New and Emerging Technology News part 199 ~ NEW GEN TECH LIFE : new generation technology news

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

New and Emerging Technology News part 199

Cooling the emissions from coal-fired power plants would significantly reduce the levels o...
A team of physicists from the University of Oregon (UO) has calculated that cooling the emissions from coal-fired power plants would result in a reduction of the levels of dangerous chemicals entering the atmosphere, including CO2, by 90 percent. While cryogenic treatment would also see a 25 percent drop in efficiency, and therefore result in electricity costs increasing around a quarter, the researchers believe these would be offset by benefits to society, such as reductions in health-care and climate-change costs.  Read More
The frozen Rhine river close to Mainz during the winter of 1962/1963 (Photo: Frank Sirocko...Some clever cross-referencing has helped an international team of researchers establish a link between low periods of solar activity and frosty European winters. The Sun's level of magnetic activity follows an 11-year cycle. Peaks in this cycle pose a threat totelecommunications and electricity networks and it's long been suspected that there's a correlation between the opposite end of the cycle and extreme winters in Europe. A lack of historical average temperature data makes it difficult to confirm this link, but scientists have filled the gap by studying the comings and goings of 19th Century riverboats on the Rhine.  Read More
Netatmo's Urban Weather Station consists of Wi-Fi-connected indoor and outdoor modules
There is no shortage of smartphone apps that compile information from official weather monitoring sources, but if you’re looking to get some info on conditions closer to home – or inside it – then the Urban Weather Station from Netatmo could fit the bill. Designed specifically for iOS devices, (but also supporting Android devices), the cylindrical units monitor a range of environmental elements inside and out. Netatmo also hopes to use the Wi-Fi-connected devices to create “the largest weather and air quality monitoring network ever established.”  Read More
Details of ChemCam (Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL)
NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has already fired its laser over 500 times as it studies its surroundings as engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) calibrate its sensors. In a classic example of “waste not, want not” Curiosity concentrated its activity on a patch of rocks that were uncovered by the rocket backwash of the sky crane that delivered the unmanned explorer to the Martian surface on August 6.  Read More
A scanning electron microscope image of the treated graphene oxide paper
While the lithium-ion batteries commonly used in electric cars are capable of storing a fairly large amount of energy, they’re not able to accept or discharge that energy very quickly. That’s why electric vehicles require supercapacitors, to speedily deliver energy when accelerating, or to store it when braking. Recently, however, researchers from New York’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute created a new anode material, that allows Li-ion batteries to charge and discharge ten times faster than those using regular graphite anodes. It could make EV supercapacitors unnecessary, and vastly shorten the charging time required by electronic devices.  Read More
She hasn't got massive hands, the Nikon COOLPIX S01 really is that tiny
Nikon has revealed its smallest-ever compact camera. In a bid to ensure that a dedicated camera can compete for space in your bag or pocket alongside your smartphone, the COOLPIX S01 has been given a body smaller than acredit card (though obviously thicker) while retaining the specifications of a typical, if somewhat mediocre, compact digital camera.  Read More
In the near future, genetically-altered Ralstonia eutropha bacteria could be used to conve...
Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have succeeded in genetically altering Ralstonia eutropha soil bacteria in such a way that they are able to convert carbon into isobutanol, an alcohol that can be blended with or even substituted for gasoline. It is hoped that once developed further, this technology could help reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and lessen the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by smoke stacks.  Read More
OwnFone is a small and light cellphone which lacks in features but is very accessible as a...
Modern-day smartphones like those produced by Apple and Samsung have put a bunch of cool features into our pockets, turning the mere portable telephone into a computer, personal organizer, games console, and more besides. OwnFone, however, takes the opposite approach, offering an inexpensive, easy to use handset stripped down to the bare essentials.  Read More
Sneeoosh Cabin at twilight (Photo: Zeroplus Architects)
The best cabins have an special aura – separate from civilization without roughing it, and immersed in nature without drowning therein. Cabins that hit this precise balance must be designed and built in harmony with their surroundings. Sneeoosh Cabin is such a place, built on a wooded shoreline in the beautiful fjords of Puget Sound in Washington state. Located within the Snohomish Indian Reservation, this modern cabin combines a glass-enclosed great room with stunning views of the woods, the waters, and the Olympic mountains in the distance with a sleeping loft whose comfort, quiet, and darkness insure a night of the soundest sleep.  Read More
Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, Apollo 11 Commander, inside the Lunar Module as it rests on t...
Neil Armstrong, the test pilot, aerospace engineer, university professor, United States Naval Aviator and American astronaut, has died at the age of 82 in Cincinnati, Ohio. His death was due to complications resulting from recent cardiovascular procedures carried out to relieve blocked arteries. He will forever be remembered by the history books as the first man to step foot on the Moon, the defining moment for a generation and inspiration to the generations that followed.  Read More

Scientists have developed new nanocrystals that allow solar panels to generate both electr...
At first glance, photovoltaic solar panels are brilliant. They’re self-contained, need no fuel and so long as the sun is shining, they make lots of lovely electricity. The trouble is, they’re expensive to make, batteries are poor storage systems for cloudy days, and the panels have a very short service life. Now, Dr. Mikhail Zamkov of Ohio's Bowling Green State University and his team have used synthetic nanocrystals to make solar panels more durable as well as capable of producing hydrogen gas.  Read More
The Garmin Forerunner 10 is designed for runners
An important part of running, at least if you are serious about it, is making sure your runs are optimized. Hardcore runners like to make sure that they are getting the most out of their training, and data is the key to accomplishing this goal. Garmin has rolled out a new GPS-enabled watch with that in mind. The Forerunner 10 is available now, and it looks to have many of the features runners want.  Read More
Samsung's enigmatic sneak peek photo If the Samsung Notebook page on Facebook is anything to go by, we should soon be seeing a new Windows 8 hybrid tablet from the company. It will apparently be making its debut in just a few days, at the IFA 2012electronics trade show.  Read More
It isn't the sleekest wallet we've seen, but it is one of the burliest
With its ProGear line, Pelican has been branching steadily outward from its well known protective electronics hard cases. It released a full line ofhard/soft backpacks earlier this summer, and now it's trying to put a hard case in your pants. The Pelican Smart Wallet is a mini Pelican case for your cash, cards and ID.  Read More
A microscope image of some of the wired tissue (Image: Boston Children's Hospital)
Under its human skin, James Cameron’s Terminator was a fully-armored cyborg built out of a strong, easy-to-spot hyperalloy combat chassis – but judging from recent developments, it looks like Philip K. Dick and his hard-to-recognize replicants actually got it right. In a collaboration between Harvard, MIT and Boston Children's Hospital, researchers have figured out how to grow three-dimensional samples of artificial tissue that are very intimately embedded within nanometer-scale electronics, to such an extent that it is hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. It could lead to a breakthrough approach to studying biological tissues on the nanoscale, and may one day be used as an efficient, real-time drug delivery system – and perhaps, why not, even to build next-generation androids.  Read More
Even in a still picture, the scooting motion required to ride the Fliz is apparent
Bicycles haven't really changed much in over 100 years. Of course the materials used, technologies employed, and safety equipment utilized have all improved a great deal, but two wheels, one of which is linked to pedals by a chain, is still the basic layout. The old adage of "don't fix what isn't broken" applies here in no uncertain terms, but that doesn't mean engineers and designers can't toy with the idea of changing things up a little. The Fliz changes things up a lot ... not necessarily for the better, but it's a fun concept regardless.  Read More
Astro is pocket sized and designed to be a practical, easy to use camera accessory
The Astro camera mount is intended to make time-lapse photography accessible to anyone interested in cameras. It is designed to be inexpensive, durable, small enough to fit into your pocket, and easy to program. Its functions are accessed via a three-ringed control system, which is used to set the duration of the time lapse sequence (0.25-12 hours), the range of camera movement (0-360 degrees) and the interval at which photos are taken (0-60 seconds). Separate left and right buttons below the interval ring control the pan direction of the camera.  Read More
The PR-III is available in kit formA Japanese paper-modelling enthusiast has constructed a bipedal “robot” dubbed the “Paper Robot III” (or PR-III). Judging from the intricate nature of the design which is visible in the photos, the PR-III appears to be a labor of love, and has been painstakingly constructed almost entirely from paper, with the addition of a few wooden shafts serving to increase overall and drive the “engine” – a series of paper cogs and elastic bands which are wound up to set the PR-III walking.  Read More
A new ultrathin, flat lens focuses light without imparting the optical distortions of conv...
The miniaturization of electronics, in particular the electronic sensors on which digital images are captured, has seen digital cameras shrink to such a degree that they are now standard equipment on mobile phones. The main thing holding back further downsizing is the lens through which the light is focused onto said image sensor. A team of applied physicists from Harvard University has now overcome this roadblock by creating a lens that, at just 60 nanometers thick, is effectively two-dimensional. Not only that, the ultrathin lens focuses light without the distortions seen in conventional lenses.  Read More
Artist's impression of the lunar elevator's lunar base and climber car (Image: LiftPort)
When the late Neil Armstrong and the crew of Apollo 11 went to the Moon, they did so sitting atop a rocket the size of a skyscraper that blasted out jets of smoke and flame as it hurtled skyward. For over half a century, that is how all astronauts have gone into space. It’s all very dramatic, but it’s also expensive. Wouldn’t it be cheaper and easier to take the elevator? That’s the question that Michael Laine, CEO of LiftPort in Seattle, Washington, hopes to answer with the development of a transportation system that swaps space-rockets for space-ribbons.  Read More

Northwest Hydraulic Consultants principal Darren Shepherd, using a tiny kayak to assess th...
When an architect is designing a building, they build a scale model to check how their design will work as an actual physical structure. What happens, however, when engineers are designing things that will have to be compatible with the currents in rivers ... things like dams, bridges, or pump stations? Well, that’s where water resources engineering firms like Northwest Hydraulic Consultants (NHC) come into the picture. Their work often includes building exact miniature recreations of waterways, complete with flowing water. We recently caught up with NHC principal Darren Shepherd, who guided us through the production process of one of his more exciting models – a one-twelfth scale Norwegian whitewater kayaking park.  Read More
The cooking simulator being developed at the Tokyo Institute of Technology lets users cook...
I have to admit I find cooking a bit of a chore. As a result, I'm not very good at it and avoid it if at all possible. That’s why at first glance, the idea of a cooking simulator doesn’t really grab me. But with many others in Gen X and Gen Y also lacking the skills to cook up anything but the most basic of meals, my kitchen-novice brethren and I might ultimately benefit from the cooking simulator being developed by researchers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.  Read More
The Whispering Gallery in St. Paul's Cathedral (Image: Femtoquake /CC 3.0)
Researchers led by Professor Stephen Arnold at Polytechnic Institute ofNew York University have developed a new ultra-sensitive biosensor. Currently undergoing commercial development, the sensor is designed to inexpensively identify viruses in a doctor’s office within a matter of minutes instead of the weeks needed by conventional techniques ... and it can detect even the smallest RNA virus particle, MS2, which weighs only six attograms (10-18 grams).  Read More
Raytheon's small tactical munition demonstrates precision targeting and stand-off capabili...Raytheon's new Pyros small tactical munition has passed an end-to-end live test with flying colors. The Pyros glide bomb, which is the smallest air-launched weapon in Raytheon's portfolio, was dropped from a Cobra unmanned air vehicle (UAV) to demonstrate its semi-active laser and GPS guidance modes, its height-of-burst sensor for standoff detonation above a target, its electronic safe and arm device, and the new five pound NammoTalley multi-effects warhead.  Read More
Smart sutures that contain ultrathin sensors to detect when a wound is infected.(Image: Jo...
Sutures have come along way from the days of silk and catgut, but now they’re poised to make their biggest change in 3,000 years. They’re getting smart. John Rogers, professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has invented a “smart” suture that contains ultrathin sensors that can detect when a wound is infected and may one day be able to actively promote healing as well.  Read More
A chapter of the layered geological history of Mars is laid bare in this postcard from NAS...
For the very first time in human history, a human voice was streamed from the surface of another planet and traveled some 168 million miles (267 million km) into space before it was heard on Earth. The audio was a pre-recorded message from NASA administrator Charles Bolden, who sent a congratulatory message to the engineers involved in the US$2.5 billion mission to safely land the Mars Science Laboratory – better known as theCuriosity rover – on the surface of Mars.  Read More
The MicroFlow is a toaster-sized flow cytometer for medical diagnosis that will be tested ...
While still impressive, the capabilities of early "tricorders," such as theScanadu and Dr Jansen's tricorder, fall well short of the Star Trek device that inspired them. But new technology to be tested on the International Space Station (ISS) brings the age of instant diagnosis of medical conditions using a portable device a step closer. The Microflow could also make its way into doctor’s offices here on Earth where it might help cut down on the number of follow up visits required after waiting to get results back from the lab.  Read More
Structure of 2D molybdenum disulfide (Image: Wang et al. / MIT)
Imagine a world where rooms are lit by their walls, clothes are smartphones and windows turn into video screens. That may seem like a bit of science fiction, but not for long. Researchers at MIT are using a two-dimensional version of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) to build electrical circuits that may soon revolutionize consumer electronics.  Read More
GasPods are tiny stick-on airfoils, designed to lower your vehicle's wind drag
Chances are, at some point you’ve seen vehicles that were designed with streamlined little knobs on their hoods or roofs, to improve their aerodynamics. While such features have been shown to work, they generally haven’t been available as an aftermarket product. Now, however, if you want those knobs on your car, you can have them – in the form of GasPods.  Read More
Scientists have created a solar-powered swimming underwater robot, inspired by the ocean s...
Previously, we’ve seen swimming robots inspired by the cow-nosed ray, theblack ghost knife fish, and the jellyfish – to name just a few. Now, the engineers at AeroVironment have taken it upon themselves to replicate the mola (also known as the ocean sunfish), and the result is an ocean-going robot that gathers its own solar power.  Read More
Sony's Xperia Tablet S joins the Xperia stable
Previously reserved for smartphones, Sony has extended its Xperia line to include tablets with the unveiling of the Xperia Tablet S at IFA 2012. The successor to the Tablet S (originally known as the S1) released last year, thenew tablet is powered by an NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor and 1 GB of RAM and comes running Android 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich), with Sony promising an upgrade to 4.1 (Jellybean) in the future.  Read More
Samsung's hybrid GALAXY Camera
"The camera is reborn." That's how Samsung's President of IT and Mobile Communications Division JK Shin describes the company's new smartphone/camera hybrid announced today at IFA in Berlin. Basically a compact camera with a smartphone-type touchscreen on the back, the Android-powered GALAXY Camera is designed to deliver superior photo-taking capabilities without missing out on the instant sharing and web browsing options afforded by wireless network connectivity.  Read More
The Sense Hydro S Lab straps a 250-ml flask of water to your wristIt seems that the problem of carrying water is really nagging runners. At least it's nagging manufacturers that want to sell new gear to runners. The numerous running-specifichydration packs and belts already on the market are being joined by alternatives like the Kenmark Armband Water Bottle and these water-lugging "gloves" from Salomon.  Read More
Sony's 4K resolution, 84-inch KD-84X9005 BRAVIA LCD TV
The biggest announcement from Sony’s IFA press conference, if you’re going purely by the size of the device, was the unveiling of its KD-84X9005 BRAVIA LCD TV. Packing an 84-inch LCD panel with 3,840 x 2,160 pixels (that’s a total of 8.29 megapixels), the KD-84X9005 is Sony’s first 4K television and outdoes Sharp’s AQUOS LC-90LE745U in resolution, although not in size. In another first, the edge-lit LED unit also features passive 3D instead of the active 3D seen in the company’s previous 3D models.  Read More
Artists concept of MakerPlane 1.0 (Image: MakerPlane)
The idea of owning your own plane is the stuff of daydreams. It’s incredibly appealing, but despite some (relative) drops in pricing in recent years, it remains incredibly expensive. If you build your own plane from a kit, it’s a bit cheaper than buying one, but the odds are that you’ll never complete the job because kitplanes are notoriously difficult to build. However, that may be changing. MakerPlane is a project that aims to create an open source aircraft designed by contributors and built with digital manufacturingprocesses. You can’t download the plans into your 3D printer and fly away that afternoon, but it does hold the promise of making amateur aviation a lot more accessible.  Read More
The Galaxy Note II features improved specs, a slightly larger screen and the Android 4.1 J...
Taking the stage at IFA 2012, South Korean technology giant Samsung has announced the successor to its stylus-equipped, supersized Galaxy Note, the Galaxy Note II. Due for release this October, Samsung is billing the Galaxy Note II as the “most powerful smartphone in the marketplace.” Besides upgraded specs, the substantial “phablet” as Samsung is now categorizing it, features a new and improved S Pen stylus, reduced bezel and slightly larger screen size - up from 5.3 to 5.5 inches.  Read More
Siemens is displaying some of the home technologies it's developing, in its House of Innov...
What would a trade show be without a “The (BLANK) of Tomorrow” display? They’re always a good way of showing off what a company is working on, in a simulated real-world setting. One such exhibit at IFA 2012 will be Siemens’ House of Innovations. The 70 square-meter (753.5 sq-ft) display illustrates how technologies such as augmented reality and internet connectivity may soon start transforming our households.  Read More
A new device could help keep transport trucks from jack-knifing (Photo: Shutterstock)
If there’s one thing that truck drivers don’t want their articulated tractor/trailer rigs to do, it’s jack-knifing. This typically occurs when the tractor skids on the road, and the momentum of the trailer causes it to swing out from behind, ultimately resulting in the tractor and trailer being folded up against one another – not unlike a jack knife’s body and blade. The folded rig usually ends up blocking the road, and the tractor can’t undo the situation under its own power. Fortunately, Greek researchers have recently created a system that they claim could greatly reduce jack-knifing.  Read More
Logitech's UE Mobile Boombox in its five different color choices
Logitech is rolling out a brand new version of its UE line with both on- and over-the-ear headphones, ear buds, Bluetooth boomboxes and a new smart radio. These devices look to be quite stylish, even if a little on the expensive side.  Read More
Bosch's VeroBar AromaPro coffee maker
It’s a no-brainer to say that we all like the foods and drinks we consume to smell appetizing. In the case of coffee, however, its scent is pretty much asimportant as its flavor. This is a fact that is obviously recognized by the engineers at Bosch. The company’s new VeroBar AromaPro coffee maker – which will be unveiled at the upcoming IFA 2012 electronics show – adjusts automatically to the type of bean used, in order to optimize the coffee's aroma.  Read More
The Sifteo Cubes Intelligent Play system has been updated so that up to 12 blocks can be u...
About this time last year we announced the release of Sifteo Cubes Intelligent Play - a system where age-old building blocks are given a thoroughly modern reworking, with cubes sporting a touch-sensitive color LCD display, onboard sensing technology, an embedded computer andgames and puzzles sent wirelessly from a nearby PC or laptop. Now the educational gameplay system has been treated to an update. The addition of a new Sifteo Base to the system allows players of the next generation system to venture beyond the radio range of the previous version. The maximum number of cubes available for gameplay has also been doubled for more complex puzzles, to unlock new levels or just to get more family members involved in the action.  Read More
Mini House is a functional prefabricated modular home that comes delivered flat-packed and...
Mini House is a functional prefabricated modular home that comes delivered flat-packed and can be constructed on-site in just two days. The first prototypes, which were designed and built by Swedish architect Jonas Wagell in 2010, are currently being used as summer houses in different parts of Sweden and an upgraded Mini House 2.0 is on the way.  Read More
Dell's Sam Burd (VP, Global Product Operations at Dell) demo'ing the XPS Duo 12
Dell released three new additions to its XPS range at this year's IFA in Berlin: the XPS One 27 all-in-one and the XPS 10 and XPS Duo 12 laptop/tablet hybrids. Dell's Sam Burd; VP, Global Product Operations at Dell demo'd the One 27's 'Quad HD' touchscreen, saying that Dell disagrees with the idea that you "don't touch a screen this good." The swiveling mechanism of the XPS Duo 12 was the real talking point, however.  Read More
Med Sensation's Glove Tricorder is outfitted with numerous sensors to detect breast cancer...
With the way technology is heading, it's a certainty that we'll have a gadget akin to the medical tricorders in Star Trek in the near future - particularly when similar devices like Jansen's Tricorder and the Scanadu are in development right now. But while a device for automatically diagnosing patients would be undoubtedly useful, some people worry that this could have an adverse effect on doctor-patient relationships. When a doctor only needs a to use a machine to scan a person like an item at the grocery store, it seems like the human element of medicine could be lost. That's part of the reason a group of graduate students created the Glove Tricorder, which equips a doctor's hand with numerous sensors to augment the typical physical exam.  Read More
The ATIV Smart PC (Image: Samsung)
With Windows 8 due to be officially launched in October, Samsung has pulled back the curtain on their ATIV suite of devices based on Microsoft's OS, including two hybrid tablets, at the IFA trade show in Berlin. The Smart PC and Smart PC Pro hybrid tablet/laptops, the Tab tablet, and the S smartphone were all shown off, with the fifth, a Windows 8-flavored refresh of the Notebook Series 9, also getting some air time.  Read More
Potholing has many similarities to space station duty (Image: ESA–F. Sauro)
In Robert Heinlein’s 1948 novel Space Cadet, spacemen of the future learned their profession aboard an orbital training ship. Because there aren’t any retired space ships in orbit to play the part of PRS James Randolph in real life, astronauts headed for duty aboard the International Space Station must find earthbound substitutes. For the European Space Agency (ESA), the alternative is to turn smartly about and go underground. On September 7, CAVES 2012 (Cooperative Adventure for Valuing and Exercising human behavior and performance Skills) will see six international astronauts descend into the caverns of the island of Sardinia to learn how to use space procedures by going potholing.  Read More
The HMZ-T2 Personal 3D Viewer unveiled at IFA is some 20 percent lighter than its predeces...
Along with its 84-inch 4K TV, Sony also chose IFA 2012 to unveil the latest version of its head-mounted Personal 3D Viewer. The successor to theHMZ-T1 we tried out at IFA last year, Sony claims the updated HMZ-T2 model boasts a sharper display, improved sound and is some 20 percent lighter, making it easier on the ol’ neck muscles.  Read More
The GamePad aims to make mobile gaming a more intuitive experience Archos has announced a product that brings something a little different to the increasingly overcrowded Android tablet space. The GamePad takes the common 7-inch form factor and adds physical controls for a more traditional - and potentially less frustrating - gaming experience.  Read More
Dianne Ashworth testing her new retinal implant: “All of a sudden I could see a flash of l...
Australia has a bit of a history when it comes to pioneering cyborg technology. The country was home to the first functioning bionic ear implant in 1978 and now, in 2012, comes a new version of a bionic eye, with Bionic Vision Australia (BVA) researchers announcing the success of their first retinal implant trial.  Read More
Panasonic and NHK's 145-inch 8K display
I see your 84-inch 4K TV, and raise you one 145-inch 8K Super Hi-Vision monster of a display. First seeing light of day back in April, this collaborative effort from Panasonic and Japanese national broadcaster NHK has a resolution of 7680 x 4320 (more than 33 million pixels), and, being a plasma screen, is the first 8K display without need of a backlight. Naturally, Gizmag jumped at the chance to see it in the flesh at IFA 2012.  Read More

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