New and Emerging Technology News part 168 ~ NEW GEN TECH LIFE : new generation technology news

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

New and Emerging Technology News part 168

Grace Digital has announced the FireDock speaker dock specifically designed for Amazon's K...
We've seen our fair share of portable device docks here at Gizmag, from the acoustic to the power-hungry and everything in between. Most of those capable of charging the docked device as well as amplify its audio tend to have been designed for use with an iDevice, which is not much use to the 14 million U.S. Kindle Fire users. Rallying to the cause, Grace Digital has launched the FireDock - one of the first speaker docks crafted specifically for Amazon's Kindle Fire 7-inch tablet and featuring full-range stereo speakers, a Class D digital amp and an additional auxiliary input for an optional secondary audio source.  Read More
A Ferrari hybrid concept, the 599 HY-KERS, on display at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show Ferrari CEO Amedeo Felisa appears to have suggested that hybrid technology is ready for commercial rollout. But he hasn't stopped there, hinting at a future in which both hybrid Ferraris and six-cylinder Ferraris may be the rule.  Read More
Gizmag celebrates 10 years
Gizmag is celebrating its 10th birthday! Over the past decade we've published over 17,000 articles, covered a huge array of events around the globe and fostered a loyal worldwide audience willing to become part of the discussion surrounding the thing that fascinates us most - new technology. To mark our 10th birthday milestone we're taking a stroll through the archives to revisit some of the biggest hits and most popular themes in our history.  Read More
The Sand Flea robot can leap to heights of 30 ft (9 m) thanks to a CO2-powered piston visi...
When we first spied Sandia National Laboratories' Precision Urban Hopper Robot back in 2009 it employed combustion-driven pistons to propel it into the air and allow it to clear obstacles. In the same year Sandia handed development of the jumping robot over to Boston Dynamics, the company behind robots including PETMAN, BigDog and CHEETAH. Now known as Sand Flea, Boston Dynamics has released new video of the robot showcasing an updated jumping mechanism.  Read More
Blue and red liquid is pumped through the gut-on-a-chip device to help visualize the upper...
In an effort to provide a more accurate alternative to conventional cell culture and animal models, researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have developed a microdevice that mimics the structure, physiology, and mechanics of the human intestine. The so-called “gut-on-a-chip” could help provide new insights into intestinal disorders and be used to evaluate the safety and efficacy of potential treatments.  Read More
Porter & Davies' BC2 - vibrations travel up the spine via bone conduction and are heard as...
The thunderous punch of a bass drum is the time-honored foundation on which all of rock 'n' roll is built. That thud that hits you in the chest and moves your whole body … it taps into a deep and primal place in our subconscious. But while the crowd is enjoying the power of the bass drum amplified through huge sub-woofers, the poor drummer himself is usually hearing a poxy, paper-thin, bassless pop from a tiny onstage foldback speaker. Trying desperately to feel the bass, they often turn the onstage monitors up to ear-splitting volumes, but you just can't get that kind of low end out of small speakers. Enter the BC2 (formerly known as the BumChum) from Britain's Porter and Davies - a simple two-part system that takes the bass drum signal and literally shakes the drummer's butt with it through a vibrating stool.  Read More
Some of the carbon fiber shapes, created out of polyethylene using Oak Ridge's new techniq...
Thanks to research currently being conducted at the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, our unwanted plastic bags may one day be recycled into carbon fiber. Not only that, but the properties of the fibers themselves could be fine-tuned, allowing different types of carbon fiber to be created for specific applications.  Read More
Savage Rivale reveals the Roadyacht GTS' innovative roof system
Savage Rivale is in the process of building its anomalous Roadyacht GTS, a four-door, four-seat convertible supercar. Not only is the layout of the car a bit unconventional, but the Netherlands-based company gives us a new take on the retractable hardtop.  Read More
Jeep and Mopar's new Mighty FC concept vehicle is based on the classic Jeep Forward Contro... Between the years 1956 and 1965, Willys (and subsequently Kaiser Jeep) built a vehicle called the Jeep Forward Control. Its cab-over design allowed it to have a full-length cargo bed, while keeping its overall length to a minimum – this made it more maneuverable than would otherwise be possible. Jeep and Mopar have now teamed up to revisit the Forward Control, in the form of the Jeep Mighty FC concept.  Read More
Dr Craig Hollabaugh has created a system that keeps the roots of his plants warm and cozy ...
After a somewhat unsuccessful and rather expensive attempt at warming a greenhouse, electrical engineer Dr Craig Hollabaugh rigged up a system that keeps the winter chill away by warming the roots of his plants. The WarmDirt system has already helped his plants survive the coldest of Colorado's cold months, and is now getting ready to provide warmth to seedlings during the expected April freeze. This past season's survivors were all flowers but next winter, the setup will be used for growing veggies.  Read More

Nestle is using research on ice crystals from an avalanche research center in Switzerland ...
Ice cream and avalanches are two subjects that usually only fit together in a child's dreams, but Nestle is now looking at how research on one could help in making the other. The food company recently teamed up with an avalanche research center in Switzerland to study how ice crystals grow within ice cream as it sits in the freezer. Typically these crystals dilute the flavor of the ice cream while also making it harder to scoop and eat. By using the center's equipment and research with their own products, Nestle hopes to develop a method for slowing the ice growth and produce a creamy dessert that will retain its taste and texture much longer.  Read More
Radioactive material in water and beverages may soon be removed with a disposable scrubber...
With airborne radioactivity from Fukushima's still-critical damaged reactors circling the globe and more likely on the way from the mass incineration of earthquake debris, individuals are certainly justified in wanting to shield themselves from the fallout, especially when it shows up in their food and drink. Now, to address concerns about nuclear contamination in juice, milk and even water, a team of researchers led by Allen Apblett from Oklahoma State University (OSU) has announced development of a capsule that, when dropped in liquid, can easily and effectively remove numerous radioactive substances and thus prevent the consumer from ingesting them.  Read More
The diesel engine housing, made using the new composite material A consortium of German research groups has created a new sandwich-type material that they claim offers strength similar to that of steel or aluminum, yet is significantly lighter and less expensive. It consists of a honeycomb-structured paper core, with glass fiber-reinforced layers of polyurethane on the outsides. To give an idea of how tough it is, it’s about to be tested on the diesel engine housing of a train.  Read More
Bonobo Chat is a proposed app, that would allow humans to communicate with bonobos such as...
The seven bonobos living at the Bonobo Hope Great Ape Trust Sanctuary in Des Moines, Iowa, are a pretty smart bunch of apes. Among other things, they have a vocabulary of about 400 words – they don’t speak those words, but instead associate the meanings of them with symbols known as lexigrams. Using large wall-mounted touchscreen displays, they are able to communicate with humans by touching the appropriate lexigrams on those displays. Now, the sanctuary wants to develop an app that could be used on mobile versions of the wall screens, so tablet-wielding bonobos could communicate from wherever they happen to be.  Read More
Ubi-Camera in telephoto mode (Photo: DigInfo)
Framing a shot with one's hands is almost as big a part of photography as having your subject say "cheese," but a camera and its viewfinder have always been a part of the equation, too ... until now, that is. A team at Japan's Institute of Advanced Media Arts and Sciences (IAMAS) in Ogaki are working on an innovative prototype fingertip "Ubi-Camera" (Ubi is Latin for where) that lets the user's fingers set the frame – a development that could literally make composing shots, well, a snap. At the very least, it'll give new meaning to the term "digital" photography when (and if) it hits market.  Read More
The X-9 Nighthawk is a prototype bicycle with a frame made from aramid/carbon fiber sandwi...
Slovakian mechanical engineer Braňo Mereš has created some pretty nifty one-off bicycle frames over the past several years. Some of his construction materials have included riveted-together strips of titanium, a woven bamboo fiber/epoxy resin composite, and carbon fiber rods. With his latest creation, the X-9 Nighthawk, he has taken yet another approach – the frame is made from sandwich panels that have an aramid core and carbon fiber skins.  Read More
The TrekPak is designed to fit easily and snugly in the Deuter backpack
Sometimes you don't have to reinvent the wheel; you just have to add a more functional inflation valve or lightweight spoke. That's the direction that TrekPak takes in redesigning the photography backpack. The start-up uses a new, simple type of hardware to make organizing your camera gear fast, easy and secure.  Read More
The ION AIR PRO HD Sports Video Camera can wirelessly link to a mobile device via a small ...
Whether you're speeding down the slopes, on a biking epic through the woods or riding the rapids in a kayak, having to wait until you get to a laptop to share your recorded adventures with friends and family is nothing short of inconvenient. The ION AIR PRO HD Sports Video Camera is said to be one of the first actioncams capable of recording full HD video and sharing it in real time on social networking sites. The camera does this by wirelessly connecting with a smartphone or tablet running the company's free-to-download app, although users will need to buy an extra bit of kit to make all this possible.  Read More
Set high among the tree tops, tree pod dining at the Six Senses’ Soneva Kiri is an innovat...
Tree Pod dining could easily become one of the most novel ways to enjoy a romantic dinner or a long lazy lunch among the tree tops ... and that’s exactly what guests at the Six Senses’ Soneva Kiri will be doing. Located on the remote Thai island of Kood, Soneva Kiri is a luxury holiday destination set amid the lush tropical rainforests off the south-east coast of the Gulf of Siam. While the resort offers guests an array of dining experiences and resort activities, we just love the look of the tree pod dining.  Read More
Solar Impulse flying at the Paris Air Show in June 2011 (Photo: Solar Impulse)
After its successful inaugural Paris-to-Brussels flight last year, the Solar Impulse solar-powered aircraft will attempt to fly all the way to Morocco in May or June of this year, a journey almost ten times the distance, and its furthest flight and as a close as it has yet come to a trial run of its round-the-world flight planned for 2014.  Read More
 
The Roombox is available in Europe at the moment, and the company plans to expand to other...
The problem with campers is that you need a good tow vehicle with hitch to travel with them. If you have a smaller, less powerful car or lack a hitch, you'll need to spend money on a better car or hitch installation before you can even consider a camper. The Swiss Roombox levels the playing field, allowing even small car owners to enjoy many of the conveniences of a camping trailer. The device is a removable module that turns the average car into a mini-motor home.  Read More
An experimental system allows a computer to determine whether or not a human speaker is ly...
If the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey taught us anything, it’s that computers know when we’re telling a lie. While that may not actually be the case for most computers in real life, it could be if they’re running a program created by scientists from the University at Buffalo. Building on a previous psychological study, the team produced software that allowed a computer to assess a speaker’s eye movements, to determine whether or not they were telling the truth in a prerecorded conversation. It turns out that the computer was able to correctly able to spot their lies with 82.5% accuracy. According to the researchers, a trained human interrogator only manages a success rate of about 65%.  Read More
The TAT7 iPhone Scuba Case, with a photo taken using it There was a time, back in the days of film cameras, when the only ways of getting underwater photos were to buy an expensive waterproof SLR, an expensive waterproof housing for a regular SLR, or a cheap disposable waterproof camera that took horrible shots. Now, all you have to do is buy a housing like the TAT7 iPhone Scuba Case, and start snapping high-res pics – assuming you’ve got the phone to go with it.  Read More
The infiniti3D system replaces the existing fasteners on bicycle components (such as the m...
Most bicycle couriers and hardcore urbanites will tell you – if you’re going to be leaving your bike locked up in a public place, ride something cheap and crappy that thieves won’t be interested in. The problem is, many bicycle commuters are very “into” bikes, and thus own fancy machines that they don’t want to leave at home five days a week. While there are a number of locking systems that might or might not keep these peoples’ bikes from being stolen, enterprising thieves armed with nothing more than a set of hex wrenches can still remove some of the more valuable components from those bikes. The new infiniti3D system, however, is designed to stop such parts-pilfering thieves in their tracks.  Read More
The buckliball (left) and the toy that inspired its creation
Taking inspiration from a toy, a team of researchers at MIT have developed a new engineering structure that is mechanically unstable, yet collapses in a way that is predictable and reversible. The structure, formed out of a single piece of rubber-like material, is fabricated so that it collapses in harmony to form a smaller structure that can then be expanded into the original shape. This structure opens up new potentials in everything from architecture to micro-medical applications.  Read More
The Yamaha TTX Adventure scooter
Yamaha Thailand showed an interesting concept bike in Bangkok earlier this week. It's a scooter, but it has been ruggedized, given higher quality and longer travel suspension, extra luggage facility with provision for much more, and a vastly strengthened frame. Thailand's floods led to calls for a scooter with greater off-road capability, and Yamaha has delivered something that just might catch on. Most of the world's scooter sales are in countries where unmade roads make up a significant proportion of the road network and road conditions are the speed limit. The base scooter used in the TTX Adventure is the new Yamaha TTX 115i, a scooter with a fuel injected 115cc motor with a sporting bent.  Read More
Microsoft Surface researcher David Brown is working on a marvelous space app that shows of...
Could this be the killer app for ultra-spec tablets? Microsoft Surface researcher David Brown is working on a marvelous space app that shows off not only the multi-touch power of Microsoft Surface, but also the computational grunt of the Samsung SUR40 on which it runs - not to mention the majesty of the solar system we live in and the Universe beyond.  Read More
UCLA researchers have generated isobutanol from CO2 using a genetically engineered microor...
While electric vehicles have come a long way in the past decade, they still have many disadvantages when compared to internal combustion engine-driven vehicles. The lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles have a much lower energy storage density when compared to liquid fuel, they take longer to “refuel,” and they lack the supporting infrastructure that has built up around conventional vehicles over the past century. Now researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have developed a process that could allow liquid fuel to be produced using solar generated electricity.  Read More
New findings have identified a blood test which could predict heart attack or stroke weeks...
Roughly two and a half million Americans suffer a heart attack or a stroke each year. About 20% of these - half a million people - die in the aftermath. The proximate cause for both heart attack and stroke is a blood clot in the wrong place - a blood clot that could be prevented or minimized by anti-clot therapy IF physicians knew that an attack or stroke was expected shortly. New findings from a research study led by Scripps Translational Science Institute (STSI) has identified a new blood test which has the promise of predicting heart attack or stroke weeks prior to their occurrence.  Read More
The Nissan Deltawing experimental race car
By definition racing vehicles are these days developed within the confines of a formula to ensure a level of close competition. The formulas are changed every season or so but developments tend to be incremental rather than revolutionary. One experimental project that has been running outside of any formula and hopes to truly change the face of racing is the Delta Wing project designed by US-based Brit’ Ben Bowlby and supported by motorsport legends Don Panoz and Dan Gurney. Now the project has attracted a suitably hi-tech powerplant, some serious sponsorship, and its first race.  Read More

Researches have successfully resuscitated non-oscillating BZ gel in a development that cou...
Researchers at MIT and the University of Pittsburgh have successfully resuscitated non-oscillating Belousov-Zhabotinsky (BZ) gel by exerting a mechanical stimulus: a process akin to the resuscitation of a human heart. By exhibiting a chemical response to a mechanical stimulus (a rare feat for non-living matter), it's claimed the material could lead to the development of artificial skin that would enable robots to feel.  Read More
Sandia's Z-Accelerator in action (Photo: Sandia National Laboratories)
In the beginning, there was the thermonuclear bomb - mankind had harnessed the energy of the Sun. Confident predictions abounded that fusion reactors would be providing power "too cheap to meter" within ten years. Sixty years later many observers are beginning to wonder if billions of dollars of effort has been lost in digging out dry wells. Now a new simulation study carried out at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, suggests that magnetized inertial fusion (MIF) experiments could be retrofitted to existing pulsed-power facilities to obtain fusion break-even.  Read More
The ionic motor developed at EPFL is designed to extend the capabilities of the new genera...
Researchers at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have created a prototype mini motor designed to extend the capabilities of the new breed of small satellite. The motor weighs roughly 200 grams (7 oz) – including the fuel and control electronics - and could be used to change the orbit of small satellites, or even propel them to more far flung destinations that would usually require larger, more expensive spacecraft.  Read More
The Shelby 1000 is the most powerful Shelby modification to date (Photo: Shelby American)
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to drive an American muscle car with enough horsepower to move a small continent, then Shelby American may have the answer. At the New York International Auto Show on April 5th, Carroll Shelby and his team will present their most powerful car to date - the 952 bhp Shelby 1000. And if that's not enough grunt, there’s a track version with over 1,100 bhp. Not a bad way to celebrate 50 years since the unveiling of the first Shelby Cobra.  Read More
Coming to an e-book near you - LG's flexible e-paper display
Like most display manufacturers, LG has kept a finger in the flexible e-paper pie. Now, however, the company has announced that its six-inch XGA resolution Electronic Paper Display (EPD) is now in full production, and should be in devices bound for Europe within the next month.  Read More
The robotic hand developed by European researchers that uses artificial tendons consisting...
While the quest for robotic grippers with a light, yet firm touch has led to innovative approaches, such as the universal jamming gripper, it’s still hard to go past the four fingers and opposable thumb form factor honed by millions of years of evolution. While the technology is available to create a robotic hand that is both powerful and delicate, cramming it inside a compact arm is still difficult. But European researchers have done just that by using a novel string actuator to act as an artificial tendon.  Read More
U.K. and U.S. researchers are developing a tiny disease detecting robot based on the sea l...
Could tiny robots one day swim through our bodies to detect disease? That's the vision of scientists in the U.K. and U.S. who have turned to the sea lamprey for inspiration in an effort to design a micro-robot capable of doing just that. While not the prettiest of sea creatures, the jawless, blood-sucking lamprey finds itself the subject of this biomimicry project not only because of its ability to swim, but because of its primitive nervous system, which researchers believe can be reproduced as part of a micro, or even nano-scale robot.  Read More
The Hermes spacecraft would carry paying passengers into space
We’ve covered numerous projects seeking funding through Kickstarter but none as ambitious as the project from Phoenix, Arizona-based STAR (Space Transport and Recovery) Systems. Rather than looking to get yet another iPhone case off the ground, the STAR team is seeking funds to aid in development of its Hermes spacecraft that would compete against the likes of Virgin Galactic and Space Adventures in carrying private passengers and payloads into space.  Read More
The Veliac Three has hauling capacity and more natural handling
Typically the terms "tight handling" and "electric three-wheeler" are mutually exclusive, particularly when you are talking about the "two-at-the-back, one-at the-front" designs. Joining Adiva and a number of other manufacturers we've looked at in recent times, London-based electric bike manufacturer 50Cycles is looking to marry the two by introducing tilting functionality into the equation. The company's Veliac Three electric tricycle uses a new lean mechanism designed to ease maneuvering around corners and curves.  Read More
Daihatsu 'shoCase' hybrid concept vehicle
It has been a tough couple of years for the Japanese motor car industry, not least for Daihatsu. On top of natural and man-made disasters, Japan’s oldest car manufacturer, now part-owned by Toyota, has struggled to sell its super-compact “Kei” class vehicles outside of the home market. The company clearly feels however that the future will come to it, predicting demand for compact, zero-emission, hybrid powered vehicles, and has been developing a unique fuel-cell power source for just such a future since 2007. Leading the company's typically cute concept car range is the FC ShoCase - a vehicle suitable for the new fuel-cell.  Read More

Ducati's Pangiale 1199 - an engineering masterpiece, but not the world's best looking bike...
Ducati has released a series of photos of its revolutionary Panigale 1199 superbike without its clothes on, showing exactly how the bike is held together in the absence of a traditional frame. But while the monocoque chassis is pretty fascinating to look at in the flesh, what strikes us most is just how incredibly compact the bike is - every component has been squeezed into the tiniest possible space. In fact, you can't even see clean through the bike at any point until you reach the rear hugger. This is mass centralisation and weight shaving taken to a whole new level… Good luck trying to service the thing yourself!  Read More
earHero earphones don't block the entire ear canal, reportedly allowing users to still hea... Conventional earphones can become a liability you are out and about on city streets by limiting your ability to hear approaching vehicles or other potential hazards. That’s where the earHero comes into play. It’s an earphone system designed not to block the ear canal so that users are still be able to hear what’s going on around them.  Read More
SolarKindle is shipping its solar powered cover for Kindle Touch and Kindle 4 SolarFocus picked up the Innovation Award at CES 2012 for its SolarKindle e-Reader cover that features a built-in solar panel, integrated battery and LED reading lamp. The company has announced it is now shipping the device for both Kindle Touch and Kindle 4.  Read More
The distinct outsoles use tentacle-like suction to give you better grip
Apparently, OluKai Maliko is Hawaiian for funky, hoof-like shoes. The term also carries a hint of innovation. Not only do these shoes split your toes, they give you extra grip. Forget sticky rubber and aggressive traction patterns, the Maliko brings a sole that's lined with suction cups.  Read More
The PAL-V takes to the air on a successful test flight (Photo: PAL-V)
With the PAL-V last appearing on our pages way back in 2004, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this is just another flying car concept that never made it off the ground. But Dutch company PAL-V Europe NV has been busy in the past seven years having finalized the design concept in 2008 and testing a driving prototype in 2009. Now the flying-driving prototype has been put through its paces with video of the PAL-V’s recent successful maiden flight now released.  Read More
A new type of transparent, flexible memory chip could replace flash memory in electronic d...
According to Dr. James M. Tour, a synthetic organic chemist at Houston’s Rice University, flash memory devices can only be built smaller for another six to seven years – at that point, they will reach a technological barrier. Already, however, Tour and his colleagues have developed a new type of memory chip, which they believe could replace flash in thumb drives, smartphones and computers. Not only does their chip allow more data to be stored in a given space, but it can also be folded like paper, withstand temperatures of up to 1,000ºF (538ºC), and is transparent – this means that devices’ screens could also serve as their memory.  Read More
The Sunbeam Fortune Cookie Maker allows you to make your own fortune cookies, complete wit... “That could apply to anybody” is a commonly-heard complaint about the fortunes in fortune cookies. Well, imagine how much fun it might be if you could make fortune cookies yourself, with your own custom-written fortunes inside. That’s the idea behind Sunbeam’s Fortune Cookie Maker.  Read More
Dr Peter Jansen has so far created two prototype Science Tricorders featuring an array of ...
If Star Trek has taught us anything, it's the importance of gathering as much information about the alien planet you've just been beamed onto as quickly as possible. To that end, the Science Officer on the away team would perform a quick scan of the surroundings with a handheld, multifunctional sensing device called a Tricorder. Fortunately, we now live in an age where the science fiction of yesteryear is increasingly becoming the science fact of today, and the once futuristic Tricorder is no exception. For his Tricorder Project, Canada's Dr Peter Jansen has designed and built some pocket-friendly devices housing a number of sensors which reveal the secrets of the unseen world around us.  Read More
IBM and ASTRON (the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy) are working to develop tech...
When completed in 2024, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) will be the largest, most sensitive radio telescope ever created. It will consist of 3,000 individual ground-based dish antennas, linked to act as one big telescope – an arrangement known as an interferometer. While their combined total surface area will be about one square kilometer (0.39 sq mile), they will be spread out across a geographical area approximately 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles) in width. They will be gathering about one exabyte of astronomical data per day, which is twice the amount of data that is handled by the World Wide Web on a daily basis. Today, IBM announced that it has partnered with ASTRON (the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy), in an effort to develop computer systems that will be able read, analyze and store all of that data, and do so in an energy-efficient manner.  Read More
NASA's stunning Perpetual Ocean animation visualizes ocean currents (Image: NASA/Goddard S...
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is an unlikely entrant in the SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival. Its “Perpetual World” animation may have failed to appeal to the judging committee of the 2011 edition of the competition, but it sure succeeded in catching our eye. The jaw-dropping animation visualizes the flow of surface ocean currents around the world. The raw data regarding the currents from June 2005 through to December 2007 has been turned into a work of art reminiscent of van Gogh.  Read More

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