New and Emerging Technology News part 178 ~ NEW GEN TECH LIFE : new generation technology news

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

New and Emerging Technology News part 178

Scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed a means of converti...
Scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed a means of converting mechanical energy into electrical energy using a harmless, specially engineered virus. By simply tapping a finger on a virus-coated electrode the size of a postage stamp, the scientists were able to produce enough current to drive a liquid crystal display, albeit a very small one. The scientists claim that this is the first time that the piezoelectrical properties of a biological material have been harnessed.  Read More
 On display at the company’s sale in Monaco this week (May 11–12)
It's hard not to get carried away with the superlatives when writing of the art deco wheeled sculptures of Paris-based automotive couturier Giuseppe Figoni. This exquisite 1938 Talbot-Lago T23 'Goutte d'Eau' Coupe is not just a pretty face either - an almost identical car finished third in the 1938 Le Mans 24 hour race ... and it's for sale. From the studios of French coachbuilder Figoni et Falaschi, Figoni's Talbot-Lago T23 is one of just four Jeancart-style machines still in existence.  Read More
Honda's UNI-CUB Personal Mobility Device
Honda has released details of a new personal mobility device dubbed the UNI-CUB. An evolution of the U3-X unicycle EV that has been shown globally since the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show, the UNI-CUB employs the same impressive balance control technology and omni-directional wheel as its predecessor, with the biggest differences appearing to be the addition of an extra wheel, a comfier perch and optional user control via a mobile phone or tablet.  Read More
Image showing the south pole of the giant asteroid Vesta obtained by the framing camera on...
After becoming the first probe to enter orbit around an object in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter in July 2011, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has spent the last 10 months orbiting said object - the giant asteroid Vesta. During that period it has captured more than 20,000 images of Vesta and a multitude of data from different wavelengths of radiation. What it reveals is an asteroid that in many ways shares more in common with a small planet or Earth’s moon than it does with another asteroid.  Read More
Nintendo 3DS v PlayStation Vita - which machine should you buy?
The battle for your hand-held gaming dollar is heating up big time with the recent release of the Sony PlayStation Vita. This latest entrant in the portable gaming hardware market has a clear-cut competitor in the form of the Nintendo 3DS, and while we've had a close look at both of these offerings individually, we've decided it's time for a showdown. So which machine should you buy?  Read More
Scientists have discovered a protein that activates brown fat (pictured) in mice (Image: T...
For most of us fighting the battle of the bulge, fat is an enemy that must be reigned in to a healthier – and less noticeable – level. But there are actually two types of fat – or adipose tissue – found in mammals, white and brown. While white fat stores calories and is the culprit behind love handles, brown fat’s primary function is to generate heat to keep the body warm through the burning of fats in a process known as thermogenesis. Therefore, the ability to activate brown fat in the body could provide a means to fight obesity and keep the weight off. Now scientists have discovered a protein that could allow them to do just that.  Read More
The Chevrolet Trax will be rolled-out in 140 markets from the end of 2012 Chevrolet will introduce a new compact sport utility vehicle known as the Trax at the 2012 Paris motor show. If the name rings a bell, that's because Trax was also the label given to a diminutive SUV concept that Chevrolet floated back in 2007 and while there is next to no detail on the production model at this stage, we do know that it won't be heading to the U.S. market.  Read More
Two climbers ascend a silo, using Utah State University's PVAC system (Photo: USU)
Last month we told you about a team of Brigham Young University engineering students, who created a clever Batman-inspired wall-climbing system. They were competing in the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s 2012 Service Academy and University Engineering Challenge, in which teams had to design gadgets that would allow soldiers to safely and quickly ascend vertical surfaces. Given that the Brigham Young entry didn’t take first place, however, we thought it only made sense to take a look at the entry that did ... and that would be a little something known as the Personal Vacuum Assisted Climber (PVAC), designed by a team from Utah State University.  Read More
Brainput provides a passive, implicit input channel to interactive systems, with little ef...
As machines get more and more sophisticated, the mental capacity of their human overlords stays at a static (albeit seemingly impressive) level, and therefore slowly starts to pale in comparison. The bandwidth of the human brain is not limitless, and if an overloaded brain happens to be overseeing machines carrying out potentially dangerous tasks, you can expect trouble. But why had we built the machines in the first place, if not to save us from trouble? Brainput, a brain-computer interface built by researchers from MIT and Tufts University, is going to let your computer know if you’re mentally fit for the job at hand. If it decides your brain is overloaded with tasks, it will help you out by handling some of them for you.  Read More
A drop of liquid sits on the textured silicon surface that has arced rungs to guide the dr...
Lately we’re hearing more and more about tiny medical and environmental diagnostic devices, that can perform a variety of tests using very small fluid samples. Working with such small samples does present a challenge, however – how do you thoroughly mix tiny amounts of different fluids, or wrangle individual drops for analysis? According to a team of scientists from the University of Washington, the answer lies in the lotus leaf.  Read More

2012 Motor Yacht of the Year, Tango
We regularly feature the latest superyachts on Gizmag because they offer a mixture of breathtaking design and cutting edge technology in a rarefied arena where price is seemingly no object. The resulting floating marvels often seem more like works of art than mere ocean-going transportation. An incredible 262 superyachts worth US$3.5 billion sold last year (including one that went for $300 million!) so it's no wonder that some of the world's wealthiest glitterati flocked to Istanbul earlier this month to take part in what is essentially the Oscars of the luxury boating scene - the World Superyacht Awards.  Read More
The WikiHouse construction system is based on the use of plywood fins that connect togethe...
Created by a group of young designers from London, WikiHouse is an open source construction solution that aims to make it possible for almost anyone, regardless of skill level, to freely download and build affordable housing. The WikiHouse construction system was on display during last month's Milan Design Week, where the creators themselves demonstrated how the technology can be applied. “We believe this could herald in a new industrial revolution,” co-founder Nick Ierodiaconou told Gizmag. “The factory of the future will be everywhere and the designer will be everyone.”  Read More
The BOLT padlock system allows you to open multiple padlocks using your vehicle's ignition... Nobody likes having to carry around a keychain full of keys, or – worse yet – arriving somewhere only to discover that they haven’t brought the key they need. The BOLT system offers an alternative. It allows you to open multiple padlocks, all using your vehicle’s ignition key.  Read More
A new retinal prosthesis could allow the blind to see, by using pulses of near-infrared li...
Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in North America, while retinitis pigmentosa causes approximately 1.5 million people worldwide to lose their sight every year. Individuals afflicted with retinal degenerative diseases such as these might someday be able to see again, however, thanks to a device being developed at California’s Stanford University. Scientists there are working on a retinal prosthesis, that uses what could almost be described as miniature solar panels to turn light signals into nerve impulses.  Read More
It sure looks like a Ferrari special edition
Look quickly at the Fahrradi Farfalla FFX and you might mistake it for a limited edition Ferrari. Scan a little more closely, though, and you'll notice the thin, hollow wheels and barren interior. Something is certainly amiss, and it's because the FFX isn't one of the world's most exotic supercars. It's one of the world's most exotic bicycles.  Read More
A game controller made from paper and Play-Doh
As I discovered when reviewing the Minty Geek Electronics Lab a while back, experimenting with circuit building can be a great deal of fun. There was one particular project in this kit that made use of the human body to complete a circuit, with a simple lie detector test being the end result. With their Makey Makey open source hardware project, Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum have taken such touch interaction to a much more entertaining and inventive degree. Everyday objects like bananas, coins, and even Play-Doh can be transformed into a computer keyboard key or mouse click to control onscreen gaming action, play software-based instruments or type out short messages.  Read More
The Burton Sleeper packs a variety of hidden functions
It's hard to think of a better travel garment than a big, oversized hooded sweatshirt. It's super-comfortable, warm, and easy to take off when you're frying in the stale, recycled air of a plane. Burton takes the hooded sweatshirt to a new level of travel-friendliness, by adding some key elements that include an integrated pillow.  Read More
PSB Speakers has launched its first headphones – the Music for You (M4U) 2 Active Noise Ca...
Canadian high-end loudspeaker manufacturer PSB Speakers has announced its first dip into the headphone market with the release of its Music for You (M4U) 2 Active Noise Canceling, over-the-ear headphones. Built for comfort as well as true-to-nature, hi-fidelity sound quality, the closed back, circumaural cans feature 40mm dynamic drivers, audio-enhancing amplifier technology, and an ergonomic four-point gyroscopic ear pad mount that's said to automatically adjust to the precise contours of the wearer's head.  Read More
A new nanoparticle-based coating is said to repel water from porous materials, while still... Keeping porous building materials free from stains and water damage has gotten a little easier in the past few years. Thanks to advances in technology, we’ve seen the advent of things such as spray-on glass and anti-graffiti coatings. Now, Spanish nanotech company TECNAN is offering a nanoparticle-based coating that repels liquid, yet still allows the underlying material to breathe.  Read More
PC case modder and hardware hacker Mike Schropp's latest project, the 'Bio Computer' sees ...
We've seen the wacky homebrew projects of computer hardware hacker Mike Schropp before. Mindful Gizmag readers may recall his triple quad-core i7 LEGO PC housing that we looked at last July. But his latest project, the "Bio Computer," is rather more oddball, taking a turn distinctly towards the horticultural with a PC case adapted to ... grow wheatgrass.  Read More

Rob Flickenger has created a fully functional, battery-operated Tesla Gun of the kind used...
If you listen to your elders, electricity is a dangerous, often fatal, medium that shouldn't be toyed with. If, like Rob Flickenger, you decide to completely ignore such sage counsel, then electricity is awesome and a whole bunch of fun – especially if you build yourself a working battery-powered Tesla Gun that handles some 20,000-volts and 2,000 amps of current and shoots out bolts of lightning!  Read More
Movies and gaming on iPhone could benefit from a 4-inch screen  (Photo: Apple) Apple is expected to unveil the next iPhone at its annual mobile keynote this year and as is the case with any high profile product launch, rumors about the device are beginning to materialize months before the event is scheduled to take place. Most recently, Wall Street Journal sources suggest that Apple intends to upsize the iPhone’s display from 3.5 to 4 inches.  Read More
W1PPS is a product for the MacBook Pro, that combines multiple peripheral plugs and cords ...
If you use a MacBook Pro as your regular desktop computer, but also frequently take it out and about, you may find yourself getting annoyed at having to repeatedly disconnect and then reconnect all of its peripheral devices. Additionally, because the laptop’s input/output ports are located along its side, all those sideways-protruding cables can end up adding to the clutter on your desk. That’s why Wisconsin-based tech company Veritas Forge is developing W1PPS (pronounced “whips”) – it contains all of your plugs and cords in one MacBook Pro-matched device.  Read More
Mamiya Leaf has launched three new medium format camera backs, the 40, 60 and 80 megapixel...
Medium format camera manufacturer Mamiya-Leaf has announced three new high resolution camera backs named the Leaf Credo. All of the new backs sport a specially designed DALSA CCD sensor, a touchscreen LCD display with Live View functionality for both tethered and untethered photography, and a dual-core microprocessor that's said to offer the fastest available image viewing, focusing and editing.  Read More
Custom built to break amphibious vehicle speed records, the aluminum and stainless steel S... Known as the Sea Lion, this remarkable brushed aluminum and stainless steel amphibious vehicle was designed by a Mr. M. Witt in order to break the rather slapdash and anarchic-sounding Amphibious World Speed Record.  Read More
The FDA has approved an over-the-counter HIV that takes just 20 minutes (Photo: Shuttersto...
One of the biggest problems in fighting the spread of AIDS has always been convincing people to have themselves tested regularly. Unfortunately, getting someone to take a trip to a clinic isn't always easy, particularly in areas where there aren't many options for discreet testing. In a development that could leap right over this privacy hurdle, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has just unanimously approved an over-the-counter HIV test that enables people to test themselves in their own home and receive results in just 20 minutes.  Read More
Burkhold Schulz examines sorghum treated with the fungicide propiconazole while untreated ...
Aside from arable land, most farm crops require significant amounts of water, fertilizer, nutrients and pesticides to grow. While specialized breeding is often used to help produce plants that require less of these inputs, Purdue University researcher Burkhard Schulz has found a way to create tiny versions of plants that suffer no reduction in yield through the addition of a cheap and widely available chemical.  Read More
The Smartsense system provides real-time turn by turn navigation indoors (Photo: Fraunhofe...
It's not that long ago that GPS capabilities in a mobile phone were considered a standout feature. Today, GPS navigation is standard for smartphones, and as a result, many of us have come to rely on them when it comes to getting from A to B. However, GPS technology isn't without its faults, and if A to B is located under a roof, out of sight of the orbiting GPS satellites, then you can end up falling back on the not always reliable sense of direction. To fix the problem, Fraunhofer Research is developing Smartsense, a smartphone sensor capable of providing accurate navigation indoors, without the aid of GPS.  Read More
The ASV Roboat that will attempt to set a world record while conducting a study of the end...
While sailing can be an activity that is easy to learn, it is difficult to master. Sailing boats need to be constantly tended to quickly respond to changing conditions and for both the novice and the expert, this continual need for adjustments makes sailing a demanding task. That's why the ASV Roboat is an impressive piece of engineering. Packing an array of sensors, communications hardware and solar panels, the ASV Roboat is a fully autonomous, unmanned sailing boat that has its sights set on the current robotic world sailing record.  Read More
Wendy will rise above the courtyard at MoMA's PS1 in Queens, New York this summer
This summer, Wendy will be tidying up the neighborhood in Queens, New York. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) will be attempting to clean the air in style at its PS1 satellite location with an outdoor architectural project that's designed to provide shade, shelter and water while also plucking pollutants out of the sky.  Read More

Seeking Kickstarter funding, the Playsurface is an affordable flat-packed multi-touch tabl...
Founded upon open source plans for optical touch tables, the designers of the Playsurface hope to develop a versatile touchscreen table-top suitable for a variety of "blazingly fast" applications (yes, including gaming) supporting multpiple users. Though purely an input and display device, the table can be had with an integrated PC as an extra. If the project goes ahead (funding is currently sought through Kickstarter), its designers claim it would be as easy to assemble as Ikea furniture. It's not a bad comparison: the flat-packed, affordable Playsurface is a product that its makers at Templeman Automation hope will close the disconnect between the popularity and availability of table-top touchscreens.  Read More
Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon weighs less than three pounds (1.3 kg) Laptop computers have come a long since the heady days of the early 80’s when carting around a “portable computer” could significantly increase your risk of developing a hernia. Thankfully, laptops these days are much thinner and lighter, making portable computing a much less physically strenuous activity. A perfect case in point is Lenovo’s upcoming ThinkPad X1 Carbon, a 14-inch Ultrabook that tips the scales at less than three pounds (1.3 kg).  Read More
The Quadrofoil
The Quadrofoil is new form of watersport recreation - a two-person electric hydrofoil which offers a thrilling and dynamic 40 km/h (25 mph/22 knot) ride along with completely silent running. Due to the remarkable efficiency of hydrofoils, it achieves all this with just one 3.7 kW electric motor, and thanks to its lightweight (150 kg/330 lb) carbon fiber and Kevlar body and in-built 4.5 kWh lithium batteries, it has a range of 100km (62 miles).  Read More
An edge-on view of our solar system with the dots representing a snapshot of NEAs (blue) a...
Potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs) are a subset of near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) that have the potential to come within five million miles (eight million kilometers) of Earth, and are of a size large enough to make it through Earth’s atmosphere to cause significant damage on a regional, or greater, scale. NASA’s asteroid-hunting NEOWISE mission has now provided the best estimate yet of the number of PHAs in our solar system, along with their origins and the potential dangers they might pose.  Read More
Scientists have created an underwater speaker for use in studying dolphin communication (P... While there’s little doubt that dolphins are saying something to one another with all their clicks, squeals and whistles, we’re still not entirely sure just what it is that they’re communicating. We may be getting closer to figuring it out, however, as Japanese scientists have created an underwater speaker that’s capable of playing back the creatures’ entire acoustic range. The next step - see how they respond.  Read More
Scanbox is a foldable 'stage' that makes it easy to photograph documents and other objects...
Smartphone cameras are undoubtedly handy for snapping a picture of a receipt, memo or other note to quickly record or remind you of some task that needs taking care of. It's faster than using a dedicated scanner, but the results are often below par. Scanbox aims to improve the quality of these phone camera "scans" by providing a portable stage that puts the camera and the subject in just the right position.  Read More
The latest images of the 918 Spyder
Porsche's hybrid 918 Spyder is a 770 bhp supercar that can top 320 km/h, accelerate from 0-100 km/h in under three seconds and lap the Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit in seven minutes 22 seconds. The carbon fiber 918 Spyder will hit showrooms before the end of 2013, with pricing beginning at US$850,000. It's all standard fare for a supercar except for one small thing - its fuel consumption of 3.0 l/100 km (94 mpg).  Read More
The Dip Chip biosensor, with a key for scale
Once upon a time, tasters were employed by the well-to-do, in order to check that their food or drink wasn't poisonous. Today, there are electronic biosensors that can do more or less the same thing. Unfortunately, as was no doubt sometimes the case with the tasters, the biosensors can’t always give us immediate results. Additionally, they’re usually only able to test for specific substances, and not simply for “anything that’s toxic.” An experimental new device known as the Dip Chip, however, is said to address both of those problems.  Read More
Empa's air-conditioned bulletproof vest
When most of us realize that we’re overdressed for the weather, we can simply take off that extra jacket or whatnot that’s causing us to overheat. Police officers, however, don’t have the option of taking off their bulletproof vests ... and those vests aren’t exactly known for being lightweight and breathable. Fortunately, a team from Swiss research institution Empa has developed just the thing for those hot cops – an air-conditioned ballistic vest.  Read More
Marnie de Jong, an electrical engineer with the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engine...
In a bid to mitigate the risks associated with fuel transportation and to make soldiers’ work less technically complex, U.S. military scientists have started to test microgrids that would provide clean energy to soldiers in the field. Since 2009, scientists from the Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) have been developing two systems – RENEWS and REDUCE – which are being tested at the Fort Irwin National Training Center in California, and by U.S. Africa Command.  Read More


Map of Life is a new Google Maps-based website, which indicates the distribution of almost...
Ever wondered if a certain species of animal can be found where you live? The Map of Life website aims to answer this question. A Yale University-led project built on a Google Maps platform, it lists virtually all of the vertebrate animals that can be found at any one point in the world.  Read More
The URBANO PROGRESSO will be the first phone to feature Kyocera and KDDI's Smart Sound tec... Designed to overcome the frustration of listening to phone calls in noisy environments, Kyocera's new URBANO PROGRESSO smartphone provides an alternative to the traditional speaker by transmitting sound through vibrations in the handset’s display screen.  Read More
The Horizontal Shower lets you shower while reclining If you find standing up in the shower just too strenuous then the Horizontal Shower from German company Dornbracht could be just the thing for your bathroom. It features an array of six “Water Bar” showerheads built into a horizontal platform that is attached to the wall, with another platform below on which to recline.  Read More
The Wavegarden prototype has been tested by professional surfers
Imagine you're hundreds of miles from the sea - you climb over a grassy hill and come upon a lake with perfect surf just waiting for you and your board. Spanish engineering firm Instant Sport is setting about making this scenario a reality with its custom-built Wavegarden. While artificial waves are far from new, engineer Josema Odriozola and sports economist Karin Frisch claim that their brainchild can bring an ocean-like break to land-locked surfers, body boarders and kayakers alike using less energy than any other existing wave generator to date.  Read More
Wayne Daley (left), a Georgia Tech Research Institute principal research scientist, and Ca...
Any experienced chicken farmer will tell you, the relative contentment of the birds can be gauged by the sounds they’re making. While this has generally been accepted as anecdotal folk wisdom, a team of scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Georgia are now trying to scientifically verify it. They’re hoping that their research could lead to better living conditions for the animals, lower costs to farmers, and higher productivity.  Read More
A paralyzed woman has used the experimental BrainGate neural interface system to get herse...
Last April, for the first time since she became paralyzed 15 years ago, a 58 year-old woman was able to get herself a drink of coffee – she did so via a robotic arm, which was controlled by her thoughts. Although that rather astounding feat took place over a year ago, it was just made public today, in a report published in the journal Nature. The woman was a volunteer test subject, in a clinical trial of the experimental BrainGate neural interface system. Although still very much in development, the system could someday restore mobility to people who have suffered paralysis or limb loss.  Read More
Ford has announced that its C-MAX hybrid will cost US$500 less than a Toyota Prius v Ford has announced the pricing for its 2013 C-MAX hybrid, a crossover that has the look of a small minivan without the sliding doors. The American automaker says the base price of US$25,995 will undercut the Toyota Prius v wagon by $500.  Read More
The Lawless Electric Rocket drag bike recently achieved a National Electric Drag Racing As...
Top motorcycle drag racer Larry "Spiderman" McBride has entered the record books once again by piloting the Lawless Electric Rocket to a National Electric Drag Racing Association record run of 6.94 seconds at 201.37 mph (324 km/h) over a quarter mile (402 meters) from a standing start. While the electric drag bike looks monstrous when posing for the cameras, it's simply jaw-dropping when on the move – as you can see from the video after the jump.  Read More
Sony has detailed the new 16.1 megapixel SLT-A37 translucent mirror camera with a new tilt...
Sony has unveiled the successor to last year's SLT-A35 digital camera featuring the company's proprietary Translucent Mirror Technology that does away with the need to keep moving the mirror out of the way when taking a photograph. The new α37 is a somewhat modest refresh to the entry-level camera that sees some improvements and some reductions in specs and capabilities, but is being released at a lower price point than entry-level models before it.  Read More
The structure, including outside entrances and deck has a compact footprint of 96 square f...
Designer Robin Falck has created his very own micro home that is small enough to be built without a permit in Finland. According to Finnish regulations, you can bypass the permit process if the structure is smaller than 96 or 128 square feet (depending on where you build). With the help of a couple of local architects, Falck was able to make his original designs a reality and the result is this simple and stylish rural retreat.  Read More

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