Photokina 2014 highlights

Ben Coxworth

Jeremy Nussbaumer with the DrinkPure filter

It's no secret that hundreds of millions of people around the world have little or no access to drinkable water. While a number of projects are aimed at getting filtration systems to those people, many of those systems require electricity, contain costly materials such as silver, or treat the water at a slow rate. The low-cost DrinkPure filter, by contrast, is simply screwed onto the top of an existing bottle, and can purify approximately one liter (34 fl oz) of water per minute.  Read More

The CaseCam features a camera lens mirror that folds away when not needed

Ah yes, it's a problem for the ages. You want to be in a photo taken with your own unmanned smartphone, but you have no way of propping the phone up, or seeing what the shot looks like. Well, the CaseCam is designed to help. It allows a phone laid down on a flat surface to see what's in front of it, plus the accompanying app lets you see what it's seeing.  Read More

An illustration of an air waveguide, with the four laser-produced 'holes' (orange) and the...

Efficient as fiber optic cables are at transmitting data in the form of light pulses, they do need to be physically supported, and they can only handle a finite amount of power. Still, what's the alternative ... just send those focused pulses through the air? Actually, that's just what scientists at the University of Maryland have already demonstrated in their lab.  Read More

CycleAT is designed for use on both motorcycles and bicycles

Although tire pressure monitoring systems are becoming increasingly common on four-wheeled vehicles, they're still quite the rarity on two-wheelers. RDV Labs, however, wants to change that. The San Francisco-based startup's CycleAT system is designed to continuously monitor the air pressure in motorcycle and bicycle tires, relaying that information to the rider's smartphone in real time.  Read More

Booze Joulies, once frozen, are claimed to be 'colder than ice' If the only beer that you have on hand is tepid, you may be tempted to pour yourself a glass and throw in some ice cubes. As any connoisseur will tell you, though, ice cubes in beer is a definite no-no – as the ice melts, it dilutes the drink. That's where Booze Joulies come into play.  Read More

Ormia ochracea has excellent hearing, and is hated by crickets everywhere  (Photo: Jpaur)

When it comes to animals with good hearing, flies might not be the first one you'd think of. The Ormia ochracea fly, however, has a unique hearing mechanism that allows it to precisely determine the location of a cricket based on its chirps ... it then deposits its larvae on the cricket, which ultimately consume the poor insect. Scientists at the University of Texas Austin have now duplicated that mechanism, with hopes that it could find use in applications such as next-generation hearing aids.  Read More

Waste like this should meet all of a UK grocery store's electrical needs (Photo: Shutterst...

It's an unfortunate fact that every day around the world, supermarkets throw out tons of food that has spoiled before it could be purchased. While it would be best if that spoilage could be avoided in the first place, British grocery chain Sainsbury's is taking what might be the next-best approach – it's about to start using that unsellable food to power one of its stores.  Read More

The work-loop assay, with its heart tissue visible at center

When scientists want to find out how a new medication will affect the cardiovascular system, the traditional way of doing so is via animal or human trials. This takes time, can be potentially harmful to the test subjects, and doesn't always deliver conclusive results. Thanks to a device created at Coventry University in the UK, however, the testing process may soon be quicker, safer and more reliable.  Read More

The Stique Multilever ML123

Cycling multi-tools are sort of like smartphone cases, in that there seems to be no end to the innovations that are possible. One that recently caught our eye was the Nutter, which consists of a tire lever that does double duty as ... well, as a bunch of things. Many people prefer to use a couple of smaller levers as opposed to one big one, however. Those people might be interested in the Stique Multilever ML123.  Read More

Working on HARKEN in the lab – the finished version wouldn't include the extra chest strap...

It was just last week that we heard about how researchers from Nottingham Trent University are looking at embedding heart rate sensors in car seats, to detect when drivers are nodding off. Well, it turns out that they're not the only ones. A consortium of European companies and institutes is developing a similar system known as HARKEN, which uses seat-located sensors to monitor both the driver's heart rate and their rate of respiration.  Read More

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