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DT Daily: Drone in your pocket, full-room gaming, sing with yourself

Today on DT Daily: A smartphone-controlled quadcopter that’s small enough to fit in your pocket, Microsoft’s plan to turn your living room into an augmented reality gaming environment, and an uncanny demonstration of the art of “polyphonic overtone singing.”

When we think of drones, we tend to think of large, bulky, and expensive flying machines which are only for expert fliers, or the military. That’s about to change thanks to the Anura, a quadcopter controlled by your smartphone that’s small enough to fit in your pocket. It’s not just another toy either, it has a micro-camera fitted for recording flights, and could come with cool features such as auto-land and take-off, plus a return-to-base mode. Whether it gets these features, or even becomes a product you can buy at all, depends on the success of its upcoming Kickstarter campaign.

How much will you have to spend to get the ultimate personal drone? Around $200 is the target, a small price to pay for the chance to be the ultimate nosy neighbor..

Microsoft’s latest research project takes gaming off your TV screen and into your room as a whole, literally using the walls, floors and furniture as the background to an augmented reality game.

It’s called RoomAlive, and the demo project links a computer up with up to six video projectors, each with its own Kinect sensor, to digitally map a room, before turning it into an interactive gaming environment. 3D baddies are projected around the room, which can be stomped on or shot with a gun controller, or you can sit back and use a normal controller to guide a character around, shooting pesky invading robots. This is how game nights could look in the future.

RoomAlive can even make your room look like a river, complete with raindrops on its surface, so perhaps a hot new canoeing game is on the way…

If you’ve never heard of “polyphonic overtone singing before,” and to be honest, we hadn’t either, prepare to have your mind blown.

Demonstrated by talented singer Anna-Maria Hefele, it’s the incredible art of appearing to sing two different notes at the same time – a fundamental, and an overtone – meaning that you can effectively have a duet… with yourself. Anna-Maria’s demonstration video is uncanny, almost like it’s not real, but we’re told it’s a technique that with a degree of music talent, and a whole lot of practice, most people can learn.

We’re off to give it a try now. Look for it in a future DT Daily, where the extraordinary new ability will mean we can bring you two stories at exactly the same time.

Today’s host is Greg Nibler.