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Ben Coxworth

The BKON Craft Brewer – coming soon to a tea room near you?

As any serious tea-drinker knows, there's only a small window of time in which brewed tea is at its best. Pour it too soon, and it will be weak. Wait too long, and it will be bitter. The BKON company, however, is aiming to change that. Its BKON Craft Brewer is designed to produce perfectly-brewed cups of tea on demand, within one minute.  Read More

The 2Play's twin hulls are able to move up and down relative to the deck

Water may seem soft enough when you're in a bathtub full of the stuff, but as anyone who has smacked across the waves in a speeding motorboat knows, it can also be relatively hard and unyielding. With that in mind, one has to wonder ... why don't we hear more about suspension systems for watercraft? Well, if the folks at Australia's Nauti-Craft have anything to say about it, we soon will. Their prototype 2Play catamaran incorporates an interlinked hydraulic suspension, that isolates the deck from the two hulls.  Read More

The tiny imperfections in each smartphone's sensors leave a unique fingerprint in its shar...

Security-conscious smartphone users may decline apps' requests to "use your current location," but according to research conducted at the University of Illinois, doing so still doesn't mean that those users can't be tracked. This is because each phone's sensors – such as the accelerometer – have a unique "fingerprint." By identifying that fingerprint in sensor data sent from the phone, third parties could at the very least keep track of what the user is doing at what time.  Read More

The SCiO Pocket Molecular Sensor

Wondering how nutritious that food is, if that plant needs water, or just what that misplaced pill is? Well, the makers of SCiO claim that their device is able to tell you all of those things, plus a lot more. To use it, you just scan the item in question for one or two seconds, then check the readout on a Bluetooth 4.0-linked smartphone.  Read More

One of the 3D spec-wearing mantises, which probably isn't actually smiling

Although us humans take 3D vision for granted, it's not a standard feature throughout the animal kingdom. In fact, praying mantises are the only invertebrates known to possess it – a fact which makes them excellent hunters. Scientists at Britain's Newcastle University are now studying the insects' ability to see in 3D, to determine if it could be copied in human technologies such as robot vision systems. As part of that study, they're equipping mantises with the smallest pairs of 3D glasses ever made.  Read More

A user zooms in on a map by pinching their fingers on the keyboard

Gesture recognition devices may indeed offer more functionality than is possible using just a keyboard and mouse, but in order to use them, users have to lift their hands up and away from that keyboard. A team at Microsoft Research decided to address that problem, and created a prototype mechanical keyboard that recognizes hand gestures performed on or immediately above the keys.  Read More

One of the finished felt teddy bears, alongside its digital model

Ask someone to think of a 3D-printed object, and chances are they'll picture something hard ... or perhaps rubbery. Thanks to new technology developed by Carnegie Mellon University and Disney Research Pittsburgh, however, it's now possible to make soft and fuzzy 3D-printed items, using yarn instead of plastic or resin. Among the first items to be created were little felt teddy bears.  Read More

A gecko shows off its uniquely-sticky feet  (Photo: Shutterstock)

A couple of years ago, we first heard about a gecko-inspired reusable adhesive known as Geckskin. According to its creators at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, it could be used to hang objects weighing up to 700 pounds (318 kg) on smooth surfaces such as glass. Now, however, they've announced a new version that also works on rough surfaces, like drywall and wood.  Read More

The Korner tag being applied

Home security systems can certainly bring peace of mind to well-off home-owners, but they're generally not thought of as something that's used by people who are on a budget, such as apartment-dwellers. The designers of Korner hope to change that, however, with a simple system that costs under US$100 and requires no monthly fees.  Read More

Olive oil counterfeiters may be thwarted by DNA particles, that are mixed into the liquid ...

When most people think of counterfeit goods, they probably picture things like handbags or watches. In fact, there's also a huge market for knock-off high-end food products, such as extra-virgin olive oil. Scientists from Switzerland's ETH Zurich research group, however, have come up with a possible method of thwarting the makers of that bogus oil – just add synthetic DNA particles to the real thing. And yes, consumers would proceed to swallow those particles.  Read More

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