Author: Silvia Pikal

Space
This schematic shows high-capacity magnesium nanocrystals encapsulated in a gas-barrier polymer matrix to create a new and revolutionary hydrogen storage composite material. Credit: Image from Jeff Urban
Researchers Find New Composite Material for Storing Hydrogen

Compared to gasoline, hydrogen is lightweight, has a higher energy density and has a variety of potential sources, like biomass. It sounds great, but there are a few drawbacks. Hydrogen-air mixtures can ignite with very low energy input. If air and hydrogen were to mix in an enclosed space, like a parking lot, a hydrogen leak could easily lead to an explosion if a flame was sparked. Due to hydrogen’s low energy ignition, hydrogen must be safely and densely stored.

Gas Guzzler
plugshare-icon
Free App Finds EV Charging Stations For Users

PlugShare is an app that lets electric vehicle users find potential fill-up spots. The app gives the addresses of not only public charging stations but also the private garages of other users. PlugShare was released by Xatori, a company that creates software for electric vehicles.

3D Printing
fake-3d-glasses-free
Glasses-Free 3D Fake

While we suspected the video of French director François Vogel having eyelid spasms while testing out a glasses-free 3D technology was a hoax, I asked an optometrist to tell me how much legitimacy the video had and here is what Jean-Marie Hanssens, who uses 3D to test binocular vision, had to say; “Blinking as fast as in the web video can generate various eye problems such as dry eye, corneal and lid irritations, lid spasms.”

Android
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Fetus-Like Mobile Phone Is Creepy As Hell

A professor at Osaka University came up with a creepy human-shaped phone that tickles you when it rings. The phone looks like a cross between Casper the friendly ghost and the freaky mutant things in Silent Hill. You talk into the phone’s stomach and it speaks back to you, playing the voice of the person on the other line through its face.

Health care
Drzal peers through a model of a carbon molecule. Photo by G.L. Kohuth.
Nanotechnology In Food Could Be Bad For Your Health

In October 2010 the National Organic Standards Board recommended that engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) be banned from food that carries the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Organic label. Health concerns raised by researchers, environmental agencies and regular citizens prompted the recommendation.

Health care
WOLFE ISLAND, Ont. (12/11/2010) - Eleven of Wolfe Island's 86 windmills loom behind Keith Walton, who takes a break from plowing his field in the early evening hours of Friday, Nov. 12, 2010. Walton supports the local wind farms, the second largest turbine project in Canada. Although the wind farms have been controversial, the TransAlta project has brought a sizable amount of money to the community and has been embraced by most Wolfe Islanders. Photo by Galit Rodan.
Wind Turbines – Bad For Your Health?

A group of Ontario residents who live near wind turbines claim the turbines have caused health problems. The group spoke up against the Ontario government’s decision to give energy giant Suncor a licence to build an eight-turbine wind power project in the city of Chatham-Kent, Ontario. The group of Chatham-Kent citizens filed an appeal to Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal. This marks Canada’s first hearings examining the health effects of wind turbines.

BIKES
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Bike Purifies Water While You Pedal

Japanese company Nippon Basic has developed a bicycle that allows you to purify drinking water by pedaling. The bike has a kinetic water purification unit attached to the rear seat. With four different filters on board – one to pre-treat the water, and another three to purify it, you can be drinking 6 liters of purified drinking water in about a minute; three times the amount of daily drinking water for a single person.

cars
mindcontrol-eeg-sensors
German Researchers Use Mind Control To Drive Car

AutoNOMOS Labs in Germany have developed a system that allows someone to drive a car using their mind. The system uses censors to measure the brain’s electromagnetic signals. The measurements are interpreted as patterns by a computer. The driver puts on a sensor cap and trains the computer to recognize their brain patterns.

Social Media
freeinternet-ftw
Free Internet FTW

There are about 5 billion people in the world who don’t have internet access. Charity group A Human Right believes that access to information is a fundamental human right – and wants to offer free internet to everyone by buying a satellite.

CAMERA
3rdi-headshot
Man’s Camera Implant Rejected

A New York University arts professor who got a digital camera implanted into the back of his head late last year is experiencing difficulties. Wafaa Bilal’s body has rejected part of the camera.

Technology
agave
The Biofuel Race – First Algae, Now Tequila

The world’s population continues to grow at a quarter of a million people per day, resulting in the need for more and more energy. With our dwindling oil supply and increasing demand for energy, experts are turning to biofuels as an alternative to fossil fuels. First generation biofuels Wheat, corn, soy and sugar cane can all […]

sprint
cellphone-waste
16,000 mobile phones thrown out every hour – Sprint wants you to recycle

The average mobile phone will work for about seven years, but worldwide the average consumer gets a new phone every 11 months. According to Sprint, Americans discard 16,000 mobile phones every hour. Over 90 per cent of materials in mobile phones can be recovered such as nickel, cadmium, cobalt, gold, silver, copper, plastics and other metals. These materials can be used in jewelry, electronics and car parts.

Space
solar-wind-bridge
Cool bridge made of 27 wind turbines

Whoever thinks wind turbines are ugly hasn’t seen this bridge. The Solar Wind design placed second in an international online competition held by the website New Italian Blood. The point of the contest was to design an environmentally-friendly bridge that crosses the Italian municipalities of Scilla and Bagnara.

Science & Tech
rooftop-greenhouse-2
Hydroponics firm targets supermarkets for rooftop greenhouses

I’ve eaten tomatoes in the Mediterranean grown without pesticides that were bigger than my fist, and that were so sweet, so juicy and ripe, you could eat them like apples. My current tomato reality includes scrounging supermarkets back in North America, looking for ones that might resemble the glorious tomatoes of Europe. Without luck, I bite into tomato after tomato, tasting nothing but plastic and wax.

3D Printing
glassesfree3d-slider
Glasses-free 3D safe, unless you’re using Jonathan Post’s prototype

One of the big drawbacks surrounding 3DTVs are the active shutter glasses that must be worn for 3D viewing, running up to $200 per pair. A glasses-free 3DTV technology has begun circulating the internet in a video hosted at JonathanPost.com, who we don’t know much about. The experiment was Conducted by Luis Carone and managed by Daniel Dias, in it is French director François Vogel.

CAMERA
eyecam_2
Eye camera beats out human eye with 3.5x optical zoom

Researchers from Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a camera based on the human eye. The researchers boast of the eye camera’s superiority over human eyes – it can zoom. While it only has a 3.5x optical zoom, the researchers said a higher zoom will come as the technology advances.

ROBOTS
ghostbot-th
Researchers create Ghostbot fish that can swim in all directions

Researchers at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science have made a robotic fish that can swim in all directions. The robot, nicknamed Ghostbot, was inspired by the Black Ghost Knifefish that lives in the Amazon basin; a nocturnal fish that has poor eyesight and relies on a weak electric field to hunt for food. It can move both vertically and horizontally using either one or two waves alongside its single long fin.

virtual reality
virtual-classroom
Computers replace teachers in Florida

Over 7,000 students in Miami-Dade County Public Schools are enrolled in virtual classrooms, or e-learning labs. Core subjects are taken on computers, and instead of a teacher, there is a “facilitator” in the room who makes sure the students are actually doing their work. The facilitator also gives tech help.

Mobile Apps
nikeplus-icon
Nike+ GPS app lets you play tag

The Nike+ GPS app tracks your speed and distance, maps your runs, and allows your friends on facebook and twitter to view your progress. It costs $1.99 on itunes and just got a fun new update; you can now play tag with other runners. You challenge someone with time or distance nearby. Whoever runs the […]

CAMERA
liquidpiston
Liquid pistons could revolutionize camera phones and lenses

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed liquid pistons which could potentially be used in camera phones and lenses. The liquid piston contains two drops of ferrofluid, which is basically a magnetic liquid, and each drop sits in a hole on a substrate about the size of a piece of chewing gum.

Celebrities
obama-orwell
Obama wants internet IDs for all Americans

President Obama is giving the U.S. Commerce Department the responsibility of heading an internet ID program for Americans. The U.S. government wants the public to be able to have a single digital identity that can be used for multiple websites. According to the U.S. government, it will eliminate the need for multiple different passwords. 
The Obama administration is drafting a program called the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace that includes details on the internet ID, which should be released by Obama in the next few months.

Technology
N270DC_First_Flight
Electric-powered Waiex aircraft took first flight

The electric-powered Waiex aircraft achieved its first flight on December 3, 2010 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The aircraft made a short hop on the runway and was in the air for about 15 seconds. The aircraft is a result of a four-year project and part of Sonex Aircraft, LLC’s E-Flight Initiative.

honda
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Honda to start leasing electric scooter

Honda will start leasing its EV-neo Electric Scooter on Friday, December 24, 2010 to select businesses in Japan. They are leasing 100 scooters as part of a government-backed program to collect data about the scooters. The EV-neo can go for 34 km before needing to be recharged, which Honda measured at a constant speed of 30 km/h on a level road. The scooter is being marketed for delivery services.

BIKES
igreen-charger-1
i-Green concept charges devices as you ride your bike

Chinese designer Fandi Meng has created the i-Green, a charger you can attach to your bike and use to charge any portable device. It uses the kinetic energy from the motion of the bike wheels and turns it into electricity, giving your dying cellphone or mp3 player a boost while you pedal down the street.