New and Emerging Technology News part 87 ~ NEW GEN TECH LIFE : new generation technology news

Monday, 27 January 2014

New and Emerging Technology News part 87

Christoph Thetard has developed a mechanical flywheel drive to power a set of kitchen appl...
Christoph Thetard has developed a mechanical flywheel drive to power a set of kitchen appliances for his Diploma in Product Design at Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany. The kitchen machine, coffee grinder and hand blender chosen for this device would under normal circumstances need to be plugged into an electrical wall socket, but there's no electricity needed for R2B2. Pumping the pedal spins the flywheel, which in turn provides the energy needed to operate the three cooking aids.  Read More
Smartfish downsizes ergonomic mouse for travelers
SmartFish Technologies has announced the new Whirl Mini Notebook Laser Mouse, the latest version updated from the original ErgoMotion Mouse that was awarded the CES Innovations award for 2010. This new version is smaller and provides enhanced usability for laptop users and travelers constantly working on-the-go.  Read More
Purdue mechanical engineering student Yaguo Wang works with a high-speed laser at the Birc...
The energy crisis has certainly catalyzed a great deal of thought about how we harvest all that energy we previously wasted. The petroleum-burning internal combustion engine has traditionally leaked energy from the exhaust system in the form of heat, but new ThermoElectric Generator (TEG) research at Purdue University aims to yield as much as a ten percent reduction in fuel consumption by converting heat from the exhaust into electricity. It is hoped that the thermoelectric research will eventually lead to other methods of turning waste heat into electricity in homes and power plants, new and more efficient solar cells and perhaps even a solid-state refrigerator.  Read More
Before construction begins, the team have to dig out layers and layers of garbage
It's estimated that around 2.6 billion people around the world make do without any sanitation, including more than 10 million in the slums of Kenya. Still more have to use thinly disguised holes in the ground. A group of MIT students have joined forces to try and create a sustainable toilet solution for those in need. They've developed a low cost, modular sanitation solution which would be operated and maintained by locals and the waste transported to nearby processing plants. Biogas produced from the waste will be used to create electricity and what's left of the human waste turned into fertilizer.  Read More
BEAR is an all-terrain, search-and-rescue humanoid robot that can lift and carry up to 500...
The U.S. Army is currently testing a robot designed to locate, lift and carry wounded soldiers out of harm’s way without risking additional lives. With feedback from its onboard sensors and cameras, the Battlefield Extraction-Assist Robot (BEAR) can be remotely controlled through the use of a special M-4 rifle grip controller or by hand gestures using an AnthroTronix iGlove motion glove. This equipment would allow a soldier to direct BEAR to a wounded soldier and transport them to safety where they can be assessed by a combat medic.  Read More
The HD LED Lava Scandinavia Android TV
Internet-connected television is not new, with LG’s Netcast, Panasonic’s Viera Cast, Samsung’s Internet@TV and Sony’s internet-integrated Bravia all presenting cut-down versions of the internet. The world’s first TV with an Android operating system though, is a breath of fresh air by comparison, using proprietary graphics processors inside the set to enable the 42 inch HD LED Lava Scandinavia to handle the full internet experience you’d get with a normal computer. Gizmag’s Mike Hanlon and Noel McKeegan spent some time with the Scandinavia recently and came away VERY impressed.  Read More
RavenSkin insulation delays heat transfer for when temperatures drop
RavenBrick, the company that brought us the smart tinting RavenWindow, has added to its folio of temperature regulating building materials with RavenSkin. Unlike traditional insulation that blocks all heat equally, this innovative wall insulation material absorbs heat during the day to keep the interior cool and slowly releases the stored heat at night to warm the building when the sun goes down.  Read More
Artist's impression of the yellowish star HIP 13044 and, on the bottom right, its planet H...
Astronomers have been discovering planets outside of our solar system – or exoplanets – at a steady rate in recent years. The number has now topped 500 and with earth-bound detection improving all the time and the Kepler mission out hunting with the largest camera ever sent into space, the rate is not likely to slow down anytime soon. Among these discoveries are some extraordinary finds like the first "potentially habitable" exoplanet, but what's different about this latest discovery is not the Earth-like qualities of the planet, it's the fact that it originated from outside the Milky Way – which makes it an extragalactic exoplanet.  Read More
Possible model of the Sahara Solar Breeder Project
This is ambition with a capital A. Universities in Japan and Algeria have teamed up on a project that aims to solve the world’s energy problems. Called the Sahara Solar Breeder Project, the plan is to build manufacturing plants around the Sahara Desert and extract silica from sand to make solar panels, which will then be used to build solar power plants in the desert. The power generated by the initial plant or plants would be used to “breed” more silicon manufacturing and solar power plants, which will in turn be used to breed more again, and so on. The ultimate goal is to build enough plants to provide 50 percent of the world’s electricity by 2050, which would be delivered via a global superconducting supergrid.  Read More
The prototype of the next-generation AUV (Photo: Fraunhofer)
Engineers from Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics are working on an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) that would be inexpensive enough to use for industrial applications such as hull and dam inspection, yet independent enough that it wouldn’t require any kind of human control. Typically, more cumbersome but less costly remote operated vehicles (ROVs) are used for grunt work – they are connected to a ship on the surface by a tether, where a human operator controls them. The more technologically-advanced AUVs tend to be used more for well-funded research, but according to the engineers, one of the keys to creating “blue collar” AUVs is to overhaul the ways that they see, hear and think.  Read More

The MDMouse marries a standard optical mouse with a sphygmomanometer so that computer user...
Monitoring blood pressure at home is recommended by the American Heart Association for the estimated 74.5 million American adults suffering from hypertension. CalHealth has created a blood pressure monitor that's housed in a computer mouse. After a user pushes a finger into the cuff monitor, the device sends readings to software on a PC for analysis, or to send on to doctors via email.  Read More
TikTok and LunaTik kits turn your iPod Nano into a wearable watch
Scott Wilson, the founder of Chicago-based design firm MINIMAL, has put the call out for funding to bring his iPod Nano watch designs to fruition. Wilson has created two unique watch converters, that transform the Nano into a multi-touch watch. The TikTok is a basic snap-in style wristband that allows users to easily lock their Nano into the wrist dock. The LunaTik is the premium version, designed to keep the Nano aboard for permanent use.  Read More
As well as making you tired, jet lag can cause long term memory and learning problems (Ima...
In bad news for regular jet-setters and shift workers, research by psychologists at the University of California, Berkeley, has shown that acute disruption of circadian rhythms can cause memory and learning problems long after people have returned to a regular schedule. While similar effects have been shown in jet-lagged subjects, the UC Berkeley study is the first to look at long-term effects and changes in brain anatomy after the subjects have recovered from jet lag.  Read More
A team of Illinois researchers developed an imaging technique that uses laser light to ide...
Not many things are tougher than dealing with a diagnosis of cancer. But often the protracted wait for biopsy results, and the uncertainty surrounding them, can be excruciating for patients and their loved ones. Now a research team at the University of Illinois has developed a tissue-imaging technique that produces easily identifiable, color-coded images of body tissue that clearly outline tumor boundaries. What’s more, the process takes less than five minutes.  Read More
80,000 euro Cabasse L'Ocean Speakers - 117dB with no distortion
Cabasse has launched a new addition to its high-end (and we're talking quite an altitude) Artis line of speakers with L’Océan. Based on the same distinctive War of the Worlds-style spherical enclosure and using the same 3-way coaxial drive unit as the flagship La Sphére, the L’Océan can reach sound pressure levels approaching that of a jet engine – 117dB with no distortion!  Read More
The new label provides relevant information for buyers of EVs and hybrids
With hybrid and electric vehicles appearing in more and more automobile showrooms around the world, the traditional fuel efficiency measure of miles per gallon (MPG) alone just doesn’t cut it anymore. With cars able to be powered by electric power alone or a combination of electric and gasoline, new measures are needed to better inform consumers when buying a new car. To this end, General Motors (GM) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have teamed up to design a new window label for the Chevrolet Volt that has more information than any EPA label before it.  Read More
A diagram of the Carbon-60 buckyball guest molecule, with a second layer of host molecules...
In a milestone for nanotechnology, scientists have built three-dimensional molecular structures on a surface for the first time ever. Previously, it had only been possible to create two-dimensional structures in this way. The research team from the University of Nottingham believe that the technique will boost the development of new optical, electronic and molecular computing technologies.  Read More
The Kee4 Keyboard puts mobile typing at your fingertips
If there’s one major weakness of devices like the iPad and touchscreen-only mobile phones, it’s their onscreen keyboards. This is evidenced by the selection of portable keyboards available, such as the Jorno Bluetooth and Thanko folding keyboards. Citta Consulting is taking a different approach to portability to with its Kee4 Keyboard – a device that has just four keys and can be operated with one hand using a "composite keystroke" system.  Read More
The BugE is a faired electric three-wheeler that buyers purchase as a kit, then put togeth...
Electric vehicles are beginning to spread onto the mass market, but one of the limiting factors in these early days is a high-cost compared to their gas-burning equivalents. Electric scooters and motorcycles are considerably cheaper, but not everyone is comfortable on two wheels, or likes being exposed to the elements. Here's an alternative type of EV that costs less than six thousand dollars, is stable on the road and will protect you from wind and rain. It’s called the BugE, and there’s just one catch to it – you have to put the thing together yourself.  Read More
A thin-film solid-oxide fuel cell developed at Harvard (Photo: Shriram Ramanathan)
Reliable, affordable fuel cells have come not one but three steps closer to reality this week, with announcements from two research institutions regarding advances in the field. If the reported developments make their way into production, we could be seeing fuel cells that use more abundant, less expensive fuels and building materials, that are more consistent in their electricity production, and that have a lower operating temperature.  Read More
 
Simulated lead-lead collisions in ALICE
Physicists from the ALICE detector team have been colliding lead nuclei together at CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in an attempt to recreate the conditions in the first few microseconds after the Big Bang. Early results have shown that the quark-gluon plasma created at these energies does not form a gas as predicted, but instead suggest that the very early universe behaved like a hot liquid.  Read More
Onlive is about to release a Game System that will allow players to stream online games di...
Online gaming service provider Onlive has announced a system that brings its cloud-based, instant-play titles direct to the television. Instead of sitting in front of a console and loading in games via optical disc or waiting for them to download, Onlive has a bunch of dedicated servers for sending the chosen title straight to the TV over a broadband Internet line. Players can even choose whether to use the included wireless game controller or a USB keyboard and mouse to control the onscreen action.  Read More
Chris Mullin's Dynamic Eye sunglasses
Chris Mullin from Pittsburgh has designed a pair of smart electronic sunglasses that pinpoint and reduce glare using a moving liquid crystal display spot inside the lens. Dubbed "Dynamic Eye", the sunglasses dim direct sunlight or other hot spots without dimming everything else in view, so you no longer have to worry about driving home with the sun streaming directly into your line of vision.  Read More
The latest development in quantum computing might hold the key to taming qubits, the building blocks of quantum systems. Holding these elusive qubits in a controlled state for longer than nanoseconds has proven extremely difficult in the past but researchers have recently discovered a method could see their lifespan reach seconds if not tens of seconds.  Read More
Hanvon has unveiled a 9.68-inch color e-Ink reader which will be available in China from M...
Other manufacturers may be holding back to see how the land lies but Hanvon has bitten the bullet and announced that it intends to be the first company to bring a color e-Ink reader to the consumer marketplace. The color e-Reader was shown off recently at a trade show in Japan and will be available in China from March next year. There's scant official information available but read on for what we do know for sure.  Read More
An artist's impression of Lockheed Martin's Hawaii OTEC pilot plant
An Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) pilot plant off the coast of Hawaii’s Big Island is now a step closer to reality. The U.S. Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NFEC) has just awarded Lockheed Martin a US$4.4 million contract modification to develop critical system components and designs for the plant – this amount is in addition to the $8.1 million contract the NFEC issued in 2009, as well as two grants totaling $1 million that Lockheed Martin received from the U.S. Department of Energy in 2008 and this March. Hopefully, this means the streets of Kona may someday be lit by electricity obtained from the temperature difference between warm and cold sea water.  Read More
The wake of a swimming moon jellyfish is visualized using  fluorescent dye
We’ve seen the swimming motions of fish emulated by underwater robots several times before, but jellyfish (with an exception or two) don’t seem to inspire mechanical imitation quite as much. A student at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena (Caltech), however, thinks that their unique propulsion system might be the perfect model for another type of technology: tiny pumps that can be implanted in peoples’ bodies, or used in soft robotics.  Read More
A boll of cotton matures in the field  (Texas AgriLife Research photo by Kathleen Phillips...
Cotton has held an important significance for mankind for thousands of years. Not only are all parts of the cotton plant economically useful, but the multitude of uses and processes it can be put to make it America's number one value-added crop. Over the years we have crushed and extruded and woven cotton into many forms, but even today scientists and entrepreneurs are transforming the way we use cotton; from reducing pollution, insulating homes, and cleaning up oil spills to feeding the hungry. Here's a look at seven new companies being championed for their sustainability by Cotton Incorporated.  Read More
The ceramic speaker is thinner than the music player feeding it tunes
Design company Nendo has joined forces with Masagasu Mitsuke to create a super thin ceramic speaker set for a project aimed at injecting some new life into traditional Japanese crafts. Normally hidden away in such things as LED lighting, the ceramic substrate used for the creation is boldly brought out into the open for a striking piece of functional art.  Read More
MIT's Media Lab has come up with an interactive play learning environment for kids, which ...
In an increasingly tech-centric world, keeping kids interested in learning can be an uphill battle. With teaching that involves play recently attracting some powerful supportive voices, students from MIT's Media Lab have developed a system which merges technology and play to stimulate young minds. The Playtime Computing system uses infrared emitters and tracking cameras to monitor the position of a special robot within a play area. As the bot disappears into a hole in a panel, it appears to continue its journey into a virtual world projected onto the walls.  Read More

The Swallowtail and Monarch versions of My Butterfly
“Robobutterfly” may not have quite the same coolness factor as words like Robocop, Robowrestler, or even Robogecko. The fact is, however, you can now buy your own flying mechanical butterfly, and it looks pretty impressive. Marketed in Japan as the ChouChou Electric Butterfly, the fluttering electric bug-in-a-mason-jar was unveiled at this year’s Tokyo Toy Show and this month it became available to the public.  Read More
Front view of the Mercedes-Benz BIOME
Get ready to have your concept of how a car is manufactured flipped upside-down and turned inside-out. Picture a production process that has plenty in common with agar jelly (used to culture organic materials in laboratories) and little in common with what we would normally think of as production-line automotive manufacturing. You are starting to get close to what the people at Mercedes-Benz have spawned with the BIOME – one of the most outlandish and ambitious concepts in this year's Los Angeles Design Challenge.  Read More
The Yogakayak allows paddlers to kayak in a reportedly more ergonomic kneeling position
Inexpensive sit-on-top kayaks are great fun for the beach and the lake, although many people maintain that the conventional legs-in-front kayaking position is hard on the back. Not only is a kneeling position said to be healthier, but proponents of the C1 style of whitewater paddling (in which the paddler kneels in a specialized whitewater kayak) also state that it allows for better control of the boat. With these claims in mind, Quebec City inventor Pierre Parant created the Yogakayak.  Read More
An example of a typical server cluster (Image: Creative Commons)
Toshiba has just completed the installation of a demonstration modular data center on the outskirts of Tokyo, signaling its entry into the emerging market. Rather than housing racks of data servers in dedicated buildings, the modular approach allows for the relatively quick construction of units housed in steel framed containers, which can be stacked to increase capacity without encroaching too much on the surrounding environment. In addition to reducing costs, Toshiba claims that its solution also requires less power to operate.  Read More
Ferrari logo adds US$10,000 to the price of Hasselblad H4D
Just how much value does Ferrari's logo add to a product? Hasselblad's latest announcement seems to answer that and we're not sure if it reflects well on either brand. The EUR13,995 (US$18,531) Hasselblad H4D is the flagship product of the best known medium format imaging marque and has been purchased by tens of thousands of the world's elite photographers because it delivers digital SLR functionality with extraordinary imaging quality. Now the company has announced two identical cameras that don't come in silvery grey. For an extra EUR1000 (US$1324), you can have one of a limited run of 100 stainless steel H4Ds. There's also a Ferrari Limited Edition camera which is identical except for a carbon fiber display case, its Ferrari "rosso fuoco" color, and the unmistakable Yellow Prancing Horse Racing Shield. Hasselblad will make 499 units of the limited edition camera, selling them for EUR21,499 (US$28,473.61). That's US$9,938 more than an identical product – a premium of more than 50% extra for the display case … and the logo.  Read More
Dorin Stefan's 'Floating Observatories' tower; construction begins in 2012 in Taechung, Ta...
It might look like something out of Isaac Asimov's imagination, it might look like it could never stand up, but this bizarre concept building is about to go into construction. "Floating Observatories" is Stefan Dorin's winning entry in the recent Taiwan Tower Conceptual International Competition - and in return for his US$130,000 first prize, now he has to actually build the thing. The new tower, standing more than 300 metres tall with its helium-filled observatory "leaves", will be the crown jewel of Taechung, the third largest city in Taiwan.  Read More
Pole-climbing bike lock
Bikes are an all-too-easy target for thieves and protecting your two-wheeled conveyance from their pilfering mitts is almost impossible. While chains and cables are the traditional choice for cyclists looking to make life just a little bit more difficult for would-be thieves, they are usually easily handled with a pair of bolt cutters – even if that results in a nice blast of permanent dye. The latest hard-core solution we've encountered is this innovative bike lock created by a group of German designers that literally puts your bike beyond the reach of thieves by carting it up a light pole.  Read More
Gas turbine model train looks (and sounds) incredible
Developed by Hidepon Works, this train is about as bad-ass as model trains can possibly get. It's powered by a gas turbine engine, thus giving it a very noisy and very sexy jet-like sound as it prepares to "take off" on its run. We took a closer look at Make Fair in Tokyo.  Read More
Pure has claimed the crown for the world's first sunrise simulator and digital radio combi...
There are numerous dawn simulation wake up solutions currently on the market, but Pure is claiming a first with its dawn simulator and digital radio combination. Twilight uses half a dozen bright LED lights to help combat the nasty effects of seasonal affective disorder by mimicking a gentle sunrise before an alarm kicks in to make sure you get out of bed. The device can also help create different soothing moods using sound and light and see youngsters off to sleep with a selection of lullabies.  Read More

Alexander Alexeev and Hassan Masoud, with their computer model of flapping-wing flight (Ph...
Imagine insect-like aircraft capable of military or civilian surveillance missions, impossible for current fixed-wing or rotary-wing vehicles – tiny flying machines able to access buildings reduced to rubble by earthquakes, or act as a fly-on-the-wall in the meeting rooms of enemy leaders. Such aircraft may be one step closer to realization, thanks to a breakthrough in our understanding of how flapping wings work.  Read More
BendDesk renders the horizontal desktop and vertical display screen into one multi-touch s...
Researchers from Aachen University's Media Computing Group have created a computer workstation where the desk and screen are transformed into one multi-touch display. The display is curved at the middle and uses infrared emitters and cameras to track user movement over the whole of the surface, which has its graphical user interface beamed onto it by a couple of short throw projectors hidden within its wooden frame.  Read More
The active electrode book - the four slots close in around the nerve roots like the pages ...
Paraplegics may soon find it easier to exercise their leg muscles through activities such as cycling and rowing thanks to a tiny microchip implanted in the spinal canal. Dubbed the Active Book because of its booklike appearance, the microchip combines electrodes and a muscle stimulator in one unit the size of a child's fingernail.  Read More
Honda shows BRIO city car prototype
Honda finally showed the smaller-than-small city car it has been developing for Asian markets - the Honda BRIO - today at the 27th Thailand International Motor Expo in Bangkok. It will be the smallest, lightest and cheapest car in the Honda range when it goes on sale in India and Thailand next year - around THB 400,000 (US$13,300).  Read More
The Zayed National Museum
Foster + Partners, the UK-based architectural firm behind such innovative designs as Qatar’s Lusail Iconic Stadium and Masdar City, has unveiled yet another breathtaking concept with its design for the Zayed National Museum in Abu Dhabi. The design comprises five wing-shaped solar towers sculpted aerodynamically to work like the feathers of a bird’s wing and draw cooling air currents through the museum.  Read More
Chromosomes, with their telomere caps highlighted. Looking after these telomeres could be ...
The aging process - it's undignified, unwanted, and many would say unnecessary. After all, the cells in your body are constantly replacing themselves - why can't they do it without causing progressive degradation of organs that lead to discomfort, weakness and death? Well, perhaps they can. Harvard scientists have discovered that by controlling certain genetic processes in mice, they can not only slow down the aging process, but "dramatically" reverse it throughout the body. It's a massive discovery, but it won't be able to be used in humans yet without some pretty scary consequences.  Read More
Blast exposure disrupts the nanostructure of the 'Blast Badge,' resulting in clear changes...
Blast-induced traumatic brain injury from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) is the "signature wound" of the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. With the damage to the brain often not immediately obvious and no objective information of relative blast exposure, soldiers may not receive appropriate medical care and are at risk of being returned to the battlefield too soon. To overcome this inadequacy, researchers have developed a color-changing patch that could be worn on soldiers’ helmets and uniforms to indicate the strength of exposure to blasts from explosives in the field.  Read More
Researchers have devised a technique that allows a PC to create 3D images of famous landma...
Researchers have devised a technique that allows a computer to create three-dimensional images of famous landmarks, by combining numerous two-dimensional photos of those landmarks from Internet photo sharing sites such as Flickr. For the Building Rome on a Cloudless Day project, 3 million photos of Rome were accessed online, and used to produce 3D images of all the city’s major landmarks. Utilizing commodity graphics hardware, it took a single PC less than one day to accomplish the task.  Read More
The Electrolux Infinity I-Kitchen fridge
One of the biggest marketing miss-steps of the past decade surely has to be LG’s Internet Refrigerator that incorporated a Windows 98-based PC and 15.1-inch LCD touch display in the door, allowing users to surf the Internet for recipes, play music and videos or (theoretically) do some office work while standing at the fridge. Electrolux seems to think the world is now ready to embrace the idea and has developed an Internet fridge of its own in the form of the Linux-based Infinity I-Kitchen.  Read More
The modified blades
The bumpy protrusions, known as tubercles, on the leading edge of humpback whale flippers have already inspired more efficient wind turbine blades that are able to produce more power at lower speeds. Now, in a seemingly obvious move, researchers have found that that same principle can be applied to underwater turbine blades to more efficiently convert low velocity ocean tidal flow energy into electricity.  Read More

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