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Ben Coxworth

The One digital stethoscope

Not unlike the fire hydrant, the humble stethoscope is a device that has remained mostly unchanged for quite a long time. Colorado-based Thinklabs Medical, however, is out to change that. The company recently announced its One digital stethoscope, that can electronically amplify chest sounds by over 100x, and analyze that audio via a smartphone app.  Read More

The HorseFly octocopter could charge its battery and pick up packages from a mobile delive...

When Amazon announced its plan to use drones for home deliveries, a lot of people were quick to point out the huge logistical challenges involved. Among those is the fact that a multicopter's limited battery range would make it rather difficult for just one or two Amazon warehouses to serve an entire city. A team from the University of Cincinnati and AMP Electric Vehicles, however, may have a solution. They've created an octocopter that could make short flights from a traveling delivery van, using that van as a mobile charging station and package depot.  Read More

A squiggly line like this may be more secure than your PIN

Many of us now use our mobile devices for things like online banking, in crowded public places ... the sort of places where it would be easy for sometime to sneak a peek as we enter our passcodes. Researchers from New Jersey's Rutgers University, however, are working on a possible alternative to those typed codes. They've discovered that passwords consisting of hand gestures used to draw free-form lines on a smartphone or tablet screen are much more difficult for "shoulder surfers" to copy after seeing.  Read More

Nito maps and tracks the user's face, to create an avatar that matches their voice and mov...

Have you ever wished you were an alien or a shark? Well, sorry, but you're never going to get to be one. The free Nito app, however, does let you appear as those characters or others, in recorded 15-second videos. It tracks your facial features and movements as you talk, and reproduces them in real time via an animated avatar of your choice.  Read More

The ParentGuardian system combines a stress-monitoring sensor and an app that delivers rea...

It can be hard enough for parents to maintain a cool head when dealing with an angry child at the best of times, but things can get much more difficult when that child has ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). That's why scientists at Microsoft Research and the University of California, San Diego have created ParentGuardian. It combines a wrist-worn sensor and an app, to monitor parents' stress levels and deliver real-time coping strategies.  Read More

The Runbell is designed to let runners alert walkers to their presence, without having to ... Although some urban cyclists may think that bike bells are fussy and unnecessary, those of us who use them will tell you that they're much easier and less confrontational than yelling "On your left!" at pedestrians. Well, the Runbell is designed to let runners in on the bell action.  Read More

The autonomous Land Tamer vehicle, which will be dropped off to explore a rugged area by a...

This April, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp and the US Army used a one-of-a-kind autonomous Black Hawk helicopter to perform an unmanned cargo flight demonstration. Known as the Optionally Piloted Black Hawk (OPBH) Demonstrator, that same chopper has now been enlisted to take the autonomy concept even further. In the new Extended Operational Reach with Autonomous Air and Ground Vehicles project, it will deliver an all-terrain vehicle to a remote site, and that vehicle will then autonomously explore the site from ground level.  Read More

A MagnetoSperm in action

When it comes to moving simply but effectively through a liquid medium, few things are as good as sperm. This fact isn't lost on scientists, who have built tiny sperm-like robots (or even used "hijacked" sperm) in efforts to create new methods of targeted drug delivery, among other potential applications. The latest such endeavor has resulted in a batch of microrobots known as MagnetoSperm.  Read More

Scientists have used lasers to gauge the alcohol vapor content of the air in moving cars  ...

It used to be that the only way you could get a speeding ticket was if a police officer personally witnessed your overly-fast driving. Then photo radar came along. Well, when it comes to drunk driving, lasers could soon be the equivalent of photo radar. Polish researchers at the Military University of Technology in Warsaw have demonstrated how the high-intensity beams of light can be used to detect the presence of alcohol – even exhaled alcohol – in passing vehicles.  Read More

A demonstration of the ultrasonic tweezers (Photo: University of Southampton)

Although it's now possible to create lab-grown cartilage, there's still at least one big challenge in doing so – cartilage grown in a flat Petri dish may not be optimally-shaped for replacing the body's own natural cartilage parts. Scientists from a consortium of UK universities, however, are developing a possible solution. They're using "ultrasonic tweezers" to grow cartilage in mid-air.  Read More

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