New and Emerging Technology News part 163 ~ NEW GEN TECH LIFE : new generation technology news

Monday, 3 February 2014

New and Emerging Technology News part 163

A Samsung Securities document states that Apple plans to release a 7-inch iPad later this ...
With the iPad 3 expected to be announced this week, the Apple rumor mill has shifted its sights to a possible release of a 7-inch “iPad mini” later this year. Although (so far incorrect) rumors of a smaller form factor iPad have been floating around for a couple of years, the latest “confirmation” comes from a pretty reputable source – Samsung.  Read More
The new full-octave wrist-mounted finger piano We've all drummed our fingers when impatient or bored, but the arrival of a wrist-mounted finger "piano" from Japan could change all that in a snap. It looks more like an EKG for your hand than a musical instrument but comes with a full octave of range - one note for each finger and three on the wrist unit.  Read More
Test structure inserted into lab rats as part of the program to develop neural interfaces ...
Scientists at Sandia National Laboratories have announced a breakthrough in prosthetics that may one day allow artificial limbs to be controlled by their wearers as naturally as organic ones, as well as providing sensations of touch and feeling. The scientists have developed a new interface consisting of a porous, flexible, conductive, biocompatible material through which nerve fibers can grow and act as a sort of junction through which nerve impulses can pass to the prosthesis and data from the prosthesis back to the nerve. If this new interface is successful, it has the potential to one day allow nerves to be connected directly to artificial limbs.  Read More
The new Cross Coupe to be seen at the Geneva Motor Show. We first saw Volkswagen's plug-in petrol-electric hybrid Cross Coupé concept at the Tokyo Motor Show. Now there's a new Cross Coupé concept to be shown at the Geneva Motor Show this week that use a turbodiesel direct injection engine (TDI) and two electric motors to achieve 1.8 liters per 100 km (around 157 mpg) with CO2 emissions of just 46 g/km.  Read More
24 Hour Sprinkles is a cupcake machine owned by the Sprinkles bakery that dispenses not on... For those all-important late-night cravings when you really want a cupcake one bakery in Beverly Hills has come up with a solution: a cupcake vending machine. Claiming to be the "world's first cupcake automat," the 24 Hour Sprinkles is a cupcake machine owned by the Sprinkles bakery that dispenses not only fresh-baked cupcakes, but also cupcake mixes, apparel, and even cupcakes for your canine companion, around the clock.  Read More
The battery-electric A3 is based on the gasoline-powered and clean diesel TDI Audi A3, tha... Audi has announced its new battery-electric Audi A3 e-tron pilot program in the U.S. Set to take place in four pilot locations: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Denver, the program is designed to help Audi identify some of the opportunities and challenges luxury car buyers will face when purchasing an EV vehicle, and will study the effect of driving patterns and climate conditions on EV vehicles.  Read More
Feadship's Project Qi concept superyacht
Feadship Royal Dutch shipyards will offer a glimpse into the rarefied world of superyachts at the Dubai International Boat Show later this month (March 13-17). The luxury watercraft manufacturer's 56 meter (183.75 ft) Future Concept vessel Qi (say "chee") will be showcased (scale model only) along with a few of Feadship's real-world 70 meter-plus (229 ft+) multimillion dollar models, the 81 meter (266 ft) Air, and the 77.7 meter (252 ft) Tango. Built for a realm where just turning the engines on at the dock for ten minutes will set the owner back hundreds of dollars, these are designs that are sure to impress.  Read More
Panasonic Europe's ELUGA phone is waterproof and dustproof to international standard IP57 ...
Panasonic named its two new Android handsets ELUGA, an acronym of sorts for "elegant user-oriented gateway," to symbolize the slim pair of phones that aim to combine both design and function. The electronics manufacturer introduced the ELUGA and ELUGA Power handsets this past week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, extending the number of Android devices unveiled at the show from the likes of LG, Samsung, HTC, Sony, Viewsonic and Huawei, just to name a few.  Read More
NYU-Poly's tail-flapping biomimetic fish
A couple of years ago, a team of scientists from the University of Leeds succeeded in getting live stickleback fish to follow a computer-controlled “Robofish” as it was moved through their aquarium. Part of the reason for the experiment was to learn about fish behavior, in hopes that human interference in their migration routes could be minimized. While the Robofish was simply a plaster model, researchers from the Polytechnic Institute of New York University recently conducted a similar experiment, but using an actual tail-flapping robotic fish. Their discoveries could help save wild fish populations in the event of environmental disasters.  Read More
A Japanese team has invented a portable device that painlessly causes people to stop talki...
For those who don't suffer the talkative gladly, a pair of Japanese researchers may have come up with just the thing - a portable device that can painlessly jam a person's speech from up to 30 meters (98 ft) away. Ingeniously dubbed the "SpeechJammer," you aim it like a gun and, if it's anywhere near as effective as the Delayed Auditory Feedback exhibit I tried at my local science museum, it works like a charm.  Read More

A quartet of new Volkswagen Up! concepts is headed for Geneva
Volkswagen will be adding to its Up! concept line in a big way this month. The German automaker has built four special-edition Up! vehicles that it will unveil at the Geneva Motor Show this week. Each vehicle is built to reflect a certain theme, inspiring both its look and hardware.  Read More
Swedish scientists have developed a nanocoating that allows the bone surrounding dental im...
The thought of having titanium screws implanted into one's jawbone is probably pretty unsettling for most of us, but for people who are getting individual teeth replaced, such implants are often required as attachment points for the artificial teeth. Once those screws are in place, patients often have to wait from about four to six months before they can chew solid food, as the bone surrounding the implant heals. Now, however, Swedish scientists have developed a new bioactive nanocoating for the screws, that promises to significantly decrease the required healing time.  Read More
Version 3 of the Self-Balancing Unicycle from Focus Designs has a faster top speed but a s...
Inner city congestion, rising parking charges, pedestrian-only zones and other measures to persuade folks to leave the car at home can seem a little at odds with the increasing pace of our busy working lives. Getting the train to work is all well and good but if the office is quite a distance from the station, then workers are faced with hopping on more public transport or taking along a portable personal vehicle like a folding bicycle, mini scooter or unicycle. If you want to avoid having to hit the showers before sitting at your desk, then motorized versions of most are now available. Regular readers will already know that we're quite fond of the electric unicycle, particularly when it's combined with self-balancing mechanisms. One of the first to be featured was the SBU from Focus Designs, the third version of which has just been released.  Read More
Three-dimensional printing is being used to create precise robotic models of dinosaurs (Im...
Although it may seem that we know a great deal about dinosaurs, a lot of the knowledge is actually based on assumptions rather than hard facts. Often, scientists have to resort to guesswork. Some hypotheses can only be tested by manipulating a skeleton model, but that's quite a challenge if the bones you want to study belonged to an enormous animal. Also, size is not the only issue. Dinosaur fossils tend to be fragile, unique and valuable. That's why the researchers at Drexel University, who want to build precise robotic models of dinosaurs, decided to use 3D printing technology.  Read More
Ford used the Hackathon event to get creative with potential features
Automakers have begun slowly integrating social networking into vehicles via advanced infotainment systems that provide voice-activated social functions. In a recent collaboration with Facebook called "Hackathon," Ford gave the world a glimpse of what in-car social networking 2.0 might look like. It's scary and intriguing at the same time.  Read More
Innespace has introduced its new sea creature-inspired personal watercraft, the orca-like ...
Gosh, millionaires had it tough back in 2009. At that time, if they wanted to spend US$50,000 on a zippy, semi-submersible, sea creature-inspired watercraft, they were stuck with the basic dolphin-like model of Innespace’s Seabreacher. Now known as the Seabreacher J, it was joined in 2010 by the faster, wider and nastier-looking shark-inspired Seabreacher X. Now, word has reached us of yet another Seabreacher creature – the orca-like Y model.  Read More
The prototype control pad uses 'tactors', independently-moving tactile feedback sticks tha...
A prototype control pad created by engineers at the University of Utah promises a generational leap in tactile feedback for video games over the rudimentary rumble-packs in use today. Using small, independently moving "tactors", perhaps best thought of as a thumb-stick within a thumb-stick, the engineers have simulated sensations such as collisions, crawling, and being buffeted by ocean waves.  Read More
Nimbus II by Berndnaut Smilde, created using a smoke machine and closely controlling the a... Artist Berndnaut Smilde may use simple smoke machines to create his indoor cloudworks, but to achieve such dramatic results requires meticulous experimentation with both lighting and interior atmospheric conditions.  Read More
The BRABUS BULLIT Stealth Coupe 800 It's the ultimate sleeper! Brabus' US$500,000 matte-black stealth coupe has no outward pizzazz whatsoever (at least to the untrained eye), but with a 788 bhp twin-turbo V12 under the hood, it can hit 100 km/h in 3.7 seconds, 200 km/h in 9.8 seconds, 300 km/h (186 mph) in 23.8 seconds on its way to a top speed of more than 370 km/h (230 mph).  Read More
Ball and stick model of dextromethorphan - gray are carbon atoms, white are hydrogen, blue...
Sir James W. Black, M.D., F.R.S., the recipient of the 1988 Nobel Prize for Medicine once said, "The easiest way to find a drug is to start with one." Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Concert Pharmaceuticals, Inc. obviously subscribe to Black's view as they have recently announced an exclusive license agreement that gives Avanir worldwide rights to develop and commercialize Concert's deuterium-modified dextromethorphan (d-DXM) for the potential treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders.  Read More

DARPA's quadruped CHEETAH robot has broken the land speed record for legged robots by reac...
It's been a very little over a year since Boston Dynamics was awarded a contract to develop a high-speed robotic quadruped by DARPA, but already the defense tech research agency's investment is bearing fruit, having announced that its CHEETAH galloping quadruped robot has broken the land speed record for robots with legs.  Read More
Valentino Rossi tucked in at full noise on the 1000cc Ducati Desmosedici MotoGP bike. If you've been having trouble comfortably wrapping your brain cells around the concept of what were once proud national symbols of excellence changing countries, such as the Malaysian-owned Lotus, the Chinese-owned Saab and MG or the Indian Jaguar and Range Rover, then please be seated before reading further. It seems that India's Hero MotoCorp, the world's largest manufacturer of both bicycles and motorcycles is considering the purchase of Italy's deeply loved manufacturer of sports motorcycles, Ducati.  Read More
CompuLab's most powerful fanless mini-PC to date, the Intense PC is based around Intel's s...
Israel's CompuLab has announced a Q2 release for its most powerful miniature fanless PC to date. Designed for customization and extensibility, and based around Intel's second generation Core i processors, the Intense PC features a 6Gbps SATA 3 connection for internal 2.5-inch format hard drive or SSD storage, an HDMI 1.4 port with support for up to 1920 x 1200 screen resolution, and wireless LAN with two antennas. There are more physical connectivity ports than you can shake a stick at, and the unit only draws 8W of power when idle.  Read More
WipeOut 2048 on Sony's latest (and greatest?) portable gaming console, the PS Vita
Whether you consider it progress or a race to the bottom, Apple's iOS platform is gobbling up the gaming market. Nintendo's 3DS was far from perfect (read our review), leaving many looking to the Vita for gaming on the go. But is there a future for dedicated gaming devices? After a week with the Vita, Gizmag's Tim Hanlon hopes so.  Read More
Whole Foods is testing a Kinect-powered shopping cart that will follow shoppers around and...
When Chaotic Moon Labs debuted the Kinect-powered Board of Awesomeness - and its mind-reading offspring, the Board of Imagination - that was apparently just a preview of a more practical product the company had in the works. Grocery store chain, Whole Foods, recently gave a demonstration of Chaotic Moon's latest device, which uses the same technology in a self-propelled shopping cart. The "Smarter Cart," as its been named, can detect what items are placed in it, match those to a shopping list, and even follow shoppers around the store on its own.  Read More
MakiBox designer Jon Buford shows off the 3D printer's compact size
Over the past few years, the price of desktop 3D printers has been falling thanks to devices such as the uPrint, MakerBot, Printrbot and Cubify ). But designer Jon Buford's thoughtfully-conceived MakiBox looks to be the least expensive yet. He and his team have now pre-sold enough of the device to make the move from prototype to market and the result looks rather promising. If all goes well, the US$300 printers (plus US$50 for global shipping) could be available for delivery as soon as the end of the month.  Read More
The Ski Retriever system sees homing tags placed on the skis so they can be tracked
We're not aware of lost skis being a huge problem, but the folks at Washington state-based company Ski Retriever have obviously faced that problem often enough to go to the trouble of developing a solution. The Ski Retriever is a homing system for lost skis that involves attaching homing tabs to your skis or snowboard and using the radio-based, handheld device to track them down should you misplace them. Less time spent digging fruitlessly through the snow means more time skiing the mountain.  Read More
one2TOUCH silicon keyboard operates when a smartphone is set on top of the center pad
Near-Field Communication (NFC) is generally associated with contactless payment methods such as the mobile wallet. In practice, NFC's uses include connecting a smartphone to a car and other devices. Now Norway-based one2TOUCH is offering silicone keyboards that connect to smartphones and tablets simply by laying the mobile device on top - no pairing required.  Read More
Some of the many and varied items produced using a 3D printer
For a few years now we've been wondering at all the possibilities that lay in store for 3D printing. Most of what's come out of this brilliant marriage of CAD software and mechanical extruders so far has been lots of small plastic chess pieces and other plastic trinkets, but lately we're starting to see 3D printing pushed to new heights, with some pretty remarkable results. Here's our brief list of some of the coolest items to come out of a 3D printer so far.  Read More
Scientists have developed a vortex gun that delivers electrically-charged rings of gas, an...
While something called a “vortex gun” might sound like a device from science fiction, the fact is that they have been available as novelties for years – if you’ve ever used a toy gun that shot out a smoke ring, then you’ve used a vortex gun. Lately, however, scientists from the Ohio-based Battelle R & D group have developed one that could have practical uses for people such as firefighters, exterminators and riot cops.  Read More

Blocking a marijuana-like chemical in the brain could allow one to eat more, exercise less...
Unless you're a rodent, it's probably too early to get excited about the possibility of being able to eat all you want, be a couch potato and still not gain weight, but new research using a strain of specially-modified mice indicates that just such an unlikely scenario might one day be possible. Recently, a team of scientists from UC Irvine (UCI), Yale and Marche Polytechnic University in Ancona, Italy discovered they could bring this metabolic miracle about in the lab by blocking the actions of a marijuana-like compound that regulates energy metabolism.  Read More
Pictures have emerged of Vauxhall/Opel's concept electric bike, the RAD e
Pictures have finally emerged of the Vauxhall/Opel RAD e Concept pedelec (pedal-assist electric bicycle, in other words). "Pictures" is precisely the word, mind - these are computer renderings rather than product photos. Still, they give a good idea of what Vauxall/Opel has in mind (if nowhere else), and the accompanying press release gives one or two further points of insight.  Read More
The Decimal comes in some rather bright colors
Today, we think of the Four Corners region of the American southwest as one of the most desolate, foreboding, mysterious regions in North America. The Anasazi civilization, on the other hand, knew it simply as home. These ancient people adapted to living and moving across the dry, rugged land. They provide the inspiration for Sazzi Toe Motion Footwear extends the individual-toed footwear trend seen on the likes of the Vibram Five Fingers to sandals.  Read More
One of Xinwei Wang's golden silk orbweaver spiders
Over the years, we’ve seen Spiderman use his webbing to catch villains, swing between buildings, and even parachute from great heights. In all that time, however, the opportunity never came up for him to use it to conduct heat. As it turns out, it would have been perfect for the job. Although materials from living things generally don’t conduct heat well, a team of scientists from Iowa State University have discovered that spider silk does so 800 times better than any other organic material ever tested. Because the silk is also very strong and stretchable, it could have a number of applications in human technology.  Read More
The AutoTutor computerized tutorial system is able to adjust its teaching style, according...
As proposed by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, “flow” is an ideal psychological state in which we are engaged enough by a task not to find it boring, and yet not so challenged by it that we get discouraged. When learning new subjects, however, students often end up falling at one end or the other of that scale. Now, a new computerized tutoring system has been developed to keep students in the “flow” zone. It does so by monitoring their emotional state, then adjusting its teaching method to steer them away from boredom or frustration.  Read More
The most outrageous Lamborghini yet, the Aventador J, will be shown at the 2012 Geneva Mot...
We know the designers at Lamborghini are a bit unhinged. It's always been a pre-requisite for working there. Since the takeover by Volkswagen, their mad creations at least work properly, and with the Aventador Lamborghini has been pushing the engineering envelope in material science and engine design. At this year's Geneva Motor Show, the automaker unveils its maddest "fighter-aircraft-for-the-road" variant yet, the Aventador J.  Read More
Fraunhofer has developed a solar-powered ski helmet-based communications system
It looks like the skiers’ communications systems from Buhel and Recon could soon be in for some solar-powered competition. Working with German tech company TEXSYS and the Technische Universität Berlin, researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration have developed a communications module that can be integrated directly into a ski helmet. That module is powered by nothing but sunlight, and can be linked with the user’s mobile devices via a Bluetooth-enabled glove-based control unit.  Read More
Attendees at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show are being given the first opportunity to actually ...
Gizmag readers will no doubt be quite familiar with Ford's Focus Electric by now. We first mentioned the company's plans to enter the passenger EV market in 2009, and Ford chose to first unveil its new vehicle at CES 2011. Later that year, the auto giant started taking orders for its new Focus Electric five door hatchback, and now attendees at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show are being given the first opportunity to actually get behind the steering wheel and drive Ford's first all-electric passenger car.  Read More
The Gumpert apollo enraged German sports car manufacturer Gumpert took two surprises to the Geneva Motor Show today. One is a race-only apollo with 860 bhp and a kerb weight of just 1,100 kg (2,425 lb). The other is a road-going car with 780 bhp weighing 1,175 kg (2,590 lb) named the apollo enraged.  Read More
Design By Many recently announced the winners of its Electric Vehicle Charging Station com... Design By Many, a challenge-based design community, recently announced the winners of its Electric Vehicle Charging Station competition. First prize was awarded to the HMMY team for its Plug + Play concept. The smart-looking electric vehicle charging station attempts to stimulate awareness of the gap between production and consumption of energy. The design "generates a renewed consciousness of energy use in our modern lives," according to HMMY.  Read More
 
SkiCart attaches to the end of one ski, via a twist mount
If you buy a suitcase these days, it will likely come with those little built-in wheels that let you pull it along behind you. Most people, in fact, would probably feel cheated if they ended up with luggage that they had to carry everywhere. Well, Connecticut-based inventor Joanna Lach is hoping her SkiCart product will do for downhill skis what those little wheels did for suitcases. The device attaches to the back end of a set of skis, so those skis can be pulled from the car to the slopes, instead of having to be hefted in the user’s arms or perched on their shoulder.  Read More
The new Series ll Rolls-Royce Phantoms at Geneva The first Phantom of the modern era (i.e. owned by BMW) was launched in 2003, so a refresh might be thought overdue. Rolls-Royce does nothing in hurry, however - it would be unseemly - so after suitable thought and deliberation, the Geneva Motor Show finally sees the launch of the Series ll Phantoms. Subtle changes and enhancements have been applied to all four models in the range; the Saloon (sedan), The Extended Wheelbase limo, the two-door Coupe and the two-door Coupe Drophead convertible, though you would have to be pretty eagle-eyed to spot them.  Read More
The Volvo V40's pedestrian airbags are designed to mitigate a collision with a pedestrian
Debuting at the Geneva Motor Show, the all-new Volvo V40 possesses some high-tech features, including the world's first pedestrian airbag system. The five-door, five-seater sibling to the Volvo C30 features (as standard) front bumper sensors that register the physical contact between the car and a pedestrian. When impact occurs, a section of the bonnet (closest to the windscreen) is released and elevated by the deployment of the airbag. The inflated airbag covers the area under the raised bonnet, around one-third of the windscreen as well as the lower section of the A-pillar. The system is designed to help to reduce the severity of pedestrian injuries.  Read More
Digital music artist and inventor Onyx Ashanti has created a gestural interface controller...
A few days ago, my colleague Eric Mack brought together eight of the coolest items produced by 3D printing - I'd now like to add a ninth. Digital music artist and inventor Onyx Ashanti has spent the last couple of years creating a wearable system to help him break away from the confines of the front of a computer screen and create improvised music using wireless gestural interface controllers. His original prototype Beatjazz controller was made from cardboard and featured pressure sensors, accelerometers and an iPhone. The vast majority of the latest version has been 3D printed, and it looks and sounds incredible.  Read More
A new app called Audioair promises to help users listen in to the silent screens that perv...
They're everywhere, when you think about it, the televisions. Screens are increasingly pervasive in public urban spaces - transmitting news, gossip, advertisements at us as we go. Usually they do so silently, not wishing to compete with the ambient drone of the city. What if it was possible to home in on a single screen and somehow hear what it had to say? Well apparently this is all possible now thanks to an iOS and Android app from the Airborne Media Group that it calls Audioair. It's a bold pitch, but what does the small print say?  Read More
Infiniti's long awaited range-extended electric Emerg-E sports car has been shown in Genev...
Infinit's long awaited range-extended electric sports car the Emerg-E has been shown in Geneva and the specs we've been awaiting are official: 402 bhp (300 kW), 0-60 mph in 4.0 seconds; a top speed of 130 mph (209 km/h); a 300-mile (483-km) range using the three-cylinder range-extender with 30 miles (48 km) electric-only; CO2 output of 55 g/km (NEDC cycle).  Read More
Sources say game developer, Valve, may be working on a 'Steam Box' gaming console that may...
In the video game community, Valve Software is regarded very highly both for developing consistently influential titles for more than a decade and for its popular game distribution service, Steam. So when strong rumors begin floating around about the company producing its own game console, you can bet they're going to grab the attention of a lot of gamers. Thanks to some sources within the company, a few suspicious comments from the company founder, and a patent filing for a new type of game controller, it's starting to seem highly likely that Valve may indeed be entering the hardware market with its purported "Steam Box" project. That would be a bombshell in itself, but the rumored details of the project point to a product that could potentially change the face of modern gaming.  Read More
Tata Megapixel Global City Car full of surprizes
Tata Motors showed the Tata Megapixel concept at the Geneva Motor Show overnight - it's a four-seater range extended electric vehicle (REEV). An evolution of last year's Pixel concept, the Megapixel uses four in-wheel 10 kW motors and a 325 cc single cylinder petrol engine that generates 22 kW while charging the lithium ion phosphate battery. The result is a range of 900 km (559 miles) and an electric-only range of 87 km (54 miles). The Megapixel has several other killer party tricks, including acutely turning wheels which give it a turning radius of just 2.8 meters (9.2 ft), which is small enough to do a U-turn in a narrow street, and an inductive home charging system - park over the induction pad and it charges itself without needing to be plugged in. There's also some very useful automatic sliding double doors.  Read More
The Air Supported Vessel uses a cushion of air to increase speed and improve efficiency (I...
A European project is developing new Air Support Vessel (ASV) hull designs that allow watercraft to ride on a cushion of air to greatly reduce friction between the hull and the water, resulting in more hull speed for less power than conventional designs. The project is part of a EUR10,000,000 (approx. US$13,225,000) project funded in part by the European Union, the Norwegian Research Council and Innovation Norway, and Norwegian company Effect Ships International AS has recently completed tank-testing in Sweden of two ASV hull models.  Read More
The Bentley EXP 9 F takes a bow at the Geneva Show - the muscular look has been translated...
Whispers about a Bentley SUV - some of them coming directly from Bentley chief Wolfgang Duerheimer - have been floating around for ages. At this week's Geneva Motor Show, Bentley finally puts a face to the rumors. Its EXP 9 F may or may not lead to an eventual production SUV, but it gives the world a look at what a utilitarian Bentley could look like.  Read More


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