Tech Round-Up

Each week we round up what’s been happening in the tech world and share a few of the things we like.

This is the first of our weekly round-ups, and features Rube Goldberg machines, ICT education reform, Raspberry Pis, realtime projection mapping, Kinects and Cut The Rope.

Launch of the Guardian’s Digital Literacy Campaign and reform of the ICT education curriculum

It’s been an incredibly exciting week for campaigners for better ICT and computer science education. On Monday 9th January the Guardian launched their Digital Literacy Campaign to push for improvements in the teaching of computer science and information technology in schools and universities, then on Wednesday 11th Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Education, delivered a speech at BETT announcing a radical reform of the ICT curriculum that will allow teachers to “focus more sharply on the subjects they think matter – for example, teaching exactly how computers work, studying the basics of programming and coding and encouraging pupils to have a go themselves”. Gove’s full speech is available to view here.

This shift in focus to computer science and programming will be supported by universities and industry, who are ideally placed to help craft a flexible curriculum capable of adapting to the rapidly changing pace of the technology industry.

Raspberry Pi micro-computers go into mass production after eBay bidding war

Makers, tinkerers, programmers and hobbyists have been waiting eagerly for the arrival of the Raspberry Pi, and this week it was announced that the device had finally entered the manufacturing stage.

The announcement follows a wildly successful online bidding war after 10 beta version of the device were listed for auction on eBay on New Years Day. After 3 days, one of the Raspis – which will retail between £16 and £22 – had reached bids of over £2100, while on Monday an anonymous auction winner donated his device to the Centre for Computing History after placing a winning bid of £989.

The first units are due to be ready for general release by the end of January.

Kinect for Windows

On Monday 9th January, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that a version of the Kinect motion-recognition sensor for use with the Windows 7 operating system will be released on 1st February.

Developers will need to purchase specialist Kinect for Windows hardware in order to use the gesture recognition technology with a computer, which is expected to retail at $249 (£162).

The technology could potentially offer users the ability to control the operating system itself using gestures and movements, or for developers to create games and applications that integrate the Kinect’s motion-recognition technologies in entirely new ways.

Things We Like

PlayStation Move virals

Absolutely stunning realtime projection mapping videos produced by Studio Output and Marshmallow Laser Feast to promote the PlayStation Video Store.

A making of video is also available to view here.

Cut The Rope

You can now play the charmingly addictive Cut The Rope in your browser! Try it out here.

Ultimate Rube Goldberg Machine

Brooklyn-based kinetic artist Joseph Herscher shows the New York Times how he constructed his latest Rube Goldberg machine. A feat of creative engineering