consultancy Davies Murphy Group said that within the Android market there had been a notable shift towards people wanting to buy a single device rather than both a smartphone and tablet.
However, its principal technology analyst, Chris Green, suggested that at 6.3in it would be a “folly” for most users to swap their current handsets for the larger of the two Galaxy Megas.
“There is genuine demand for larger smartphones – the problem is at what point does a smartphone turn into a tablet,” he told the BBC.
“When you’ve got this up against your head you’d have to argue you’re using a tablet and not a smartphone – it’s definitely going to compromise its functionality because it’s simply too big and too cumbersome to use as a traditional telephone device.
“But ignoring the phone functionality, as far as the rest of the smart device goes it looks quite phenomenal.”
Samsung was the most popular smartphone maker in 2012 accounting for 30.3% of all shipments, accordingÂ to analysts at IDC.
Its rival Apple – whose largest handset has a 4in screen – came in second with a 19.1% market share.
Many are only just getting their heads around the idea of 3D printing but scientists at MIT are already working on an upgrade: 4D printing.
At the TED conference in Los Angeles, architect and computer scientist Skylar Tibbits showed how the process allows objects to self-assemble.
It could be used to install objects in hard-to-reach places such as underground water pipes, he suggested.
It might also herald an age of self-assembling furniture, said experts.
TED fellow Mr Tibbits, from the MIT’s (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) self-assembly lab, explained what the extra dimension involved.
“We’re proposing that the fourth dimension is time and that over time static objects will transform and adapt,” he told the BBC.
The process uses a specialised 3D printer that can create multi-layered materials.
It combines a strand of standard plastic with a layer made from a “smart” material that can absorb water.
The water acts as an energy source for the material to expand once it is printed.
“The rigid material becomes a structure and the other layer is the force that can start bending and twisting it,” said Mr Tibbits.
“Essentially the printing is nothing new, it is about what happens after,” he added.
Such a process could in future be used to build furniture, bikes, cars and even buildings, he thinks.
For the time being he is seeking a manufacturing partner to explore the innovation.
“We are looking for applications and products that wouldn’t be possible without these materials,” he added.
“Imagine water pipes that can expand to cope with different capacities or flows and save digging up the street.”
Engineering software developer Autodesk, which collaborated on the project, is looking even further into the future.
“Imagine a scenario where you go to Ikea and buy a chair, put it in your room and it self-assembles,” said Carlo Olguin, principal research scientist at the software firm.
The 4D printing concept draws inspiration from nature which already has the ability to self-replicate.
“We already have 3D printers that can be injected with stem cells, printing micro slices of liver,” Mr Olguin added.
“The idea behind 4D printing is to use the sheer power of biology and modify it. But it is still an elusive goal.”
The next stage for the research is to move from printing single strands to sheets and eventually whole structures. And water need not be the process’s only energy source.
“We could also have heat, vibration and sound,” said Mr Tibbits.
The ISPs must stop their users from accessing Kickass Torrents, H33T and Fenopy.
Music industry group the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) said the sites infringed copyright on a “significant scale”.
Opponents have argued that blocking sites in this way was ineffective.
The block follows a similar ruling last year involving The Pirate Bay, a much larger site founded in Sweden.
Data seen by the BBC suggested that the blocking of The Pirate Bay had only had a short-term effect on the level of pirate activity online – with levels of peer-to-peer sharing returning to normal soon after.
However, a recent report from market research firm NPD suggested that there had been a large reduction in the number of users illegally downloading music, with fans instead favouring legal options like streaming site Spotify.
Speaking of Thursday’s decision, BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor said: “The growth of digital music in the UK is held back by a raft of illegal businesses commercially exploiting music online without permission.
“Blocking illegal sites helps ensure that the legal digital market can grow and labels can continue to sign and develop new talent.”
Loz Kaye, the leader of Pirate Party UK, which had offered UK users a workaround for the ban on The Pirate Bay, said the BPI was “out of control”.
“The British music industry has nothing positive to show from their site blocks and personal legal threats,” he said.
“Looking at sales figures from 2012, you can’t draw the conclusion that stopping access to the Pirate Bay did anything to help artists.
“The UK has now handed the power over what we see on the internet to corporate lobbyists.”
The worldâs largest software and programme developer, Microsoft Corporation, has confirmed that its Senior Vice President in-charge Corporate Business, Ali Faramawy will pay a dayâs working visit to Ghana on March 4, 2013.
Mr Famamwyâs visit will be at the invitation of rLG Communications Limited, the pioneer ICT devices firm in Africa.
Mr. Faramawy will be the guest of honour at the official sod-cutting ceremony for the multi-million dollar ICT Park to be known as the âHope Cityâ in Accra next month.
He will also a pay courtesy call on President John Mahama at the Flag Staff House.
The Hope City Project is an integrated village with facilities for housing, ICT, recreation, business and many more, and is expected to create jobs for more 50,000 people directly and indirectly.
In August, last year, Microsoft and rLG signed an agreement, which allows rLG phones and computers to run on Microsoft windows.
The most influential business magazine, Forbes, in one of its publications, described the rLG-Microsoft deal as the âpartnership of the future.â
The deal also granted an Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) status to rLG, making it one of the few Africa.
âThis visit by a very senior official of Microsoft excites us because its reaffirms the growing trust and confidence the international community is reposing in us,â said Roland Agambire, Founder & Chief Executive of rLG Communications Ltd.
Mr Ali, who is also the President for Microsoft Middle East & Africa (MEA), has a number of responsibilities spanning business strategy and operations.
He is a key member of the international leadership team that is responsible for the companyâs global strategy, with particularly visible role amongst the companyâs worldwide emerging markets community.
Ali is directly responsible for Microsoftâs operations in MEA, one of 13 areas that comprise Microsoftâs worldwide operations.
The area represents one of Microsoftâs fastest growing and dynamic markets and certainly its most diverse one. Microsoft MEA operates through 32 offices and covers 79 countries across three continents.
As the worldâs largest technology company, HP brings together a portfolio that spans printing, personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure.
A news release issued in Accra quoted Geoff Eyles, who led the HP Anti-counterfeiting Investigations and Enforcement team as saying that âHP and customs authorities successfully acted at the countryâs largest sea port in Tema where officials intercepted three suspicious consignments about to enter the country on their way from South-East Asia.â
In total, they seized nearly 7,000 fake ready-for-sale print cartridges for HP printers, as well as about 13,000 counterfeit boxes, fake security labels and empty print cartridges intended to be used for manufacturing counterfeits.
âHP appreciates the work of the Ghanaian authorities in protecting consumers against the deceitful and illegal actions of counterfeiters,â Mr. Eyles said.
âWe are proud that HP played a vital role in supporting local law enforcement authorities by identifying the seized items as counterfeits on-site and gathering valuable intelligence on the consignors and intended recipients,â he added.
He said HP is satisfied with the fact with the commitment of Ghanaian Customs authorities to pursuing and prosecuting illegal counterfeiters, whose products contain unknown chemicals which damage printers and harm the environment, adding, âWe believe that the intelligence gathered through this seizure will aid further actions against counterfeiting in Africa.â
Original HP supplies are durable and reliable.
Authentic HP LaserJet and HP inkjet print cartridges, unlike counterfeits, benefit from a history of investment and testing to provide superior performance and consistent results.
Across EMEA over the last four years, HP has conducted nearly 1,000 investigations, resulting in over 800 enforcement actions (raids and seizure by authorities).
Nearly nine million units of counterfeit products and components were seized.
Through its Anti-counterfeiting Programme, HP actively educates its customers and partners to be on the look out for fake printing supplies.
It also cooperates closely with local and global law enforcement authorities to detect and dismantle illegal operations that produce counterfeit HP printing components.
The cheats could prove costly to the title’s publisher, Electronic Arts (EA), which has introduced a system that charges users cash for extra equipment in the sequel.
The move has proved controversial with some, since the title already costs about ÂŁ40.
EA has the ability to issue an update to remove the workarounds.
However, a spokesman said the firm had no comment on the issue.
Dead Space 3 is an action-horror third-person shooter set on an alien planet.
Part of its challenge is locating scarce in-game resources needed to create ammunition and medical packs in order to tackle the title’s monsters.
In previous games in the franchise, the user needed to find credits in order to buy upgrades. However, the new game introduces real-money micro-transactions as a way of allowing players to add equipment faster than would otherwise be possible.
The bugs were first reported by the news site GameFront, which subsequently posted a video online showing how they worked.
One involves the player’s character walking into a specific building, picking up an item, walking out – and then returning to find a new item has appeared. This can be repeated an unlimited number of times.
The other requires the user to go to a different destination, to pick up an item and then to select save and quit before returning to the game.
Within hours of the discoveries, news of the exploits spread to other gaming sites and social media networks.
Several users commented that they did not believe using the cheats was unethical because Dead Space 3 had already been priced as a “premium title”.
The rise of micro-transactions in video games can be traced to Asia, where they were introduced as part of efforts to combat piracy.
Rather than charge users to buy software, publishers opted for a “freemium” model, in which the basic product was given away but premium add-on services or features involved payment.
It has since become a common feature in the wider smartphone market.
Console titles have long offered the ability to buy additional downloadable content (DLC) such as extra levels, characters or clothes. However, it is relatively rare for them to charge money for items intrinsic to a character’s progress through core content.
Dead Space’s developer, Visceral, has stressed players do not need to buy items in Dead Space 3 in order to finish it – but gamers have been concerned about what the innovation signalled.
“People are wondering why do you have to pay more in order to get a weapon that is in the main game anyway,” said Keza MacDonald, games editor of the IGN news site.
“The way EA is presenting it is that if you want the weapons earlier then you can buy them. But it’s a slippery slope because if most games start adopting this as a tactic you’re effectively devaluing the money gamers have had to lay out in the first place.”
Cheats have long been a feature of video games.
Magazines such as Zap Attack used to publish pages of tricks in the 1980s to help gamers boost ammunition or health points. Websites offering walkthroughs and other cheat sheets now continue that tradition.
However, one solicitor told the BBC that the practice became “legally grey” once micro-transactions were involved.
“If you go into a baker’s to buy a bun and they give you the wrong change and you walk away knowing you have been given more change than you handed over in the first place, that’s theft,” Sara Ludlam, an intellectual property expert at Lupton, Fawcett, Lee & Priestley told the BBC.
“So, arguably if you go into this game knowing you are supposed to be paying for these weapons and you notice a glitch allows you to accumulate them without paying, that’s theft as well.
“But it is arguable because it’s a new area.”
An augmented-reality app that “translates” grown-up newspapers for children has been developed in Japan.
The Tokyo Shimbun, one of the country’s biggest daily titles, has worked with advertising firm Dentsu to create the AR News software.
It allows children to hold a smartphone over the newspaper to see a child-friendly version of the text.
In a promotional video, Dentsu said the app could “create a future for the old media newspaper”.
“Newspapers were not made for children,” the clip said.
“If newspapers became readable to children, they will contribute to family communication and child’s education.”
The demo video shows a father laying a newspaper out on a table as the child holds his smartphone over the page. Cartoon characters appear on the screen, explaining stories and drawing attention to important words.
“Difficult articles and social problems, economy and politics became interesting subjects for children,” Dentsu said.
“The newspapers became a media read by both parent and child. And also an educational tool for children.”
Paul Bradshaw, university lecturer andÂ blogger on new technology in journalism, told the BBC he was impressed with the idea.
“What it’s really about is something that’s been talked about for along time, about content being presented in different ways depending on who the user is,” he said.
“It means two versions of the content – a grown-up one and the kids one. That has enormous potential. It also tackles a big gap in young readership.
“Are kids going to be interested in the same subjects as adults, even when treated differently? That’s a nut to crack.”