New and Emerging Technology News part 83 ~ NEW GEN TECH LIFE : new generation technology news

Monday, 27 January 2014

New and Emerging Technology News part 83

The Icon charging unit for iPhone
We've covered a number of iPhone portable chargers in the past, ranging from the well-known Mophie Juice Pack to the environmentally friendly iCharge Dx. There are countless solutions that will ensure that your green battery indicator icon stays fully green, the difference with this iPhone charger is that it's been designed to resemble that very same indicator graphic. Appropriately, it's called the Icon.  Read More
Scottish researchers are reporting a "practical breakthrough" that could lead to the development of that most sought after of wardrobe items – the invisibility cloak. The concept of the invisibility cloak (not pictured) is based around harnessing the unique electromagnetic wave-bending properties of metamaterials, but this poses problems when it comes to creating flexible surfaces suitable for applications like clothing and contact superlenses for visual prostheses... problems which the new material design known as "Metaflex" hopes to address.  Read More
Scanning electron microscopy image and zoom of conjugated polymer (PPV) honeycomb
While rooftops are the obvious place to put solar cells to generate clean electricity for the home, we’ve seen a number of technologies aimed at expanding the potential solar collecting area to include windows using transparent solar cells. These include Octillion Corp’s NanoPower Window technology, RSi’s semi-transparent photovoltaic glass windows, and EnSol’s transparent thin film. In this latest development, U.S. scientists have fabricated a new type of self-assembling transparent thin film material that could boost the cost effectiveness and scalability of solar window production.  Read More
Project leader Nasser Peyghambarian with a refreshable, holographic image of an F-4 Phanto...
We may still not have light sabers or faster-than-light spacecraft, but one other piece of Star Wars technology now looks like it may be on the horizon: 3D holographic videoconferencing. This week researchers from the University of Arizona, Tucson, unveiled a holographic system capable of transmitting a series of three-dimensional images in near-real-time – a significant step towards the live transmission of life-size, full color, holographic video of people or other objects.  Read More
The disc at the end of the oStylus allows users to see the point of contact on a capacitiv...
If you've ever tried to create a work of digital art on an iPad then you may have suffered the frustration of not being able to see exactly what's going on directly beneath your finger. Even a stylus can't offer an ideal view of the exact edge of those thin outlines. Looking somewhat like it should be in the hands of a dentist, the oStylus solves this by giving tablet artists a porthole to the screen beneath. There's no need for cables or driver software, the capacitive screen for which this device was designed simply registers the flat disc at the end as though it was a human digit.  Read More
The Bikamper replaces tent poles with the user's bicycle
Camping, especially when it’s not car-supported camping, is all about reducing what you have to carry with you. If someone comes along with a tent that doesn’t require poles, then that’s definitely welcome news. As its name implies, however, what Topeak’s Bikamper does require instead is a bicycle – probably a little bulkier to carry with you than tent poles, but presumably the folks at Topeak are assuming that you would have the bike with you already, anyway.  Read More
Tethys floating at the sea surface in Monterey Bay (Image: Todd Walsh copyright 2010 MBARI...
When it comes to exploring the murky depths of the oceans, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) have become increasingly important over the past decade. These vehicles generally fall into one of two groups: propeller-driven vehicles such as Snookie that can travel fast and carry lots of instruments, but are limited to expeditions of just a few days, and “gliders,” which can stay at sea for weeks or even months at a time, but are slow. Engineers have combined the best of these two approaches to create a new long-range AUV (LRAUV) that can travel rapidly for hundreds of kilometers, “hover” in the water for weeks at a time, and carry a wide variety of instruments.  Read More
Internet Explorer has come top in current support for the next revision in the Internet's ...
The next revision to the web document creation language has generated a lot of excitement in web circles, the most headline-grabbing change of course being the option for creators to choose how audio and video are delivered to a user's computer. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has just announced the results of a browser test where all of the top players were pitted against each other to see how well they cope with HTML5. And the winner is...  Read More
Creative has announced a 7- and 10-inch Android-based tablet computer with Bluetooth for w...
Creative Technology has announced its break into the tablet computer market with the forthcoming release of the 7- and 10-inch ZiiO entertainment devices. The tablets are said to deliver the "best wireless audio performance you will get from an Android-based tablet" and also offer fuss-free Bluetooth pairing with the company's headphones and speakers. Also announced is the Zen Touch 2 media player.  Read More
A new survey, funded by NASA and the University of California, reveals that small planets ...
Astronomers at the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii have just completed an intensive five year survey of the heavens, looking at planets orbiting 166 sun-like stars within 80 light years of our own solar system. Contrary to popular theory, the study has found that the majority of planets in close orbit to their stars are some three to ten times the size of our Earth and not, as previously thought, giants with three times the mass of Jupiter. The study has also led the researchers to speculate that there could be billions of as-yet-undetected smaller planets capable of supporting life.  Read More

Concentrating solar mirrors are one potential technology to be used in the proposed 5GW so...
Laying claim to “what will be the world’s largest solar power plant” is difficult these days with so many in development, but the Texas-based Fluor corporation is drawing up plans for a five gigawatt (GW) plant in South Africa that would certainly make it amongst the world’s largest. The company has been selected to perform a feasibility study for the potential solar park to be built on the edge of the Kalahari Desert in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa – an area the South African government says is among the sunniest three percent of regions in the world.  Read More
The new system analyzes the wavelengths of visible and near-infrared light reflected by po...
Workers in meat-processing plants may soon be able to assess the qualities of cuts of meat, just by subjecting them to light. Canadian researchers have developed a spectroscopic tool that evaluates the color, texture and exudation (water release) of pork cuts. It's hoped that the technology will improve quality control, optimize production and allow for exports that are better sorted for their target markets.  Read More
Toyota's Prius C&A Custom Concept vehicle
The pioneering Toyota Prius holds the honor of being the best-selling hybrid vehicle of all time, and as such has pretty much become the poster child for green automobiles. Its low emissions and high fuel economy put it on a lot of car shoppers’ “maybe” lists, but there’s one thing that might cause some people to pass it up – its rather uninspiring appearance. To show just what a hip, happening car a Prius can be, the pimped-out Prius C&A Custom Concept vehicle is currently making its North American debut at the 2010 SEMA auto show in Las Vegas.  Read More
Conceptual design of the Fermilab holometer
Is reality a 3D hologram of a 2D universe? A team of researchers at the US Department of Energy's Fermilab are trying to take a measurement of the fabric of spacetime to show that there is a finite unit that makes up the universe. To do so, they have created the world's most accurate clock, the holographic interferometer or holometer.  Read More
The 3D-Spheric-Mouse from axsotic offers digital artists one-handed, high resolution manip...
Digital artists working in a three-dimensional graphic environment may find current input peripherals a little restricting. Before the creative juices can be let loose, the workspace needs to be moved, zoomed and rotated to the correct position for work to start. Then it's a case of repeatedly stopping to reposition before being able to apply just the right amount of texture, tone or shadow. The 3D-Spheric-Mouse from axsotic promises to make things a little easier by allowing for one-handed rotation and movement of the virtual object over six axes. Job done!  Read More
The Zip Bed simply zips and unzips
Italian furniture design company Florida has created the perfect bed for those mornings when you just want to grab a coffee and run out the door. All that you have to do is simply get out and zip it up – no more making your bed in the morning. At night, you just unzip it and climb back in. If you like the snugged-up feeling, you can even be “zipped-in."  Read More
TomTom has announced two new additions to its GO navigation range
TomTom has announced a couple of new additions to its GO range of satellite navigation devices. In addition to offering multi-touch control courtesy of a capacitive glass screen, the GO 2405 TM and GO 2505 TM feature voice recognition capabilities, instant and continuous routing, hands-free calling capability, a new easy mount system and a slim redesign.  Read More
MIT associate professor Sarah O'Connor, right, and graduate student Weerawat Runguphan hav...
Scientists have been engineering new genes into plants for a number of years in an effort to expand on naturally occurring medicinal compounds. Now chemists at MIT have gone one step further, using an approach known as metabolic engineering to alter the series of reactions plants use to build new molecules, thereby enabling them to produce unnatural variants of their usual products.  Read More
Skyfire 2.0 for iPhone 'sold out' in just five hours
Looks like the legions of iPhone users are pretty keen to get Flash video on their device with news that Skyfire 2.0 mobile web browser has effectively “sold out.” Within five hours of being released on iTunes, the Skyfire Flash video solution shot to the head of the top grossing app list and third highest paid app overall and overloaded the Skyfire servers, leaving potential buyers staring at the “Please Upgrade Flash” message while the folks at Skyfire Labs scramble to increase capacity.  Read More
The OSU microreactor (left) uses microlamination architecture to produce nanoparticles mor...
Nanotechnology products could become much more commercially practical, thanks to work being performed by engineers at Oregon State University (OSU). Using a new fabrication method, they have been able to increase the production rate of nanoparticles by 500 times, while simultaneously reducing the amount of environmentally-harmful byproducts involved. It’s definitely big news – or really tiny news, depending on how you look at it.  Read More
 
Turbine XL
Abraham-Louis Perrelet began working on an automatic watch winding mechanism in 1770 (the year Captain Cook “discovered” Australia). By 1777, he’d perfected the invention and founded the House of Perrelet watches the same year. His success in harvesting energy from the wearer led to his next invention, the pedometer, and he subsequently went on to manufacture a range of firsts in the watch industry. Innovation still underpins the company, and Perrelet patented its Double Rotor (one on the dial side, one on the movement side) in 1995. Now it has put them on show with its TURBINE XL watch, enabling caffeine-addicted, ADHD-suffering freaks (guilty) to amuse themselves for hours. Don’t believe me? See inside.  Read More
High-capacity communications link at river crossing
Fujitsu has announced a transmission power amplifier that is set to extend the transmission range of wireless communications networks by six times. The company's newly development gallium nitride (GaN) High Electron Mobility Transistor (HEMT) has achieved the world's highest output for wireless communications in the millimeter-wave W band.  Read More
The lower right red dot indicates that this CHEMCARD paper test is ready (Photo: Scott T. ...
Throughout the world, reactive paper-based systems are used to test peoples’ blood, urine and other bodily fluids for biomarkers that indicate everything from diabetes to pregnancy. Such systems are also used to detect pollution in water. However, for many of these tests to be accurate, an exact amount of time must pass between the application of the fluid and the viewing of the paper – if the paper is observed any earlier or later, the perceived results could be inaccurate. People typically use stopwatches to avoid this problem, but not everyone in the world has access to such devices, so scientists from Pennsylvania State University (PSU) have developed a simple timer that can be built into the paper itself.  Read More
The Dyson Groom tool has been designed to help prevent the mess associated with dog hair l...
Just when you've got the sofa or carpet clean, the dog appears and sheds a few pounds of loose hair all over the place. It's a problem faced by dog lovers the world over and one which the folks at Dyson UK have been considering for the past year. The result is a vacuum attachment for medium to long haired dogs which sucks up loose hair and dead skin before it gets anywhere near your new clean floor or prized upholstery.  Read More
Panasonic's newest addition to its LUMIX Micro Four Thirds camera range - the DMC-GF2 - sq...
Panasonic's newest addition to its LUMIX Micro Four Thirds camera range squeezes a host of new features into a frame that's a good deal lighter and smaller than its predecessor. The company has given the DMC-GF2 a more powerful image processor, increased its sensitivity, and added touchscreen interactivity. Like the model before it, the camera has a built-in flash and high definition movie recording, although users now get a choice of 720 progressive or 1080 interlaced.  Read More
An electric current applied to the brain could improve math skills (Image: Diego Silvestre...
If you’re one of the many people, yours truly included, who always found math class a bit on the difficult side then maybe all you needed was a jolt of electricity. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) has been used as a psychiatric treatment since the 1930s and is still used today, most commonly as a treatment for severe depression. Now researchers are reporting that applying an electrical current to the brain could enhance a person’s mathematical performance for up to six months without impacting their other cognitive functions.  Read More
iKlip mic stand adapter for iPad
The iPad is proving to be a useful tool for many different types of musicians who use it in as many different ways, so comfortably integrating it into your on-stage kit makes a lot of sense. The iKlip universal microphone stand adapter for iPad does just that with a fully-adjustable, lightweight design that attaches to almost any microphone stand.  Read More
A bounty has been placed on open source drivers for Microsoft's Kinect motion controller
It’s only just been released in North America and already there is a move to hack Microsoft’s Kinect motion controller to allow it to be used on systems other than the Xbox 360. As part of its Open Kinect (OK) project, New York-based open-source hardware developer, Adafruit, is offering a US$2,000 bounty to anyone who can produce some open source drivers capable of getting the RGB out and distance values captured by the USB device.  Read More
The Technics SL-1200MK2 (Image: Dydric)
In a move that will surely bring a tear to many an eye in the DJ community, Panasonic last month announced that it was discontinuing production of analog products within its Technics brand – most notably its iconic line of turntables. Technics turntables are renowned for their quick start-up and reliability thanks in part to a Direct-Drive turning mechanism that used magnets instead of a belt drive and have become the turntable of choice for DJs the world over.  Read More
The pedal-electric Sinclair X-1
The name Sinclair was stamped on single-person electric transport way back in 1985 with the world's first mass produced electric vehicle – the Sinclair C5. Fast forward to 2010, drop a wheel, shed lots of weight, add modern batteries and you start to get a picture of the newly developed Sinclair Research X-1. Essentially an electric-assist recumbent bicycle with an open-sided fairing, it has the aerodynamics, ergonomic pedaling position and weather protection of a velomobile, yet its weight and price are closer to those of an electric-assist bicycle.  Read More

Scientists have for the first time created "super twisted" light which can be used for more effective disease and virus identification. The process involves polarizing a light beam to create a kind of light corkscrew, then reflecting it off a gold surface to twist the vortex even tighter. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease are two conditions now being examined using this new technique.  Read More
Road-ready technology showcase of BMW's Vision EfficientDynamics plug-in hybrid sports car
After a couple of months of teasing glimpses BMW has announced that its Vision EfficientDynamics concept vehicle will go into production. The plug-in hybrid vehicle that made its debut at IAA last year as a concept vehicle is a four-seater (2+2) sports car conceived to combine the performance of a BMW M Car with the fuel economy and emission management exceeding that of a small car.  Read More
Two thirds of the world's population now carries a mobile phone but this was state-of-the-...
In his book The Artificial Ape, Dr Timothy Taylor convincingly argues that humans are biologically a product of technology. If Taylor is correct, then the ground edge stone tool pictured is of enormous significance. Stone tool-use among our earliest hominid ancestors dates to 3.4 million years ago, but the use of grinding to sharpen stone tool edges is very recent. This is the oldest ground-edge stone tool ever found and represents bleeding edge technology 35,000 years ago.  Read More
The FlyRad motorized electric unicycle
We’ve seen a few vehicle designs that have had a crack at bringing the unicycle out of the circus and onto the street, such as the self-balancing eniCycle, the UnoMoto, the EMBRIO and Honda’s U3-X. Here's a very different approach. Although it is a one wheeled motorized vehicle, there's nothing self-balancing about the FlyRad – the design requires the rider to wear a pair of inline skates while they sit, stand or simply get dragged along.  Read More
All-electric Fuso Canter E-CELL concept
Electric vehicles offer quiet operation, zero local emissions and instant torque – attributes that are attractive across the transport sector, not just for cars and motorcyles. One of these areas is light trucks and the Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC) Canter E-CELL concept is a taste of things to come on urban roads. Based on the 3.5 ton Fuso Canter 3S13, the Canter E-CELL sees the combustion engine replaced with an electric motor producing peak power of 70 kW and 300 Nm of torque. The result is a range of around 75 miles with top speed limited to 50 mph, while recharge time on the 40 kWh battery pack is around six hours via a 380-volt power network.  Read More
'Protocell drivers' in a flask surrounded by carbon structures, in the Hylozoic Ground ins...
Architects have been looking at ways to improve city buildings with living walls and living roofs that add some much needed greenery and help remove carbon from the atmosphere. Now researchers are looking at using a different sort of “living “ material created from protocells – bubbles of oil in an aqueous fluid sensitive to light or different chemicals – to create a coral-like skin that could be used to clad city buildings, build carbon-negative architecture and even "grow" reefs to stabilize the city of Venice.  Read More
Samsung's design for a liquid zoom lens uses two liquid lenses stacked together (Image: fr...
Samsung has filed a patent for a new type of liquid lens that provides not only autofocus capability, but also true optical zoom capability. Liquid lenses, with their small form factor and lack of motors or moving parts, are ideal for use in compact cameras, phones, and other mobile devices. Where a conventional liquid lens may provide only autofocus, Samsung’s design uses two separately controllable liquid lenses in a single array to provide both functions.  Read More
Researchers at the University of Bristol have developed a seismological 'speed gun'
Researchers at the University of Bristol have developed a seismological "speed gun" which takes multiple seismic readings of single events to determine how quickly the Earth's mantle is moving. While the instruments used to measure this movement aren't hand-held or new to the field, the way that the data is interpreted is ground breaking.  Read More
2011 MV Agusta F3
The star of the 2010 EICMA motorcycle show held in Milan this week was undoubtedly the new MV Agusta F3. Though many of the specifics of the new three cylinder 675cc F3 have not yet been revealed (such as weight), it has more horsepower (138 bhp) than any supersport category motorcycle bar the Ducati 848 V-twin. The engine uses a counter-rotating crankshaft (claimed to partially balance the gyroscopic effects of the wheels to make a more nimble machine), and comes with ride-by-wire, traction control and multiple engine power maps – all firsts in the class. Most of all though, it has impeccable breeding.  Read More
Stanford's simple-to-disassemble Bloom laptop concept is designed for easy recycling
It’s a given that we will one day be discarding our present laptop computers. It’s also a given that e-waste is currently a huge problem, that looks like it’s only going to get worse. While most of the materials in a laptop can be recycled, all of those pieces of glass, metal, plastic and circuitry are stuck together pretty tight, and require a lot of time and effort to separate. What is needed are laptops that are designed to be taken apart, for easy recycling – that’s why a group of graduate students from Stanford University made one.  Read More

Swiss 'Jetman' Yves Rossy has successfully performed two aerial loops, using his unique st...
Switzerland’s Yves Rossy, better known as Jetman or Fusionman, has achieved another aviation first by performing two aerial loops using his unique jet-powered strap-on wing. Rossy made headlines in 2004, when he first achieved horizontal flight with his original carbon fiber wing, flying 12 kilometers (7.46 miles) over the Alps. He created an even bigger fuss in 2008, when he used his wing to fly across the English Channel. Then, just last year, he got a bit wet when he unsuccessfully tried to fly from Morocco to Spain. Now, however, he can add another success to his growing list.  Read More
Researchers at University of Connecticut have found that industrial hemp has properties th...
While the food versus fuel debate continues to put crop-based biofuel production on the back burners it might just be Cannabis sativa that blazes the competition. Researchers at University of Connecticut have found that industrial hemp has properties that make it viable and even attractive as a raw material, or feedstock, for producing biodiesel. Hemp biodiesel has shown a high efficiency of conversion (97 percent) and has passed laboratory’s tests, even showing properties that suggest it could be used at lower temperatures than any biodiesel currently on the market.  Read More
This computer-generated graphic shows a model of the cruise-efficient, short take-off and ...
What's wrong with this picture? If you said the engines are upside down, you'd be wrong. The odd engine placement is part of a cruise-efficient, short take-off and landing (CESTOL) aircraft concept from the Georgia Tech Research Institute which also sees mechanical wing-flaps replaced by high-speed blasts of air to generate extra lift. It's hoped that the development of such craft will make more airports available to fixed-wing jet aircraft by enabling take off and landing at steep angles on short runways, as well as reducing engine noise.  Read More
A new method of quantum cryptography makes it possible to encode a photon with many differ...
Quantum cryptography has been around since the 1980's but up until now only very small packets of information have been able to be encrypted at one time. Now a breakthrough that identifies the angle and rotation of photon particles is taking this technology to the next level.  Read More
Rochester, Minnesota's Geist, with his stun baton
Yes, there are real-life superheroes. And no, we’re not just referring to firefighters, paramedics, and other heroic people who we’re used to seeing coming to the rescue of others. We’re talking about costume-wearing, identity-concealing, cool-name-having people who fight crime, pollution, or other evils in their own communities, on their own time, and at their own risk. Many of them actually patrol the city streets, ready to intervene if they see trouble brewing – and being ready includes having the right tools. Given that none of these people have Bruce Wayne’s budget, however, their gadgets tend to be less like Batmobile clones, and more like... well, read on and see for yourself.  Read More
Off the beaten track
Fancy a roadtrip? Don't have a driver? No problem! The team from VisLab have just completed a journey from across two continents in two autonomous vans – the longest single trip undertaken by an autonomous vehicle. Over the 8,000 miles (13,000km) there were only a few technical hiccups and it seems that border officials, the police, journalists and tired crew members were a bigger hazard than the tough road conditions.  Read More
Motus allows users to act as a cameraperson  inside existing 3D models, such as video game...
In the creation of the film Avatar, director James Cameron invented a system called Simul-cam. It allowed him to see the video output of the cameras, in real time, but with the human actors digitally altered to look like the alien creatures whom they were playing. The system also negated the need for a huge amount of animation – every performance was captured in all its blue-skinned, pointy-eared majesty as it happened, so it didn’t need to be created from scratch on a computer. Now, researchers from the University of Abertay Dundee have built on the techniques pioneered by Simul-cam to create a new system, that lets users act as their own cameraperson within a 3D environment.  Read More
Toshiba has revealed that its super-slim Blade X-gate SSD solution is now available to all...
Toshiba has announced that its new mSATA SSD storage solution, that was recently found inside Apple's new 11-inch Macbook Air, is being made available to other product developers. The super-slim Blade X-gale series comes in three capacity options and users can expect a fast read/write performance and a long life expectancy.  Read More
Researchers in the UK are developing a self-diagnosis system for sexually transmitted infe...
A consortium of scientists has been formed to try and stem the rise of sexually transmitted diseases (or infections as they are now called) that's said to be reaching epidemic proportions in the UK. As early diagnosis and treatment is essential in such matters, the team is creating a self-diagnosis system where results can quickly be displayed on a mobile phone or computer screen. The system could even automatically make an appointment at a clinic or direct the unfortunate sufferer to the nearest pharmacy, where treatment would be waiting.  Read More
The DashLink fits 1996 and newer Harley-Davidson FLHT/FLTR and FLHR models, with more mode...
Does the world need another iPhone/iPod Touch dock? The world of Harley riders just might, and the DashLink from Hell’s Foundry is here to meet that need. The DashLink replaces the stock fuel tank console on your Harley-Davidson with an integrated dock that securely holds your iPhone or iPod Touch, while keeping it charged and ready for use.  Read More

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