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Ben Coxworth

Good Thinking

Car mirror copies eyeglasses to eliminate blind spots

Usually when we hear the term “progressive optics” it’s in reference to bi- or trifocal glasses, that don’t have sharp lines between the different focal zones of the lenses. A group of scientists from Korea and the US, however, have recently used the technology to create something else – a prototype driver’s side car mirror that has no blind spot, yet that also doesn’t distort images in an unsafe manner. Read More

Science

ECO-Cycle kit grows greens and cleans aquarium water

The folks at the non-profit ECOLIFE Foundation are dedicated to providing, as they put it, “ecologically sustainable water, food, and shelter to communities through education applied programs.” Part of this mandate involves the promotion of community aquaponics projects – systems that symbiotically combine aquaculture and hydroponics. Now, the group is bringing scaled-down aquaponics to classrooms and homes, in the form of its ECO-Cycle Aquaponics Kit for aquariums. Read More

Sports

Dainese fine-tunes its ski airbag system

Besides continuing to produce its high-end protective body armor, Dainese has also spent the last several years developing something else – a wearable airbag system for motorcyclists. A couple of years ago, the Italian company announced that it had entered into a partnership with the International Ski Federation, to adapt that system for use by downhill ski racers. Now, Dainese has announced that it is fine-tuning the ski system, for use in the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.Read More

Digital Cameras

MeCam video camera is worn like a button or necklace

People seem to be pretty content with using their smartphone video cameras to capture life’s zany moments, although constantly holding up one’s phone to follow the action can sometimes get a little tiring. That’s why the MeCam was invented. It’s a video camera that can be pinned to your shirt or worn on an included cord like a necklace, so you can shoot your clips without having to play Cameraman. Read More

Automotive

Experimental EV has four independently-actuated wheels

As any fan of electric cars will tell you, one of the keys to improving their range is getting their weight down. With that in mind, a team of researchers from Ohio State University are currently developing an EV that they claim weighs half as much as a conventional car. Because it’s so light, handling is definitely an issue – that’s why each of its wheels is independently controlled, and contains its own motor and battery pack. Read More

Spy Gear

SelectaDNA system tags criminals by shooting them with a DNA gun

Imagine that you’re a police officer in the midst of a riot. While you may be able to apprehend the offenders closest to you, you can see plenty of other looters and vandals who you’re just not able to get to at the moment. Well, that’s where SelectaDNA’s High Velocity DNA Tagging System would come into the picture. At the heart of the system is a gun that shoots non-lethal pellets, which contain uniquely-coded synthetic DNA. Read More

Science

New “super gel” is liquid when cold and stiffens when heated

Gelatins take on a semi-solid state when cool, and become a liquid when heated, right? Well, not always. Chemists from Radboud University Nijmegen, in The Netherlands, have created a “super gel” that behaves in the opposite manner – it’s liquid when cool, and stiffens when heated. What’s more, it reportedly absorbs water 100 times better than other gels. To make it, the researchers copied the protein structure of human cells.Read More

Electronics

Stretchable electrical wires heal back together after being severed

Last month, we heard about how a team led by North Carolina State University’s Dr. Michael Dickey had created an electrical wire that could be stretched up to eight times its regular length ... and still carry a current. This was possible thanks to a conductive liquid metal alloy of gallium and indium, contained inside the wire’s elastic polymer outer housing. Now, Dickey's team has developed a new wire that not only can be stretched, but that will heal itself when severed. Read More

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