New and Emerging Technology News part 62 ~ NEW GEN TECH LIFE : new generation technology news

Saturday, 25 January 2014

New and Emerging Technology News part 62

Members of Purdue University's hydrothermolysis research team (Prof. Varma at left)
Fuel cell cars have come one step closer to practicality with researchers from Indiana’s Purdue University announcing a new process for the generation and storage of hydrogen. The process is called hydrothermolysis, and is a combination of hydrolysis and thermolysis – the two prevalent methods of hydrogen generation that some scientists consider impractical for use in automobiles. The new process utilizes powdered ammonia borane, a chemical that has one of the highest hydrogen yields of any solid substance.  Read More
The bebionic myo-electric hand
Luke Skywalker/Steve Austin-like bionic hands might seem like something straight out of... well, science fiction, but they’re most definitely not. There are now actually several companies competing to sell hands that can perform complex, independent-fingered tasks, and that can even return a sense of touch to the amputee user. In the recent past, we’ve told you about several of these devices, including the iLimb, the SmartHand, and the CYBERHAND. Recently, British company RSLSteeper officially threw its hat (or glove?) into the ring, with the unveiling of its bebionic myo-electric hand.  Read More
Sony Ericsson has announced a new addition to its Xperia Android smartphone family, the bu...
A new member of the Xperia smartphone family has just been announced by Sony Ericsson. The Xperia X8 is said to take the best features from the X10 and the Mini's, but will be introduced at a wallet-friendly price point. Amongst the Android-running smartphone's ease-of-use features are a one-touch application launch menu, a combined social networking timeline, and a camera with direct upload to Facebook.  Read More
Archos promises all the multimedia power you could want in a notebook with the Atom-powere...
The Archos 133pc is currently listed as "coming soon" on all of the company's online stores, except one. The first bite at the cherry is being offered to the home crowd, with the Atom-powered, high definition portable computer now available at the French store.  Read More
Toshiba's dual touch-screen Libretto W100
Toshiba has gone with the adage that two screens are better than one with its new libretto W100 ultra mobile PC (UMPC). Featuring dual 7-inch diagonal dual-touch LCD screens, the clamshell form factor W100 opens up to provide the equivalent of a 10-inch wide screen display that allows the desktop to be extended over both screens, different applications to be displayed on either screen, or one screen to be used for the virtual keyboard. The device can also be used as a netbook in the horizontal orientation, or flipped on its side for reading ebooks.  Read More
Violight UV cell phone sanitizer
We've seen UV sanitizing solutions for keyboards, but what about your germ-ridden mobile phone? Violight, a company that specializes in toothbrush sanitizers, is set to release what's billed as the "first ever UV cell phone sanitizer." The process is simple – place your smartphone, PDA, MP3 player, Blutooth headset or earbuds in, pop the lid on and in five minutes you can keep rolling with a lot fewer germs in tow.  Read More
California drivers could soon have another distraction to deal with in the form of digital...
California is a state crippled by debt. The situation is so desperate that it looks like California lawmakers are now considering a license plate led recovery. A bill proposed by Senator Curren D. Price Jr, D-Inglewood, gives the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) the authority to investigate the emerging Digital Electronic License Plate (DELP) technology that would enable rear license plates on vehicles to become message boards to display advertising or other images when the vehicle is stationary for periods longer than four seconds, such as at a stop light or in a traffic jam.  Read More
A fan plays the 'instrument' that has become the sound of the 2010 World Cup - the vuvuzel...
Riddle me this. What sounds like an elephant when all alone, but sounds like a swarm of bees when numbers grow? The answer, as any World Cup aficionado will tell you, is the vuvuzela. A meter long plastic horn that has become synonymous with the 2011 World Cup in South Africa and has had many fans reaching for the mute button on their TV remote controls. The BBC has received so many complaints it is looking at ways to minimize the noise of the so-called instrument. Now researchers at the Centre for Digital Music (C4DM) at Queen Mary, University of London have come up with a "devuvuzelator" that filters out the droning sounds of vuvuzela for anyone watching the World Cup on a computer.  Read More
The URWERK UR-CC1 Black Cobra
Known to Gizmag readers for its outlandish timepieces, Swiss watchmaker URWERK's latest offering – the UR-CC1 Black Cobra – definitely falls into the “cool watch” category. Made from titanium and gold treated with aluminum titane nitride to achieve the black coloration, the Cobra shows the time via two linearly-progressing bars that indicate the hour and minute, and a dual clockwork/numeric seconds display.  Read More
Chemical-sensing electrodes printed directly on the inside elastic waistband of underwear....
As the technology to support wearable electronics advances, researchers are investigating new ways of making our clothing more "intelligent" – from smart shirts for theater ushers to the development of clothing that can respond to the wearer’s emotive state. So would it surprise you to learn that your humble underpants could one day save your life? A new study has shown that printed sensors on the elastic band of your underpants could monitor biomarkers in your sweat and tears, make autonomous diagnoses and even administer life-saving drugs.  Read More

Sub-Biosphere 2 is a concept for a self-sustaining marine environment for human, animal an...
Phil Pauley, a London-based concept designer, has unveiled his vision for Sub-Biosphere 2 - a self-sustainable underwater habitat designed for aquanauts, tourism and oceanographic life sciences as well as long-term human, plant and animal habitation. If this sounds like a strangely familiar concept, it’s because Pauley’s system is based on the successes of the US Biosphere 2 project – a man-made closed-ecological system in Arizona that was used by researchers to explore the possibility of sustainable living in a closely-monitored environment.  Read More
'I'm outta here' - a crayfish performs a tail-flip (Photo: David D. Yager/Jens Herberholz,...
A team from the University of Maryland has studied the decision-making processes of crayfish in an effort to better understand the workings of the human brain. “Matching individual neurons to the decision making processes in the human brain is simply impractical for now,” explained psychologist Jens Herberholz, the study’s senior author. “History has shown that findings made in the invertebrate nervous systems often translate to more complex organisms."  Read More
The huge 17 meter wingspan of the Sunseeker II
What is it about the single-seater Sunseeker II that drew a steady stream of visitors to the solar-powered airplane on display at the Green Air Show in Paris recently? Could it be the bluish flash of solar cells on its huge wings, or the inviting open cockpit, or maybe even the teetering propeller to the rear? Perhaps it's a delightful combination of gorgeous form and emission-free function that turned all those heads. With a two-pilot version coming soon, Gizmag took the opportunity to have a closer look.  Read More
1,400 megapixel telescope powered-up to spot earthbound asteroids
If there’s a killer asteroid or comet hurtling towards Earth it’s probably best to know about it sooner rather than later. However, space is a big place and keeping our eyes out for these little blighters is no mean feat even with a mighty automated telescope to hand. Fortunately, astronomers in Hawaii have just announced they’ve successfully managed to boot up the Pan-STARRS (Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System) telescope, also known as PS1. Working from dusk-to-dawn every night Pan-STARRS is able to map one-sixth of the sky each month, allowing astronomers to track every moving object, calculate their orbits and identify any potential threats to Earth.  Read More
The Dews Toothbrush concept stands alone
From the “so simple it’s a wonder no one has thought of it before” file comes the self-standing Dews Toothbrush from Ryan Harc. With its ability to stand upright, the design offers a simple solution to the problem of where to put a toothbrush without running the risk of covering it in an assortment of germs which will happily make their way to the insides of your mouth next time you brush your teeth.  Read More
TOASTit teflon bags transform your toaster into a grill
Here's a clever product that's being sold by Oishi & Associaties in Japan. You know those sandwiches that you always wanted to stuff in your toaster but couldn't because your mom told you the cheese would drip and make a mess (or was as that just me?) The TOASTit bag is your workaround, letting you throw all kinds of crazy foods into your toaster without any concern for the mess afterwards.  Read More
The ZEV Trail and Utility electric scooter
While electric motorbikes are creeping steadily into the marketplace, most of the ones we’ve seen here on Gizmag have been designed either as commuters, racers or for some weekend fun in the dirt. What we haven’t seen so much are electrics made for haulin' – something motorcycles are relied on heavily for in many parts of the world. How did you know I was going to say “until now”?  Read More
Dyson's expanded bladeless Air Multiplier fan line
The Dyson Air Multiplier fan released late last year has some new stablemates. The company's expanded range includes a larger diameter table fan, a tower fan and a pedestal model. None of the offerings in the range come cheap, but they all include the distinctive bladeless design that Dyson says delivers better airflow as well as making them safer for curious little fingers and easier to clean than their bladed counterparts.  Read More
A mobile phone tower provides 3G broadband access to those without a direct Internet conne...
Accessing the Internet while away from the home or office has never been easier. When there’s no Wi-Fi available users can jump on 3G broadband to get their online fix. And that’s the way it has generally been, with the two main mobile communications technologies acting as complementary services. But with the advent of Wi-Fi based municipal wireless networks some experts say there is a strong possibility that Wi-Fi will compete with the 3G cell phone network in city areas and perhaps even become a substitute.  Read More
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has hinted at the possibility of producing a number of models using a ...
Tesla's Model S sedan is expected to hit the roads in 2012, expanding the company's target market beyond the boutique Roadster with a vehicle that offers practical space and a range in the vicinity of 300 miles. But what else is in the pipe? CEO Elon Musk has hinted at the possibility of producing a number of models using a common platform – these could include a crossover SUV, a van and a cabriolet.  Read More
Anobit unites the best of two worlds for faster, cheaper SSDs
Solid state drives (SSD) have been around for some time. Unlike other data storage devices, however, their cost per GB seems reluctant to drop quickly enough to make sense economically not just to consumers, but to enterprises as well. Using a recently patented technology, the Israeli startup Anobit has announced an SSD series that makes a huge step toward making SSDs a tangibly faster and more affordable solution for the enterprise world.  Read More
Minix wing tip device promises 6% gain in fuel efficiency for airliners
Fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions are huge priorities in the aviation industry – passenger airliners chew through amazing quantities of fuel. Take the Boeing 747, which guzzles somewhere around a gallon of jet fuel per second – it's clear that a percentile improvement in fuel consumption can make a huge difference to costs at the end of a long-haul flight. That's why the Minix wing tip deserves close scrutiny. It replaces the tilted winglets at the tip of an aircraft wing, can be retrofitted to any airplane, and smooths out the wing-tip vortex, reducing the aircraft's wing drag. Minix claims the design is five times more effective than a regular winglet and can save as much as 6% on an aircraft's energy costs. For a commercial Boeing 747, that equates to a saving of around 600,000 gallons of fuel per year, per aircraft. Food for thought.  Read More
The ShadowBox attaches to boards of all sorts
No one believing your tales of gnarly moves pulled on some off-piste run? Can’t convince your friends you nailed a Spock 540 One Handed when no one was looking? Now you can prove it (or get a harsh dose of reality) with the ShadowBox – a "personal 3D sports recorder" that attaches to your extreme sporting implement of choice and uses GPS and G-Force data to record a "ride path" of all your extreme sporting moves. Ride data can be viewed immediately on the device or uploaded to a PC or Mac to analyze all your extreme sporting moves in 3D detail.  Read More
Vizio's new Blu-ray range promises peerless streaming of web-content
Earlier this year we reported on an announcement from Vizio that would see 1080p “wireless HD” integrated into its new range of LCDs, and we’ve now got some information on the set-top boxes that will offer a similar array of support. Three new Blu-ray players have been announced, with the VBR210 and VBR220 utilizing 802.11n single-band 2.4GHz wireless and the more powerful VBR231 upgrading this to dual-band for improved reliability, making it the first dual-band Blu-ray player.  Read More
The sensor uses maglev to analyze sample density
When one thinks of magnetic levitation, or maglev, one generally thinks of insanely fast floating trains or possibly even levitating cans and bottles. Well, scientists are reporting the development of a new use for the technology as an inexpensive sensor for analyzing food, water and other beverages.  Read More
The experimental setup used to measure the catalytic activity of the strontium-substituted...
Rechargeable batteries and fuel cells are seen as the two contenders to serve as a power source for the next generation of environmentally friendly vehicles. A significant barrier to achieving greater efficiency in the latter is the slow rate of oxygen production from the cathode, which limits the power output of the device. Now an unexpected find by MIT researchers regarding the behavior of incredibly thin sheets of material could lead to major improvements .  Read More
Kinect is slated for release in November for US$150
Nintendo has done very well out of its innovative motion controllers but maintaining its spot at the top of the console sales charts was always going to be an uphill battle once rivals caught up (or overtook) with their own brand of fully-interactive gaming. Project Natal seemed a little ambitious when it was first demonstrated last year, but 12 months and a rebranding later, Kinect appears to be ready for pre-order and most importantly, we have a price.  Read More
EyeTV can now filter out much of the annoying droning on World Cup broadcasts thanks to a ...
With FIFA President, Sepp Blatter, defending the rights of South African fans to blow their horns at World Cup matches, TV viewers have turned to technology to tone down the incessant buzzing that accompanies the on field action of World Cup TV coverage. In what is sure to be music to the ears of many of the users of Elgato’s EyeTV software, the company has announced a free update that features a Vuvuzela Filter.  Read More
The GUSS autonomous vehicles developed by Virginia Tech are to make their debut at the 201...
Having placed third in the prestigious DARPA Urban Challenge in 2007, engineering students from Virginia Tech have returned to the forefront of autonomous vehicle development by designing and building four GUSS (Ground Unmanned Support Surrogate) vehicles. Able to carry 1800 lbs and designed to resupply and evacuate troops in the field as well as reduce the load carried by them, the vehicles are due to make their debut at the impending 2010 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC)war games in Hawaii.  Read More
The compost filter socks in place, in a grassed waterway
Compost filter socks are mesh tubes filled with composted bark and wood chips. Besides making lovely wedding gifts, they are also used at construction sites to limit the amount of silt in water runoff. What was previously unknown, however, was their effectiveness at reducing sediment, herbicides and nutrients in runoff from agricultural fields. Two soil scientists from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have completed a two-year study, measuring just how good a job the socks did when placed in grassed waterways alongside fields. Their conclusion: the socks rock... sort of.  Read More

NETRA offers a simple, quick and inexpensive way to use mobile phones to measure refractiv...
Until now, an eye test has meant a trip to the optometrist for most people. NETRA, from MIT's Media Lab, is set to change that. Combined with a modern mobile phone, the US$2 device allows eye glass prescriptions to be produced simply and quickly in any location. Preliminary testing has shown that it can achieve results comparable to the standard aberrometer test and clinical trials are due to begin shortly. Initially targeting parts of Africa and Asia, the company responsible for manufacture, PerfectSight, is expecting the product to be a boon for the developing world, where the sophisticated equipment currently required for eyesight tests has been cost prohibitive.  Read More
The LTE Connect Car concept is the result of collaboration between a number of companies
Ever thought of dumping the mortgage and living in the car? Well, it could soon be a more attractive proposition if the LTE Connected Car Concept is anything to go by. The prototype vehicle brings together ideas and technology from a range of companies to boast first-of-its-kind services and functionality including on-demand entertainment, infotainment, diagnostics, navigation and other mobile services made possible by connecting a vehicle to always-on, ultra-fast 4G/Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks.  Read More
Yuvraj Agarwal, the UC San Diego Research Scientist in the Department of Computer Science ...
A particularly troubling aspect of enterprise computer deployment is the need for end user machines to remain switched on day and night. Fully on mind you, not in low power sleep mode. Computer scientists from the University of California, San Diego have developed a software solution which allows PCs to remain on the network even when placed in sleep mode at the end of a working day. The software creates a virtual representation of the computer on the server to handle many of the common overnight tasks, only waking up the physical machine at pre-programmed commands or when it encounters something that it can't deal with itself.  Read More
Volkswagen's 1.4-liter TSI Twincharger
Volkswagen's 1.4-liter TSI Twincharger has taken out the International Engine of the Year Award for the second year running. The engine, which punches above its weight via the use of a combined turbocharger and supercharger, is only the third to take out the overall award in consecutive years (BMW in 05-06 with its 5-litre V10 and again in 07-08 with its 3-litre twin turbo). Other winners in the 2010 Awards included Fiat with its 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine (New Engine of the Year), Toyota with the 1.8-liter electric-motor-boosted hybrid from the Prius (Green Engine of the Year) and Mercedes-AMG with its 6.2-liter V8 engine (Best Performance Engine and Above 4-liter title). BMW also featured prominently picking up four gongs.  Read More
SunPower Corp. has achieved a world record solar cell efficiency of 24.2 percent
Although we’ve seen sunlight to electricity conversion efficiencies of over 40 percent with multi-junction solar cells in lab environments, most mass-produced cells can only boast a conversion rate of around 15 percent. Now SunPower Corp., a Silicon Valley-based manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels and solar power systems, has claimed a new world record solar cell efficiency of 24.2 percent.  Read More
The Harvard lung-on-a-chip
Utilizing human lung and blood vessel cells, researchers have created a device mounted on a microchip that mimics a living, breathing human lung. About the size of a rubber eraser, the device was developed by a team from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital Boston. Because it’s translucent, researchers can watch the processes taking place inside of it – kind of difficult to do with an actual lung. It will be used for testing the respiratory effects of environmental toxins, aerosolized therapeutics and new drugs. Using conventional models, such tests can cost over US$2 million.  Read More
Hut-Hut Kids: a rocking horse for the 21st century
I know parents who refuse to buy cheap, plastic toys for their children. They prefer products that are natural, eco-friendly and non-toxic. The Hut-Hut Kids rocking stool is all that and then some – it’s a solid-wood rocking horse made from FSC-certified wood and it’s not only functional, it stands alone as a beautifully designed piece of furniture.  Read More
The auxetic blast-proof curtain being put to the test
OK, so first of all, how can a fabric possibly get thicker when stretched? Doesn’t that go against the laws of physics? Not, it turns out, when that material is auxetic. Cat skin and shin bones also apparently possess this quality. The University of Exteter, in collaboration with their spin-off company Auxetix Ltd, have developed an auxetic blast-proof curtain. If a bomb were to go off near such a curtain, the pressure wave would stretch the fabric outwards, thus thickening it and making it better able to hold back flying glass and other debris. The curtain is intended to be fitted over windows of buildings that are terrorist targets, or that are subject to events such as hurricanes.  Read More
The flipSYNC offers a convenient way to always have an iPod, iPhone or mini USB sync cord ...
One definition of the word frustrating is realizing you don’t have the right cord for the right job when you need it most - whether it be for an iPod, iPhone or one of the multitude of mobile devices that connect via USB. Presenting a simple yet effective solution to that particular problem is the Scosche flipSYNC, a keychain USB and sync cable about the size of a car alarm remote control.  Read More
An uncomfortably-large image of a body louse (Photo: Frank Collins, Ph.D)
An international team of scientists has successfully sequenced the genome of that most majestic of creatures, the body louse. Like head lice, body lice attach themselves to human hosts and live off their blood. Unlike head lice, however, body lice can spread bacterial diseases. By understanding more about the creature, the team hopes to develop better methods of controlling it.  Read More
NCR's M16 MotoGP streetfighter: the most exclusive motorcycle on the planet?
Overkill. The word's origins are military in nature, describing a situation where one country has enough nuclear weapons to destroy significantly more of another nation that it would ever need to in order to win a war. But the term applies perfectly to today's sportsbike market, where any numpty with a license and a check book can waltz into a dealership and wobble out on a thoroughbred race machine that can break the speed limit at mid-revs in first gear and accelerate faster than any car on the road. Of course, for some people that's just not enough, bless their souls – but to create a vehicle that stands out from the pack in such a time of plenty, you have to take things to the absolute extreme. And it's a long time since we saw anything quite as extreme as the NCR M16, a bike that takes one of the most expensive roadbikes ever built, throws almost all of it in the bin and replaces it with the most exotic materials on the planet. Gentlemen, start your drooling.  Read More
Holo lilo is perfectly shaped for a baby bump
Many women find it difficult to lie on their stomach comfortably when their baby bump starts to expand - I have a beach-loving friend who dug holes in the sand to pop her pregnant tummy in. She would have loved the Holo – it’s an air mattress with a hole for your expanding stomach and you can use it to get comfy in the pool, at the beach, while watching television or when getting a well-deserved massage. Brilliant!  Read More
The Magnificent APEV electric Demoichelle
Despite the 10-15 knot winds cutting across the airfield at Le Bourget in Paris for the Green Air Show, visitors were treated to the wonderful sight of the electric Demoichelle in the air. The treasured creation of the Association for Promotion of Flying Ladders (APEV) the electric monoplane looks as though it was designed by the ghost of Alberto Santos-Dumont himself.  Read More
Bowlboard helps you to prepare food quickly and easily
Whether it be high-tech automation or just clever design, I love gadgets that make life in the kitchen easier. So you’ll understand why I’m enamored with the Bowlboard – it’s a clever take on the chopping board which will have you preparing food like a real professional in no time.  Read More
Lotus' Evora 414E Hybrid concept features the Range Extender Engine
Lotus Engineering has announced plans to develop its Range Extender Engine for series production. First shown at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Range Extender is a 1.2 liter, three-cylinder engine designed specifically for series hybrid vehicles.  Read More
The vending machine's smile-o-meter
Hand a child an ice cream you'll generally be rewarded with a beaming smile, but with this new interactive vending machine, it's the smile that gets rewarded – with a free ice cream. Created for Unilever, the world’s biggest ice cream manufacturer, the first ever smile-activated ice cream vending machine combines face-recognition technology to measure a person’s grin and take a photo that can be uploaded to Facebook thanks to the machine’s built-in 3G capability.  Read More
StatNet is a single-use EEG which contains electrodes precision aligned in a flexible head...
Traditional electroencephalography (EEG) is time-consuming to set up, must be administered by qualified technologists and relies on reusable electrodes which can leave patients vulnerable to infection. Massachusetts-based HydroDot is aiming to solve these issues and significantly improve the clinical process with StatNet – a flexible, single-use EEG headpiece that offers a simpler, safer, faster and more accurate way to measure electrical activity in the human brain.  Read More
Mice suffering retinitis pigmentosa have had their sight restored using gene therapy (Imag...
The classic nursery rhyme Three Blind Mice might need to be rewritten thanks to researchers from the Friedrich Miescher Institute (FMI) and the Institut de la Vision in Paris. Using gene therapy, the scientists have have restored sight in mice by repairing the function of cone photoreceptors made defective by a genetic eye condition.  Read More
Jump your way to better health and recharge your batteries at the same time with the E Rop...
When reporting on the BunBun human-powered flashlight back in March, Gizmag's Rick Martin mused on the potential for putting a similar charging mechanism into skipping rope handles... which is just what Kyung Guk Lee has done with this design concept. The e-rope lets you recharge your AA batteries while you skip your way to better health.  Read More
All systems go, the Scubster's first successful submersion
While Gizmag was at the Green Air Show in Paris, designer Minh-Lôc Truong and high flyer Stéphane Rousson showed us a new pedal-powered personal submarine they've been working on. The streamlined carbon fiber Scubster is currently being built in the south of France by Rousson and a team of University engineers to designs supplied by Truong. The first test run of the 13.78 x 7.87 x 4.92 feet yellow submarine will hopefully take place by the end of June in the Mediterranean waters off the coast of Nice.  Read More


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