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Ben Coxworth

Ian Williams and and Anders Warn, with the WilliamsWarn beer brewing machine

Home beer-brewing is sort of like writing a novel – although you might like the idea of having done it, the thought of all the work involved in doing it can be off-putting. If the PR materials are to be believed, however, the WilliamsWarn brewing machine could make the process a lot easier ... and quicker. Unlike the four weeks required by most home brewing systems, it can reportedly produce beer in just seven days.  Read More

MIT has developed a system known as GelSight, that uses painted rubber to obtain 3D images...

Typically, if someone wishes to obtain three-dimensional images of micrometer-scale objects, they need to use a device such as a confocal microscope or a white-light interferometer. Such equipment is big, expensive, and often has to be mounted on a vibration-free table. Even then, it can take up to a few hours to get the finished images. Scientists at MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, however, have created a system that can obtain the same kind of images almost instantly, using a soda can-sized sensor and a sheet of rubber. It’s called GelSight.  Read More

Two groups of entrepreneurs are currently developing separate products (one of which is th...

Riding a bicycle on busy streets full of motorized vehicles can be risky enough in the daytime, but it potentially becomes even more dangerous at night, when motorists are less likely to see cyclists. Much of that risk can be minimized by using a bright headlight and strobing taillight, although those don't do much to increase a cyclist's visibility when seen from the side - and even if they did, there's no such thing as being too bright. Two separate projects, however, are aimed at developing systems that would allow a bicycle's wheel rims to act as running lights that would be hard not to notice.  Read More

The NuVinci Harmony continuously variable planetary e-bike transmission automatically main...

Fallbrook Technologies released the NuVinci Continuously Variable (CVP) N170 transmission for bicycles in 2007. The rear hub-based system does away with distinct, defined gears, it’s sealed against dirt and other contaminants (unlike a derailleur), and it allows riders to change drive transmission ratios even when standing still. Last year, the company unveiled the NuVinci N360, which is smaller and lighter than the N170, yet has a wider range of ratios. This Tuesday, Fallbrook announced yet another incarnation of the technology – the NuVinci Harmony, which is an auto-shifting version of the N360.  Read More

The Moto-Grip (seen here with the Moto-Grip Jr.) is a harness worn by a motorcycle operato...

If you've ever been the extra passenger on a racing or sport-touring motorcycle, then you'll know that it can be rather awkward. You typically sit higher than the rider, so you have to lean forward and down to grab them around the torso. If you aren't that chummy, you might instead choose to sit upright and reach behind you to clutch the rear grab-bar - definitely not the best way to keep from being thrown off the bike, either backwards or forwards. New York product designer and motorcyclist Andrew Lewis has come up with what he believes is a better solution - the Moto-Grip.  Read More

A new system for checking the quality of wood involves vibrating it at a rate of 20,000 ti...

When choosing wood for applications such as load-bearing beams in houses, it's important not to use pieces that contain cracks or other defects that could affect their structural integrity. While not quite as crucial, it's also nice to avoid flaws when building things like wooden furniture, piano soundboards, or window frames. Typically, people have been limited to visually checking the wood for such defects. Now, however, researchers at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research have developed a system that highlights faults invisible to the human eye, using a process called high-power ultrasound thermography.  Read More

The Avatar-based Virtual Co-driver System is designed to replace a vehicle's owner's manua...

At one time not all that long ago, cars had a warning light on the dashboard that simply said “ENGINE.” That’s pretty vague. Really, it might just as well have said “CAR.” Some newer automobiles now have codes that appear on the console, which the driver must then look up in an index in the vehicle’s owner’s manual. Working with Audi, Germany’s Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) Institute of Business Informatics is now working on taking things a step farther, with the development of an on-screen avatar that will talk to drivers, and even understand their spoken questions.  Read More

Tioga's ZEROaxle MT-ZERO is one of the thinnest mountain bike pedals available, as it has ...

While many mountain bikers like so-called “clipless” pedals, in which cleats on the bottom of their shoes click in and out of a mechanism in the pedal, others prefer the unfettered feeling of platform pedals. Generally speaking, the two types of pedals are about the same thickness. Given that platforms don’t need to contain any springs or other cleat-retaining gizmos, however, they could be much thinner ... if only it weren’t for that axle running through them. Well, Tioga has done away with the axle, in its new ZEROaxle MT-ZERO pedal. At a maximum thickness of 7 mm, it’s being billed as the “world’s thinnest dual-concave mountain bike pedal.”  Read More

Flush Puppies are dog waste bags that dissolve when flushed down the toilet

Dog poop bags have become so commonly used, it’s hard to believe there was ever a time that dog-walkers typically let their pooches go Number 2 in parks or on other peoples’ lawns, with no intentions of cleaning it up. While it’s definitely a good thing that such is no longer the case (for the most part, at least), there’s still the small matter of what happens to the bagged excrement once it’s thrown away. Conventional bags keep it sealed inside, perhaps so that future archeologists can marvel at it when digging through our landfills. Even biodegradable bags take a long time to break down under certain conditions, and leave landfills full of untreated feces. Flush Puppies flushable doodie bags, however, reportedly allow dog poop to be flushed down the toilet, so it can be treated in a municipal sewage system.  Read More

The Quadshot is a remote-control model aircraft that can hover like a helicopter, or fly l...

Eurocopter's X3 hybrid helicopter demonstrator combined the full hover flight capabilities of a helicopter with the fast cruise speeds of a turboprop-powered aircraft by basically installing two propellers on short-span fixed wings to supplement the helicopter's five-blade main rotor system. Now a new type of remote control model aircraft is looking to combine the hover capabilities of a helicopter with the ability to fly like an airplane in a completely different design. Instead of the quadricopter design employed by the Parrot AR Drone, the Quadshot uses a "flying wing" design with its four rotors allowing it to hover vertically like a helicopter or turn horizontal and swoop through the air like a stunt plane.  Read More

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