New and Emerging Technology News part 248 ~ NEW GEN TECH LIFE : new generation technology news

Saturday, 29 March 2014

New and Emerging Technology News part 248

The TYLT Energi+ backpack features a huge battery that can charge three devices at once
Not long ago, a backpack was a simple device, one made for carrying books, small personal items, and other stuff. Then, something changed, and backpacks started evolving. Now it's not at all uncommon to find a backpack that can actually charge the electronic devices within it. One such model is the Energi+ Backpack from TYLT, which I've been using for the past couple of weeks. It's not the first backpack equipped with a battery, but is it the best?  Read More
The planned home version of the V-Tex
Chances are, this has happened to you at least once ... you come inside on a hot day, open the fridge, and discover that you haven't set aside any juice/beer/pop to chill. Even if you were to put some in the freezer, it would still be at least 10 or 15 minutes before it was good and cold. "Why isn't there something like a microwave cooler?" you find yourself wondering. Well, there soon could be, in the form of the V-Tex – although it will incorporate vortexes instead of microwaves.  Read More
Technicians powering up Orion (Image: Lockheed Martin)
NASA took another step back into the astronaut-launching business when it announced on Monday that last week it had powered up the crew capsule of the Orion spacecraft for the first time. According to the space agency, the test of the spacecraft’s avionics systems, conducted at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is a major milestone in preparing the craft for its first unmanned test flight in the autumn of next year.  Read More
The iSis Intelligent (Mountain) Rescue System was one of the apps that CAC looked at The smartphone is like the modern day, techy Swiss Army Knife. But it can't do everything. The Canadian Avalanche Centre says that avalanche rescue apps can not effectively replace dedicated avalanche beacons.  Read More
The MT840UHD MultiTaction Cell Display from MultiTouch Ltd
Only a few weeks after attendees at the annual developer conference of Finland's MultiTouch Ltd got a first look at the company's latest MultiTaction monster, it's gone up for pre-order. Currently a working prototype, the new 84-inch unit is claimed to be the world's first fully integrated, 4K resolution interactive display.  Read More
Moneual's Rydis H67 robot vacuum and mop cleans hard floors and carpets
Sometimes, we just don't find the time we need to clean our homes. That's where cleaning robots can be a real life saver, as they do the cleaning for you. A new one from Moneual, called the Rydis H67, combines a vacuum for carpets and mop for tile and wood floors into one electronic workhorse.  Read More
A Lumicyano-treated fingerprint on a plastic bag
If you regularly watch any police forensics TV shows, then the word "Luminol" is probably already part of your vocabulary. Now, however, you might also want to add the word "Lumicyano." That's the name of a new product that is said to reveal latent fingerprints faster, cheaper and better than other methods.  Read More
The home is located in a rural village in South Korea (Photo: Hwang Hyochel)
We’re big fans of shipping container-based architecture here at Gizmag, and the latest such project to grab our attention comes via JYA-RCHITECTS and its Low Cost House. The budget-friendly dwelling features three shipping containers placed within a surrounding structure in order to provide a safe and attractive home for a family of seven.  Read More
Google could reportedly hit full production of its Android-powered smartwatch within month...
Smartwatches like the Samsung Galaxy Gear, Pebble, and Sony Smartwatch 2 give you some basic smartphone features on your wrist. But if you're waiting for the next batch of smartwatches that evolves the product even further, Google's will be one of the big ones to keep an eye on. A new report suggests we might not have long to wait on that front.  Read More
Kindle MatchBook provides ebook copies of your old book purchases
In what is potentially exciting news for anyone with a library split between the digital and physical realms, Amazon has launched the Kindle MatchBook service, which aims to provide Kindle ebook copies of your old, pre-digital manuscripts (or books, as some may remember them) bought from Amazon. However, the service will not be available for all books, and in many cases, matched ebooks will cost a few dollars.  Read More

The Budgee Bot concept
With its Budgee Bot robot, Five Elements Robotics has created a machine that embodies what was presumably in Karel Čapek's mind when he originally applied the word robot to an artificial automaton. First brought to public attention in his 1920 play R.U.R. (short for Rossum's Universal Robots), the word robot was adapted from robota, meaning something akin to a slave laborer in his native Czech. And though Budgee Bot is not designed for a life confined to a factory (and appears unlikely to overthrow human society), it is designed to obediently follow you around, carrying your stuff.  Read More
Zeno R25 is designed to recognize emotions
More and more, robots are moving into our everyday lives, and if they’re not going to end up being incredibly annoying, they’re going to have to learn to recognize and cope with human emotions. RoboKind of Dallas, Texas has started a Kickstarter campaign to raise capital for the further development of its Zeno R25 interactive humanoid robot, which is designed to interact with humans in an intuitive way by detecting and mimicking emotions.  Read More
A 110-core CPU chip based on a new architecture has been developed that reduces on-chip tr...
A 110-core CPU chip has been developed by computer scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The chip is based on a new architecture in which instead of bringing data across the chip to the core that happens to want it, you move the program to the core where the data is stored. In practice, this new architecture reduces the amount of on-chip data exchange tenfold, along with the heat and infrastructure demanded by conventional chip architecture.  Read More
The makers of the Oculus Rift have revealed a version of the VR goggles designed for mobil...
It's been over a year since the developers of the Oculus Rift raised almost US$2.5 million through Kickstarter, and it looks like they've been putting those funds to good use. Besides working on a consumer model of its innovative virtual reality goggles, the company recently revealed it has been adapting its headset especially for mobile devices running Android.  Read More
The Suzuki X-Lander will make its debut next month in Tokyo
Suzuki has revealed its plans for next month's Tokyo Motor Show. Like Honda, it will showcase a variety of equipment, including cars, motorcycles and personal transportation. And like Mitsubishi, it will shine a little light on green crossover/4x4 concepts, including an open-top convertible known as the X-Lander.  Read More
An algorithm developed by an MIT professor could be applied to a modified Adaptive Cruise ...
In 2007, mathematicians from the University of Exeter showed that the freeway traffic jams that appear to occur for no reason are actually the result of a "backward traveling wave" initiated when a driver slows below a critical speed. This sets off a chain reaction that ultimately results in traffic further down the line coming to a complete standstill. An MIT professor has now developed an algorithm that could be applied to a modified Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) system to help eliminate such traffic jams.  Read More
50 years of automotive innovation – Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Limited officially came int...
McLaren, the small yet mighty UK boutique auto house that has given the planet some of its most brilliant Formula 1 and production cars, turned fifty this year. Here's Gizmag's look at the company's journey from a back shed in New Zealand to a world-renowned name in the highest circles of automotive excellence.  Read More
Motorola's Project Ara imagines a customizable future for smartphones, with hardware consi...
An interesting concept for a modular smartphone blew up online in September, with Dave Hakkens revealing his idea for Phonebloks. It turns out that Hakkens wasn't the only one to be imagining a brave new future for smartphones, with Motorola announcing it has been working on a similar concept for the past year. Could Motorola Ara actually happen or is it still, despite Google's enviable and practically unlimited resources, a nice idea that is unlikely ever to become reality?  Read More
The StarChase laser sighting system (green light) sits within the GPS tag-shooting cannon Police car chases are extremely dangerous, not only for the officers involved, but also for any innocent passers-by whom the feeing car crashes into. The StarChase system, however, is designed to make those chases safer. Instead of pursuing fugitive vehicles, police can just shoot them with GPS tags.  Read More
The custom graphics on the Indus guitar from France's Kompozit Guitars
Many veteran guitarists believe that great tone can only come from instruments made using exotic hardwoods. This hasn't stopped makers from trying other materials, though, including Ampeg's iconic Dan Armstrong-designed Plexiglas guitar, the all-metal Gittler Guitar, and the 3D-printed guitar from AweSome Musical Instruments. For its new line of hand-made, Tele-shaped axes, France's Kompozit Guitars has chosen to give polyester-based fiberglass a whirl.  Read More
The Budgee Bot concept
With its Budgee Bot robot, Five Elements Robotics has created a machine that embodies what was presumably in Karel Čapek's mind when he originally applied the word robot to an artificial automaton. First brought to public attention in his 1920 play R.U.R. (short for Rossum's Universal Robots), the word robot was adapted from robota, meaning something akin to a slave laborer in his native Czech. And though Budgee Bot is not designed for a life confined to a factory (and appears unlikely to overthrow human society), it is designed to obediently follow you around, carrying your stuff.  Read More
Zeno R25 is designed to recognize emotions
More and more, robots are moving into our everyday lives, and if they’re not going to end up being incredibly annoying, they’re going to have to learn to recognize and cope with human emotions. RoboKind of Dallas, Texas has started a Kickstarter campaign to raise capital for the further development of its Zeno R25 interactive humanoid robot, which is designed to interact with humans in an intuitive way by detecting and mimicking emotions.  Read More
A 110-core CPU chip based on a new architecture has been developed that reduces on-chip tr...
A 110-core CPU chip has been developed by computer scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The chip is based on a new architecture in which instead of bringing data across the chip to the core that happens to want it, you move the program to the core where the data is stored. In practice, this new architecture reduces the amount of on-chip data exchange tenfold, along with the heat and infrastructure demanded by conventional chip architecture.  Read More
The makers of the Oculus Rift have revealed a version of the VR goggles designed for mobil...
It's been over a year since the developers of the Oculus Rift raised almost US$2.5 million through Kickstarter, and it looks like they've been putting those funds to good use. Besides working on a consumer model of its innovative virtual reality goggles, the company recently revealed it has been adapting its headset especially for mobile devices running Android.  Read More
The Suzuki X-Lander will make its debut next month in Tokyo
Suzuki has revealed its plans for next month's Tokyo Motor Show. Like Honda, it will showcase a variety of equipment, including cars, motorcycles and personal transportation. And like Mitsubishi, it will shine a little light on green crossover/4x4 concepts, including an open-top convertible known as the X-Lander.  Read More
An algorithm developed by an MIT professor could be applied to a modified Adaptive Cruise ...
In 2007, mathematicians from the University of Exeter showed that the freeway traffic jams that appear to occur for no reason are actually the result of a "backward traveling wave" initiated when a driver slows below a critical speed. This sets off a chain reaction that ultimately results in traffic further down the line coming to a complete standstill. An MIT professor has now developed an algorithm that could be applied to a modified Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) system to help eliminate such traffic jams.  Read More
50 years of automotive innovation – Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Limited officially came int...
McLaren, the small yet mighty UK boutique auto house that has given the planet some of its most brilliant Formula 1 and production cars, turned fifty this year. Here's Gizmag's look at the company's journey from a back shed in New Zealand to a world-renowned name in the highest circles of automotive excellence.  Read More
Motorola's Project Ara imagines a customizable future for smartphones, with hardware consi...
An interesting concept for a modular smartphone blew up online in September, with Dave Hakkens revealing his idea for Phonebloks. It turns out that Hakkens wasn't the only one to be imagining a brave new future for smartphones, with Motorola announcing it has been working on a similar concept for the past year. Could Motorola Ara actually happen or is it still, despite Google's enviable and practically unlimited resources, a nice idea that is unlikely ever to become reality?  Read More
The StarChase laser sighting system (green light) sits within the GPS tag-shooting cannon Police car chases are extremely dangerous, not only for the officers involved, but also for any innocent passers-by whom the feeing car crashes into. The StarChase system, however, is designed to make those chases safer. Instead of pursuing fugitive vehicles, police can just shoot them with GPS tags.  Read More
The custom graphics on the Indus guitar from France's Kompozit Guitars
Many veteran guitarists believe that great tone can only come from instruments made using exotic hardwoods. This hasn't stopped makers from trying other materials, though, including Ampeg's iconic Dan Armstrong-designed Plexiglas guitar, the all-metal Gittler Guitar, and the 3D-printed guitar from AweSome Musical Instruments. For its new line of hand-made, Tele-shaped axes, France's Kompozit Guitars has chosen to give polyester-based fiberglass a whirl.  Read More

The Fuelmatics Automatic Refueling System in action (Image: Husky)
There was a time when pulling into a service station would coincide with an attendant in a pressed uniform and a peaked cap running up to your car to ask if you’d like to fill ‘er up. That scene may be relegated to Mad Men, but a robotic replacement has arrived. At this month’s 2013 PEI Convention at the NACS Show in Atlanta, the Husky Corporation’s booth played host to a robotic fuel attendant called the Fuelmatics Automatic Refueling System (ARS) that the company is developing in collaboration with Stockholm-based Fuelmatics Systems AB.  Read More
Cyclops fits a snapback hat with an LCD screen for customizable fashion If you’ve ever wanted more ways to show the world your logo, your dance skills, your business’s lunch special, or your funny cat videos, the Cyclops could be for you. It’s a snapback hat kitted out with an LCD display that syncs with a mobile app.  Read More
The 'mind-reading' neurocam prototype
Perhaps you know someone who's a member of the "lifelogging" community – these are people who record pretty much all of their waking hours, typically using small, wearable video cameras. The problem is, they inevitably end up with a lot of footage that's just ... well, boring, even to them. That's where the neurocam comes in. It's a prototype headset camera, that only records when it detects that its wearer is interested in what they're seeing.  Read More
The BASF MySetta project includes foam, paint and interior lining pulled from the company'...
It must get boring and lonely spending your days in a lab, mixing up slightly different plastics, epoxies and composites. Perhaps that's why BASF is making a push to get out in front of the world and show what these materials can really do. Prior to the Concept 1865 plastic bike, the German company updated a 1958 BMW Isetta "bubble car" with some of its materials and coatings. The car, which makes the Smart ForTwo look rather roomy, also gets a unique home entertainment system.  Read More
The gesture-controlled PACO concrete speaker from Digital Habit(s)
Visitors to the homes of audio buffs might well be surprised to find weighty blocks of concrete breaking up the living room's otherwise colorful designer decor. These high-end music lovers have turned their backs on the unwelcome distortion and color that can be caused by oscillations of MDF, wood or plastic speaker cabinets, and plumped for drivers housed in concrete. If you can't afford, or don't have room for, large commercially-available floor-standing units like the exquisite N1 loudspeakers from Germany's Concrete Audio, Italy's Digital Habit(s) design house has created a gesture-controlled, Bluetooth-enabled tabletop speaker called PACO, which can be built at home using open source plans, or bought fully assembled.  Read More
A cross-sectional view of the LUX dark matter detector (Image: LUX)
The Large Underground Xenon experiment, buried nearly a mile beneath South Dakota, has completed 85 days of seeking dark matter particles. The results are consistent with a null result, and essentially rule out the 8.6 GeV dark matter candidate noted in the data of other experiments.  Read More
Lenovo's new Yoga tablet doesn't flip and fold like its Windows Yogas, but it can be used ...
Most tablets look pretty similar. You could argue that this is because their iPad-like form factor makes the most sense. But Lenovo thinks there's still some room for variety. Take the company's new Yoga Android tablets, which add a cylindrical bulge and kickstand to the traditional tablet design.  Read More
The Volcano features a portable top speaker, that can be docked with a larger sub-woofer There are certainly a multitude of compact, portable Bluetooth speakers out there, although many of them don't feature the satisfying bass response of larger models. That's where the two-part Volcano comes in. Its top speaker can be toted around and used on its own, or plugged into the sub-woofer base unit to deliver the full "oontz-oontz-oontz" experience.  Read More
Barnes & Noble's new Nook GlowLight has an improved frontlit screen, higher resolution, an...
When you think of e-readers, what's the first brand that comes to mind? Kindle, perhaps? Well, despite hitting some hard times, Barnes & Noble's Nook line also has its share of loyal customers. And those folks just got a pre-holiday treat, as B&N looks to take on the Kindle Paperwhite with a refreshed frontlit Nook GlowLight e-reader.  Read More
Samsung's Digital Villages are powered by the Sun Combining solar power, health care and education is the concept behind Samsung’s Digital Villages, a project recently launched in South Africa as the kick-off a larger plan that includes units in Ethiopia and Gabon by the end of 2013. The Digital Village is also designed to help local traders develop their business with a sustainable and low-cost alternative to fossil fuels.  Read More
 
DJI Innovations' new Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter
DJI Innovations unveiled its GPS-enabled Phantom quadcopter less than a year ago, and since then it has become perhaps the go-to aerial platform for the GoPro HERO actioncam. In April, the company provided us with a sneak peek at the next model in the line, the Phantom 2 Vision. While there weren't many details available at the time, that's changed as of today, with the Vision's official commercial release. Among its new features are improved battery life, a video-stabilizing platform and most significant of all, an included HD video camera that allows for first-person-view via a mobile device.  Read More
DFKI-Bremen's iStruct uses its active spine and multi-contact feet to transition from all ...
Back in June the world got its first glimpse of the iStruct, a robot ape developed at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and the University of Bremen. We predicted that in addition to the stability afforded by walking on all fours, the robot ape could feasibly stand up to free its hands for other kinds of work. Now the team has published a video that shows how their robot accomplishes this maneuver with the help of its flexible spine and sensitive feet.  Read More
Play-i's robots teach kids the basics of programming while they have fun
With just a few taps on a tablet screen, children as young as 5 are programming a pair of robots called Bo and Yana using a simple GUI. Looking a bit like the cute one-eyed monsters from a Pixar film, the bots are the flagship products of a start-up called Play-i, founded by a team with experience at Amazon and Apple. In just two days, the company has nearly reached its crowdfunding goal of US$250,000, with plans to send out the first batch in the northern summer of 2014.  Read More
50 kW CO2 laser in action (Photo: Laser Effects Test Facility - US Government)
A group of researchers at NIST working with engineers from Colorado-based Scientech has developed a new approach to measuring laser power using a mirror and a scale. This method, which measures the force on the mirror driven by the radiation pressure of the laser light, presents a more rugged and more portable solution than current meters.  Read More
The DacMagic XS USB headphone amp from Cambridge Audio
It doesn't seem too long ago that a quality headphones amplifier was the size of a chunky paperback novel, and would occupy so much space in a laptop bag that it would probably get left behind more often than not. Now the UK's Cambridge Audio has managed to squeeze a high-end digital-to-analog (DAC) converter and headphone amp into a device that's smaller than a matchbox.  Read More
The Gimball bounces off, rather than avoids obstacles
The Japanese Ministry of Defense got the ball rolling, as it were, in 2011 when it unveiled its spherical air vehicle, which was followed by the Kyosho Space Ball and Puzzlebox Orbit in 2012. Now researchers at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland have got in on the act with Gimball, a flying robot that takes crashing into obstacles in its stride.  Read More
Brilliant drive: The 616 hp 12C Spider (Photo: Angus MacKenzie/gizmag.com)
It’s interesting how a little context will shape one’s opinions. Turns out I’d been an accidental fan of McLaren for years. Before the name became synonymous with Formula 1, and before the release of the iconic F1 supercar in the 90s, there were slotcars. Yes you heard me, slotcars. Going through some old Kodaks, I realized I’d in fact been driving scaled down, electric McLarens since the 70s. So upon learning I’d be driving the full-scale version of McLaren’s 12C Spider, I was as pleased as Scottish schoolboy in September.  Read More
The prototype Mars sample return container (Image: ESA)
A mission to return samples from the planet Mars is still many years away and, officially, not on the calendar. That hasn't stopped ESA from producing a proof-of-concept prototype of the scientific “box of delights,” which could one day bring bits of the Red Planet back to Earth for study.  Read More
The Bloom helmet from Toyo Safety looks like any other safety helmet, but folds down for s...
Natural disasters can strike at any moment, and often with little, if any, warning. This is especially true in countries located along fault lines, which can experience sudden and devastating earthquakes. Though countries such as Japan have measures in place designed to warn of earthquakes, the risk still exists. Which is where the Bloom from Toyo Safety could prove its worth.  Read More
A Photoshopped rendering of the Firefly in beautiful Joshua Tree National Park
After successfully putting his NASA design skills to work on the Cricket Trailer, Garrett Finney has started on an even smaller field shelter. Similar in purpose to the Teal Tail Feather and other small campers, the new Firefly is designed to split the difference between gear hauler and camper. It can be mounted to a pickup truck bed, towed on a utility trailer or choppered in to remote locations.  Read More

The MK5's mid-mounted 4-cylinder engine develops 250 hp, delivering a 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph...
Relatively unknown in the automotive mainstream, Canada’s Magnum began building open-wheeled race cars and specialized parts in the late 1960s. Now the boutique manufacturer from Quebec has moved to the streets with the introduction of the open-aired, dual-purpose Magnum MK5.  Read More
The Drone controller is open source, so it works with all kinds of platforms
Traditional gaming hardware usually includes two main components: the console itself, and a controller. Mobile devices generally rely on touchscreens for game input, but many find this can take away from the traditional gaming experience. That's where third-party devices come into play. A new one, called the Drone, brings an open source controller to a wide range of devices, saving users from having to buy a separate controller for each.  Read More
The GE Industrea Mk7.0 TIER 3 Mine Cruiser is designed to operate safely in colleries
The depths of a coal mine couldn't be considered ideal driving conditions for most vehicles, but the Mk7.0 TIER 3 Mine Cruiser isn't most vehicles. GE recently announced that it has delivered its 500th Mine Cruiser, which is a four-wheel drive utility vehicle capable of carrying up to 14 passengers, yet is built to operate safely in the vast galleries of modern underground coal mines.  Read More
Gizmag compares the features and specs of the iPad Air and Surface 2
Despite hitting some hard times, Microsoft's Surface is still somewhere near the top of the list of 10-inch iPad alternatives. But is the Surface 2 worth a look over the new iPad Air? Or is that goose already cooked? Join Gizmag, as we compare the tablets' features and specs.  Read More
The new Immaculate Wireless Sound BeoLab speakers from Bang & Olufsen
As promised earlier this month, Denmark's Bang & Olufsen has officially moved into the wireless speaker market with the launch of three new WiSA-certified BeoLab digital active speakers. Undeniably stylish and capable of streaming high fidelity, uncompressed audio, the Immaculate Wireless Sound range comprises the BeoLab 17 bookshelf speaker, the BeoLab 18 column floor-standers, and the BeoLab 19 subwoofer.  Read More
Scientists have had success at capturing rare earth elements diluted in industrial wastewa... Rare earth elements are an integral part of many of today's electronic devices, serving as magnets, catalysts and superconductors. Unfortunately, these minerals are also ... well, rare, and thus very pricey. Recently, however, scientists discovered that some of them can be reclaimed from industrial wastewater, instead of being mined from the earth.  Read More
Altered plans to get the V3 DS shipping next year
There are plenty of electric skateboard designs on the market – a whole lot of them, in fact. There are also electric mountain boards. The Altered Pro-Line V3 DS lays claim to being the first wireless design that combines both styles into one board. Users can rip through the dirt and zip across pavement with one modular board.  Read More
The SkyRunner in flight
Back in 2008, we heard about a parasail-equipped dune buggy, known as the Parajet Skycar. It could scramble over rough ground like a true off-roader, but then take to the skies when needed. One epic 6,000-km (3,728-mile) drive/flight from London to Tombouctou later, its creators got some ideas about how the design could be improved. The result is the lighter, better-flying and less-polluting SkyRunner – and you can order one now.  Read More
ChargeDrive is a thumb drive, mount, tripod, and charger
Part of owning a smartphone is purchasing accessories that go along with it. We need chargers, cases, and other devices to really complete the experience. A trend you can't help but notice in the mobile space is accessories that perform multiple functions, with the aim of cutting down on the amount of stuff we need to carry. ChargeDrive for iPhone and Android phones is one such device, pulling quadruple duty as a charger, tripod, stand and thumb drive.  Read More
The Nexus 5 comes in black or white with 16 or 32 GB
After what seemed like an interminable wait for many Android and Nexus fans, Google's Nexus 5 smartphone is finally official. The LG phone runs Android 4.4 KitKat and is available unlocked for $349.  Read More


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