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JavaOne 2008 - geeky gadgets galore!

Posted by johnsmart on May 9, 2008 at 11:36 AM PDT

This morning, James Gosling gave his traditional keynotes speech, with a series of impressive and entertaining demonstrations. What came across was the vast range of in which Java is being used. From online gaming to 3D graphics on mobile phones, from Smart Cards to particle accelerators at the CERN, from intelligent pens to robotic cars and power stations, Java is being used absolutely everywhere.

A few examples at random. A demonstration of TOMMY Junior, a robotic car designed to be able to drive 100km across a busy city all by itself. Call Of The Kings, a 3D online game written using the Project Dark Star Java Gaming libraries. An instrumentation gadget called the Sentilla motes, which are used to instrument anyting from cargo (to keep track of where they are), bridges (for stress), planes (to know when they need maintenance) and beer coasters (to know when the beer glass is empty!

But one of the coolest geeky gadgets of the show would have to be the Pulse SmartPen from LiveScribe. This is a pen (Java-powered, of course) that not only records what you write, but can also record sound as you write, and match up the sound with the writing later on. So, if your listening to a presentation, you take some notes and record what the speaker is saying. Later, you go back and tap somewhere in your notes, and the pen plays what the speaker was saying at this time! Very cool for presentations and meetings! You can also load the data onto your PC, and consult both the written notes and the sound, and even share your notes on a web server in Flash. You can even write your own Java applications to run on the pen. This is one seriously cool pen! And yes, I got myself one ;-).

On the subject of running application on other plaforms: on the plane coming over, the crew seemed to be having some trouble with the inflight entertainment system. For some reason, it kept freezing and they had to reboot it. As it rebooted, the crew made an announcement, asking people not to press the buttons too quickly, as this tended to make the system crash. As it rebooted, I couldn't help but noticing on the screens: Windows CE... ;-).

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