The War on 3D-Printed Guns, Snake Returns on Smartphones, & More… [Tech News Digest]
The fight for 3D-printed guns, Snake on smartphones, Reddit’s new Original Video division, the Oculus Rift slips to 2016, Swatch gets smart on smartwatches, and Verne Troyer destroys an Apple Watch just for fun.
The 3D-Printed Guns Fight Is On
Should 3D-printed guns be legal? It’s a question that isn’t easy to answer, because it pits the right to the freedom of speech against calls for stronger gun control. Two emotive subjects without much in the way of gray areas and compromise. Especially in the United States. Still, it’s an issue that needs deciding, and fast.
Why? Because the blueprints for a 3D-printed firearm are already out there on the Internet, and have been for two years thanks to Cody Wilson. He created the Liberator, a plastic pistol that anyone can piece together using 3D printing . The State Department demanded he remove the blueprints from the Internet, but two years on he’s challenging that demand.
According to Wired, Wilson’s advocacy group Defense Distributed has filed a lawsuit claiming the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) “violated their first amendment right to free speech.” The question is whether posting blueprints for a 3D-printed gun violates arms export controls or not. Suffice to say, it’s a highly complex issue.
The problem is that while it’s being discussed, hundreds of thousands of people are downloading the blueprints for Liberator, and the most enterprising of these people are actually evolving the design. It’s unlikely the 3D-printed firearms genie can ever be put back into the bottle, but we still need to decide what, if anything, we’re going to do about it from here on out.
Snake Finds Its Way to Smartphones
Snake is back, making its first official debut on smartphones. Snake Rewind takes the classic gameplay of directing a snaking line of pixels around the screen collecting segments, and adds new elements to it. Elements such as the ability to “rewind the Snake to continue the game even after crashing.” Hence the name.
There are already plenty of unofficial clones of the classic mobile game available for smartphones. However, Snake Rewind has the differentiating factor of being made by Taneli Armanto, the person responsible for pre-loading the game onto the Nokia 6110 in 1997.
According to The Guardian, Armanto left Nokia in 2011, and has been self-employed ever since. Snake may be his biggest achievement [Broken URL Removed], and he previously said, “When we created Snake for the Nokia 6110 in 1997, we wanted to give people an entertaining experience, but we never imagined that it would become the classic mobile game.”
Snake Rewind is due to be released on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone on May 14. Pricing details haven’t yet been released, but the game is expected to be a freemium title , with new levels and boosters available to purchase.
Reddit Creates Original Video Division
Reddit is set to start producing original content, creating a video division to kick things off. The AMA (Ask Me Anything) section will be the first beneficiary, which is unsurprising given that this is one of the most popular parts of Reddit.
Co-founder Alexis Ohanian told The Verge, “Reddit’s mission is to connect people across the world through authentic conversations, collaboration, and community — video is an amazing storytelling medium and there’s no better wellspring of original stories than Reddit.”
Oculus Rift Is Shipping in 2016
Extremely excited to announce that the Oculus Rift will be shipping Q1 2016! We can't wait to get it in your hands. pic.twitter.com/TVquKTQJjx
— Nate Mitchell (@natemitchell) May 6, 2015
Oculus VR has announced that the first Oculus Rift aimed at consumers will be launched in the first quarter of 2016. Pre-orders will be taken later this year, with the virtual reality headsets shipping at the start of next year. Oculus VR is part of Facebook , which acquired the company for an astonishing $2 billion in 2013 .
According to the Oculus VR Blog, the consumer version “builds on the presence, immersion, and comfort of the Crescent Bay prototype with an improved tracking system that supports both seated and standing experiences, as well as a highly refined industrial design, and updated ergonomics for a more natural fit”.
Swatch Wants Better Smartwatches
Love this anti-smartwatch advert from Swatch… pic.twitter.com/W79jM0dJXf
— Darren Buckley ? (@MrDarrenBuckley) April 1, 2015
Swatch is working on a new “Super Battery,” with the ultimate plan being for it to power a smartwatch for a full six months on a single charge. This is according to the Swiss newspaper, Handelszeitung, as reported by Gizmodo. Seeing as the battery inside the Apple Watch struggles to even last a day, this is a ludicrously ambitious plan.
Swatch is, of course, one of the traditional watchmakers whose livelihoods will be threatened if and when the smartwatch form factor takes off in a big way. So, getting in on the act by targeting the biggest problem still facing smartwatches is an extremely clever strategy. If, that is, Swatch can actually pull it off.
Verne Troyer Destroys an Apple Watch
And finally, we all get to watch Verne Troyer, AKA Mini-Me, destroy an Apple Watch. The Apple Watch hadn’t actually done Troyer any harm, but he still decided to shoot a hole through it anyway. Just because.
It’s actually rather satisfying seeing an Apple Watch explode in slow-motion. All that Bond-inspired design is turned into dust within seconds. Perhaps bullet-proof glass would be a feature of your ultimate smartwatch. [H/T Mashable]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Should anyone and everyone be allowed to print their own gun from blueprints obtained online? Will you be downloading Snake Rewind on your smartphone? Are you planning on buying an Oculus Rift when it’s released in early 2016?
Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.
Image Credits: Jithesh via Flickr