New and Emerging Technology News part 169 ~ NEW GEN TECH LIFE : new generation technology news

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

New and Emerging Technology News part 169

TJ* (seen here with an optional paper 'skin') is a robotic human head that is controlled i...
At one time or another, probably just about every little boy has dreamed of having his own version of C-3PO or Robby the Robot. Well, while affordable close-to-human-sized toy robots are still not a reality, TJ* at least offers up the most expressive part of one – the head. About three-fifths the size of an actual adult human head, TJ* incorporates three user-controlled micro servos, that move its eyeballs up and down, left and right, and that open and close its mouth. Some interesting extra features are also in the works.  Read More
The production prototype of Terrafugia's Transition Street-Legal Airplane has successfully... Of all the “flying car”-type vehicles currently in development, Terrafugia’s Transition Street-Legal Airplane is quite likely the one that’s closest to actual commercial availability. Yesterday, the New York-based company announced that on March 23rd, one of two production prototypes of the vehicle successfully completed its maiden flight.  Read More
Minaret Station is only accessible by air, where guests are flown in by helicopter before ...
Camping in the wilderness may never be the same after a “glamped” experience at Minaret Station. Located in the heart of the Southern Alps in New Zealand, the site offers luxury tented glamping amid a picturesque glacial valley. The remote location is only accessible by air, where guests are flown in by helicopter before being escorted to their luxuriously furnished tented suite. While the accommodation is constructed from canvas tents and the property classifies itself as a “camp," this nature retreat has little in common with the traditional camping experience.  Read More
Only one other cricket ball has been pounded as mercilessly in a first class match - the M... West Indian Sir Garfield Sobers is widely regarded as one of the best cricketers of all time. His career sadly came to an end before the shorter forms of the sport (Twenty20 and one-day) arrived, because Sobers could conjure up a storm with a bat like few others. Even with the recent advent of 50 over and now 20 over a side cricket, the feat of hitting every ball of a six ball over for six has only been done four times, two of those in the shortened form of the game more conducive to fast scoring. Sobers was the first to achieve it in the longer form of the game (a feat only equaled once) and the ball he hit over the fence six consecutive times in 1968 is to go to auction.  Read More
The pieces in Joseph Larson's 3D-printable chess set fit together into what he describes a... The pieces in Joseph Larson's 3D-printable chess set fit together into what he describes as "the ultimate chess fighting robot" - two of them, actually; with inverted knights for feet and bishops for hands.  Read More
A General Atomics MQ-9 (aka Predator B, Reaper or Guardian) UAV drone's flight duration co...
Nuclear-powered unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that would increase operational flight durations from days to months are a technological possibility today, according to a feasibility study undertaken last year by Sandia National Laboratories and Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation. A nuclear power supply would additionally double the availability of electrical power to onboard systems, including weaponry, the study found.  Read More
The distinctive vertical wooden slats that make up the facades of the Kaap Skil Maritime a...
The Kaap Skil Maritime and Beachcombers Museum constructed on the Dutch island of Texel opened to the public on Friday, and it's a how-to of daylight design in architecture. The distinctive vertical wooden slats that make up the museum's facades, unquestionably the building's predominant feature, let in diffuse daylight lending the museum a bright but softly-lit interior. But that's not the only trick up its sleeve.  Read More
Two holes on each axle can also be fitted with different attachments, such as friction arm...
Any film student will tell you that pulling together the right equipment for a video shoot with little to no budget is a daunting task. Most students don't have access to common professional tools and end up jury-rigging their own to film a shot just right - which is how Jeremy Canterbury first came up with the Revolve camera dolly. While working in video production at the University of California in Santa Barbara, Canterbury developed a concept for a portable dolly that could hold almost any camera or iPhone along with attachments while taking up about as much space as a shoe box. With its wide range of functions and low price, the Revolve camera dolly could be an invaluable device for filmmakers to capture smooth, dynamic video from any location.  Read More
Lensbaby's Composer Pro is now available for mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras Having provided DSLR owners with the power to exercise some in-camera creativity for a little over a year, Lensbaby has now announced new versions of its Composer Pro lens to fit a variety of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. The latest Composer Pro mounts will ship with the Double Glass Optic installed and, like the SLR version, are compatible with Lensbaby’s Optic Swap System.  Read More
Image of the induced neural stem cells created by reprogramming skin cells (Photo: MPI for...
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine in Münster, Germany, have broken new ground by reprogramming skin cells from mice into neurons without regressing the cells through a pluripotent stage. The skin cells were reprogrammed directly into multipotent neuronal stem cells - that is, into cells which could only turn into new neurons. This procedure avoids the significant risk that pluripotent stem cells, which can grow into any type of tissue, may accidentally form tumors rather than the desired replacement tissue.  Read More

Both Tabber (shown) and the LED Sleeve propose using lights to show guitar learners where ...
Guitar tablature is a powerful form of musical notation, where learners are shown where to place a finger on the neck of an instrument, and in what order. Such things as timing, note duration and playing force are not given, so unless a student knows or has access to a recorded version of the song being learned, the result may be somewhat different from what the composer intended. Usefully, such missing elements can be included in software like Guitar Pro to show users exactly how a song should be played. Two projects have now appeared on crowd-funding portal Kickstarter that take this idea and put it directly onto the guitar, so that learners won't need to keep switching views from screen to instrument. Tabber and the LED Sleeve guide players to the correct finger positions via LED lights on the neck.  Read More
The dome-like building is actually a giant copper sculpture, furrowed with organic shaped ...
Italian sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro, who created the famous "Sphere Within Sphere" located at the Vatican, has constructed his first-ever architectural sculpture. Titled “The Carapace,” the structure reflects its name by taking on the shape of a tortoise shell. The building, which will be inaugurated this June, is located on the Castelbuono Estate in Umbria, Italy. It marks the first time that the Italian master has created a work on such a grand scale.  Read More
The CST-100 parachute drop test carried out in Nevada (Photo: Boeing)
Boeing and Bigelow Aerospace conducted a series of tests in September 2011 that saw the Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 mock capsule dropped from a specially designed horizontal rig to test the capsule’s airbags. These airbags are designed to cushion the capsule’s impact on landing and work in conjunction with three main parachutes that are deployed before the airbags are inflated. These parachutes were included in the latest test in which the capsule was dropped from an altitude of around 11,000 ft (3,353 m) to test these parachutes.  Read More
Very little is known about this 'single person transport system' concept dreamed up by the... Very little is known about this "single person transport system" concept dreamed up by the enigmatically-named product design student Sanu K R from Ernakulam on India's west coast, but one thing is clear: it's a head-turner.  Read More
A graphene sensor effectively tattooed onto a tooth can be used to detect bacteria and so ...
A graphene sensor effectively tattooed onto a tooth can be used to detect bacteria and so wirelessly monitor oral health, research has shown. Graphene printed onto water-soluble silk can be "bio-transferred" onto organic materials such as tooth enamel. By incorporating antimicrobial peptides and a resonant coil, individual bacteria cells can be detected without need of an onboard power supply or wired connections.  Read More
Flutter uses a computer's built-in webcam to allow gesture control in iTunes and Spotify
While developers are plugging away on Windows applications for Microsoft’s Kinect thanks to the release of the official Kinect for Windows SDK, Mac users can also get into the gesture control game – albeit in a much, (much) more limited way. Not requiring any additional hardware because it works using a Mac's built-in webcam, Flutter registers hand gestures – well, a hand gesture – to control playback in iTunes and Spotify.  Read More
Fisker Atlantic Design Prototype (Photo: Fisker Automotive)
Fisker Automotive has revealed the shape of its future with the unveiling of a new design prototype - the Fisker Atlantic. The wraps were taken off the four-door Atlantic - which Fisker sees as the "next step in its transition from start-up automaker to mainstream American manufacturer" - in a preview event on the eve of the New York Auto Show.  Read More
The MM-Space videoconferencing system features displays that physically move to reflect th... Japanese telecommunications giant NTT is developing a videoconferencing system that literally turns heads. In an attempt to more accurately give the feeling of a face-to-face conversation between more than two people, the MM-Space system features displays that physically mimic the head movements of the person being displayed on screen.  Read More
A CubeSat with solar sails could be sent on a mission to the Martian moon Phobos (Image: N...
NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts Program provides funding to study a small number of highly advanced spaceflight concepts, with the goal of understanding the technological possibilities which will guide the development of future space missions. Under this program, a JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) researcher has proposed the use of a pair of CubeSats for an autonomous mission to retrieve samples from Phobos, Mars' larger moon.  Read More
An MIT-led research team has already created this insect-like 'printed' robot as an exampl...
Already, people are pretty excited at the idea of being able to create inanimate objects using a 3D printer. Imagine, though, if you could create and print an actual moving robot, using a printer-like device in a store. If a group of scientists taking part in a new project are successful, that’s exactly what you will some day be able to do.  Read More
 
The handheld plasma flashlight that can rid the skin of bacteria in an instant (Image: X. ...
An international team of scientists has created a handheld, battery powered device that has been shown to effectively rid skin of bacteria in an instant by blasting it with plasma. The plasma flashlight, which shouldn’t be confused with a plasma torch that will damage much more than bacteria if used on the skin, could provide a convenient way for paramedics and military personnel to deal with harmful bacteria in the field.  Read More
Google's Project Glass hopes to deliver an augmented reality heads-up display
Google X (Google's futuristic technology development lab) has pulled back the curtain on Project Glass, its program to develop truly useful augmented reality "Google glasses." Project Glass aims to design and refine augmented reality technology to help a user explore and share their world armed with a wealth of relevant information - not at their fingertips, but rather at the end of their nose.  Read More
HP's Omni 27 is the company's first 27-inch all-in-one model
When we reviewed the HP TouchSmart 610-1030a all-in-one last year, we questioned just how useful most users would find the touch interface on a desktop PC. Thankfully HP has provided a non-touch alternative for those not likely to find much benefit from (and aren’t willing to pay extra for) a touchscreen-packing desktop unit. The Omni 27 Quad is also the company’s first 27-inch all-in-one model ... read on for our hands-on review.  Read More
With the help of a hiking pole, the Hoopla 4 eliminates the need for lots of poles
For generations, campers and backpackers have been relying on poles and guy lines to form the taut, wind-breaking structure of tents. With its new Hoopla 4, Mountain Hardwear has a different idea: rely on the tent fabric itself to create the main structure with minimal hardware involved.  Read More
AORA's Tulip system uses the sun's rays to heat air, which is then used to spin a turbine,...
A giant flower has recently sprung up near the southern Spanish city of Almeria. Measuring 35 meters (115 feet) high, the Tulip is the product of Israeli company AORA, and it uses heat from the sun to generate electricity. Work began on the hybrid concentrating solar power technology back in the 80s and the first Tulip pilot plant was installed at Israel’s Kibbutz Samar in 2009. That setup has been pumping electricity into the country’s power grid every year since. The Spanish plant was completed this January.  Read More
Citroen is crowd sourcing the design of a new C1 variant through Facebook With the internet connecting not just billions of computers but billions of creative minds, the news that Citroën UK was collaborating with Facebook to "crowd-source" the design of a new C1 variant at first appeared very exciting. The reality of the situation though, is that participants "choose" the number of doors (2 or 4), the interior and exterior colors and ... just six multiple choice options to configure the "C1 Connexion".  Read More
Rockboard is about to release an off-road skateboard called the Descender, that features t...
Pushing wood down grassy gradients can be quite a challenge for standard wheeled boards. There are of course oversized or chunky options available to help smooth over some of the bumps and dips, but hybrid scooter maker Rockboard will shortly be releasing a new all-terrain skateboard called the Descender, that features tank-like treads instead of wheels. While it's clear that you're not going to get the butt-clenching thrill or the hairline-raising speeds offered by adult off-roaders like Scarper's powerboard or the DTV Shredder, with some considered course planning you could still be in for quite a ride.  Read More
One of the robosquirrels used in the rattlesnake study (Photo: Andy Fell, UC Davis) Rattlesnakes, beware! The next time you spot a succulent-looking squirrel, it might actually be a cold-hearted robot. More specifically, it might be a “robosquirrel,” created by UC Davis professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering Sanjay Joshi. He built the robot squirrels as part of a study on rattlesnake behavior – a study which yielded some interesting results.  Read More
The Pear unit pairs with an iPod Shuffle to give you music and exercise monitoring in one ...
The average gadget (think big screen TVs and video games) may cause your health and physique to suffer, but heart rate monitors and GPS fitness computers combine high-tech gadgetry with healthy intentions. The latest fitness gadgets do more than just track your fitness, they actively inspire you to do better. The Pear Sports Square One is the latest gadget that serves as tracker and digital personal trainer.  Read More
The SmartWatch is one of two recently-developed technologies that could make life easier f...
Seizures can be very scary experiences for people who suffer from them, especially since they may sometimes result in the need for medical attention. Unfortunately, they often come on so fast that the people getting them aren’t able to get out a call for help beforehand – they simply have to ride out the seizure on their own, and hope for the best. Now, however, two new technologies may be able to help. One is a watch that alerts caregivers when it detects movements associated with seizures, while the other is a system that could stop seizures before they start, by sending electrical impulses to the brain.  Read More

The TitanicBelfast museum in Belfast, Northern Ireland
On April 14, 1912, the luxury liner RMS Titanic, just four days into her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City, struck an iceberg and sank with the loss of 1,514 lives. At the time, the massive, state-of-the-art ship was the largest vessel afloat and considered by many to be "virtually unsinkable." Built in Belfast, Northern Ireland by shipbuilding firm Harland and Wolff for the White Star Line at the then-astronomical cost of US$7.5 million (US$171 million in 2012 dollars), the ill-fated Titanic has been a source of pathos and fascination for nearly a century. To bring the remarkable ship's story to countless more future generations (and presumably give the local economy a shot in the arm) the government of Northern Ireland, the Belfast City Council and numerous private groups have pooled resources and created Titanic Belfast, a futuristic, US$160 million, nine-gallery museum - the world's largest exclusively dedicated to the ship and its only voyage. The facility finally opened late last month – just in time for the centennial of the tragedy coming up in a few days.  Read More
The electromagnetic compatibility of vehicle components is measured in a Fraunhofer lab
While electric cars are often touted as being less mechanically complex than their internal combustion-engined counterparts, there is at least one way in which they’re considerably more “involved” – their radios. Because electrical signals emitted by the car can potentially interfere with incoming radio signals, manufacturers must do things such as insulating the motor and shielding the cables. This adds time and material expenses to the production process. Now, however, researchers from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration have developed technology to help minimize the problem.  Read More
Aside from state-of-the-art graphics, the Unreal Engine 3 already has a plethora of progra...
Video game developer, Epic Games, is known for giving players realistic experiences thanks to its popular Unreal Engine platform. But while games like Batman: Arkham City and Gears of War are certainly entertaining, virtually beating up thugs and fighting subterranean creatures doesn't exactly translate into real world skills. However a new agreement with teaching software developer, Virtual Heroes, could see Epic's platform used to create more practical experiences and train medical staff and law enforcement officers to handle high-stress situations. By using Epic's Unreal Engine 3, some United States government agencies like the FBI and US Army are hoping to give their employees tools for virtually practicing their skills in a more realistic environment and better prepare them to save lives.  Read More
PowerPot is a line of camping cookware, that generates electricity using heat
Thermoelectric materials are able to generate an electrical current, via a temperature gradient within themselves. If thermoelectric fabric were used to make a jacket, for instance, the temperature difference between that garment’s cool exterior and warm interior might be enough to charge devices carried in its pockets. A current could also be generated by a vehicle’s thermoelectric exhaust pipe, due to its hot interior and the cool air surrounding it. Now, entrepreneurs David Toledo and Paul Slusser have developed a line of thermoelectric cooking pots, that use the heat of a fire to generate electricity when camping.  Read More
For about $127, UK novelty company Firebox will create a 3D-printed model of your head, wh... ... or more accurately, the company will allow you to put a 3D-printed model of your head on one. All you have to do is send in some snapshots.  Read More
Readerdock has developed charging speaker docks for the Kindle Fire (shown) and the B&N No...
Last week, Grace Digital announced the forthcoming release of its FireDock charging speaker dock specifically designed for Amazon's Kindle Fire. We said that this was one of the first to reach the market. Well, here's one of the others. The FireStation from Readerdock is not only going to hit the marketplace well before July, but it's a good deal cheaper too. The company has also created a dedicated speaker dock for Nook Color users called the N-Station, that's due for release at the same time.  Read More
WaveJet provides the propulsion power you need to catch large waves on your own
In order to surf those massive walls of salt water known as big waves, brave surfers usually need to get towed in by a personal watercraft (PWC). This presents some logistical problems (i.e. having to bring a buddy along to tow you around all day). The WaveJet gives you the power you need without requiring a large tow-in vehicle or separate person.  Read More
German puzzle maker Ravensburger has created four new jigsaw puzzles which can be brought ...
For me, the satisfaction of completing a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle is relatively short-lived. True that I may have managed to bring together thousands of tiny colored sweets in one poster-sized mass of loveliness, or worked my way through miles and miles of blue sky without having a nervous breakdown – but what now? Germany's Ravensburger has the answer in the form of augmented reality. The company has released four puzzles that, upon completion, can be transformed into jaw-dropping video animation and sound effects on an iPhone or iPad via a free-to-download app.  Read More
Ideabox prefabricated homes Ideabox, an architectural firm from Portland, Oregon, has launched its "Aktiv" line of prefabricated homes which will be equipped with IKEA furnishings and appliances. The one-bedroom modular homes are claimed to be eco-friendly, and are designed with no wasted space.  Read More
Cessna has announced production of its Corvalis TTX, claimed to be the world's fastest - a...
Cessna seized upon the frankly unmissable opportunity to make a major announcement at this year's Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In at Lakeland, Florida, by announcing that its luxury single-pilot aircraft, the Cessna Corvalis TTX, has entered production. The new aircraft, proclaimed by Cessna to be the "world's fastest fixed-gear aircraft," will replace the old Corvalis TT.  Read More

Assistant professor Kee-Hong Kim from Purdue University is testing a compound that is comm...
Researchers from Purdue University in Indiana are testing a compound found in red wine that has the ability to block the processes of fat cell development. The research into the compound known as piceatannol may lead towards finding a simple method to combat obesity.  Read More
VirtualDose utilizes computer models of different body types to advise physicians on which...
X-ray computed tomography – or CT – scanners are designed with people of an average build in mind. When obese patients require a CT scan, the additional layers of body fat will produce blurry images if the scanner’s regular settings are used. Clinicians typically address this problem by turning up the power of the scanner. Unfortunately, doing so results in overweight patients receiving higher-than-normal doses of radiation. A new computer modeling system developed at New York’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, however, could help bring those levels down.  Read More
T3 Motion's new T3-MT electric standup vehicle is designed to accommodate camera operators... Big- and medium-budget film-makers looking for smooth tracking shots will soon have another alternative to laying down tracks for hand-pushed camera dollies. T3 Motion, the maker of the T3 electric standup vehicle, is launching a new version of its EV, designed specifically for use by cinematographers.  Read More
Kirin has introduced frozen beer foam that is served on top of a drink like soft serve ice...
We've seen plenty of innovative ways to keep beer cold in recent months, with everything from a refrigerator with a built-in blast chiller to a can that cools itself at the push of a button. But these have all involved cooling the beer's container, leaving the liquid inside to warm up at the same rate as any other beverage. That's why Japanese beer maker Kirin has gone a different route, and developed a method for cooling the beer directly and, more importantly, keeping it chilled for much longer. The company's new Ichiban Shibori Frozen Draft stays at a low temperature thanks to a specially-developed machine that dispenses a topping of frozen beer foam like soft serve ice cream.  Read More
The Jaguar F-type
In an extraordinary move, Jaguar has announced it will produce an all-new sports car to go on sale in mid-2013, named the F-Type. Announced but not exhibited at the New York International Auto Show, Jaguar has released images of the vehicle with camouflage paint. Given the iconic status of its previously letter-designated sports cars (the C-type, D-type and E-type), the Jaguar F-type can be reasonably expected to be spectacularly good. Here's what we know so far:  Read More
The Infiniti LE is more than just a concept; it will be Infiniti's first zero emissions ve...
The first complaint about current mainstream electric vehicle options is that they don't offer enough range. The second is that they only come in small and, some might say, unattractive packages like the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-Miev. Infiniti may not have solved the former problem, but it's done its best to solve the latter with the LE concept. The concept gives the Nissan Leaf a sportier, more upscale brother.  Read More
3D model of Autodesk's corporate headquarters as generated from Octocopter photos stitched...
Take one piece of software that can stitch 2D photos into a 3D model, one camera-carrying UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle), and mix well to impress and inspire. This was the recipe used by Autodesk's Director of Strategic Research, Gonzalo Martinez, when he set about modifying an Octo-Copter UAV for use with Autodesk's 123D Catch software to simplify the process of making 3D models of large real-world objects, while also having some fun.  Read More
The Sonic gives you two water-resistant speakers for music Despite technology's best efforts, headphones and sports just don't mix that well. Loss of awareness of your surroundings, uncomfortable earphones and tangled wires make them less than a perfect solution and it's these shortcomings that The Sonic Walk aims to address by providing a more natural, ergonomic way of listening to music and exercising.  Read More
The Sailing GPS
One of the problems of using GPS chartplotters on a sailboat is that it is extremely difficult to calculate accurate arrival times given the amount of tacking often involved. Now there's a purpose-built Sailing GPS that not only accounts for the tacking that sailboats do, but can can tell you the optimal tacking angles and your Tacking Time to Destination (TTD).  Read More
Ferdinand Alexander Porsche and a Porsche model under development in 1968 Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, Grandson of the founder of Porsche, the designer of the Porsche 911, the founder of the Porsche Design studio and the architect of Porsche design culture, passed away yesterday, April 5 in Salzburg, aged 76. His design credo was that “design must be functional and functionality has to be translated visually into aesthetics, without gags that have to be explained first.” Some of his other well known statements on design include, “a coherently designed product requires no adornment; it should be enhanced by its form alone”, and “Good design should be honest.” Vale F.A. Porsche.  Read More

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