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Ben Coxworth

The Zoomy Handheld Digital Microscope

If you want to get a child interested in the sciences, just let them loose with a microscope. Proper stage microscopes can be pricey, however, and are somewhat tricky for youngsters to use. Fortunately, there are options like the Zoomy Handheld Digital Microscope – it's a simple device that plugs into the USB port of a PC or Mac, then feeds through illuminated, magnified images of whatever it's placed over.  Read More

A metallic glass rod before heating and molding (left); a molded metallic glass part (midd...

What do you do if you want a material that’s as hard as glass, but that can bend without shattering, like steel? Well, if you’re a researcher at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), you invent metallic glass. There are several types of metallic glass – which is said to be stronger than steel or titanium – all of which consist of a metal with the disordered atomic structure of glass. Although it’s been possible to produce the material in bulk since the early 90s, the production process has limitations, that have kept metallic glass from coming into common use. Now, however, a Caltech team has come up with a new process, in which the material can be shaped as easily as plastic.  Read More

One of the GCDC participants will be the AnnieWAY team, from Germany's Karlsruhe Institute...

When it comes to developing new technologies, running a competition is always a good way of helping to speed progress. Not only do such events give researchers more of an incentive to develop their ideas to the fullest, but they also give them a chance to see and be inspired by what other people in their field have been working on. While last year’s Automotive X-PRIZE helped usher in utra-efficient yet practical automobiles, hopefully this weekend’s Grand Cooperative Driving Challenge will do the same for cars utilizing cooperative adaptive cruise control (CACC).  Read More

Cornell University's Ranger robot has beaten its own endurance record, by walking 40.5 mil...

On July 6th of last year, Cornell University’s Ranger robot set a world record for untethered legged robots – it walked 14.3 miles (23.01 km) in about 11 hours on a single charge, with no hands-on assistance. The record had previously been held by Boston Dynamics’ BigDog, when it walked 12.8 miles (20.6 km). Both of those achievements were eclipsed last Monday (May 2nd), however, when Ranger beat its own record by walking a whopping 40.5 miles (65.18 km) on a single charge.  Read More

Luna is a new personal robot that should reportedly sell for around US$1,000

Ah, the personal robot. While flying cars and jetpacks are now here – for some people – we still don't have robots that help us out around the house. However, maybe we soon could. This week, California's RoboDynamics introduced its Luna personal robot to the world. While the company currently isn't providing too much other information, her(?) makers are calling Luna "a breakthrough in robot design."  Read More

B-Squares are flat electronic modules that can be joined together in different configurati...

Connecting blocks are one of the all-time greatest types of toys. Unfortunately, when we grow up, many of us seem to think that it’s silly to make stuff just for the sake of making it – we still enjoy putting things together, but they have to be functional. That’s where B-Squares come in. The flat electronic modules serve a variety of functions, and can form a variety of devices when connected in different combinations.  Read More

Daredevil Yves Rossy, aka Jetman, has successfully flown across part of the Grand Canyon (...

Yves Rossy, the former Swiss jet fighter pilot better known as Jetman, flew over the Grand Canyon last Saturday (May 7th) using his wearable jet-propelled wing. It was the first time he has flown with the device in North America, having previously used it to cross the English Channel, perform an aerial loop, fly in formation with stunt planes, and to unsuccessfully attempt traversing a stretch of the Atlantic Ocean between Morocco and Spain.  Read More

A new sensor system incorporating protein found in bee venom can detect explosives down to...

Not only do bees play a vital role in agriculture by pollinating plants, but it now turns out that they may help keep us from getting blown up. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have shown that bombolitins, which are protein fragments found in bee venom, can be used to detect single molecules of nitro-aromatic explosives such as TNT. If used in sensors at locations such as airports, those sensors would be much more sensitive than those currently in use.  Read More

iPhly is an app and device for iPhone, that allows users to fly radio-controlled model air...

Part of flying radio-controlled model airplanes involves using big, expensive handheld control units. In the same way that iPhones are taking the place of things like debit machines, cycling computers and meat thermometers, however, a new iPhone/iPod touch system could also make such controllers ... well, perhaps not a thing of the past, but no longer a necessity, either. It's called iPhly, and it's just about to hit the market.  Read More

The SR Suntour Swing Shock is a suspension fork designed for use on lightweight commuter b...

OK, so you’ve got the single-speed, skinny-tired messenger-style bike for bombing around town while also looking hip ... that’s a good start, but what piece of functional bling can you add to further identify it as the urban assault vehicle that it is? Well, the folks at SR Suntour would probably tell you to swap your old school rigid fork for their Swing Shock suspension fork for commuter bikes. Depending on whether you’re more of a gadget-lover or a purist, you’ll either think it’s clever, or an abomination.  Read More

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