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Ben Coxworth

A blind test subject prepares to try out the wayfindr system (Photo: RLSB)

Even more so than their sighted counterparts, blind people rely heavily on public transport. In a survey of blind youth conducted by the Royal London Society for Blind People (RLSB), however, about half of the participants stated that they were uncomfortable using the London Underground. With that in mind, the RLSB's Youth Forum partnered with the ustwo design firm to create a prototype system known as wayfindr. It uses a combination of Bluetooth beacons, an app, and bone conduction headphones to guide users through the subway system.  Read More

Lyman Connor works on his bionic hand

It seems like hardly a month goes by without news reaching us of advances in the field of bionic hands. Unfortunately, however, these high-tech prostheses can be very costly to purchase, with prices ranging into the tens of thousands of dollars. This puts them out of reach of a large number of people, such as a boy that General Electric engineer Lyman Connor met last year. Connor proceeded to design and build a low-cost bionic hand in his home workshop, which he now hopes to make available to amputees-on-a-budget .... plus he hopes to get one to the boy, if only he can locate him.  Read More

Tallac Design's Vier lock

There's little doubt that bicycle thieves are deterred more by U-locks than by cable locks. The form factor of U-locks, however, can make them awkward to transport. That's why California cyclists Allen and Paige Young have created the Vier lock. It's designed to offer the security of a U, but it disassembles into a package "the size of a burrito" when not in use.  Read More

An original photo of a paper crane (left) and an artificially-rotated version of it

Many people are already annoyed when characters on TV cop shows "zoom in and enhance" on a photo, to reveal a level of detail that could never really have been captured by the camera. Thanks to software developed at Carnegie Mellon University, however, it's now possible to actually turn objects in a photo around ... seemingly revealing sides of them that were facing away from the camera when the picture was taken.  Read More

The ProGo folds for transport and storage

When it comes to eco-friendly forms of powered transportation, we generally tend to think of electric vehicles. Many people are still bothered by their limited range, however, along with the fact that it takes them a long time to recharge. That's why Los Angeles-based ProGo Recreation is taking another approach with its ProGo 3000 scooter – the thing runs on propane.  Read More

The WristBow Mk II stores multiple carbon fiber darts in its ammo clip, which drop into pl...

When we last heard from German cyberpunk weapons hobbyist Patrick Priebe, he'd made a set of X-Men-inspired goggles that incorporated burning lasers. Some time before that, however, he showed us a wrist-mounted, laser-sighted crossbow that he'd created. Now, he's just completed a new-and-improved "semi-automatic" take on that crossbow.  Read More

A lab mouse body, one week after after the start of the PARS process – the arrow in the mi...

Ordinarily, when scientists want to see specific cells within a piece of biological tissue, they first have to remove that tissue from the body, slice it very thin, then examine those two-dimensional slices using a microscope. Imagine, though, if the tissue could be made transparent – seeing tagged cells within it would be sort of like looking at three-dimensional bubbles inside an ice cube. Well, that's just what a team at Caltech have done using a technique known as PARS, or perfusion-assisted agent release in situ.  Read More

Batteries for EVs like this Tesla Model S could be getting cheaper and more plentiful, onc...

If electric vehicles are to ultimately become as popular as Tesla hopes they will, then a whole lot of cost-effective batteries are going to be needed. That's why earlier this year, the automaker proposed a "Gigafactory" where it could crank out huge quantities of batteries. By making so many, it could drive down the price per battery via economy of scale. Yesterday, the company announced that it and Panasonic had signed an agreement to build that factory.  Read More

iPipet is an iPad app that uses glowing dots to guide lab techs as they're pipetting

If you've ever worked in a laboratory, or even if you've just seen them on TV, then you're probably familiar with the important but monotonous task of pipetting. To make it easier and less prone to errors, a team at the MIT-affiliated Whitehead Institute has created iPipet, an app that allows an iPad to visually guide "pipetters" in their work.  Read More

A GoRigIt prototype in use

Despite the ever-increasing popularity of the GoPro Hero actioncam, there's still not even one model of the darn thing that has a viewfinder. Users can buy a $70 add-on LCD screen, although if they're using a newer Hero, they can also just utilize its Wi-Fi connectivity to view the camera's output on their existing smartphone. The GoRigIt case makes it easier to take this approach, but joining the phone to the GoPro.  Read More

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