New and Emerging Technology News part 93 ~ NEW GEN TECH LIFE : new generation technology news

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

New and Emerging Technology News part 93

Trangram lets you connect devices around the home to each other and to the web
Back at Tokyo Make Meeting earlier this year, there was a fun demonstration showing us what kind of things might be possible if we connected various electrical devices around the home to the Internet, using a system called Trangram. Since the event, we've spoken with Hirotaka Hatayama, who has been working on this project together with his partner, Mr. Kinukawa.  Read More
Ford's Auto Start-Stop system will be added to conventional cars, crossovers and SUVs in N...
Auto Stop-Start technology that shuts off a vehicle’s engine when it comes to a stop to save fuel is a standard feature on many hybrid and electric-vehicles (EVs), including Ford’s Fusion Hybrid and Escape Hybrid. Ford has now announced its Auto Start-Stop system will be added to conventional cars, crossovers and SUVs in North America from 2012.  Read More
Theobroma cacao genome sequenced: Yummier chocolate on the way!
If DNA sequencing never held much relevance for you, consider the benefits likely to flow from the recent sequencing and assembly of the chocolate tree genome. The Theobroma cacao plant is generally regarded as producing the world's finest chocolate, but is particularly vulnerable to disease and not particularly productive, and is hence shunned by risk averse growers. It is hoped the research will not only lead to hardier trees by altering the genes, but will also enable the percentages of cocoa butter, flavonoids, antioxidants, terpenoids and hormones to be regulated. The end result is likely to be smoother, more flavorsome, better smelling and even healthier chocolate. Now that's progress!  Read More
Korea begins first commercial electric bus service
The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) has claimed a world first by deploying electric buses on a commercial route. Previous electric bus operations have all been trials, or in the case of Expo 2010 in Shanghai, free public services. The buses went into service on December 21 after an 18 month development project with Hyundai Heavy Industries and Hankuk Fiber.  Read More
CSIRO Livestock Industries scientist, Dr Caroline Lee, monitoring cattle behavior at Armid...
It’s well known that happy workers of the human variety are also productive workers, and farmers know that the same holds true for animals. However, because animals aren’t likely to reveal their emotional state on a psychiatrist’s couch, the current methods to measure animals’ wellbeing has largely focused on biological indicators of stress via blood tests or through studies of animal behavior. Now researchers are looking to use cognitive principles based on human psychological theories to assess animal emotions.  Read More
When worn so that it runs down the spine, the Corsuit is claimed to help with posture
Some view the development of swimsuits that help athletes to go faster as a natural evolution of the sport, but others believe that training and technique should be the deciding factor that separates winners from losers. After seeing numerous world records get smashed by suited up swimmers, the sport's governing body decided to side with the latter camp and put the brakes on the high tech sportswear. The Corsuit however, is not designed to be worn during competition, and its inventor believes it could help swimmers to achieve natural speed advantages without breaking any rules.  Read More
The 26-ton electric refuse truck is powered by five strings of seven interchangeable batte...
All of the different places I've lived in have had one thing in common – an early morning wake up call when the refuse truck appears in the street. Any move to make such things a little quieter is very welcome indeed, and if it benefits the environment too, then that's another tick in the plus column. Dow Kokam and PVI have announced that a fleet of much less noisy electric refuse trucks is to be rolled out in 2011 by SITA Ile de France, offering similar power and performance levels as their fossil-fueled counterparts.  Read More
A newly developed acoustic rectifier could improve the image quality of sonograms (Photo: ...
Sonography, or ultrasound imaging, is commonly used for diagnostic and therapeutic applications – the best-known example being photos and videos of developing fetuses that expectant parents excitedly wave around. Because ultrasound relies on sound waves being sent into the body and then reflected back to create the image, the interference creating by these waves meeting causes some degradation of image brightness and resolution. In order to enable stronger, sharper medical imaging, scientists at Nanjing University in China have developed an "acoustic rectifier" that forces sound waves to travel in only one direction.  Read More
How many friends you have can be predicted by the size of your ... (Image: dan taylor via ...
The number of friends you have can be accurately predicted by measuring the size of small part of the human anatomy, according to a university study published this week. The strong correlation between the size of this organ and a full social life holds true regardless of age or gender – can you guess what it is?  Read More
Scanning electron image of the nanowire device with gate electrodes used to electrically c...
Until now, the common practice for manipulating the electron spin of quantum bits, or qubits, – the building blocks of future super-fast quantum computers – has been through the use of magnetic fields. Unfortunately, these magnetic fields are extremely difficult to generate on a chip, but now Dutch scientists have found a way to manipulate qubits with electrical rather than magnetic fields. The development marks yet another an important development in the quest for future quantum computers, which would far outstrip current computers in terms of speed.  Read More
Scientists have discovered that tiny sonic booms cause carbon nanotubes to shear off from ...
Single-walled carbon nanotubes are an essential component of many innovations in the field of nanotechnology, with particular potential in the fields of electronics, optics, and automotive technology. Until recently, however, one of the processes for synthesizing them had not fully been understood. More precisely, no one was sure exactly what caused the nanotubes to break, or how to better control the process for the creation of higher-quality tubes. Now, researchers from Rhode Island's Brown University and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) think they have it figured out – it all comes down to tiny sonic booms pressing in on the tubes from either end.  Read More
The sequence shows the difference between the original image (obtained with a wrong key) a...
In the crowded digital camera market, camera makers are continually pushing pixel counts higher and higher to attract consumers who have been led to believe that, the more pixels, the better the image. Proving that this is not necessarily the case, a team of researchers from Spain’s UJI (Universitat Jaume I) Optics Research Group (GROC) has developed a sensor of just one pixel with the ability to record high quality images.  Read More
The pacemaker-like Upper Airway Stimulation (UAS) therapy unit will now enter limited pati...
Loud snoring is not just a tiring irritation for partners but can also be a sign of sleep apnea. The National Institutes of Health reports that more than 12 million Americans suffer from the most common of the three varieties - obstructive sleep apnea, where the upper airway is repeatedly blocked during sleep. There are a number of treatment options already available and Minneapolis-based Inspire Medical Systems is about to add a shocking new addition to the treatment options on offer. The new system - which is about to enter clinical trials - electrically stimulates the nerve at the base of the tongue to keep it from blocking the air's journey to and from the lungs, and so offers the patient a good night's sleep.  Read More
The FAI has ratified the three world records claims made by QinetiQ in July 2010 after its...
The three world records that QinetiQ applied for after its Zephyr High-Altitude Long-Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle completed a successful 14-day flight in July 2010, have been confirmed. The aircraft has now officially been ratified as staying in the air longer and achieving the highest altitude of any surveillance craft in its class, and setting the absolute duration record of 14 days and 21 minutes.  Read More
The current generation iPad
With Apple likely to maintain its usual one-year gap between updates to its popular product series we can expect to see iPad mark II sometime around April – if not before. As the original iPad was announced at a press event in January 2010, it’s also likely we’ll get some kind of official announcement early in 2011. With that date rapidly approaching we thought it would be a good time to do a round up of the more credible rumors surrounding the next generation iPad that for the time being, thanks to Apple’s renowned secrecy, has simply been dubbed the iPad 2.  Read More
Samsung's NX11 mirrorless interchangeable lens camera is set for release in February 2011
Samsung has announced an update to its NX line of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras along with a powerful new 24X zoom compact ahead of next week's CES. The follow up to the NX10 (sensibly called the NX11) shares many of the features of its predecessor including an APS-C (23.4 mm × 15.6 mm) size, 14.6 megapixel CMOS sensor and 3-inch AMOLED screen. The updated unit is also the same weight and size, with the key points of difference being extended compatibility with the i-Function lenses first introduced last year on the NX100 and a slight tweaking of the grip design.  Read More
The HondaJet completed its maiden flight on Dec. 20
The first FAA-conforming HA-420 HondaJet has successfully completed its maiden flight, signaling the start of flight-testing to support certification of the aircraft. The milestone took place on December 20 with the aircraft taking off from the Honda Aircraft Company’s world headquarters at the Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, North Carolina, for a flight that lasted 51 minutes.  Read More
IBM's Next 5 in 5 list predicts 5 technologies that will impact us in the next 5 years
IBM has announced its fifth annual Next Five in Five – a list of five technologies that the company believes “have the potential to change the way people work, live and play over the next five years.” While there are no flying cars or robot servants on the list, there are holographic friends, air-powered batteries, personal environmental sensors, customized commutes and building-heating computers.  Read More
A new technique makes the production of precision glass microlens arrays possible, using a...
When it comes to lenses for digital pico projectors, there’s currently something of a trade-off. Traditional lenses, where multiple glass magnifiers are placed one in front of the other, are long and bulky. Microlens arrays, in which many tiny lenses are assembled together on one flat surface, are a much more compact, lightweight alternative. However, so far such arrays have mostly been made out of plastic, which the bulbs in some projectors are capable of melting. Now, researchers from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology have come up with what they say is a solution: microlens arrays made from glass, using a hot embossing technique.  Read More
Sensium-based devices continuously measured the physical effects of minus 40 degree temper...
Wearable health monitors have been available for some time, providing feedback on functions such as heart rate and blood pressure. They represent the tip of a potentially huge health and fitness market, from athletes and emergency services personnel to patients both in and recently discharged from hospital, who could benefit from real-time, intelligent wireless body monitoring of vital signs. Telemetry technology provider Toumaz has developed an ultra-low power system to wirelessly monitor heart rate, ECG, temperature and physical activity. The Sensium Life Platform has just been used to monitor the health of team members during a record-breaking 4,000 kilometer transantarctic expedition that not only made the fastest vehicle crossing of the Antarctic, but was also the first expedition to use biofuels extensively in Antarctica, and featured the first bio-fuelled vehicle ever to reach the South Pole.  Read More

Detroit debut: Kia Motors KV7 Concept Car
Twenty-eleven is rolling in and we'll be heading back to Detroit to check out the best of what the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) has to offer. We've already been teased with the prospect of an all-new Toyota Prius, concepts from Ford and MINI and a new Benz C-Class. So what else can we expect to see under lights at the COBO Center come mid-January?  Read More
Muscle cells of untreated mice with muscular dystrophy (left) show little utrophin in cell...
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is the most common and severe childhood form of muscular dystrophy (MD), affecting one in 3,500 boys. The disease progressively weakens muscles cells and tissues until muscle degradation is so severe that the patient dies, most often in their late teens or twenties. Scientists at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island and the University of Pennsylvania, hope their research into the human protein, biglycan, will ultimately improve the condition of muscular dystrophy sufferers. Their studies have shown that biglycan significantly slows muscle damage and improves function in mice with the Duchenne genetic mutation. Human clinical trials will be the next step.  Read More
IBM researchers now have an unprecedented understanding and control over the magnetic move...
Racetrack memory is an experimental form of memory that looks to combine the best attributes of magnetic hard disk drives (low cost) and solid state memory (speed) to enable devices to store much more information, while using much less energy than current memory technologies. Researchers at IBM have been working on the development of Racetrack memory for six years and have now announced the discovery of a previously unknown aspect of key physics inside the new technology that brings it another step closer to becoming a reality.  Read More
Amazon has patented system to exchange gifts before theyĆ¢€™ve been dispatched (Photo: Per ...
Whether it be a difference in personal tastes or a case of doubling up of gifts, in the days since Christmas countless numbers of people have been braving the queues at refund counters in stores around the world looking to exchange unwanted gifts. Online retailer Amazon is looking to make such hassles a thing of the past with the company being awarded a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a system that would allow users to exchange unwanted gifts purchased online before they’ve even been dispatched.  Read More
The LUMI mask blocks out surrounding light just like a traditional sleeping mask but also ...
If you want to wake up gently to a sunrise, there are a couple of things you can do. You can invest in one of the many digital alarm clocks that start a simulated sunrise (like PURE's Twilight or Philip's Wake-up Light) or you can leave your curtains open and wait for the sun to shine through them. Taylor Franklin Hide believes that he might have a third option in the form of the LUMI – a high-tech sleeping mask with faux sunrise technology built-in.  Read More
Oasis at sea: The Ark hotel concept
Russian architectural firm Remistudio has taken the concept of a man-made biosphere and gone to sea with its vision for the floating "Ark Hotel." Designed to withstand floods, tidal waves and rising ocean levels as well as earthquakes and other natural disasters, the hotel concept would float and function independently on the surface of a body of water, providing a green, self-sustaining environment for guests who presumably, would never have to leave.  Read More
Researchers at the University of Twente's MESA  Institute for Nanotechnology has allowed f...
In a new, more efficient approach to solar powered microelectronics, researchers have produced a microchip which directly integrates photovoltaic cells. While harnessing sunlight to power microelectronics isn't new, conventional set-ups use a separate solar cell and battery. What sets this device apart from is that high-efficiency solar cells are placed straight onto the electronics, producing self-sufficient, low-power devices which are highly suitable for industrial serial production and can even operate indoors.  Read More
Schiit Audio has developed a headphone amplifier which produces 6W RMS per channel into 32...
Schiit Audio is set to release a new headphone amplifier which pumps out ten times the power of a typical model. The Lyr has been principally developed to drive high power orthodynamic headphones coveted by audiophiles for their excellent soundstage, and which require more juice than a personal media player's amp can provide. The power amp also features an adaptive output technology that dynamically adjusts depending on the headphone load.  Read More
Mercedes' new C-Class now boasts in-dash internet access using a smartphone's Terminal Mod...
As part of the latest update to its C-Class, Mercedes-Benz has brought internet access to its COMAND infotainment system for the first time. Unlike some other in-car systems that use a built-in SIM card slot, the Mercedes system will use Terminal Mode – the proposed industry specification for the integration of mobile applications into car dashboard systems developed by Nokia and Consumer Electronics for Automotive (CE4A) – to duplicate the display of a smartphone on the in-dash display and allow control through the COMAND user interface.  Read More
The Archos 70 internet tablet is now available in a 250GB version
When Archos released its 7-inch Archos 70 internet tablet last month it sported a fairly paltry 8GB of flash storage and ran Android 2.2. Since then the device has received a firmware update that brought improved performance, better battery life estimation and support for external GPS adapters thanks to Android 2.21. Now the company has announced a hefty boost in storage space with a 250GB HDD version of the device.  Read More
TabGrip makes typing easier in either portrait or landscape mode
Apple's iPad gets top marks for aesthetics, but when it comes to ergonomics, most would agree there's room for improvement. The result is a bevy of products devoted to protecting, propping-up and generally enhancing the experience of living with an iPad. This example – the TabGrip – is a versatile stand that also protects the device when placed on flat surfaces, but its primary aim is to ensure the iPad stays firmly in your mitts as you play games or show off your latest holiday snaps.  Read More
Researchers say their new spectrometer will help speed the cleanup of nuclear waste sites ...
The cleanup of sites contaminated by radioactivity, primarily from the historic production of nuclear weapons during and after World War II, continues to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Researchers have now invented a new type of radiation detection and measurement device that they say will be particularly useful for such cleanup efforts by making the process faster, more accurate and less expensive.  Read More
Fitness Technologies has introduced what is claimed to be the world's smallest fully water...
There are several options out there when it comes to taking a portable music player in the pool or to the beach. You could opt for a waterproofed iPod or a dedicated player like Speedo's Aquabeat, but if you really want to downsize then Fitness Technologies diminutive UWaterG2 might be worth a look – it's billed as the smallest fully waterproof MP3 player around.  Read More
A new liquid foam shading system from Sunarc mimics cloud cover
While greenhouses allow certain crops to be grown throughout the year, excess temperature, solar radiation and high vapor pressure deficit can cause problems during the summer months. With conventional solutions, such as shade screens, often being labor intensive and reducing the quality of light within the growing space, Canadian company Sunarc has a developed a new liquid foam shading system that mimics cloud cover to automatically shade greenhouses. As the liquid foam filters the sunlight, it reduces solar radiation and controls temperature, but doesn’t deprive the plants of vital light spectra they require for photosynthesis.  Read More
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers are using the tools of synthetic biology...
The biofuel industry stands to benefit from the development of a new variety of yeast which produces ethanol from plant products more efficiently. Engineered by combining two existing yeast species, the new strain can simultaneously consume two types of sugar commonly found in plants to produce ethanol.  Read More
Latest Skype release supports video calls for iPhone and iPad
It has been a pretty hectic holiday season for the folks at Skype with a new iteration of their iPhone app launching this week, finally providing support for two-way video calls over 3G and Wi-Fi connections. After the Skype outage the previous week plus a recent crackdown on VOIP apps in China, some good news for the company ends the year on a much-needed high note.  Read More
A 1912 advertisement for the Detroit Electric
Almost every day, we hear about advances in the development of practical electric cars. Those advances won’t mean much, however, if no one is buying the things. With that in mind, ZPryme Research and Consulting recently conducted a web-based survey of 1,046 men and women across the U.S., asking how they felt about various aspects of buying an EV (electric vehicle).  Read More
Lignin (blue) in a regular Arabidopsis stem at left, and in a modified plant's stem at rig...
Biofuel derived from crops such as switchgrass certainly holds promise, although some critics maintain that such crops use up too much agricultural land – land that could otherwise be used for growing food crops. A genetic discovery announced this Tuesday, however, reportedly allows individual plants to produce more biomass. This means that biofuel crops could have higher yields, without increasing their agricultural footprint.  Read More
The Doubleneck guitar from Veillette Guitars benefits from unique new neck geometry which ...
Probably the most famous example of a twin neck guitar is the Siamese SG used by the likes of Jimmy Page and Don Felder – the Gibson EDS-1275. With its new Doubleneck guitar, Veillette Guitars has managed to narrow the gap between the two necks in a lightweight package to offer a more comfortable experience for the player. Angular bridges also mean that the guitarist can pick hard or strum wildly on the upper 12-string section without fear of accidentally encroaching on the 6-string's domain.  Read More
Samsung Mobile Display is set to unveil a pair of next-gen AMOLED display prototypes at CE...
There’s bound to be all manner of display technologies vying for eyeballs at CES 2011 when it kicks off in Las Vegas next week and two prototype AMOLED displays from Samsung Mobile Display (SMD) will definitely be high on our list of things to check out. The first is a 4.5-inch 800 x 480 (WVGA) resolution flexible AMOLED display concept prototype for mobile devices, while the second is the world’s largest transparent AMOLED display prototype for use in PC monitors and TVs.  Read More

The self-sufficient Ocean Empire LSV superyacht from Sauter Carbon Offset Design
Earlier this year Sauter Carbon Offset Design unveiled its Super Nova 60 megayacht – a design which harnesses energy from a variety of sustainable sources including solar, wind and waves to produce "the world’s first carbon neutral megayacht." Now the company has gone one step further with plans for its Ocean Empire Life Support Vessel (LSV). This 144-foot Catamaran design adds hydroponic farming to its array of sustainable technologies making it, according to the designers, the world’s first totally self-sufficient zero carbon LSV ... meaning it could theoretically stay at sea indefinitely.  Read More
Palladium electron shell (Image: Pumbaa via Wikimedia, CC 2.0)
Japanese researchers have used nanotechnology to develop a process which resembles something out of a 16th Century alchemy textbook. Although not producing gold, as was the aim of the alchemists, the scientists have discovered a technique that allows otherwise inert elements to be combined to form new intermediate alloy-elements. So far, an alloy of palladium has been created by mixing silver and rhodium together.  Read More
The Anti Sleep Pilot is a dashboard device that lets drivers know when they're becoming to...
According to a 2008 study by the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, about 20 percent of all road traffic accidents are caused by driver fatigue. Tired motorists are also eight times more likely than rested motorists to get in an accident, displaying driving abilities similar to those of someone who is intoxicated. The problem is, we often don’t know when we’ve reached that “too tired” state – a situation that the Anti Sleep Pilot was created to address. The Danish-designed device sits on your dashboard, monitoring you and your driving conditions, and lets you know when it’s time to pull over and take a ten-minute rest.  Read More
Lupin seed proteins are being used to create low-fat alternative ingredients for use in da...
There are definitely two schools of thought as to whether or not humans should have meat in their diet, but even many non-vegetarians claim that the production and consumption of animal protein could definitely stand to at least be scaled back, both for environmental and health reasons. It has been estimated that it takes 40 square meters (48 sq. yards) of land to produce one kilogram (2.2 lbs) of meat, while 120 kilograms (265 lbs) of carrots or 80 kilograms (176 lbs) of apples could be raised within that same space. Obesity and cardiovascular disease, meanwhile, have been linked to high-fat diets – diets which often include things like sausages and hamburgers. With concerns like these in mind, researchers from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging have developed food ingredients derived from lupin seed proteins, that can reportedly stand in quite convincingly for both milk and animal fat.  Read More
The Playbutton format puts an album release inside a button badge, with a 3.5mm earphone j...
Like many folks, when I was a youngster I used to wear lots of button badges to proudly show what bands I liked. Imagine how cool it would be to allow friends to plug a set of earphones into your badge and let them listen to your favorite bands too. That's exactly what the Playbutton MP3 player will allow you to do. Each device will carry one album's worth of music, have controls on the back to play and skip tracks and adjust EQ, and contain a Li-ion battery for up to five hours of continuous playback.  Read More
Researchers from the University of Cambridge have developed a computer system that's able ...
While computer systems are now very capable of recognizing vocal input, they offer minimal interactive feedback. A team of Cambridge University researchers have now developed a system that can not only detect a user's emotional state, but can also make expressive responses of its own. Using a robotic likeness of the godfather of the programmable computer, Charles Babbage, the team has hooked the system up to a driving simulator and created a computerized driving companion and navigator that reacts to the driver in much the same way as a human passenger.  Read More
Grace Digital Audio has announced three new Internet radios for CES 2011 - all with color ...
San Diego's Grace Digital Audio has announced that it will be introducing three new Internet radios at CES 2011 in Las Vegas, all sporting color screens. If the 50,000 or so local, national and international stations are not enough to satisfy, the new batch will also gain two new services to complement existing offerings from the likes of Pandora, CBS Radio, Live365.com and NPR. They also represent the first color Internet radios with 802.11n connectivity.  Read More
The Eye Scope is an 8x optical zoom lens for use with iPhone cameras (Photo: Firebox)
We’ve already seen lenses for mobile phone cameras that allow users to take macro or wide-angle photographs. Now, iPhone 3G/3GS owners can extend the capabilities of their camera phones even further, by adding on an Eye Scope 8x optical zoom lens. Given the way every little shake of the hands would show up when zoomed in that far, it even comes with its own mini tripod.  Read More
Blinput would allow the visually impaired to navigate its menu system using hand gestures
Smartphones have already proven their worth as navigation devices for sighted people but a new concept aims to go even further for the vision impaired. Dubbed blinput, the system would allow visually impaired people to not only find their way around, but also interact with the connected world using the smartphone’s camera to gather context relevant information that would then be relayed to the user through a pair of headphones.  Read More
 

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