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Ben Coxworth

The Bacarobo Stupid Robot Championship is a contest for robots that are funny and useless

Given that there are currently robots that can find trapped miners, swim through rubble and see through walls, it’s only natural that some of us humans might feel a little ... inferior, perhaps. Should you be one of those people, it will almost certainly make you feel better if you go to Budapest, and take in the Bacarobo Stupid Robot Championship. The three main rules: robots must operate automatically, they must be funny, and they must be useless.  Read More

A'ME's Clamp-On MTB Heated Tri Grips are designed to warm the hands of winter cyclists

While heated handlebar grips may be nothing new for snowmobilers or motorcyclists, they’re something that mountain bikers have never been offered before – or have they? The comments board is open, if you know of a previous product. In any case, A’ME’s Clamp-On MTB Heated Tri Grips are just such an animal. If you’re a cold-weather cyclist who doesn’t like wearing thick gloves that cause your hands to get sweaty, they may be just what you’re looking for.  Read More

A method developed at Rice University allows bundles of vertically aligned single-wall car...

Capacitors are able to charge and discharge more quickly than batteries, and can do so hundreds of thousands of times. Batteries, on the other hand, are able to store more energy than capacitors. There are also electric double-layer capacitors (EDLCs), otherwise known as supercapacitors, that can hold battery-like amounts of energy while retaining the charge/discharge speed of regular capacitors. EDLCs incorporate liquid or gel-like electrolytes, however, which can break down under hot or cold conditions. Now, a new solid-state supercapacitor developed at Houston’s Rice University is using nanotechnology to get around that limitation.  Read More

CineSkates are soft urethane wheels for the GorillaPod Focus tripod, that allow users to d...

If you’re a videographer, and want to elevate your work from just looking competent to looking slick, one of the best things you can do is put your camera on a dolly. No, I’m not talking about a Ken or Barbie, but a wheeled camera mount that allows you to do smooth, fluid tracking shots. While the Spielbergs of the world use actual purpose-built camera dollies, lower-budget film-makers often make do with wheelchairs, skateboards, or wheeled spreaders that mount on the bottom of industrial-sized tripods. Given the popularity of JOBY’s compact and flexible GorillaPod tripods, however, it perhaps shouldn’t be surprising that someone has developed a wheel system for them – it’s called CineSkates.  Read More

A new in-shoe device is designed to harvest the energy that is created by walking, and sto...

Although you may not be using a Get Smart-style shoe phone anytime soon, it is possible that your mobile phone may end up receiving its power from your shoes. University of Wisconsin-Madison engineering researchers Tom Krupenkin and J. Ashley Taylor have developed an in-shoe system that harvests the energy generated by walking. Currently, this energy is lost as heat. With their technology, however, they claim that up to 20 watts of electricity could be generated, and stored in an incorporated rechargeable battery.  Read More

Steve Jobs has resigned from his post as CEO of Apple (Photo: Matt Yohe)

In what was not an entirely surprising move, Steve Jobs announced yesterday that he has resigned as Chief Executive Officer of Apple. While neither Jobs nor Apple gave a reason for his resignation, it is widely suspected that his ongoing health problems played a major part in his decision. He will remain with the company as Chairman of the Board, while former Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook has taken over as CEO, in accordance with Jobs’ recommendation.  Read More

Researchers have developed an antenna system that can be built into clothing, and that has...

In the recent past, we’ve seen outfits that incorporate bio-sensors and batteries, and even a bikini with integrated solar cells. One of the latest innovations in smart fabrics, however, allows a person’s clothing to act as multiple antennas. Developed at Ohio State University (OSU), the system could prove particularly useful to soldiers, who don’t want to be encumbered by a protruding whip antenna.  Read More

The Thrustcycle SRT is a three-wheeled vehicle that incorporates a gyro/flywheel system to...

Fans of three-wheeled cars will tell you that the vehicles come in two configurations: delta, with the single wheel in the front, and tadpole, with the single wheel in the back. Well, now there's another type. The prototype Thrustcycle SRT has all three of its wheels in a straight lateral line, and utilizes a mechanical gyroscopic stabilizing system to keep it firmly upright even when standing still. That same system also stores kinetic energy generated by braking, extending the vehicle's range.  Read More

Scientists have developed heart tissue that contracts when exposed to light, which could p...

There's no denying that pacemakers are life-saving devices, but they do have their limitations. These include the facts that their metal leads can break, they need to be surgically accessed if their batteries run out, and they can be disrupted by strong magnetic fields. Some or all of these problems may one day become things of the past, however, due to research currently being conducted at New York's Stony Brook University - scientists there are working towards the development of pacemakers that control the heart through pulses of light.  Read More

The PumpTire is a self-inflating bicycle tire, that uses the compressive effect of the tir...

While it’s nice to hear that Goodyear is developing self-inflating tires for cars, where does that leave bicycle riders? Still pumping, presumably? Well, not if they’re running PumpTires on their steed. As its name implies, the PumpTire is designed to automatically pump air into the inner tube, using the compressive effect of the tire meeting the ground as it turns. Once the tube reaches the desired pressure, the pumping action ceases.  Read More

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