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— Home Entertainment

Mazel tov! Birth of DirectStream Junior DAC announced

Back in 2014, to much appreciative applause from industry pundits and the audiophile community alike, the DirectStream DAC was released. The digital-to-analog converter takes any digital input format and converts it to Direct Stream Digital for output that's touted as being "near-perfect analog." At just under US$6,000, however, it's eye-wateringly expensive. Maker Colorado's PS Audio has spent the last two years looking into delivering similar performance in a cheaper package. This quest has led to the development of the DirectStream Junior.

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— Science

Lensless imaging achieved using "optical brush"

In the quest for imaging systems that are very small and flexible, yet don't require elaborate protective cases, a team of researchers at MIT Media Lab have scaled things down with a lensless imaging device called a "optical brush." The device uses a loose bundle of optical fibers to produce images that could lead to more compact and robust ways to study oil fields and build smaller endoscopes.

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— Around The Home Review

Review: Coming clean on the Neato Robotics Botvac D80 robot vacuum

It seems that each week brings exciting news from the world of robotics. From solving Rubik's Cubes to maritime swarming and filling potholes, modern robots can do some pretty incredible things. But if you're looking for robotic assistance around the home, there are quite a few designed to keep the floors clean to choose from. We spent the past few weeks letting the Botvac D80 do most all of the vacuuming work for us, just from programming a simple schedule.

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— Urban Transport

High-end Zeitgeist City electric bike targets "active affluents"

In the surprisingly wide world of electric bicycles, there's a lot of blurring of the lines between dirt and road bikes, psuedo-motorcycles and mopeds. Seattle-based Zeitgeist Inc. isn't doing anything to sharpen the lines with its Zeitgeist City e-bike. Despite the city moniker and being targeted primarily at affluent urbanites, the company says the luxury bike can handle on- and off-road conditions.

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— Drones

DARPA's fully-loaded quadcopter autonomously navigates an indoor maze at 45 mph

DARPA recently flew a fully-laden quadcopter through an indoor obstacle course at 45 mph (32 km/h) as part of the agency's Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) program. The test flight was conducted entirely under autonomous control with the goal of developing small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) with the ability to navigate through tight spaces without the need for outside control or GPS.

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— Marine

Arrows iRig One makes windsurfing inflatable

With the introduction of products like a self-inflating electric board and paddleboard-tent, the inflatable stand-up paddleboard (SUP) market has seen its fair share of innovation. Now the inflatable SUP accessories market is getting some serious innovation of its own. Two German companies have teamed up to create an inflatable windsurfing set-up called the Arrows iRig One. This all-in-one board sail packs small and light, inflates quickly and puts the power of weather into your board.

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— Automotive

Mercedes turns the Sprinter into a mean, green Extreme dump truck

A few weeks ago, we looked at one of the cooler uses of a Mercedes Sprinter chassis in the Hymer Van S. As it happens, Mercedes has some pretty cool ideas of its own. Billed as the "ultimate work machine," the Sprinter Extreme Concept boasts serious hauling capabilities and a bright neon paint job. Whereas something like the Brabus Business Lounge is the ultimate Sprinter for white collars, the Extreme might just be the ultimate Sprinter for blue collars.

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— Drones

Which came first, the drone or the PowerEgg?

Conventional drones are often billed as portable, though they're also often a collection of rods, rotors, and other bits and pieces that are perfect for catching on things and getting tangled. To make taking drones into the backcountry a bit less onerous, Beijing-based Powervision Robot has taken the gubbins of a quadcopter and built them into a giant PowerEgg that folds up into one smooth package shaped like a cackleberry for transport.

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— Science

Tech can tell if you're in love

As Valentine's Day fast approaches, many people in the thralls of a new relationship may find themselves wondering, "Does he/she really love me?". Well, if those people have access to a thermal imaging camera, they may just get their answer – at least, so a group of researchers at the University of Granada tells us.

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