SciTech Briefs

Microsoft releases Zune media player

Microsoft Corp.’s newest product is a portable device for music, video, and pictures. Available this holiday season in black, brown, or white, the Zune 30-GB digital media player features wireless technology, a built-in FM tuner, and a three-inch screen. Wireless technology will allow two Zunes to share samples of songs, recordings, playlists, or pictures. Every device will come preloaded with music and video.

The Zune Marketplace will have millions of songs for individual purchase or for unlimited download with a Zune Pass subscription. Also available are two accessory packs designed for use of the Zune at home or in a car: the Zune Home A/V Pack and the Zune Car Pack, respectively.

Source: Microsoft

Apple previews its tentative “iTV”

Apple has announced its newest creation, an effort encouraging TV fans to purchase movies and television shows on iTunes. Expected in early 2007, the iTV will wirelessly stream movies, TV shows, music, podcasts, and pictures from computer to TV. Users can use the content on their computers to watch movies, shows, and podcasts, control and listen to music, or view a picture slideshow with music on their TV.

The device will be controlled by the Apple Remote.

Source: Apple

YouTube receives music video library

Warner Music has agreed to upload its entire library of music videos to YouTube. YouTube users will be able to access music videos from all Warner artists and use material from the videos to create and upload clips to YouTube.

The collaboration is the result of Warner and YouTube being able to share advertising revenue generated from the video content.

Industry reaction toward online music access is diverse. Last week, Universal Music Group called free online video sites like YouTube “copyright infringers” for displaying artists’ music videos and suggested possible legal action against illegal use or compensation for the videos.


New artificial arm requires thought

Jesse Sullivan is the first human to have a thought-controlled artificial arm. His “bionic arm” is controlled by electrical signals sent from the brain through surgically rerouted nerves. The arm allows more movements and operates more smoothly than regular prosthetics.

Nerves were grafted onto muscle to receive thought-generated impulses. Electrodes pick up muscle activity and relay the signals to the arm’s computer, which causes motors to move the elbow and hand. So far the bionic arm allows four discrete movements; natural arms are capable of 22.

The military’s research-and-development wing, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, has joined the research to help troops who were wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan and lost a limb.


Compiled by
Nancy Lee