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Ben Coxworth

BiKN is a system that allows iPhone users to track or relocate up to eight items at once

Wondering where you left your dang car keys this time? Well, you might not be if you were using BiKN. Pronounced “beacon,” this tracking system consists of an iPhone case, an app, and up to eight tags that can be attached to items of your choice. Should you not be able to find one of those items, BiKN will help you relocate it. The system will also give you a holler should a particular "item" wander away on its own.  Read More

The Swivl is a camera phone mount that automatically pans and tilts to keep the subject fr...

When I was a kid, it always used to bug me when someone was supposed to be talking on a locked-off “video phone” in a movie, and yet the phone would pan with them to keep them in the shot! Well, like a lot of other things from sci-fi movies of the past, motorized face-tracking webcams are now a reality – albeit, they’re still not very common. As it turns out, however, more and more video calls are being made not from desktop computers, but from smartphones. So, that being the case, how do you go about getting one of those to pan with you? Well, you could buy something like the Swivl.  Read More

A plastic material inspired by the leaves of the aquatic weed Salvinia molesta may lead to...

It may be an invasive weed that’s fouling waterways in the U.S., Australia and other countries, but it turns out that Salvinia molesta has at least one good point – it’s inspired a man-made coating that could help ships stay afloat. The upper surface of the floating plant’s leaves are coated with tiny water-repellent hairs, each of which is topped with a bizarre eggbeater-like structure. These hairs trap a layer of air against the leaf, reducing friction and providing buoyancy, while the eggbeaters grab slightly at the surrounding water, providing stability. Scientists at Ohio State University have successfully replicated these hairs in plastic, creating a buoyant coating that is described as being like “a microscopic shag carpet.”  Read More

Prof. Tim Leighton and Dr. Peter Birkin with their ultrasonic nozzle

In many industries, such as health care, food preparation and electronics manufacturing, cleanliness is of the utmost importance. It’s important enough that huge quantities of water are used – and left tainted – in order to remove contaminants. While some groups have concentrated on creating better cleansers, a team of scientists from the University of Southampton have taken a different approach. They’ve created an ultrasonic tap nozzle, that allows the water itself do a better job at cleaning. The better that a given amount of water is able to clean, the less of it that needs to be used.  Read More

The iDigiTip is a stylus that is worn on the finger or thumb

If you’ve got fat fingers, then you probably find it difficult to peck at the tiny keyboards – virtual or physical – on mobile phones. You could just use a traditional stylus, although doing so kind of takes away from the intuitive “hands-on” aspect of finger typing. Well, that’s where the iDigiTip comes in. It’s got the fine tip of a stylus, but because you wear it on the end of your finger or thumb, you can still type like the slimmer-fingered folk.  Read More

The prototype device, which is reportedly able to detect illicit drugs in a person's syste...

Fingerprints have been used to confirm or determine peoples' identities for over one hundred years now, but new technology is allowing them to be put to another use - drug testing. Intelligent Fingerprinting (a spin-off company affiliated with the UK's University of East Anglia) has just unveiled a prototype portable device that can detect the presence of illicit drugs or other substances in a person's system by analyzing the sweat in their fingerprints.  Read More

The Sunbox USB 3.0 solar charging system provides three types of lighting, recharges mobil...

People who are trekking in the wilderness, stranded at disaster sites or living in developing nations all have one thing in common – lack of access to an electrical infrastructure. Solar charging devices such as the Solio, iCharge and Joos Orange have been designed to meet the needs of some or all of these groups. One of the latest such systems, Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies’ Sunbox USB 3.0, is particularly versatile.  Read More

Scientists have created an 'electric car' that is only a few nanometers long (Image: Empa)...

We’ve seen some fairly small electric cars in recent years, such as those made by Tango, Think, Wheego, and of course, smart. All of those automobiles are absolute monsters, however, compared to what scientists from Swiss research group Empa have created. Working with colleagues at the Netherlands’ University of Groningen, they’ve built a one-of-a-kind electric car that measures approximately 4 x 2 nanometers.  Read More

Hammacher Schlemmer's Bionic Bopper Cars are large fighting robots, which the operators si...

Simpsons-watchers may recall an episode in which Bart and Homer enter their homebuilt robot in a Robot Wars-like competition, but mayhem ensues and Homer ends up having to operate the fighting 'bot from inside its body. Its hard to say if the creators of Hammacher Schlemmer's Bionic Bopper Cars ever saw that episode, but it's entirely possible, as the basic idea is pretty much the same - two human operators each sit inside of a big wheeled robot, then pummel each other with their robots' arms.  Read More

The Valkee is a device that its makers claim can treat seasonal affective disorder, by shi...

Many readers in the Northern Hemisphere are likely already starting to experience seasonal affective disorder, appropriately enough known as SAD. For those people fortunate enough not to be familiar with it, SAD is a mood disorder that is brought on by the shorter day-length experienced in winter – less sunlight results in gloomier people. One of the most common treatments involves regular exposure to bright artificial lights, that appear to psychologically serve the same purpose as sunlight. Now, one might assume that such light therapy would require that people see the light. According to the Finnish designers of the Valkee device, however, light also does the trick if you shine it up your ears.  Read More

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