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Ben Coxworth

Romo is a miniature robot that uses apps on its user's existing smartphone as its 'brain'

When you think about it, smartphones are more than just fancy phones – they’re actually tiny portable computers. Given that so many people now own these tiny computers, why should they have to pay to buy another computer that’s built into an electronic device, when they could instead just use their existing smartphone as the “brain” of that device? That’s the approach that has been taken by products such as the Bubo camcorder rig, and now also by Romo-The Smartphone Robot.  Read More

The RoChair is a wheelchair that is rowed by pushing and pulling on a central lever

Imagine if the only way of propelling yourself on a bicycle was to reach down and turn one of the wheels with your hand. It would be pretty inefficient, yet that’s essentially how a wheelchair works. Of course, wheelchairs are set up so that the push-rims can be reached very easily, but the propulsion process still comes down to the wheels being directly pushed forward by hand. ROTA Mobility, however, has an alternative. It’s called the RoChair, and it’s a wheelchair that is rowed by pushing and pulling on a front-and-center-mounted lever.  Read More

A consortium of auto manufacturers is developing a universal charging system for EVs which...

While the thought of building a worldwide infrastructure of charging stations for electric vehicles may seem daunting, you know what would make it even more challenging? If each station had to separately cater to each make of EV on the road – think of how many different styles of mobile phone chargers are currently out there, for instance, and then picture that applying to cars. Fortunately, however, a consortium of automakers has developed the Combined Charging System – it will allow any one vehicle to charge its batteries using a variety of different charging methods.  Read More

Virgin Atlantic Airways is planning to capture gases from steel mills, to create a new low...

Three years ago, Virgin Atlantic Airways grabbed some headlines when it experimentally ran one of its 747s on a mixture of standard jet fuel and biofuel. While some called it a publicity stunt, it was the first time that a commercial airliner had flown using biofuel – albeit only in part of one of its four fuel tanks. Today, however, the airline announced that it’s developing an aviation fuel that will have half the carbon footprint of conventional fuel. The carbon savings won’t result from how cleanly the fuel burns, but from how it’s obtained.  Read More

Dr. Nichola Coleman and Cameron Abercrombie, a final year Chemistry student from the Unive...

While you may feel quite virtuous when you leave all your glass containers out for recycling, you might be surprised to know that much of your colored glass won’t be used. That’s because even though there’s a fairly constant demand for recycled clear glass, glass in colors such as green, brown and blue isn’t all that sought-after, so many recycling centers don’t bother processing it. As a result, waste colored glass is now being stock-piled in some locations, waiting for a use. Thanks to research conducted at the University of Greenwich, however, that glass may soon be used for filtering pollutants out of ground water.  Read More

Nissan has developed an experimental system that can fully charge an EV battery in just te...

If there are two obstacles that are still keeping the general public from embracing electric cars, those would have to be the vehicles’ limited driving range and long charging times. Well, Nissan has achieved a major milestone regarding one of those two problems – last week, Japan’s Nikkei news agency reported that the automaker has developed an experimental system that can fully charge an EV battery in just ten minutes.  Read More

The U-Boat Worx C-Explorer 2 is now available for private charters

U-Boat Worx has introduced a worldwide private charter program for its range of mini-submersibles. The charter fleet includes the three-seat C-Quester 3 and two person C-Explorer 2, with the deep-diving, five-passenger C-Explorer 5 joining once it's completed late this year.  Read More

Artist Nicholas Hanna has created a cargo tricycle-based system that prints Chinese callig...

When Canadian media artist Nicholas Hanna first moved to the Chinese city of Beijing, he was quite taken with the water calligraphy that he saw people creating in the parks. The art form consists of using a large brush to paint Chinese calligraphy on the road, in water, so the characters disappear as the water evaporates. Hanna decided to put his own spin on it, and rigged up a cargo tricycle with a computer-controlled dot matrix water release system, that squirts out passages of Chinese poetry on the road behind him as he rides.  Read More

iPet Companion Home Version allows people to remotely play with their pets in real time, v...

If you own a dog or a cat and are having a hard day at work, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to take a break and play with them? Well, if you’ve got the money, now you can do it – via the internet. A consumer version of a system already in use at some U.S. animal shelters, iPet Companion Home Version lets computer users remotely control dog or cat toys located in their home, watching their pets reacting to those toys’ movements in real time. For some people, it could be the biggest workplace distraction since Facebook.  Read More

A new system uses lasers to polish hard surfaces, and it can do so in as little as one ten...

When it comes to laborious, monotonous tasks that are typically performed by hand, the polishing of hard materials has got to rank right near the top. Although a really lustrous shine may still require the human touch, scientists have now developed a process for getting a “good enough” shine, using lasers. Instead of removing a fine layer of the material’s surface, which is what traditional buffers and polishes do, the lasers melt it.  Read More

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