buttercupDogs run, butterflies flit, and ducks – well, they can certainly fly, but I suppose swimming would be another suitable verb to describe them. For a duck to lack one foot, it would pretty much be having an eagle get around with a broken wing, as the missing foot would certainly hamper its movement, whether on land or on water. Buttercup the duck, however, was born with a backwards left foot, hence ensuring that his prospects for a happy future looked bleak. The backwards left foot made it difficult and painful to walk, resulting in cuts as well as the risk of infection all the time. Eventually, Buttercup had his foot amputated, but at least the Feathered Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary owner Mike Garey, who also happens to be a software engineer, decided to give Buttercup a new lease of life thanks to a 3D printed foot.

NovaCopy, a manufacturer of 3D printing systems, stepped in to help Buttercup, where they decided to use Buttercup’s sister Minnie as a model so that Buttercup will have a new left foot to waddle and swim around in. NovaCopy printed a mould of the foot, where this mould was subsequently filled with silicone which resulted in a flexible version of the final foot, allowing Buttercup additional freedom of movement.

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Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Yahoo and Skype have reportedly been helping the NSA collect data of private citizens through its PRISM program, documents alleging this were leaked some two weeks ago. While these companies have denied having any knowledge of PRISM, a group of Austrian students known as Europe-v-Facebook has filed complaints against these companies with the European Union, alleging that EU data protection laws have been violated by these companies.

The group says that since these companies do business in Europe through their subsidiaries, they’re bound to adhere to the Union’s privacy laws. Such data can only be exported if the subsidiary can guarantee an “adequate level of protection,” and since PRISM was a top secret program used for collecting data, the group believes that this requirement was not met, hence the alleged violation of EU’s privacy laws. Europe-v-Facebook is also looking to file complaints against Google and YouTube, but since they don’t have a European intermediate, the lodging of a complaint against them is a bit trickier. The group believes that since Google operates data centers in Finland, Belgium and Ireland, it will be able to take action against Google.

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discocycleI suppose this particular student over at Sweden’s Umea Institute of Design must have been an obvious admirer of what Steve Jobs said when he mentioned, “Stay hungry, stay foolish”, coming up with a particularly strange amalgamation of not only a disco, but also a motorcycle, all rolled into a single design. Forget about the old school boombox, as student Yuhan Zhang has something far more impressive looking, as though it arrived from the bowels of Tron itself, as Zhang intends to propel mobile music into the 21st century.

Having dubbed his concept the Marshall Dicycle, this particular idea was specially designed around amp maker Marshall, but I guess it goes without saying that the overall styling of the Marshall Dicycle certainly reeks of plenty of Tron – not to say that Tron is a bad thing, of course. There is enough room for two riders, and the storage space beneath the seat will help you hold your much loved musical instruments. How will the wheels turn? They do so within the rims, where there is a cutout at the base so that they are able to come into contact with the road, while doubling up as amplifiers, now how about that?

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There’s a new Google Search for Android app rolling out today in the Google Play Store. The new app brings a host of new features, improvements and enhancements. The usual slew of bug fixes and performance improvements are present as always. This update is limited to those Android devices that are running version 4.1 or higher.

The new Google Search app for Android is now able to show information about TV shows that a user watches on their internet connected TV. However this feature is only available to users in the U.S. only. Both the device and the internet connected TV must be on the same network for this feature to work. New voice action tips also make their way on this update, and through a new voice action, users will now be able to play music from their device on the Play Store. The app itself allows uers to quickly search the web as well as their Android device. The app is also capable of giving personalized results based on the user’s location. You can download the updated Google Search for Android app now from Google Play Store.

Who could forget the historical moment when man took their first step onto the moon? Well, we are now on the cusp of another historical event, as Japan intends to help robot-kind take a giant leap by sending what is deemed to be the world’s first talking robot into space, allowing the Kirobo robot to carry out a conversation with a human, who is also in space, later this summer. After all, being stuck in space can be quite the lonely experience if you are an old hand at it, but an electronic companion doesn’t sound too hot either.

The Kirobo robot measures 13” in height, and will arrive in black and white shades alongside large oval eyes and a small red mouth. Since Russia is the first country to go to space, and the US was the first to put man on the moon, Japan intends to achieve its own first by sending a robot-astronaut to space that can communicate with humans.

wireless dash 640x352In heavy traffic, one of the more common traffic accidents comprise of low-speed rear-end collisions, and most of the time, these happen to be attributed to a driver who does not have fast enough reflexes to step on the brakes compared to the ride in front of them – or the car that one is driving does not have enough stopping power in its brakes compared to the vehicle in front. Ford has come up with a spanking new system that will feature a wireless system. This wireless system flashes a warning on your dash whenever the traffic ahead starts to slow down.

Recently, Ford tested their Electronic Brake Light in Germany, where 20 specially equipped Ford S-Max minivans took part in the demonstration, and tests then showed that the system had the potential to help improve safety levels on the road, even with Ford’s vice president of Research and Innovation Paul Mascarenas touting that “car-to-car … communications represents one of the next major advancements in vehicle safety.” Of course, it remains to be seen whether this kind of wireless dash warning light will be able to be implemented across the board in due time, as it will certainly take some wiggling around between vehicle manufacturers to agree on the right standards.

twitter bbFor those of you who own a BlackBerry device and cannot live without the micro blogging site Twitter, you will be pleased to hear that a spanking new version of Twitter is now available, where it will target BlackBerry devices which run on BlackBerry OS 5 and higher. Of course, if you do not yet see Twitter 4.2 appear on BlackBerry World, be patient – it might take you up to 24 hours before this particular app shows up.

Twitter 4.2 for BlackBerry is available as a free download, where it will allow you to express yourself a whole lot easier than ever before, and to remain connected to Twitter regardless of where you are. Some of the features available on Twitter 4.2 for BlackBerry smartphones include Image Viewing Enhancements, as you get photo card support in order to allow tweets to show off more pictures than ever before. Not only that, there are also Retweet/Favorite Indicators, letting you know what you have picked as a favorite or retweeted in your timeline. Have you given it a go already?

xbox one official photos 07 640x359Are you a software developer who thinks and feels that the Xbox One from Microsoft has plenty of potential to take off in a big way? If that is the case, and you want to do your bit to carve your name into the realms of history, you can be quite sure that you should do all you can in order to make your mark. Microsoft’s new version of Kinect for Xbox One will also be making its way to the PC platform, just like how its predecessor did.

There is one thing that you should know about the new Kinect for Windows sensor, and it is this – it will not be available to the public until some time in the year 2014, although developers are able to place an application for an early $400 development kit which kicks off today – and this particular offer is due before July 31st at 9AM PT. Should the developers in question be accepted, $400 will be able to net them early SDK access, a pre-release “alpha” version of the device, and at launch, a final retail version, as well as private access to APIs as well as the Kinect for Windows engineering team via private forums and webcasts. We do look forward to this August for additional details.

s4 htc one google play edition 01 640x360You knew that those devices were coming: the Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition (GPE) was announced at Google I/O and the HTC One Google Play Edition followed shortly after that. There are even unconfirmed rumors of an XPERIA Z Google Edition (loaded with the stock Android OS, without modifications), but so far only two have finally landed in our offices: The S4 and the HTC One.

You may wonder why Google does sell those devices, and the reason is quite simple: Google wants the general public to be able to experience Android as it was originally developed, on the best possible hardware. In this review, we will focus on the Android aspect, and if you are not yet familiar with the industrial design, performance and other critical aspects of those phones, I recommend reading our in-depth Galaxy S4 Review and HTC One Review articles since they will provide a lot of details. Read full post →Samsung Galaxy S4 vs. HTC One Google Edition

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T-Mobile was expected to being “phase 2″ of its UNcarrier initiative towards the end of June, and it has reportedly begun. The carrier is said to be training store employees, educating them about the new services in phase 2, which will reportedly bring a new prepaid plan as well called ‘Simple Choice with no credit check’ or SCNC. Evidently, customers won’t have to go through a credit check if they opt for this plan.

Apparently T-Mobile has made some changes to the deposits required for SCNC, a purported internal memo shows that $10 per line has been shaved off. The memo says that this change brings deposits at par with rate plan monthly recurring charges, making it much easier for customers to understand the plan. It is expected that T-Mobile UNcarrier phase 2 goes live for customers on or after July 14th. Yesterday we covered yet another internal memo that offered more details about the SCNC plan. The equipment installment plan will not be offered with SCNC, meaning that customers will have to pay upfront for their devices. Nevertheless, it will definitely be a good option for those who don’t want to get their credit checked. [Image via TmoNews]