Home Authors Posts by Silvia Pikal
The European Union is going to set aside €4.2 million ($6.2M USD) for a project known as myCopter. This is a Personal Aerial Vehicle (PAV) that would try to reduce the traffic congestion in major European cities. The flying car would be used at low altitudes to travel to and from work. As myCopter would be flying below 2000 feet, it wouldn’t bother other air traffic, and would be fully or partially autonomous so you wouldn’t need ground-based air traffic control. The project is being undertaken by a consortium that includes the Max Plank Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Germany.
Apple’s FaceTime video-calling service is exclusively for iPhone users, along with owners of the iPad 2 tablet and Mac computers. Google wants to join the video-calling club to compete with Apple, so Android users will be able to make free video calls using Skype.
D printers nowadays are pretty impressive. They can print off keys, bathing suits, jewelry, even glass bowls using sand. Where have a brilliant team of engineers from Oregon State University decided to take 3D printing? The researches claim to have managed to print solar cells using inkjet printing.
3D printers are getting better and better. They tend to use materials like resin or ABS plastic, but what if the printers used two widely available resources in the desert, like sun and sand? Markus Kayser, a MA student at the Royal College of Art, has done just that. The “Solar-Sinter” is powered by the sun via two photovoltaic panels, and it focuses the sun's rays to heat sand to its melting point so that it solidifies as glass when it cools. Then the fully automated device creates a glass object from a 3D computer design.
After a long day at work, it’s never fun waiting for the subway. On top of that, sometimes you still have to go grocery shopping for dinner. In South Korea, where almost 50 million people live in a country a bit bigger than Indiana, grocery shopping can be a huge pain in the butt.
To test out the coated sand, the researchers ran two model contaminants through it, including mercury at 400 parts per billion and Rhodamine B dye at 10 parts per million. The coarse sand's adsorption capacity of mercury was saturated within 10 minutes, and continued removing mercury for more than 50 minutes and resulted in filtered water with less than one part per billion.
What do you love? is a single search page from Google that utilizes Google’s online tools to deliver information about the stuff you love. The new website was quietly rolled out several days ago, but engineering issues kept it from being officially launched.
Some Youtuber decided to put his GoPro on the ground to tie his shoelaces or something, when a seagull ran towards him at that very moment and somehow managed to latch onto the camera and take off into the night sky. Conveniently, opica1983 had left the camera running, prepare for rooftops and two blocks of Cannes, France seagull style.
Some people claim that the next big thing in personal transport will be fully automatic, driverless cars. In May 2011, Danish architectural firm BIG proposed a driverless highway system where cars navigate the roads using robotic technology. The benefits of driverless cars, they claimed, were little or no accidents, as humans are responsible for close to 100 per cent of all traffic injuries. To further their point, they pointed out that airplanes operate smoothly on auto-pilot.
Finally, Batman is going green. Trading in his jet turbine powered Batmobile for an eco-friendly upgrade from UK designer Gordon Murray. Unfortunately, this pimped-out Batmobile won’t be in the upcoming Christopher Nolan film, The Dark Knight Rises. Though it would give a highlight to hydrogen fuel cell technology, Christian Bale won’t be driving it around the Gotham set. The car will be used in the Batman Live World Arena Tour, which is a broadway show featuring the Caped Crusader and all the DC supervillians that have it in for him. The show starts in the UK this summer.
Now imagine a vending machine that would automate your wedding! Who needs a priest and a church when a machine will do it for you, for way cheaper? Even if you go for a justice of the peace and a hall instead of a church, you’re still paying a good sum of money just to say “I do.”
Music lovers at UK’s Glastonbury Festival will have the chance to test out a t-shirt that can charge a cellphone. Orange announced a prototype called the “Sound Charge” that was produced in conjunction with renewable energy designers GotWind.
For folks who’ve been saving up to buy a Tesla Roadster, do it now. Tesla Motors will be taking Roadster orders for another two months, and then it’s stopping production of the EV so it can focus on creating the family-friendly Model S electric sedan. The Roadster was never intended to be a big seller, but the EV became a hit and proved that it’s possible for a car to be green and sexy.
And so it was done. The Israeli government pressured Apple to remove an Arabic-language app called "ThirdIntifada" from the App Store because it encourages a Palestinian uprising. In a letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Public Diplomacy Minister Yuli-Yoel Edelstein said the app passed on information about protests, some violent, planned against Israel.
re the density of a single cell. The researchers designed a tiny microfluidic chip that can measure the mass and density of single cells. The device weighs a cell using a suspended micro-channel resonator, which is the size of a human hair. The resonator vibrates at a certain frequency. When a cell passes through the resonator, the frequency changes by an amount proportional to the weight of the cell.
My desk is littered with post-it notes and scraps of paper that are scribbled with to-do lists, reminders and important dates. The original 8.5-inch Boogie Board LCD tablet, a digital replacement for note pads, appealed to my desire to quit wasting so much paper. If I could cut back on my tree consumption for only $30, I’d be pretty happy.
A Japanese company could have the solution for people stranded during a disaster who need to power up their cellphones and dial for help. Imagine a gadget that could charge a cellphone from a simple campfire. The Hatsuden-Nabe thermo-electric cookpot turns heat from boiling water into electricity.
It looks like Best Buy is releasing their own version of a cloud service to compete with Google’s Music Beta, Amazon’s Cloud Drive and Apple’s iCloud. While Best Buy hasn't officially announced Music Cloud, you can get a preview and sign up for the service on their website. Music Cloud lets you stream your music to multiple devices including computers, phones, and tablets. An enticing feature is that Best Buy’s service can save songs locally to devices that will come in handy when you’re without internet access.
Does it drive you crazy when your toddler wants to play with your iPad, distracting you from that important task? Does it get sticky fingers all over the place just after you polished the display? Maybe its into chucking things across the room into walls? Well, here you are; the low-tech barf-proof anaPad. Basically a magnetic whiteboard that mimics the iPad in design so you can do a switcheroo. Your kid can poke at the anaPad without you worrying about being out $100 for a smashed display. The anaPad will sell for a mere $30.
The popemobile is going green. The popemobile has long been pimped out with armour-plated panels and bulletproof glass. Now Mercedes-Benz is going to design a four-wheel drive M Class Mercedes with a hybrid electric-petrol motor to up the pope’s green cred.
When a conventional battery runs out, you can do one of two things; charge it or replace it. But what if you didn't have to do that anymore? What if that device was powered by the energy that you emit, your pulse. It's constant, if it wasn't, you wouldn't be worrying about the battery now would ya?
Those who can’t survive on the beach without their tunes might be interested in New York designer Andrew Schneider’s solar bikini. The bikini can charge a smartphone or media player while the wearer soaks up the sun. It’s now available for custom order on Solar Coterie. The bikini has 40 thin and flexible photovoltaic strips connected by conductive thread, which ends at a USB port. While it looks like it was patched together with a glue gun and a bunch of solar cells, the bikini will cost anywhere from US $500 to $1,500 and up.
The Chinese courts take intellectual property very seriously. Only in China would you get a jail sentence of over a year for leaking images of the back cover of the iPad 2. Shenzhen MacTop Electronics Co., an electronics-accessories manufacturer, wanted to start designing cases for the iPad 2 before its release. So the general manager, Xiao Chengsong, decided to offer about $3,000 USD plus discounts on MacTop products to a former Foxconn employee named Hou Pengna for inside information about the tablet. Foxconn makes the iPad 2 for Apple in its factories in China.
To counter such an attack, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are working on developing a shield that could be worn outside the patient’s body that would block unwanted hackers. When an authorized source like the patient’s doctor wants to adjust the pacemaker, the doctor would send encrypted instructions that would be authenticated and decoded by the shield, then sent along to the pacemaker. Signals from unauthorized devices would be blocked. Since it’s located outside the body, in the event of an emergency the shield could just be removed and disabled.
Google is one step closer to reading your mind. They revealed several new features for mobile yesterday that will make searching easier, faster and more predictive to the point it feels like they’re probing your brain.
How do you train a resident surgeon to remove an appendix? As much preparation they get in school, they can’t master how to remove an appendix until they’ve done it. The problem is that unlike the board game Operation, you’re dealing with real people who don’t have multiple lives. So how do you give residents hands-on practice when human lives are hanging in the balance? How do you get busy, experienced surgeons to take the time to teach them? How can surgeons watch and effectively evaluate a resident’s performance in the operation room, when tensions are high and a patient’s life is on the line? These are questions being considered by a surgical robotics team at Johns Hopkins University.
In the future, a panel of teenagers could be deciding which songs make the cut, instead of a group of middle-aged music executives. An Emory University study suggests that recording the brain activity of teens while they are listening to new songs may help predict the popularity of those songs.
Nissan messed up. Though naysayers hate on EVs because of low ranges, lack of refueling stations on every corner and expensive batteries, things looked promising for the all-electric Leaf. The EV has won several car awards, including the 2011 European Car of the Year and the 2011 World Car of the Year, and currently ranks as the most efficient EPA certified vehicle for all fuels ever. The EV has received praise from critics and was met with enthusiasm from consumers. But now Nissan has dropped customers from the waiting list for the car and asked them to reapply. This has angered customers who have been waiting for months for the car and have faced multiple delays.
This week Apple has updated its guidelines for approving apps. The guidelines targets apps that promote drunk driving, like the DUI Dodger app, which notifies you where checkpoints have been set up to catch drunk drivers. According to the new guidelines, apps that reveal DUI checkpoints that are not published by law enforcement agencies, or encourage and enable drunk driving, will be rejected.
Australian Chris Alloy has designed a hoverbike prototype right in his garage. The hoverbike hasn’t done much but hover while tethered to the ground, but Alloy is extremely optimistic that the bike will be able to travel at speeds of up to 173 mph at 10,000 feet. He’s set his sights pretty high. According to Malloy, the hoverbike could potentially travel even higher, but then users would have to carry oxygen.
Many people assume that the typical gamer is a socially awkward, pimply guy in his early 20s who wears the same stained sweatpants everyday and eats a box of Pop-Tarts for dinner. The gamer stereotype sits in his mom’s basement, feverishly playing World of Warcraft or Grand Theft Auto while cringing from any human contact. He refuses to leave his dungeon of doom except to use the bathroom or buy more videogames. Sounds like the gamers you see on tv, right?
You decided to do your part for the environment and buy a shiny new electrified Nissan Leaf. You’re cruising down the highway, amazed at how quiet the car is, then, something out of the ordinary happens. You run out of juice. Now what do you do without your 200 Amp, 240 Volt charging station near by?
Evatran, the company that claims to have developed the world’s first wireless EV charging system, has partnered with Yazaki North America, a Tier 1 automotive supplier to commercialize their Plugless Power technology. Back in March, Google tested out the plugless chargers at the Googleplex in California for their short-range EVs that employees use to get around campus. The EVs had to be refitted to use the plugless chargers, and any EVs that qualify for the technology would have to be refitted.
A Belgian “solar tunnel” that will power a high speed rail has been completed by Belgian rail operator Infrabel and renewable energy developer Enfinity. The two-mile-long rail tunnel, built to shelter trains from falling trees, will be topped with 16,000 solar panels. The solar tunnel will power the high-speed rail, which runs from Paris to Amsterdam.
Pixel Qi, an American company that designs low-power laptop screens, showcased a tablet powered by a small solar panel at Computex Taipei 2011 in Taiwan this week. The panel generates 1W of energy, which is enough to power both the screen and the motherboard on a low-power tablet specially designed by Pixel Qi.
Back in May 2011, Best Buy announced they would be shutting down sales of their electric scooters in 27 markets due to lackluster sales. Spokesperson Kelly Groehler told BNET that there's a huge barrier with consumers about how they'll charge the vehicles. She also dismissed rumours of Best Buy planning on releasing an EV, saying they’re not making any commitments.
The dangers of cellphone radiation have been a hot topic lately, particularly after the World Health Organization gave the sobering announcement that cellphone radiation could possibly increase the risk of brain cancer. Additionally, research came out that suggested cellphones are responsible for killing off bees. They aren’t getting a good rep right now. While I was scared for a few minutes and considered ditching my Blackberry and running into the woods to live in a shack, I realized I love convenience too much. They're not going to turn nearby cell tower squirrels into radioactive freaks just yet, but there is some concern. So instead, here are some ways to keep your brain, and other body parts, safe from potentially hazardous cellphone radiation.
If you build it, they will come. That sentiment seems to sum up German car manufacturer Daimler’s thinking, as they are pairing with technology company The Linde Group to add 20 hydrogen filling stations in Germany. There are currently about 30 hydrogen refueling points in Germany, but only seven of them are integrated into a public filling station facility.
By combining the traditional, stationary electrodes of a lithium-ion battery with the suspension idea of a liquid flow battery, the team makes it possible to refuel an EV without having to recharge the battery within its own structure. A refillable liquid-flow battery would be less expensive than traditional lithium ion batteries, and could help bring down the cost of electric vehicles.
FaceNiff is an Android app that can be used to hijack sessions on public or private Wi-Fi networks without the need for a computer. It can hack Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Amazon and Nasza-Klasa (a Polish social network), and more services are coming soon. Thankfully, the app only works on very certain handsets and requires jailbreaking, so it's not going to fall into the hands of too many mischievous Android operators; at least, not yet.
BodyGuard is a wearable, hands-free weapon that is equipped with a stunner, high-definition video camera, laser pointer and flashlight. The intent is to prevent violent situations by threatening aggressors with 300,000 volts of electricity.
Asus has unveiled a fourth tablet at Computex 2011 to go alongside the recently announced PadFone. The Eee Pad MeMO 3D runs Android Honeycomb, has a 7" multi-touch screen and is powered by a Qualcomm 1.2 GHz dual core processor with 1GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage.
Today Sony Ericsson announced that they're going to deliver more than 20 new games to the Xperia PLAY, including 10 exclusive titles optimized for the device itself which everyone else without the Xperia can gawk over. The new games will add to the more than 60 titles already available for Xperia PLAY, which of course will be showcased at the E3 games expo from June 7-9.
At least two-thirds of gasoline energy used in cars and trucks is wasted as heat. Thermoelectric devices integrated into a car’s exhaust system could potentially capture the lost heat and use it to produce electricity for the vehicle. This could reduce the fuel needs of the vehicle and make it more efficient.
Here is a scenario you might be familiar with: it’s a beautiful sunny day and your kid is trying to kick his first soccer ball around the yard. They're laughing and having heaps of fun, but as soon as you decide it would be the perfect time to take a picture, they're not interested. So how can you possibly grab the kid’s attention?
While many people consider things like video games, digital cameras, GPS and browsing pages and pages of Google results are a must for a mobile phone, there are others who just want to make a call, as simple and directly as possible. Obviously we're talking about the elderly here, they usually aren’t concerned with being able to go on Facebook, download apps and twitpic self-portraits; although we have seen our share of savvy old timers.
And why not? Asus is is set to release their own re-engineered iteration of the Motorola Atrix 4G dock, riping out the keyboard making a dockable smartphone slate, we have the PadFone. This is a new generation of devices to hit the streets and all they are is just a shell without the guts and brains. Slide your smartphone into the PadFone, and you have just made buying a computer more efficient. Rather than two massively destructive impacts on the earth, you have just one marginally less destructive.
The SwiftKey app for Android is supposed to be intelligent. It gradually learns your typing habits and your favourite words to help speed up your typing, then gives you a predictive text experience that is more personalized than that lousy autocorrect. The keyboard picks up all the special and uncommon words you frequently use and stores them in a library, then offers them up as word suggestions the next time you begin to spell the word.