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Ben Coxworth

Panasonic's EVOLTA swimming, cycling and running robots will be attempting to complete the...

While the Energizer Bunny may get all the fame, Panasonic's "Mr. Evolta" robot actually gets out and does things. In 2008, powered by two of the company's AA EVOLTA alkaline batteries, the 17 centimeter (6.69 inch)-tall robot climbed up a 1,640 foot (500 meter) rope suspended in the Grand Canyon. The following year, pedaling a miniature tricycle, he completed the "24 Hours of Le Mans" endurance challenge. Last year, he took a leisurely 500-kilometer (311-mile) stroll along the highway from Tokyo to Kyoto. This year's challenge is a little different - there will be three EVOLTA robots, and they will be teaming up to complete the 230-kilometer (143-mile) Ironman Triathlon circuit in Hawaii.  Read More

The Velella Research Project's Aquapod, adrift off the coast of Hawaii

There are a number of reasons that many people are opposed to fish farming. Among other things, they claim that the caged fish release too much concentrated waste into the surrounding waters, too many antibiotics and anti-algal chemicals are used, the ecological balance is upset when non-native fish escape from their pens, and strain is put on populations of local fish that are captured for use in feed for carnivorous farmed fish. Unfortunately, wild-fish-capturing methods such as drift net fishing and bottom trawling have big problems of their own. A new system that involves raising fish in mesh spheres that float in the open ocean, however, is claimed to sidestep many of the drawbacks of traditional marine aquaculture. The Velella Research Project is pioneering the technology.  Read More

Oshkosh Defense's new light combat vehicle, the L-ATV, could replace the U.S. Military's H...

Much as Hummer-owners may like to speak of their vehicles' military pedigree, the fact is that the U.S. Army now wants to replace its Humvees with vehicles that are better suited for use in war zones, particularly when it comes to protecting occupants. One potential Humvee-replacement has just been announced by Wisconsin-based Oshkosh Defense - the Light Combat Tactical All-Terrain Vehicle or L-ATV.  Read More

The Owl 360 is a rearview camera and monitor system for bicycles

What do cars have that bicycles don’t? Lots and lots of things, actually, but one of those is a rearview mirror. While both cyclists and drivers have to shoulder check when changing lanes, cyclists additionally have to twist all the way around in order to see what’s directly behind them. Helmet- and handlebar-mounted side mirrors are certainly one way to minimize that twisting, but for people who like stuff, there’s another – mini rearview camera and monitor systems. Cerevellum has just started taking orders for one called the Hindsight, which now has a competitor known as the Owl 360.  Read More

Dyson has unveiled a room-heating version of its Air Multiplier bladeless fan, named the D...

Introduced in 2009, Dyson’s Air Multiplier bladeless fan is still probably the trendiest, most unique device one can buy for moving cooling air around a room. Today, the British company announced that consumers will now be able to use that same bladeless technology for heating a room, in the form of the Dyson Hot fan heater.  Read More

A Cornell robot successfully identifies a keyboard within a cluttered room

If we're ever going to have robot butlers, then they're going to have to learn how to figure things out for themselves. After all, if you have to reprogram the robot for every slight variation on a task, you might as well do it yourself. Scientists at Cornell University's Personal Robotics Laboratory are tackling the formidable challenges posed by "machine learning" by programing robots to observe new situations and proceed accordingly, based on what they already know from the past.  Read More

A scientist uses STAN to calibrate a four-camera 3D TV system(Photo: KUK Filmproduktion)

When it comes to producing 3D TV content, the more cameras that are used to simultaneously record one shot, the better. At least two cameras (or one camera with two lenses) are necessary to provide the depth information needed to produce the left- and right-eye images for conventional 3D, but according to researchers at Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, at least four cameras will be needed if we ever want to achieve glasses-free 3D TV. Calibrating that many cameras to one another could ordinarily take days, however ... which is why Fraunhofer has developed a system that reportedly cuts that time down to 30 to 60 minutes.  Read More

The Sphero smartphone-controlled ball is now available for preorder, and should be in stor...

Of all the products on display at CES 2011 in Las Vegas, one that drew a particularly large number of spectators was ... a ball. Not just any ball, mind you. Developed by Colorado-based tech firm Orbotix, Sphero is a self-propelled rolling ball that users remotely control via Bluetooth, using an app on their smartphone. While it was still in the prototype stage when we last saw it, Sphero has now been redesigned for the retail market, and is available for preorder.  Read More

Illac Diaz (right) in a home equipped with one of his Solar Bottle Bulbs(Photo: Isang Litr...

Perhaps you’ve performed that old camping trick before, where you created a lantern by shining a flashlight into a water-filled bottle. While that may have helped you find your marshmallows in the dark, imagine how much brighter that bottle would have been if it were lit directly by the Sun. Bright enough, it turns out, that it could brilliantly light up the interior of a one-room house. That’s the idea behind the Isang Litrong Liwanag (A Liter of Light) project – it’s bringing daytime indoor lighting to the homes of the poor in the Philippines, by installing water-filled plastic pop bottles through holes in their roofs.  Read More

Volkswagen is set to debut the Beetle R, a high-performance design study of its existing B...

If you're one of the people who bemoan how Volkswagen's "new" Beetle has strayed from the original's simple, utilitarian nature ... well, you might want to stop reading now. The German automaker is debuting its high-performance Beetle R Concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week. Currently still a design study, it was created at the Volkswagen R GmbH facility, which in the past was the birthplace of R versions of the Golf and Scirocco. The Beetle R is based on the existing turbocharged Beetle 2.0 TSI and sports some unique design features.  Read More

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