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Ben Coxworth

In the MIT laboratory, researchers tested the 'sensing skin' by attaching it to the unders...

Concrete may be one of the toughest buildings materials in common use but it does develop cracks over time, and in the case of structures such as buildings or bridges, it is imperative that those cracks are noticed before they lead to a collapse. While visual inspections are useful, they are also time-consuming, and may miss tiny but structurally-significant cracks. Some technologies have been developed to automate the process, such as rust sensors for steel-reinforced concrete. Now, an international team of scientists is proposing a system of flexible crack-detecting skins, that could be applied to the surfaces of concrete surfaces.  Read More

De-3D glasses convert 3D movies into 2D, for viewers who find the 3D viewing experience un...

Despite the current proliferation of 3D movies, cameras, televisions and mobile devices, there are those of us who still question whether 3D is here to stay, or if it’s just a marketing gimmick that will eventually peter out. One thing’s for sure: with current technology, the viewing of 3D movies gives some people headaches, or makes them feel dizzy. If you’re one of those people, but you don’t want to be left out when your friends go off to see My 3D Dinner With Andre, this might be just what you need – De-3D glasses.  Read More

The Adastra is a one-off luxury trimaran, currently under construction in China (Image: Jo...

Some readers may remember the incredible-looking biodiesel-powered Earthrace trimaran. Originally designed to circumnavigate the world, it ended up being donated to the Sea Shepherd Society, and was promptly rammed and sunk by a Japanese whaling ship. Well, while we may no longer have it to gawk at, a one-off watercraft that could almost be considered its gigantic, luxurious sibling is currently being constructed in China. Behold, the Adastra.  Read More

TRW Automotive is developing a folding, retractable steering wheel, that would make it eas...

As small, ultra fuel-efficient or electric cars become more popular as urban runabouts, automotive designers are looking for more ways to maximize their interior space. One possibility: get rid of the steering wheel. Of course, you need a steering wheel for driving, but the engineers at Michigan’s TRW Automotive are working on one that folds up and retracts into the dashboard when the vehicle is parked. They claim it would making getting in and out of the car considerably easier, particularly for elderly or disabled drivers.  Read More

Craig Tashman (left) and Keith Edwards, creators of the LiquidText active reading software...

The more ways in which you can engage yourself with what you're reading, the more likely you are to understand and remember it. It's a practice known as active reading, and it can involve taking notes, highlighting passages, setting aside snippets of important information, or even reading text aloud. While some programs already exist that facilitate the active reading of digital documents, a team from the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed what they believe is a better approach. It's called LiquidText, and it was developed around touchscreen technology.  Read More

Swiss researchers have achieved reliable multi-bit phase-change memory, using a specially-...

Scientists from IBM Research – Zurich are claiming a world-first, for their recent demonstration of “reliable multi-bit phase-change memory [PCM] technology.” PCM involves the use of materials that change between crystalline and amorphous states, the two states having different levels of electrical resistance – data is stored in a binary fashion, using one level to represent a 0, and the other to represent a 1. By applying new techniques to existing PCM technology, the researchers were reportedly able to write and retrieve data 100 times faster than is possible with Flash.  Read More

Students from Johns Hopkins University have created an implantable device, that could make...

There are approximately 1.5 million people worldwide who require regular hemodialysis treatments, due to the fact that their kidneys are no longer able to clean their blood. Clinicians generally reuse the same access point on each patient's body, for routing their bloodstream to the dialysis machine. Unfortunately, over time this can cause infections, blood clots or narrowing of the arteries at that access point. This can result in the need for a blood-vessel-opening procedure, or sometimes even in death. Now, however, a group of five biomedical engineering graduate students from Johns Hopkins University have created an implantable device, that could act as a safe, easy access point for dialysis.  Read More

A Los Angeles design firm has proposed using 65 shipping containers to build an environmen...

Because they are sturdy, waterproof, transportable, and perhaps only a little bit smaller than some low-rent apartments, disused shipping containers have become very popular for conversion into low-impact buildings. Past efforts have included using them as emergency housing, trendy relocatable bachelor pads, and portable restaurants. Now, Los Angeles design group APHIDoIDEA has proposed putting 65 of the things together, to create an environmental education center for the city of Long Beach.  Read More

The Solar Cross is a one-off pedal-electric bicycle, that receives its power from onboard ...

This March, we reported on the Kinetic Photovoltaic Vehicle (KPV), a one-of-a-kind solar-electric scooter that fits inside a suitcase. Well, it seems that Terry Hope, the Canadian inventor who created the KPV, wasn't content to stop there. He recently contacted us about his latest creation, the Solar Cross ebike. As its name suggests, it's a pedal-electric bicycle that receives its power from the Sun ... and the rider, of course.  Read More

A London designer has created a sweating robotic armpit, intended to make it easier for hu...

When we think of robots, we tend to think of clean, antiseptic automatons that don’t suffer from yucky things like halitosis, flatulence or body odor ... unlike us humans. According to London designer Kevin Grennan, however, this difference alienates us from robots, and will keep us from ever fully accepting them as anything other than machines. His solution? Robots that secret human odors, in situations in which people would secrete those odors. While some of his odor-secreting devices are purely conceptual, he has produced a working model of at least one – a sweating robotic armpit.  Read More

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