2015 Detroit NAIAS Auto Show

Ben Coxworth

Snapkeys 2i is a four-key typing system app for mobile devices, that is said to be much mo...

At next month’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2012) in Las Vegas, tech start-up Snapkeys will be attempting to break the Guinness World Record for fastest typing speed. The company will be making its record attempt using volunteers (who it is currently in the process of recruiting), and its new 2i typing system for mobile devices. Unlike traditional systems that utilize a full QWERTY virtual keyboard that takes up much of the screen, 2i incorporates just four onscreen keys ... and they’re all invisible.  Read More

A new process has been developed for removing trace amounts of heavy metals from water (Ph...

Once released into the environment from industrial sources, trace amounts of heavy metals can remain present in waterways for decades, or even centuries, in concentrations that are still high enough to pose a health risk. While processes do exist for removing larger amounts of heavy metals from water, these do not work on smaller quantities. Now, however, scientists from Rhode Island’s Brown University have combined two existing methods, to create a new one that removes even trace amounts of heavy metal from water.  Read More

The cockpit canopy reportedly made for the failed A-12 Avenger II attack aircraft, which i...

Twenty-eight years ago, the United States Navy decided that it wanted a field replacement for its A-6 Intruder ground-attack aircraft. A team from McDonnell Douglas and General Dynamics won the contract to design the plane, which would be an all-weather, aircraft carrier-based stealth bomber, known as the A-12 Avenger II. Its first flight was planned for December 1990, but technical difficulties and cost overruns kept the team from meeting that deadline. By January 1991, in fact, the Secretary of Defense cancelled the program due to breach of contract. A legal battle between the Navy and McDonnell Douglas ensued, and continues to this day. Now, however, it’s possible to own a literal “piece” of the story – a cockpit canopy reportedly made for the A-12 is for sale on eBay.  Read More

The Ridekick is a motorized bicycle trailer, that gives a power boost to standard non-moto...

Although some cycling purists may sneer at them, electric bicycles certainly do come in handy when hills need to be climbed on morning commutes, or loads need to be hauled. E-bikes can be quite expensive, however, plus their motors and batteries make them heavy and clunky when their electric-assist feature isn’t being used. That’s where the Ridekick ...well, where it kicks in. The motorized trailer quickly hooks onto an existing bicycle, pushing it to speeds of up to 19 mph (30.5 km/h), for a distance of about 12 miles (19 km) per charge. When you want your regular ol’ human-powered bike back, you just unhook it and go.  Read More

The FLEXiT Light incorporates a bendable, hang-able and magnetically-attachable array of 1...

For people who want portable LED lighting that mounts just about anywhere, there are already devices such as the Joby Gorillatorch, most of which are variations on the tried-and-trusted flashlight form factor. Striker’s new FLEXiT Light takes a bit of a different approach, however. Instead of incorporating three or so LEDs within one lens, it utilizes a bendable array of 16 high-output bulbs.  Read More

A new discovery regarding a naturally-occurring lubricating layer on artificial hip joints...

For many people who have suffered from an arthritic hip, the replacement of their natural hip bone with a prosthetic implant has meant an end to constant pain, and the restoration of a normal range of movement. Unfortunately, the ball-and-socket joints of the prostheses do wear down over time, so younger patients in need of the implants are typically told to either wait until they are older, or must face the prospect of someday requiring repeat surgery to service their device. A recent discovery, however, could lead to longer-lasting artificial hip joints – this could in turn allow patients to receive prosthetic hips at a younger age, without the need for additional surgery when they get older.  Read More

Scientists have created microneedles made from silk, which are said to offer several advan...

Microneedles continue to show promise as a replacement – in at least some applications – for the hypodermic needle. Typically, a sheet containing an array of the tiny needles is adhered to the patient’s skin, like a bandage. The microneedles painlessly pierce the top layer of skin, then gradually deliver the medication within them by harmlessly dissolving into the patient’s bloodstream. As an added bonus, once everything is complete, there are no bio-hazardous used needles to dispose of. Now, bioengineers from Massachusetts’ Tufts University have developed what they claim is an even better type of microneedle, which is made from silk.  Read More

Dr. Nicolas Stenger's microstructured polymer plate

Many of the current experimental "invisibility cloaks" are based around the same idea - light coming from behind an object is curved around it and then continues on forward to a viewer. That person is in turn only able to see what's behind the object, and not the object itself. Scientists from Germany's Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have applied that same principle to sound waves, and created what could perhaps be described as a "silence cloak."  Read More

Scientists are creating self-healing electronics, that use liquid metal to instantly resto...

A hard material is impregnated with microcapsules that burst when the material cracks, releasing a stored liquid that hardens on contact with the air, thus repairing the crack ... it’s a system that we’ve recently seen used in a number of applications, including self-healing concrete and polymers. Now, a research team from the University of Illinois is applying it to electronics. They have already created a system that automatically restores conductivity to a cracked circuit in just a fraction of a second.  Read More

Finnish researchers have developed a method of fuel cell production, that uses 60 percent ...

While fuel cells show a lot of promise for cleanly powering things such as electric cars, there’s something keeping them from being more widely used than they currently are – they can be expensive. More specifically, the catalysts used to accelerate the chemical processes within them tend to be pricey. Work being done at Finland’s Aalto University, however, should help bring down the cost of fuel cells. Using atomic layer deposition (ALD), researchers there are making cells that incorporate 60 percent less catalyst material than would normally be required.  Read More

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