New and Emerging Technology News part 153 ~ NEW GEN TECH LIFE : new generation technology news

Sunday, 2 February 2014

New and Emerging Technology News part 153

GM's Windows of Opportunity project asked students to design interactive applications that...
In-car DVD players and handheld game consoles have proven a godsend to parents looking to avoid the regular cries of “are we there yet?” from kids in the back seat. Similar to Toyota’s “Window to the World” concept, GM’s “Windows of Opportunity” (WOO) project looks to advance back seat entertainment even further. The project saw the automaker giving researchers and students from the FUTURE LAB at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Israel free reign to design applications that rear seat passengers would interact with through their side windows, which act as interactive displays.  Read More

A depiction of glucose molecules moving across the surface of a plasmonic interferometer
In order to measure their blood glucose levels, most diabetics must perform painful finger-prick tests on a daily basis. Hopefully, however, that may not always be the case. Scientists at Rhode Island’s Brown University are now developing a biochip, that could someday be used to assess the concentration of glucose molecules in a tiny sample of saliva.  Read More
A designer's concept Fujitsu Lifebook would come with slots to insert a smartphone, tablet...
These days, your average tech enthusiast typically has at their disposal a smartphone, a laptop, a tablet, and a digital camera; and that's listing the bare minimum. That's quite a bit of processing power and storage space spread out among different gadgets. What if it were possible to link all those devices together into one convenient package that uses all that computing power at once? That's the idea behind one designer's concept for a Fujitsu Lifebook, which would come with slots for a smartphone, digital camera, and tablet, for them all to all work together as one super device.  Read More
The NAO is Petzl's first headlamp to use Reactive Lighting
In addition to two powerful LED lights, the new NAO headlamp from Petzl has a light sensor. The headlamp doesn't just shine light, it measures ambient light to provide the ideal amount of output. It also uses a few other smart design features to give you a high-performing, convenient headlamp.  Read More
When installed in a car, Scosche's cellCONTROL disables mobile phone use while the vehicle...
Don't want your teenage kids using their mobile phone while they drive? Well, hopefully explaining the dangers to them will do the trick. If it doesn't, however, you could always install Scosche's cellCONTROL in your car. The device is activated whenever the vehicle is in motion, and uses a Bluetooth signal to disable calling functions, text messaging, email, app use and internet access on phones within the car.  Read More
The Cam Caddie Scorpion is a handheld stabilizing mount for DSLRs and HD camcorders (Photo...
Amateur or low-budget videographers who want to smooth out their shaky handheld camera work have for some time now had the option of using the Smoothee, a simple rig made by none other than Steadicam. The product is intended for use with pocket camcorders and smartphones, however, which kind of leaves DSLR-users in the lurch. Well, those people now have a new affordable stabilizing system of their own, in the form of the Cam Caddie Scorpion.  Read More
The new G-5 Strat features Roland's COSM modeling technology, offering players instant alt...
Roland and Fender have joined forces to create a guitar called the G-5, that fuses a traditional Stratocaster body shape with cutting edge digital music technology. Set to hit the shelves a few months before either of the Auto-Tune guitars from Peavey and Parker, the VG Strat G-5 offers similar alternate tuning at the turn of a knob, a host of onboard digital guitar emulations and the chance to dial in different pickup and signature guitar sounds, too.  Read More
IK Multimedia's iRig MIX is a compact mobile mixer that can be used with the included DJ R...
Apps that transform an iOS device into a portable DJ system (such as Algoriddim's djay app) have been around for a good while now, but the restricted screen space on small devices can lead to somewhat limited mixing functionality. Budding party disc jockeys can get more control from physical deck emulators like Numark's iDJ Live, but those with an appetite for real-time mixing of music stored on more than one device have now been catered for with the upcoming release of the iRig MIX from IK Multimedia. This compact mobile mixer can auto match the tempo from any type of audio source with the tunes on a connected iOS device, features an extra input for an instrument or microphone, and comes with four free music apps.  Read More
Analysis of the way a goshawk flies through cluttered forests has revealed a critical safe...
Research into goshawk flight could inform the design of next generation UAVS. Where prior research into bird flight has focused on steady flight, new research from MIT examines the patterns of birds adept at flying in "cluttered environments" to find principles applicable to robot motion planning. It's research that might one day find practical applications in engineering, including fast, agile UAVs.  Read More
The FLORA, announced by Adafruit Industries on Friday, is a small, fabric-friendly wearabl...
A new platform for wearable electronics, known as the FLORA, was announced by its creators Adafruit Industries on Friday. Essentially a small, round, fabric-friendly circuit board that looks a little like a flower, the FLORA will, when ready, be launched with a variety of accessories and software. These will include, we gather, controllers for iPhone, iPad and Android hardware. The FLORA is ripe for wearable DIY electronics projects: announced modules include Bluetooth, GPS, 3-axis accelerometer, compass, and, intriguingly, OLED.  Read More
Sony's Z series VAIO laptops now offer a new Carbon Fiber Silver option
On its company blog, Sony has announced a spring (or autumn if you’re south of the equator) refresh for of its VAIO line of laptops. While the Z series, S series and E series will all receive CPU upgrades along with various other component updates, the C series changes are limited to updates of the cosmetic variety.  Read More
 
A new type of endoscope is said to be able to remove gallstones (pictured), reducing the n...
When someone has gallstones, treatment typically involves the removal of their gallbladder. This is usually done laparoscopically, in a procedure known as a cholecystectomy. A group of scientists from the Second People's Hospital of Panyu District and Central South University in China, however, have created an endoscope that they say is able to locate and remove gallstones while leaving the gallbladder intact.  Read More
Magura has introduced the world's first hydraulic braking system for road bicycles, known ...
When most people think of hydraulic brakes on bicycles, they probably picture modern mountain bikes with disc brakes. As early as 1987, however, German bicycle component manufacturer Magura was making hydraulic rim brakes for mountain bikes. These featured the arms and rubber pads that we currently associate with V-brakes and cantilevers, but they were hydraulically activated. Now, 25 years later, Magura has released an aerodynamic hydraulic rim brake system for lightweight time trial and triathlon bikes.  Read More
Potentially, if turned into a viable drug, irisin could induce the benefits of a workout w...
A group of researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, led by Bruce Spiegelman and Pontus Boström, have discovered a hormone that mimics some of the results of a workout by facilitating the transformation of white fat into brown fat. While the purpose of the former is to accumulate excess calories, the latter is used to produce heat. Irisin, named after the Greek goddess Iris, could one day help address obesity and diabetes. However, there is still a long way to go before the hormone is made into an actual drug.  Read More
The iNature iPhone cover is 100-percent biodegradable
Your iPhone won’t last forever. In fact, long before it wears out, chances are that you’ll trade up to a higher model. The designers at Italian companies Med Computer and Biomood apparently figured that if the cover that you’re using on that phone is bound to become obsolete anyway, why should it last forever? The result is the 100-percent biodegradable iNature soft iPhone cover.  Read More
Tobii introduced and demonstrated its latest eye control technology, called Gaze, at last ...
Eye control innovator Tobii introduced and demonstrated its latest eye control technology at last week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The Gaze interface for Windows 8 is said to take advantage of the operating system's large tile layout to offer users a superior interaction experience, that neither touch nor mouse alone can provide.  Read More
The New York Police Department is developing a portable scanner for detecting concealed gu...
You have to feel sorry for the police officers who are required to frisk people for guns or knives – after all, if someone who doesn’t want to be arrested is carrying a lethal weapon, the last thing that most of us would want to do is get close enough to that person to touch them. That’s why the New York Police Department teamed up with the United States Department of Defense three years ago, and began developing a portable scanner that can remotely detect the presence of a gun on a person’s body. The NYPD announced the project yesterday.  Read More
McIntosh Laboratory has launched a very limited 50th Anniversary edition of its iconic MC2...
While it's true that we've seen some gorgeous examples of modern amplification at Gizmag over the years, there's still something very pleasing to the eye about those that proudly display their tube circuit credentials, like the JoyVirtue TM-6 Tube-Amp AV Center. It's not just about looks, though. In spite of many, many advances in audio reproduction technology, enthusiasts still demand the warmth that vacuum tubes seem to give to an audio signal. One of the first tube amps I ever heard was an MC275 from McIntosh Laboratory way back in the mists of a misspent youth. The company is now celebrating the Golden Anniversary of its iconic amp with a very limited edition release.  Read More
Poldera's Power Bank is part LED flashlight, part back-up phone charger
Though falling into that tiny category of things exhibited at CES 2012 that don't have an HD screen and aren't an iPhone peripheral, we did want to briefly mention Poldera's Power Bank Energy Holder. A combined LED flashlight and phone-charger, the Power Bank is one of those unassuming devices that may not be a head-turner, but is a good idea nonetheless. After all, if you have need of a portable phone charger, why not have one that can do something else useful too?  Read More
Fit Freeway is an 'exergaming' app for iOS that detects your exertion through vibration to...
As evidenced by the popularity of motion controlled fitness games ushered in by the Wii and followed by the PlayStation Move and Kinect, so called "exergaming" - the combining of exercise and video games - is a field that has grown rapidly in popularity in recent years. But if you don't want to shell out for a new console and already have an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, as well as a treadmill, elliptical machine or exercise bike laying about, then the new Fit Freeway app is designed to make working up a sweat a bit more fun.  Read More

The OrcaM Orbital Camera System can create a 3D digital model of any object placed within ...
Obtaining a high-quality 3D digital model of a physical object can be a fiddly process, that often requires considerable user input. German research and development company NEK, however, is attempting to make things easier, with its OrcaM Orbital Camera System. Users just place an object inside of its "reconstruction sphere," then the system goes to work, automatically creating a near-perfect three-dimensional recreation of the object.  Read More
Alesis has unveiled the world's first USB/MIDI keytar - the Vortex - with a built-in accel...
Noted rock vocalist and bass player Glenn Hughes (Trapeze, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, and more recently Black Country Communion) has often been quoted as saying that, for him, much of the 1980s was just a blur. It's probably just as well, or he might have had a hard time dealing with the emergence of the keytar - a strap-on keyboard that has a little neck with a number of parameter-changing buttons on it. Okay, I admit it, I'm not a great fan of the Jan Hammers and Jean-Michel Jarres of this world, but those who want to emulate these digital music innovators without digging deep for a Korg, Roland or Moog original can now rejoice with the release of the world's first USB/MIDI keytar - the Vortex from Alesis.  Read More
Sierra Designs men's Gnar Lite jacket
Outdoor clothing manufacturers are determined to solve the one problem that the world's ultimate insulator has: ineffectiveness when wet. Sierra Designs and Brooks Range are both introducing specially treated down jackets, that they claim work effectively in both wet and dry conditions.  Read More
Griffin's latest version of its HELO TC toy helicopter comes with Android support and twin...
It's another typical day in the office when your co-worker conspicuously begins to play "Ride of the Valkyries" on high volume. Before you can react to the strange shift in tone, you hear the "thwip thwip" sound of a helicopter coming your direction, as if you've stumbled into a cubicle version of Apocalypse Now. Next thing you know, a bright light shines over your cube wall and in your face, blinding you right before you spot two missiles launching straight at you ... which then bounce off your chest since they're made of plastic. You've just become the latest victim of the HELO TC Assault, the newest toy helicopter from Griffin that includes Android support and twin missile launchers.  Read More
Scientists have created the first self-propelling, hydrogen-bubble-powered 'microrocket' c...
Scientists at the University of California, San Diego, have created what they claim is the first self-propelling, hydrogen-bubble-powered "microrocket" requiring no external source of fuel. In the most acidic solutions, these micromotors can reach speeds of 100 body lengths per second. It's claimed that the breakthrough could pave the way (or rather line the esophagus) towards stomach-going nanomotors which could provide imaging or precisely targeted drug treatment. In addition to self-propulsion, the gut-rockets can be steered, and made to collect and release a payload.  Read More
Apple has released its iBooks 2 for iPad system, which is intended to replace paper school...
This morning at New York City's Guggenheim Museum, Apple announced the launch of its iBooks 2 for iPad system. The technology is intended to replace traditional paper school textbooks with interactive digital textbooks, that students would access on their own personal iPads. Educational publishers including Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw-Hill and Pearson will supply content on the iBookstore, with most titles priced at no more than US$14.99. Mac users will also be able to create their own digital textbooks, using the authoring tool, iBooks Author.  Read More
Peavey Electronics and Parker Guitars have teamed up with Antares to launch the first elec...
The sound and feel of modern music was changed forever in the late 1990s when Antares launched its Auto-Tune pitch correction technology. As well as putting some life back into flat performances, the system was also used to great effect by the likes of Cher and T-Pain to give a unique twist to vocal tracks. The company announced its intention to bring the technology to the electric guitar in May 2011, sending shivers down the spines of purists everywhere. Now Peavey and Parker have launched the first guitars to incorporate Auto-Tune for Guitar and we've had the chance to take a closer look at the former's AT-200 in action at Winter NAMM in Anaheim. The verdict: pretty impressive.  Read More
The iConvert Scanner for iPad saves digital copies of scanned documents to a docked iPad's...
While the promised paperless office has yet to eventuate, scanners are still a standard piece of equipment in most workplaces – even if that workplace happens to be the road. With many a road warrior these days packing an iPad in their arsenal, it’s not surprising to see the release of the iConvert Scanner for iPad from Brookstone. After slotting an iPad (1 or 2) into the dock on the top of the device and starting the iConvert app, documents fed into the front feeder slot can be scanned and appear instantly on the iPad’s display to be saved as JPEGs in the device’s photo library.  Read More
Village Defense: Neighborhood Watch 2.0 - the good guys are winning
If you've ever picked up a Neighborhood Watch newsletter and been astonished by the amount of crime in your community, you might be very interested in a new social software start-up named Village Defense. The software links neighbors to form a real-time communication system - one phone call notifies all neighbors (by text or phone) when a crime or suspicious activity is in progress. In the first pilot study of the new system, the increased awareness, greater availability of witnesses and shorter response times facilitated by Village Defense saw crime rates drop 58% in the first year.  Read More
The Optimus Pad LTE is LG's first LTE-capable tablet
Since the release of the G-Slate and Optimus Pad last year, tablet offerings from LG have been pretty thin on the ground. Now the company has announced it will be releasing its first LTE-capable tablet in its homeland next week. The Optimus Pad LTE is powered by a Qualcomm 1.5 GHz dual-core processor and comes running Android 3.2 (Honeycomb). It also features the same True HD IPS technology that debuted on LG's Optimus LTE smartphone but with the 1280 x 720 pixel resolution now spread over 8.9-inches worth of display.  Read More
 
A sample of the OLED roof panel material, that can switch between being transparent and em...
What if your car had roof panels that let you see the sky during the day, but that lit the interior of the vehicle at night? This is now a distinct possibility, thanks to work being done by BASF and Philips. As members of a consortium assembled by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the two companies have created OLED panels and installed them in the roof of a car. When switched on, the panels glow, lighting the cabin of the car – when switched off, they simply go transparent.  Read More
Insta-fire lights in wet, windy weather and burns long and hot, making fire-starting a lit...
In the wilderness, few things are as important as a fire. Unfortunately, getting a fire going - even with all the right equipment - isn't always easy. Insta-fire makes it easier. The fire-starting mixture burns hot and long enough to eliminate the need for kindling and possibly even fuel. It's also versatile enough to light in wet conditions.  Read More
Inventor Ying-Ling Ann Chen, with the DOES device
According to figures reported by the University of Tennessee, even though 85 percent of a child’s learning is vision-related, about 80 percent of American children have never had their eyes tested before starting kindergarten. Even when tests are performed, they are usually only capable of detecting no more than a couple of conditions. Unfortunately, this means that vision-related learning disabilities such as dyslexia can be missed, and may not be noticed until they are well-established. Now, however, researchers at U Tennessee’s Space Institute have developed a new type of vision-testing system for young children, that could catch a variety of vision problems while they’re still reversible.  Read More
Shovelhead Exhibit, iRex, Tokyo Big Site, December 2011
You may have already come in contact with the work of techno-artist Yasuhito Udagawa (AKA Shovelhead) before and not realised it. He has created many of the theme icons of major art, technology and other exhibitions and shows over the last decade, and has become far better known since his sponsorship by Nike. Shovelhead's work is mesmerizing. A Japanese salaryman who found himself jobless in 1995 when the company he worked for went into bankruptcy, Yasuhito turned to his passion for making models and his fertile imagination and attention to fabricating the minutest detail have propelled him to the brink of superstardom. Make sure you browse the extensive image gallery for this story. Spellbinding!  Read More
Masiosare Studio's Flaca low-energy, stainless steel desk lamp can be bent into shape with...
As a founding member of Desk Lamp Fetishists Anonymous, it was with great interest (read cold sweats) that I learned about the stainless steel Flaca desk lamp by Mexico's Masiosare Studio. Yes, the stainless steel is sexy, and the 6 W power consumption - courtesy of twelve LEDs - ticks the green boxes, but most exciting is the fact that the Flaca comes as a flat piece of laser-cut steel that the user then bends into shape. We at the DLFA are nuts for flat-pack tool-less assembly, you see.  Read More
BAL researchers say a new engineered microbe makes seaweed a cost-effective source of biof...
One of the biggest criticisms leveled at biofuels that are derived from crops such as wheat, corn and sugar cane, is that they result in valuable land being taken away from food production. For this reason there are various research efforts underway to turn seaweed into a viable renewable source of biomass. Now a team from Bio Architecture Lab (BAL) claims to have developed a breakthrough technology that makes seaweed a cost-effective source of biomass by engineering a microbe that can extract all the major sugars in seaweed and convert them into renewable fuels and chemicals.  Read More
Scalybot 2 replicates the rectilinear locomotion employed by snakes that is efficient and ...
While you might think its lack of limbs might limit how it gets around, snakes have actually developed several different forms of locomotion. One of these is “rectilinear locomotion,” and while most snakes are capable of it, it is most commonly associated with large pythons and boas. Although it is the slowest form of snake locomotion, it is also very efficient and allows the snakes to crawl into tight spaces. It is these latter two qualities that appealed to Georgia Tech researchers when developing a new all-terrain robot called Scalybot 2.  Read More
The Live Shell is an add-on device that allows existing video cameras to stream live to th...
Japanese electronics manufacturer Cerevo might already be known to some readers for its Cerevo Camera Live. Released in May of 2010, the video camera is able to stream content live to Ustream, without the need of a linked computer. That's all very well and good, but what about all of us with other makes and models of video cameras who want to "go live"? Cerevo is now addressing them with its Live Shell module. The device hooks up to an existing camera, then sends its video and audio output directly to Ustream.  Read More
The Cessna Citation Ten prototype takes off for its first flight
What is set to be the latest addition to Cessna’s Citation line of business jets made its first flight this week. The Cessna Citation Ten prototype flew for more than two hours in the skies over Cessna’s main manufacturing facility at Wichita, Kansas, with the aircraft's stability and control, handling, autopilot and autothrottle systems, engine operability and avionics all put to the test. Cessna says all systems functioned as expected on the maiden flight, keeping the Citation Ten on track for FAA certification in mid-2013, with first deliveries planned for the second half of 2013.  Read More
The Purdue microtweezers, which are said to be less expensive to produce than conventional...
In order to do things such as building microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) or grabbing individual stem cell spheres for analysis, scientists use extremely fine-tipped tools known as microtweezers. While such devices aren't a brand new innovation in and of themselves, researchers from Indiana's Purdue University have developed a new type of microtweezers that are said to be easier and cheaper to manufacture than their conventional counterparts. Not only that, but unlike most similar devices currently in use, they don't require heat, magnetism or electricity to operate.  Read More

Artist's rendering of KOI-961 (Image: NASA)
Astronomers using data from NASA's Kepler mission have discovered the tiniest solar system found so far. The system consists of a single red dwarf star, known as KOI-961 and three planets which are 0.78, 0.73 and 0.57 times the radius of Earth. The planets are thought to be rocky - like Earth - but orbit much closer to their star making them too hot to be habitable.  Read More
Husqvarna's Concept Baja harkens back the company's 70s heyday
Husqvarna has decided to go back to the 70s with its Concept Baja. The retro-styled bike had its first debut at the 2012 Progressive International Motorcycle Show in New York last Friday as part of the exhibition's 12-city tour across the U.S. Taking its name from the famous desert race that's been run each year for more than four decades, the Concept Baja radiates a 70s vintage vibe with a design that echoes the company's off-road models from that era, but with a modern touch most immediately evident by an LED-array headlight built into the front number plate and an LED instrument display built into the crossbar.  Read More
Optical microscope picture of an antenna structure with nano-antennas built into its cente...
We recently looked at one of the potential contenders in the US$10 million Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE, which as the name suggests, was inspired by the medical tricorder of Star Trek fame. Now scientists have developed a new way of creating Terahertz (THz) or T-rays, which they say could help make handheld devices with tricorder-like capabilities a reality.  Read More
PocketStrings portable guitar practice tool (Photo: Gizmag)
Guitarists don't like to be parted from their guitars. Even as a rank amateur, I get a nagging itch in my fingers after a couple of axeless weeks on the road. But guitars take up a lot of space and they are expensive to haul with you on a plane, so I often find myself seeking out music shops just so I can have a noodle. It's exactly this kind of affliction that PocketStrings is designed to address. It's not an instrument and it doesn't make a sound, but this portable mock-up of the first four frets of a guitar could help you satisfy the playing itch as well as giving beginners and more experienced players a take-anywhere tool on which to practice chords and build finger strength while keeping your calluses tough.  Read More
The wings at rest in Smeets' workshop not long before the first test flight
A Dutch mechanical engineer is working on realizing da Vinci's dream of human-powered flight, with some help from modern technology. Jarnos Smeets is the driving force between the Human Birdwings Project, which utilizes a combination of gadgets including an HTC Wildfire S and a Wii remote. He claims to have conducted his first successful test flight this week, even though he didn't appear to get too far off the ground.  Read More
A team of researchers are developing inexpensive, light-weight, long-lasting aluminum cera...
Currently, brakes made from composite materials tend to be expensive, and as such mainly just find their way onto high-performance cars and motorcycles. That could be about to change, however. Researchers from Michigan-based materials company REL and the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) are developing aluminum composite brake rotors for everyday cars. Not only should they be much easier to produce than existing composite rotors, but they should also be 60 percent lighter than their iron counterparts, and last three times as long.  Read More
This giant camera is being built by photographer Dennis Manarchy as part of his 'Vanishing...
We've seen some pretty small cameras in our day, but the “Eye of America” is certainly the largest. The 35-foot camera can barely fit in a tractor trailer, and can capture photos so detailed that it will put even some of the most the high-end of digital cameras to shame. The giant camera is being built by photographer Dennis Manarchy as part of his “Vanishing Cultures” project. For the project, Manarchy plans to travel to all 50 states with a view to creating a collection of photos and stories that “celebrates the full cycle of the American experience.”  Read More
AntiCrop is an app that can add more background to the border of a photograph, in any dire...
So, you don't like the way your head is almost touching the top of the frame in that one photo? Or, perhaps you think that shot of the horse in the field would look more majestic if it were wider. Well, now you can insert a slot of sky above you, or a couple of side columns of extra grassy field, using Adva-Soft's AntiCrop app. As long as the background is fairly homogenous (sky, grass, sand, water, etc.) the software will automatically add more of it, in whichever direction you wish.  Read More
Fender has launched its first ever multi-effects unit - the Mustang Floor
We've been treated to a number of Fender stomp boxes over the years - like the classic Fender Blender and BOSS collaborations like the '65 Deluxe Reverb - but the iconic manufacturer has never gathered all its tone tweaking know-how into one big bundle ... until now. The new Mustang Floor brings together dozens of effects, amp modeling and computer interaction into one rather attractive multi-effects unit.  Read More
Magnetically levitated micro robots are simple to scale down and could potentially be comb...
The past five to ten years have seen the birth of microbotics. A whole range of components that are vital for building robots, such as actuators, motors or batteries, became available in micro-scale only fairly recently. Finally enthusiasts got what they needed to put their own systems together, and the whole field benefited from their work. But there are obvious limitations to scaling down robots full of sensors, motors, and other mechanisms. That is, unless you make the machines extremely simple, which is exactly what Ron Pelrine of SRI International has done. His work on levitated microrobots may have powerful implications for robotics, and is likely to bring us a step closer towards fast, precise and affordable robotic systems comprising thousands, if not millions of microrobots.  Read More

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