New and Emerging Technology News part 119 ~ NEW GEN TECH LIFE : new generation technology news

Thursday, 30 January 2014

New and Emerging Technology News part 119


The PXP bicycle concept aims to integrate brain-controlled gear shifting
Boston-based Parlee Cycles is working on a concept bicycle which will reportedly feature thought-controlled gear shifting. Under development as part of the Toyota Prius Projects, the PXP as it's officially known, sits somewhere between a time trial bicycle and a road bike in terms of geometry and would use neurotransmitters in the helmet to operate an electronic gear shift.  Read More
The city aquatic transport concept (Image: Curve Creative)
Dubbed CAT (City Aquatic Transport), this personal water service concept from Irish industrial design studio Curve Creative is aimed at providing an alternative to battling traffic on congested inner-city roads.  Read More
BMW's Dynamic Damping Control (DDC) system - active suspension for motorcycles.
The trouble with setting up the suspension on a motorcycle is that you're constantly compromising. If you want a nice firm ride that's suitable for hard cornering on fast, smooth roads, you're sacrificing comfort on the highway and optimal roadholding on a bumpy surface. Electronic suspension adjustment goes some way towards addressing these concerns - at least you can change your suspension settings without having to get down under the bike with a c-spanner and a screwdriver. Now, BMW is looking to eliminate this fundamental compromise using automated, active suspension adjustment - a system that works out exactly how you're riding the bike at a given moment, what the road surface is like, and automatically adjusts the suspension to make sure you've got the perfect ride at all times. The BMW Dynamic Damping Control (DDC) system is said to be hitting the market "in the near future."  Read More
Kawasaki's 2012 KX450F
The easiest place to pass everyone else on a motocross circuit is in the run to the first corner and should you grab the hole-shot, the race is yours to lose. All of which makes Kawasaki's latest addition to its 2012 KX450F a killer app for a race bike - it will be the ONLY bike on the grid in 2011/12 with "Launch Control". Activated by the push of a button, the Launch Control Mode map monitors wheel spin and retards the engine ignition timing to enable the rear tire to gain grip. Of course the fruit of the pudding will be measured by who gets to the first corner first, but if green bikes do it often enough, Kawasaki has a killer app.  Read More
The electric vehicle based on Nissan's NV200 compact commercial van
Nissan has announced it will begin global proving tests of an electric vehicle based on its NV200 compact commercial van this month. Since going on sale is Europe and Japan in 2009, the combustion engine-powered NV200 compact commercial van has picked up numerous awards. It was also also recently chosen as the next generation New York taxi, so the announcement of an electric version offers up the possibility that at least some of New York’s iconic yellow cabs may soon be getting a green tinge.  Read More
The Plastic2Oil plant in Niagara Falls, New York, converts non-recyclable plastic into fue...
While a lot of people may be doing their part for the environment by sending their discarded plastic items off for recycling, the fact is that much of the plastic currently in use is non-recyclable. In a not particularly eco-friendly process, some of this plastic is burned to generate electricity, while much of it simply ends up in landfills. Canadian company JBI, however, has developed a process that uses those plastics as a feedstock, and turns them into fuel.  Read More
An artist concept of a mobile landing platform (MLP) ship under construction (Image: U.S. ...
The U.S. Navy has announced that construction has begun on the first of a new class of ship known as the Mobile Landing Platform (MLP). The MLP is designed to serve as a transfer point between large ships and small landing craft and act as a floating base for amphibious operations to allow for equipment and cargo to be delivered from ship to shore when there are no friendly bases available.  Read More
South Korea plans to digitize all textbooks which are in use by Korean schools by 2015 (Im...
South Korean ministry of education has announced a ground-breaking plan to digitize all textbooks in Korean schools and thus completely phase out printed materials by 2015. This opens a huge market for manufacturers of tablet PCs or smartphones as the Korean education ministry has revealed it will spend US$2.4 billion on buying appropriate devices and digitizing content for them.  Read More
The DSLR Follow Focus is a simple, inexpensive device, designed to bring follow focus capa...
One of the challenges faced by serious videographers is the ability to “land” the camera’s focus ring on the right spot when shifting focus between two onscreen objects. If you’re shifting between a person in the background and a flower in the foreground, for instance, it can often take several tries before getting a take where you don’t focus right past the flower, or overcompensate by slowly creeping up to it. Professionals use a device called a follow focus to avoid this problem, but they can often be prohibitively expensive for amateurs and low-budget film-makers. Fortunately, however, those people now have an alternative – the DSLR Follow Focus.  Read More
The SafetyNet, one of the finalists in Swiss Army Victorinox's 'Time to Care' competition ...
Victorinox has opened a public online vote to choose the best sustainable design submission to its "Time to Care" competition. The call for entries has been open since January 2011, and the seven best were chosen by jury in May. Throughout June, July, and August, the top seven designs are open to a public vote. The ultimate winner will be awarded prize money at a ceremony in October, and work with Victorinox to bring the design project to fruition.  Read More
 

 Pawz rubber footwear for your pooch

June 30, 2011
 
Pawz boots are like Wellingtons for dogs
Pawz, one of the latest fashion statements for dogs, are designed to give Fido some serious paw protection. More like a sock than a shoe, they are made from biodegradable natural rubber and fit securely without fasteners or straps. Available in a range of colors and sizes, they promise comfort and safety for a much loved pooch.  Read More
Four new Thunderbolt-equipped RAID storage solutions from Promise and a proprietary Thunde...
Although LaCie was quick to follow Apple's unveiling of Thunderbolt in February with a new HDD supporting the technology, there have been few ripples in the new I/O pond since. Now, after a brief false start, some new Thunderbolt-equipped RAID storage systems from Promise and a Thunderbolt cable from Apple have appeared in the Apple store.  Read More
Tha TagSense smartphone app will automatically apply a greater variety of tags to photos
The old adage says “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but just exactly which words is the question. While facial recognition and GPS-enabled cameras have made tagging digital snapshots with names and locations much easier, a team of students from Duke University and the University of South Carolina has developed a smartphone app called TagSense that takes advantage of the range of multiple sensors on a mobile phone to automatically apply a greater variety of tags to photos.  Read More
Bioloid Robot with 31 hexagonal sensor modules distributed throughout its body to give it ...
Providing robots with sensory inputs is one of the keys to the development of more capable and useful machines. Sight and hearing are the most common senses bestowed upon our mechanical friends (perhaps soon to be foes?), but even taste and smell have got a look in. With the sense of touch so important to human beings, there have also been a number of efforts to give robots the sense of touch so they can better navigate and interact with their environments. The latest attempt to create a touchy feely robot comes from the Technical University Munich (TUM) where researchers have produced small hexagonal plates, which when joined together, form a sensitive skin.  Read More
Geocopter's GC-201
Quadrocopters like the AR.Drone and Datron Scout may have been hogging the UAS limelight lately but Dutch unmanned rotorcraft system manufacturer Geocopter has shown there’s still life in the traditional helicopter design yet with the official delivery of its first light unmanned helicopter called the GC-201. Designed and built just like a normal helicopter, the GC-201 features a twin gas turbine engine propulsion system, lightweight carbon fiber fuselage and full automatic takeoff, mission and landing capabilities.  Read More
Students from Johns Hopkins University have created an implantable device, that could make...
There are approximately 1.5 million people worldwide who require regular hemodialysis treatments, due to the fact that their kidneys are no longer able to clean their blood. Clinicians generally reuse the same access point on each patient's body, for routing their bloodstream to the dialysis machine. Unfortunately, over time this can cause infections, blood clots or narrowing of the arteries at that access point. This can result in the need for a blood-vessel-opening procedure, or sometimes even in death. Now, however, a group of five biomedical engineering graduate students from Johns Hopkins University have created an implantable device, that could act as a safe, easy access point for dialysis.  Read More
Alienware M18x is the first gaming laptop to offer GTX 580M GPU and has the option of comb...
Hardcore mobile gaming fans have a powerful new graphics processing option in the form of NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 580M. Billed as the world's fastest notebook GPU and capable of playing the latest games at 1080p in 3D, the new chip can be found under the bonnet of the Alienware M18x and is soon to be featured in the Alienware M17x.  Read More
A Los Angeles design firm has proposed using 65 shipping containers to build an environmen...
Because they are sturdy, waterproof, transportable, and perhaps only a little bit smaller than some low-rent apartments, disused shipping containers have become very popular for conversion into low-impact buildings. Past efforts have included using them as emergency housing, trendy relocatable bachelor pads, and portable restaurants. Now, Los Angeles design group APHIDoIDEA has proposed putting 65 of the things together, to create an environmental education center for the city of Long Beach.  Read More
The Solar Cross is a one-off pedal-electric bicycle, that receives its power from onboard ...
This March, we reported on the Kinetic Photovoltaic Vehicle (KPV), a one-of-a-kind solar-electric scooter that fits inside a suitcase. Well, it seems that Terry Hope, the Canadian inventor who created the KPV, wasn't content to stop there. He recently contacted us about his latest creation, the Solar Cross ebike. As its name suggests, it's a pedal-electric bicycle that receives its power from the Sun ... and the rider, of course.  Read More
The Bug-E would be useful around public parks and gardens, theme parks or the golf course ...
With a top speed of just 15 mph (24 kph), Thomas Young's Bug-E electric vehicle concept is not likely to be a contender for the next must-have personal transport solution on our roads, but that's not what it's really about anyway. This multi-purpose four-wheeler is more suited to trundling around public parks and gardens, theme parks or the golf course - and it sports four rear storage options to help it fit into numerous usage scenarios. Users would also be able to slide the steering wheel into a left- or right-hand drive position, to share the responsibility of driving without having to swap seats, or to fit in with local conditions.  Read More

Robotic dental patient Showa Hanako 2 (Photo: DigInfo)
Tokyo's Showa University has unveiled its latest robotic dental patient. The University engaged robotics company Tmsuk to manufacture the realistic bot which is designed to simulate a number of typical patient gestures and responses, allowing dental students to experience what it's like to work with a real patient.  Read More
Virgin America passengers can 'test-fly' Chromebooks
In an effort to educate the masses about its new portable computing platform, Google has struck a deal with Virgin America that will see Chromebooks trialled by passengers on selected flights in the U.S.  Read More
The Adastra is a one-off luxury trimaran, currently under construction in China (Image: Jo...
Some readers may remember the incredible-looking biodiesel-powered Earthrace trimaran. Originally designed to circumnavigate the world, it ended up being donated to the Sea Shepherd Society, and was promptly rammed and sunk by a Japanese whaling ship. Well, while we may no longer have it to gawk at, a one-off watercraft that could almost be considered its gigantic, luxurious sibling is currently being constructed in China. Behold, the Adastra.  Read More
Wi-Fi hotspots may be proliferating, but so are the devices that access them (Image: Flori...
Although the number of Wi-Fi hotspots has increased dramatically in most places over the past few years, the explosion in the number of smartphones and laptops attempting to make use of such connections means that getting decent download speeds is as difficult as it always was. Not only is this frustrating, it can also be a major drain on the batteries of mobile devices. In an effort to address one of these problems, a Duke University graduate student has developed software called SleepWell that allows mobile devices to take a nap to save power while they wait for their turn to download.  Read More
TRW Automotive is developing a folding, retractable steering wheel, that would make it eas...
As small, ultra fuel-efficient or electric cars become more popular as urban runabouts, automotive designers are looking for more ways to maximize their interior space. One possibility: get rid of the steering wheel. Of course, you need a steering wheel for driving, but the engineers at Michigan’s TRW Automotive are working on one that folds up and retracts into the dashboard when the vehicle is parked. They claim it would making getting in and out of the car considerably easier, particularly for elderly or disabled drivers.  Read More
Craig Tashman (left) and Keith Edwards, creators of the LiquidText active reading software...
The more ways in which you can engage yourself with what you're reading, the more likely you are to understand and remember it. It's a practice known as active reading, and it can involve taking notes, highlighting passages, setting aside snippets of important information, or even reading text aloud. While some programs already exist that facilitate the active reading of digital documents, a team from the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed what they believe is a better approach. It's called LiquidText, and it was developed around touchscreen technology.  Read More
The innovators behind the SoloTrek/Springtail Exoskeleton Flying Vehicle have announced pl...
If you've ever watched your Parrot AR Drone power through the air and wondered what it would be like to be inside such a craft, the announcement of the Air Car project could be the answer you are looking for. The folks behind the development of the SoloTrek/Springtail Exoskeleton Flying Vehicle have revealed plans to create the world's first fuel-electric hybrid flying car.  Read More
Pic3D enables a glasses-free 3D effect, viewable on any screen (Photo: Pic3D)
It seems that those of us who haven't bought a glasses-free 3D gadget yet may have the opportunity to try one anyway. Announced at the Virtual Reality Exhibition in Tokyo, Pic3D is a thin sheet of transparent film, which enables a glasses-free 3D effect after being applied to any screen. Global Wave, the Japanese company that makes the product, claims that it utilizes a lenticular lens system instead of parallax barrier, achieves 90 percent of light transmission, and has a 120-degree of field view.  Read More
Swiss researchers have achieved reliable multi-bit phase-change memory, using a specially-...
Scientists from IBM Research – Zurich are claiming a world-first, for their recent demonstration of “reliable multi-bit phase-change memory [PCM] technology.” PCM involves the use of materials that change between crystalline and amorphous states, the two states having different levels of electrical resistance – data is stored in a binary fashion, using one level to represent a 0, and the other to represent a 1. By applying new techniques to existing PCM technology, the researchers were reportedly able to write and retrieve data 100 times faster than is possible with Flash.  Read More
An envisioned Personal Aerial Vehicle illustrates what our city skies could soon look like...
A European Union project known as myCopter has set aside funds of €4.2 million (US$6.2m) to investigate the possibility of introducing Personal Aerial Vehicles (PAVs) into the skyways of many congested European cities. This coming age of the "flying car" where vehicles leave the roads and launch into the skies promises to solve problems like dramatically rising urban traffic congestion, but it also throws up some formidable challenges - it's these challenges that the myCopter project aims to address.  Read More
 
Virtual Cane is a kind a handheld sonar capable of recognizing physical objects up to 10 m...
We've seen a number of prototype and concept devices aimed at upgrading or even replacing the low-tech white cane and this latest example from Hebrew University - the Virtual Cane - appears close to becoming a commercial product. Virtual Cane is a handheld device that uses a type of sonar to recognize physical objects up to 10 m (39 ft) from the user. It emits invisible focused beams towards objects it is pointed at and determines how far away they are. The information is then relayed to the user via a series of vibrations which vary in intensity depending on the distance.  Read More
In the MIT laboratory, researchers tested the 'sensing skin' by attaching it to the unders...
Concrete may be one of the toughest buildings materials in common use but it does develop cracks over time, and in the case of structures such as buildings or bridges, it is imperative that those cracks are noticed before they lead to a collapse. While visual inspections are useful, they are also time-consuming, and may miss tiny but structurally-significant cracks. Some technologies have been developed to automate the process, such as rust sensors for steel-reinforced concrete. Now, an international team of scientists is proposing a system of flexible crack-detecting skins, that could be applied to the surfaces of concrete surfaces.  Read More
De-3D glasses convert 3D movies into 2D, for viewers who find the 3D viewing experience un...
Despite the current proliferation of 3D movies, cameras, televisions and mobile devices, there are those of us who still question whether 3D is here to stay, or if it’s just a marketing gimmick that will eventually peter out. One thing’s for sure: with current technology, the viewing of 3D movies gives some people headaches, or makes them feel dizzy. If you’re one of those people, but you don’t want to be left out when your friends go off to see My 3D Dinner With Andre, this might be just what you need – De-3D glasses.  Read More
GE has announced five Innovation Award winners and ten new commercial partnerships resulti...
General Electric says that over 100 products have been brought to market since launching its Ecomagination project in 2005. Phase I of its latest Challenge has already resulted in 12 commercial partnerships aimed at developing the next generation of power grid technologies (including the outright acquisition of smart grid technology company FMC-Tech), and now the winners of Phase II: Powering Your Home have just been announced. GE has awarded five innovators US$100,000 each to further develop their technologies and also partnered with ten Home Energy technology companies.  Read More
The PossessedHand system uses non-invasive electrical stimulation of muscles in the forear...
It's often during those early stages of learning to play a new instrument that many people give up in despair. Even though you swear that you're hitting the right notes, everything still sounds like an old gramophone recording played at the wrong speed. If only you could let someone take control of your hands to fast forward through the arduous repetition phase before muscle memory kicks in and the piece you're trying to play begins to sound more like it should. That's precisely the kind of potential offered by the PossessedHand project. Electrode-packing armbands placed on a user's forearm send electrical pulses through the muscles to take control of the movement of the hand - with fledgling Koto players testing the system having demonstrated greater accuracy and speedier progress.  Read More
Toyota Scion iQ
At its annual U.S. national dealer meeting held in Las Vegas at the end of June, Toyota confirmed the launch dates for its Prius family are still on track despite complications arising following the disasters that hit Japan on March 11, saying production is expected to return to normal levels in Japan after July. The company also raised a few eyebrows with the announcement that the all-electric Scion iQ EV microcar that was on show in Geneva earlier this year is set to arrive in the U.S. sometime in 2012  Read More
Hair Glasses from Studio Swine
Hair extensions are already big business in the world of fashion – or so I’m reliably informed by those with more fashion sense and hair than yours truly. Now two graduates from London’s Royal College of Art have found another use for people’s jettisoned locks by creating a collection of fashion glasses made from human hair.  Read More
The wooden hull of HMS Surprise is given a high-power wash to remove barnacles and other m...
With marine biofouling on ship hulls increasing drag, which results in an increase in fuel consumption and therefore cost and pollution, the search has been on for a way to prevent fouling that is better than the environmentally damaging, toxic marine paints currently used. Taking inspiration from floating seeds, scientists from the Biomimetics-Innovation-Centre (B-I-C) in Germany have developed a promising new anti-fouling surface that is toxin-free.  Read More
Lockheed Martin's ruggedized HULC robotic exoskeleton
Following lab evaluation tests, Lockheed Martin’s ruggedized HULC (Human Universal Load Carrier) robotic exoskeleton is now undergoing biomechanical testing at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center in Natick, Massachusetts. The biomechanical testing will assess the effectiveness of the HULC in improving the endurance and reducing the risk of injury to soldiers by comparing the performance of soldiers carrying identical loads, both with and without the device.  Read More
Antonov has developed a 3-speed transmission for electric vehicles from the ground up
Electric vehicles have been a reality for more than 100 years, but it's only in the last decade or so that the world has truly woken up to their potential as a viable, cleaner urban transport alternative to their combustion engined cousins. During this EV renaissance much of the focus has been on developing improved power sources like batteries and fuel cells in order to deliver the range and performance consumers have become accustomed to during the age of oil. Transmissions on the other hand, despite being so important in the ICE space, hardly rate a mention because the wide torque curve of electric motors makes them largely irrelevant. It could be time to rethink that approach according to U.K. based engineering firm Antonov. The company has produced a 3-speed transmission designed specifically for electric vehicles that promises to bring significant efficiency gains and a better driver experience. The company's Business Development Manager Dave Paul outlined these benefits in a presentation at the IDTechEX Electric vehicles conference this week in Stuttgart.  Read More


Graduate students Guoping Wang (L), Sheng Chu (R) and professor of electrical engineering ...
Although ultraviolet semiconductor diode lasers are widely used in data processing, information storage and biology, their applications have been limited by the lasers’ size, cost and power. Now researchers at the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering have overcome these problems by developing a new semiconductor nanowire laser technology that could be used to provide denser optical disc storage, superfast data processing and transmission and even to change the function of a living cell.  Read More
Electron micrograph of H. pylori
It’s widely recognized that asthma rates have increased significantly since the 1960’s and continue to rise. With increases in asthma and other allergic diseases centered on industrialized nations, a recent hypothesis suggested that the disappearance of specific microorganisms that populate the human body due to modern hygiene practices might be to blame. Now researchers claim they have confirmed this hypothesis by proving that a certain gastric bacterium provides reliable protection against allergy-induced asthma.  Read More
The smiling face of TIM - the Twin Image Maker 35mm 3D camera
Lo-fi photography focuses on creative experiments with the use of inexpensive film cameras - like the Holga Twin Image Maker (TIM). This US$60 camera features double lenses to shoot either 3D images or half frames, allows for multiple exposure of a single frame and comes with a detachable flash with color filters.  Read More
The anterior cingulate and prefrontal cortex (red) and frontal gyrus (orange) areas of the...
The World Health Organization has projected that by 2020, major depression will be the second-most significant cause for disability in the world, after heart disease. Along with psychotherapy, the disorder is usually treated using antidepressant drugs. There is often a frustrating trial-and-error period involved in finding the right drug for the right person, however, while side effects can include obesity, sexual dysfunction, and fatigue ... to name a few. Los Angeles-based company NeuroSigma is now looking into an alternative drug-free therapy, that could ultimately incorporate electrodes implanted under the patient’s skin.  Read More
The New Trent iCruiser IMP1000 external battery pack is claimed to have enough capacity to...
Smartphones, tablets and media players have helped to make our mobile existence so much more tolerable - but they all suffer from varying degrees of the same problem. Battery life is always a nagging concern for regular travelers, leading many to carry some form of external portable power source like the Juice Pack Powerstation we reviewed recently. Even though Mophie's external battery pack proved its worth in our tests, we may just have to trade it in for the New Trent iCruiser IMP1000 - which offers over three times the battery capacity in a similar-sized format and claims compatibility with almost every device in the market.  Read More
The Le Tour de France Indoor Cycle replicates riding on routes selected via Google Maps, s...
Valuable a conditioning tool as stationary bikes are, any avid cyclist will tell you that they’re nowhere near as good as being out on the open road. One of the differences between real cycling and indoor training is the fact that when riders are on the road, the topography of the area determines the pedaling effort required. By contrast, when on a stationary bike, riders usually just vary their output as they feel like it. In an attempt to make indoor training more like the real thing, Pro-Form’s Le Tour de France Indoor Cycle lets users choose or create real-world routes using Google Maps, then adjusts the angle of the riding platform to replicate the experience of riding up and down those roads.  Read More
The launch of the latest Gold-to-go ATM, at the Westfield Shopping Centre in London
Since we first brought you news of the installation of the world's first permanent gold-dispensing ATM in the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi, the company behind the innovation has rolled out the machines throughout the United Arab Emirates and Germany, and broke into Italy and the U.S. Luxurious venues chosen for the Gold-to-go machines have so far included the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas and the 124th floor of Dubai's Burj Khalifa. For London, though, the new home for the UK's first vending machine is ... a shopping center.  Read More
Adam Hutter, Director of NUSTL, presents Cecilia Murtagh (center) and Gladys Klemic with p...
Personal radiation dosimeter badges are the things that you may have seen people wearing in nuclear power plants, that measure how much radiation is in the immediate environment. Unfortunately, the devices don’t provide real-time feedback – instead, they must be sent off to a processing lab, which determines the wearer’s radiation exposure after the fact. Now, however, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is working on a wallet-sized card that would serve the same purpose, but that could also be read on the spot using a handheld reading device. Called the Citizen's Dosimeter, it could be used to detect the presence of ionizing radiation caused by nuclear accidents or dirty bombs.  Read More
Scientists have created a 3D printer that makes chocolates in shapes determined by the use...
If you’re trying to woo that special someone, instead of just bringing them a box of ordinary chocolates, how about a box of chocolates that look like you? You’re right, that would just be creepy, but chocolates formed into user-defined shapes are nonetheless now a possibility, thanks to a 3D chocolate printer developed at the University of Exeter.  Read More
BMW's Advanced Safety Concept motorcycle
A safer motorcycle. To some people, the concept completely misses the point. If it was safe, it would be boring, and we'd go find something else to do. Still, safety technology is a very high priority for many manufacturers, and arguably it's BMW that's leading the way in rider assist electronics. So it's interesting to take a glimpse at the Advanced Safety Concept (ASC). Similar to the fascinating Experimental Safety Vehicle that Mercedes-Benz showed us in 2009, the ASC gives us a glimpse at the next-generation technologies BMW is dreaming up to help keep riders from becoming "road crayons," as a friend of mine so eloquently puts it.  Read More

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