2015 Detroit NAIAS Auto Show

Ben Coxworth

Film-makers Derek Van Gorder (pictured) and Otto Stockmeier are in the process of making a...

When you think about the best-loved movies depicting space travel, what names come to mind? Star Wars, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Trek - The Motion Picture, Silent Running, Battlestar Galactica? Interestingly enough, all of those enduring films were made decades ago, and utilized hand-built model spaceships for their space-flight sequences. Today, even low-budget productions usually use CGI (computer-generated imagery) for the same purpose – it’s logistically much easier to create and “film” a virtual spaceship on a computer, than it is to build, light and shoot an actual model. Nonetheless, that second approach is exactly what New York film-makers Derek Van Gorder and Otto Stockmeier are taking with their short film, C.  Read More

The Pedal Powered Talk Show is an internet TV program, incorporating a set that is pedaled...

The guys over at Portland, Oregon’s Metrofiets are a pretty talented bunch when it comes to designing cargo bicycles for more than ... well, for more than hauling cargo. Not long ago, they made headlines with their Beer Bike, that incorporates a tap-equipped wooden bar, space and hardware for two kegs, and a rack created specifically for carrying pizza boxes. They’ve also built bikes that have served as a mobile coffee shop, and as a go-anywhere bicycle repair station. Their latest creation, however, is aimed at the world of broadcasting – it’s a two-wheeled human-powered talk show set.  Read More

The growth of these blood vessels was caused and directed by the microvascular stamp

In the not-too-distant future, wounds may be covered not just with regular bandages, but with special "microvascular stamps" that promote and direct the growth of new blood vessels. A team of scientists from the University of Illinois have already created such a dressing, which could ultimately have applications far beyond the healing of cuts.  Read More

Oculus is an inexpensive telepresence robot that incorporates a user-supplied netbook comp...

When you think about it, telepresence robots are quite a neat idea. Not only do they allow you to see and converse with people in another location through video conferencing, but you can also move them about within that location – almost as if you were there in person, walking down the halls. Such devices typically don’t come cheap, however. As with other robots, part of what you’re paying for are their computerized “brains,” along with all of their input/output peripherals. The Oculus Telepresence Robot, however, takes a different approach. It utilizes a user-supplied netbook to serve as its brains, eyes, ears and vocal cords. This results in a lower price, potentially opening up telepresence technology to people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it.  Read More

Brainlink is a module that can be added to existing household robots, allowing for the add...

While “toy” robots such as WowWee’s Robosapien already have some pretty impressive capabilities, they can now do even more ... if they have a Brainlink module installed. Brainlink is made by BirdBrain Technologies, which is a Carnegie Mellon University spin-off company. When attached to an existing infrared remote-controlled household robot, it will add a built-in light sensor and accelerometer to that device’s quiver, along with the possibility of various other user-supplied sensors that can be plugged into its input ports. The Bluetooth-equipped Brainlink also allows robots to be controlled via the user’s laptop or Android smartphone, which opens up all sorts of possibilities.  Read More

Postdoctoral fellow Guoming Sun (left) and Sharon Gerecht, an assistant professor of chemi...

Third-degree burns typically require very complex treatment, and leave nasty scars once they've healed. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University, however, are reporting success at treating such burns on lab mice, using a new type of hydrogel that grows new skin (as opposed to scar tissue) over burn sites. The gel contains no drugs or biological components - it's made mainly from water and dissolved dextran, which is a sugar-like polymer.  Read More

Image3D allows customers to create custom View-Master-like photo reels, using their own ph...

Along with GI Joes, Slinkies and Sea Monkeys, View-Masters are probably one of the most-remembered childhood products of the past few generations. Even if you yourself never got the chance to flip through disks of still images using one of the manually-operated stereoscopic viewers, chances are you at least knew someone who did. Well, now that you're all grown-up, you have the chance not only to relive your childhood by buying a View-Master-like Image3D viewer, but also to create a reel of your own photos to view in it. As a ten year-old, you would have thought that was pretty amazing.  Read More

Researchers have developed a coating for fabric, that could be used to clean clothing simp...

For some time now, we’ve been hearing about the benefits of drying our laundry outside on the clothesline. We save money and energy by not running the dryer, the sunlight kills germs, and we don’t run the risk of generating harmful dryer emissions. In the future, however, we might also end up washing our clothes by hanging them outside – scientists in China have successfully used sunlight to remove orange dye stains from cotton fabric, that was treated with a special coating.  Read More

A rendering of the harpoon embedded in a comet, with its collection cartridge visible insi...

Call it Ishmael. Actually, no, call it the Comet Nucleus Sample Return mission spacecraft. Regardless of its name, the NASA vehicle will be wielding a harpoon, not unlike the narrator of Moby Dick. Instead of hunting a white whale, however, it will be after a comet. Although the spacecraft itself is still a concept, its harpoon is in the works now.  Read More

Scientists are looking into using a computerized penetrometer to assess the crispness of a...

Here’s a job title that you probably didn’t know existed: Apple Biter. Oh sure, the official term is probably something like “Fruit Evaluation Specialist,” but if you spend your days chomping into apples to assess their taste and crispness, you’re really an Apple Biter. While using panels of such people is a common method of evaluating the quality of apple crops, it can be compromised when those people start to get fatigued. There’s also the not-insignificant fact that panel members could differ in what they consider to be the optimal level of crispness. That’s why Washington State University is looking into using a computerized penetrometer to handle part of the Apple Biters’ duties.  Read More

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