The Wrap: 4 December

The Wrap: 4 December

Taking the wheel

Driverless cars are still a somewhat foreign concept in New Zealand, but they're a reality on some overseas roads. Japan recently joined that exclusive club with an autonomous highway jaunt by the Nissan Leaf. Admittedly the vehicle hasn't entirely taken over, but it did manage to get onto the expressway, speed up to 80km/hr to overtake other vehicles and take the exit. We still have angsty visions of psychotic, fully autonomous cars exacting revenge on the nasty humans who controlled them for so many years. That could be just us, though.

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Talking to inanimate objects

If you've ever felt a little crazy talking to your computer when it plays up, or you're one of those people who believes talking to your plants encourages them to grow faster, Google is on your side. It's released a Beta version of Google Voice Search, a feature that lets you search without getting your hands dirty. All you have to do is begin your question with, "Okay Google". The perfect scenario for this would of course be while gardening, when your hands are covered in soil and you need to search for what to plant next. Or when you're cooking and need instructions, or are in the middle of creating pottery. Then again, you might just want to talk to inanimate objects with justifiable cause.

360-degree view

Indiegogo has been home to some very cool projects lately, and the Panono camera/app combo is no exception.

The ball camera is all about making your image capture a little less two dimensional, with a sphere you can throw around to record the environment every which way.

It's 36 cameras of 72MP that all work at once, then at the highest point in the toss it reels off the panoramic shot automatically.

To see what the ball's recorded, you point your mobile device at the scene and move it around: functionality made possible by the accompanying app.

We reckon one of these is worth each of the $549 the makers are charging on Indiegogo. And if you get in quick you can get the Oculus Rift development kit as well.

Dot dotty

As the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in the US starts to roll out new generic top level domains, we're getting a taste of what online dwellers want. Among the newly released dot dots are .guru (good for yoga experts, perhaps?); .ventures (calling all entrepreneurs); and .singles (one for the lonely hearts).

When ICANN earlier asked companies for suggestions, it was met with pearlers like .ninja, .boo and .dad.

Good enough to eat

A London business has found a sweet new way to cash in on the rise and rise of Instagram, making marshmallow treats printed with the images we snap. Boomf, apparently named after the sound of a marshmallow hitting a doormat, has a website where people can select which images they want to put on the confectionery canvas, then fork out 12 pounds for a box of nine.