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Ben Coxworth

Materials

Paper waste converted into eco-friendly aerogel

Known as "frozen smoke" because of their milky translucent appearance, aerogels are among the world's lightest solid materials. Consisting of 99.8 percent air, they're highly heat-resistant and are an excellent form of insulation. Now, scientists at the National University of Singapore (NUS) have used paper waste to create one.Read More

Robotics

suitX announces "world's most affordable" powered exoskeleton – the Phoenix

When it comes to the price of most products, US$40,000 is pretty high. In the case of powered exoskeletons, however, it's cheap – at least half the typical price. Nonetheless, that's approximately what suitX's Phoenix modular exoskeleton should sell for, bringing the technology to a whole new income class. And at 27 lb (12.25 kg), it's also one of the lightest models ever made.Read More

Good Thinking

Audio-monitoring tech keeps announcements audible

Messages announced over train station loudspeakers are notorious for being unintelligible. It can also be difficult to understand announcements made in airports, at conferences, or in any number of other busy public spaces. Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology is trying to do something about it, however. It's developed new audio-enhancement software, which might even find use in smartphones.Read More

Bicycles

Robotic welding arm used to 3D print a stainless steel bike

Although they're still far from being common, 3D-printed metal bicycle frames do now exist. Usually they're made using a sintering process, in which a laser is utilized to selectively melt steel powder, building it up in successive layers. Now, however, a team of students at the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in the Netherlands has taken another approach – they've created the world's first stainless steel bike made via a welding-based 3D-printing technique.Read More

Telecommunications

Microsoft's undersea data center uses the ocean to keep its cool

Although many people may think that cloud computing exists purely in cyberspace, it does in fact have a physical home – data centers located around the world, each one full of linked servers. These data centers use a lot of power, they create a lot of heat, and it helps if they're close to populated areas. While we've already seen some creative approaches to meeting these needs, Microsoft recently announced that it's tried something else yet … it anchored an unmanned data center to the bottom of the sea.Read More

Marine

DEDAVE may be the autonomous underwater vehicle for everyone else

The Ford Model T wasn't the first car to ever be commercially available, but it was one of the very first to be mass-produced. This meant that its price could be kept relatively low, allowing for purchase by people who would otherwise have never been able to afford an automobile. Well, the DEDAVE could be to autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) what the Model T was to cars. Created by Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation, it's claimed to be "the world's first autonomous underwater vehicle to be developed from the outset with a view to series production."Read More

Outdoors

Fuel cell lantern ditches batteries for salt water

For many people, camping/emergency lanterns are one of those things that may sit for months without being used, only to have dead batteries when they're finally needed again. While solar-powered lanterns are one alternative, they do still need to sit in the sunlight for a few hours in order to charge. That's where Hydra-Light's PL-500 comes in. It's a fuel cell-powered lantern that's ready to shine as soon as it receives some salt water.Read More

Bicycles Review

Review: MagLOCK magnetic pedals should attract a certain crowd

Many mountain bikers swear by the pedalling efficiency of so-called clipless pedals, in which a steel cleat on the bottom of each shoe engages a spring-loaded mechanism in the pedal. Some other riders, however, just don't like the idea of being "snapped in" like that. It was with this in mind that cyclist Dave Williams created MagLOCK pedals. They're non-threatening platform pedals, that keep the user's feet in place using magnets instead of mechanisms. We recently had a chance to try them out, and generally liked what they had to offer.Read More

Wearables

Proximity Hat presses users' heads to guide them

We've already seen a number of systems designed to alert blind users to objects in their path, and most of those systems use cues such as audio tones or vibrations. A scientist at Germany's Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, however, has taken another approach. Florian Braun's "Proximity Hat" applies pressure to the wearer's head, in the direction of the obstacle.Read More

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