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Ben Coxworth

The SeaTwirl's vertical wind turbine (1), torus ring (2), float assembly (3) and generator...

One of the main drawbacks of wind turbines is the fact that for maximum efficiency, the power that they generate must be fed into the grid right as the wind is blowing and their blades are spinning. While that power can be stored in batteries for later use, some of it will always be lost in the process. Sweden's experimental new SeaTwirl system, however, is designed to kinetically store wind energy until it's required - it's basically a seagoing flywheel.  Read More

The Leaf Grip Remote Controller is an experimental device that users twist or bend to cont...

Why change channels by clicking on buttons, when you could do the same thing by twisting your remote? Japan's Murata Manufacturing Company obviously sees advantages in this approach and has created a prototype dubbed the "Leaf Grip Remote Controller" to showcase the idea. Flexing the battery-less device not only changes TV channels, but it also switches inputs, controls the volume, and turns the power on and off.  Read More

A scanning electron microscope image of the nanowire-alginate composite scaffolds, showing...

Around the world, scientists have been working on ways of replacing the heart tissue that dies when a heart attack occurs. These efforts have resulted in heart "patches" that are made from actual cardiomyocytes (heart muscle cells), or that encourage surrounding heart cells to grow into them. One problem with some such patches, however, lies in the fact that that they consist of cardiomyocytes set within a scaffolding of poorly-conductive materials. This means that they are insulated from the electrical signals sent out by the heart, so they don't expand and contract as the heart beats. Scientists at MIT, however, may be on the way to a solution.  Read More

The Acoustic Alarm is a one-off alarm clock, that uses a motorized pic to pluck guitar str...

We’ve heard about alarm clocks that jolt you awake with 113 decibels of sound while shaking your bed, that won’t stop ringing until you’ve done your exercises, or that you have to chase across the room. If you want to be woken in a more civilized, serene fashion, however, you might like the Acoustic Alarm – should it ever become commercially available, that is. Instead of an annoying beep, buzz or radio DJ, the one-off design exercise uses a motorized pic to strum four guitar strings, in order to gently rouse its user.  Read More

A Russian tinkerer has created a typewriter that mixes drinks based on the keys that are p...

Hoo boy, you just know Hunter S. Thompson would have loved this. A Russian tinkerer going by the name of morskoiboy has created a typewriter (?) that squirts a different type of syrup or liqueur into a glass with every keystroke. That same liquid is used in a big single-character LCD-like display, that shows users what letter they’re typing. This means that different cocktails can be created, simply by typing in different words.  Read More

Toyota Industries Corporation recently set a speed record for compressed air cars, by send...

Although battery-powered cars may no longer be considered quirky and weird, automobiles propelled by compressed air are still perhaps thoughts of as a little ... fringy. The MDI Air Car looked promising, although development of the vehicle seems to have been at least temporarily suspended. Toyota Industries Corporation, however, recently brought some attention to the technology. On September 9th, its one-off KU:RIN set a new speed record for compressed air cars, at 129.2 km/h (80.3 mph).  Read More

The Northwestern filter changes color when full of carbon dioxide, then changes back after...

As concerns continue to rise over man-made carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere, various groups of scientists have begun developing filters that could remove some or all of the CO2 content from smokestack emissions. Many of these sponge-like filters incorporate porous crystals known as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). Unfortunately, most MOFs are derived from crude oil, plus some of them contain toxic heavy metals. Researchers from Illinois’ Northwestern University, however, recently announced that their nontoxic MOF sponge – made from sugar, salt and alcohol – is fully capable of capturing and storing CO2. As an added bonus, should you be really hungry, you can eat the thing.  Read More

EV charging network developer 350Green has announced that it will be adding 400 new Charge...

While it still may be some time before all American EV drivers can expect to find charging stations located close to wherever they’re going, things are at least heading more and more in that direction. Late last week, charging network developer 350Green announced that it will be adding 400 new stations to its existing U.S. network, as part of a plan to bring the total number up to 1,000.  Read More

Scientists have created an inexpensive, robust, liquid-repellent surface material, inspire...

Who doesn't like carnivorous plants? They eat pesky bugs, they look like something out of Flash Gordon, and now it turns out that one of them has inspired a new type of liquid-repellent surface. The inspirational flora is the pitcher plant, which is shaped like - well, like a water pitcher, or perhaps a wide-end-up trumpet. When insects step onto its slippery inner surface, they lose their footing and fall down into a pool of collected rainwater in its base, where they are digested. Scientists from Harvard University's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have copied the structure of that inner surface and come up with a material that resists not only most liquids, but also ice and bacteria, and it does so under a wide range of conditions.  Read More

Scientists have created a system that is able to visually reconstruct images that people h...

In the 1983 film Brainstorm, Christopher Walken played a scientist who was able to record movies of people's mental experiences, then play them back into the minds of other people. Pretty far-fetched, right? Well, maybe not. Utilizing functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and computer models, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have been able to visually reconstruct the brain activity of human subjects watching movie trailers - in other words, they could see what the people's brains were seeing.  Read More

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