Photos of the year: From weird datacentres to a 3D printer that prints chocolate

Photos of the year: From weird datacentres to a 3D printer that prints chocolate

Summary: The best tech snaps of 2011

TOPICS: Hardware

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  • Virtual reality headset

    This retro-futurist looking get-up is part of a Swiss research project into how virtual reality affects people's perceptions of themselves.

    As part of the research project taking place at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), test subjects, pictured in February this year, wear a virtual reality headset that immerses them in a variety of 3D environments where they interact with different avatars. Electrodes strapped to their head monitor their brain activity in an attempt to gauge the subject's reactions.

    Explore more images of the project at Photos: Virtual reality, avatars probe consciousness.

    Photo: EPFL

  • Microsoft Kinect R&D

    Computer vision can allow for some pretty snazzy new interfaces and new uses for computers, and in February this year Microsoft showed some of the uses that research projects are finding for its Kinect gesture-based gaming peripheral.

    This shot shows a research project called Mirage Blocks, which uses a Kinect-style camera and a controller-less user interface, coupled with a 3D projector, to render real objects digitally in 3D space. One possible use for the system would be to allow remote workers to collaborate on design of an object.

    To see more photos of the Microsoft's R&D projects for Kinect, see Photos: Microsoft Kinect pushes natural UI frontier.

    Photo: Microsoft

  • MareNostrum supercomputer

    Datacentres might not look too exciting in themselves but they can crop up in some exotic places.

    In April rounded up the most interesting locations where datacentres can be found - including the Torre Girona chapel, in Spain (pictured above) which is home to the MareNostrum supercomputer.

    The machine, ranked as 118th in the list of the fastest 500 supercomputers in the world, is used for supercomputing research into computer, Earth and life sciences.

    Explore more of the far flung corners of the world that are home to datacentres in Photos: The world's weirdest datacentres.

    Photo: Barcelona Supercomputing Center

Topic: Hardware


Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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