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DT Daily: eTree takes root, Oculus VR movie, cookin’ up a smartphone

Today on DT Daily: the world’s first e-Tree has been planted, fright fans will appreciate the first official movie release for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, and finally, can the Xperia Z3 smartphone survive being cooked like a burger?

There’s nothing worse than walking around a park, and not having anywhere to charge up your dying smartphone. I mean, trees are cool, but the lack of a USB port is a real pain.

This isn’t a problem in the HaNadiv Gardens in Israel though, where the first eTrees have been planted. With solar panels instead of leaves, the futuristic trees provide power for your gadgets, cool water for you and your pets to drink, lighting at night, and even free Wi-Fi. Designed to promote green energy and environmental awareness, the eTree looks like it belongs in an 8-bit video game, and we’re told more will be planted around the world in the near future.

The $100,000 price tag means we won’t be seeing entire eTree forests, but there is a plan to link international eTrees up together, fit LCD screens, and let people video chat with each other while standing under the shady branches.

So, what do you get when you take a video-on-demand 3D horror movie, and pass it through a virtual reality headset?

The result is Banshee Chapter, the Oculus Rift Edition – the first, full-length film designed to be viewed on the VR headset. Although not shot with the Rift in mind, it has been adapted to provide a 120 degree view, and will show how effective a movie can be when viewed through the immersive virtual reality device. The original trailer suggests the movie should generate the right atmosphere for a frightening solo viewing experience.

Remember, you can’t see what’s going on around you when wearing the Oculus Rift, so make sure you shut the cat out, because the last thing you want is it jumping up on your lap during a scary bit. Banshee Chapter – Oculus Rift Edition is available to download for free, but you’ll need to own the latest Oculus Rift headset, an Apple Macintosh computer, and a strong nerve to watch it.

If you’re looking for a tough new smartphone, then this unusual video may persuade you to look at Sony’s latest flagship device, the Xperia Z3. It’s not you’re usual tap-it-with-a-hammer, get-it-a-bit-wet cop-out, either. After being delivered in a glass of wine, demonstrating its water proof casing, a Bulgarian tech blogger and keen cook decides the Xperia Z3 looks pretty tasty, so he covers it in burger meat, and fries it up.

Amazingly, even after being subjected to enough heat and flame to make even the bravest firefighter’s heart rate quicken, the Xperia Z3 still works when extracted from the cooked burger. We doubt many prospective Xperia Z3 owners will be cooking with their new phone, but it’s always good to see a demonstration of how tough an expensive gadget really is.

Unfortunately, what we didn’t find out is how it tasted. We’re betting it’s chicken, because, really, what could be better than a phone that tastes like chicken?