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Google working on 3D motion-sensing tablet
by Staff Writers
San Francisco (AFP) June 05, 2014

American critic of digital era scoops German book award
Berlin (AFP) June 05, 2014 - An American critic of the digital age has been awarded a prestigious German book prize for his groundbreaking role in exploring the risks of today's Internet technologies, its organisers said Thursday.

Jaron Lanier, credited with coining the phrase "virtual reality", has scooped this year's Peace Prize of the German Publishers' and Booksellers' Association, at a time when the country is engaged in a heated debate about Internet security.

The prize, which carries a 25,000-euro ($34,000) endowment, comes exactly a year after former CIA intelligence contractor Edward Snowden began revealing the vast scope of the US data dragnet, triggering privacy fears.

Data-sensitive Germans in particular reacted with outrage to the leaks.

Lanier's two books, which include last year's "Who Owns the Future?" have helped make the California-based 54-year-old "one of the most important critics of the digital world in our time", the association said in a statement.

It described the 2013 work as "a call to equip the digital universe with structures that respect the rights of individuals while simultaneously fostering democratic participation".

The book looks at the concentration of power and money in today's digital networks.

Lanier, who has also worked in the field as an entrepreneur and researcher, had highlighted "the threats our open society faces when deprived of the power to control its own progress and development", it added.

The prize, which ranks behind the country's top literary award, the Georg Buechner Prize, will be presented during the Frankfurt book fair in October.

Past winners have included Turkey's Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk and Chinese dissident author Liao Yiwu.

Google on Thursday revealed that is working on a tablet computer with 3D and motion-sensing capabilities in an effort dubbed Project Tango.

"The goal of Project Tango is to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion," team member Johnny Lee said at a website devoted to the endeavor.

"Our team has been working with universities, research labs, and industrial partners spanning nine countries around the world to build on the last decade of research in robotics and computer vision, concentrating that technology into a unique mobile device."

The curtain on the project was pulled back as Google put out word it will soon put prototypes powered by Nvidia chips in the hands of developers interested in creating applications that take advantage of innovations built into devices.

The development kits can be used to make "apps" that track full 3D motion and recognize surfaces of things nearby, according to Google.

The California-based technology titan pulled back the curtain on Project Tango a day after online commerce colossus put out word of a June 18 mystery event at which founder Jeff Bezos will launch something new.

Online speculation immediately centered on the potential for the Seattle-based firm to unveil a Kindle smartphone, perhaps with 3D graphics and motion-sensing capabilities.

Amazon invited people to request invitations at website and even teased the mysterious event in a video posted at YouTube.

The video, titled "Find out what these Amazon customers are talking about," featured people admiring something they were holding out of sight of the camera.

Comments included "it moved with me" and "it's very real life and uncomparable to anything I've ever seen."

For months, analysts have speculated about Amazon launching a smartphone that would be a companion to its Kindle tablets, which help keep consumers in the Amazon ecosystem.

Amazon is known for selling its tablets at low profit margins to compete with Goole and Apple and to be able to sell digital content including e-books and films.





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Google making 3D tablet: report
San Francisco (AFP) May 23, 2014
Google next month will start cranking out prototypes of a 3-D tablet designed to give users immersive experiences that could include virtual reality, according to US media reports. The tablet will have a 7-inch display and an array of sophisticated cameras, sensors and software, the Wall Street Journal said in a story citing unnamed sources. Google on Friday said they had nothing to anno ... read more

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