Photokina 2014 highlights

Ben Coxworth

An inability to suppress eye movement could be a reliable indicator of ADHD (Photo: Shutte...

If a child who's simply very active is mistakenly diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), they can end up on pharmaceuticals such as Ritalin unnecessarily. The problem is, it can be quite difficult to determine if someone actually has ADHD, and misdiagnoses are common. Now, however, researchers from Tel Aviv University have announced that analyzing a patient's eye movements may be the key.  Read More

Nemesis Fins are designed to let you swim like a whale ... sort of

If you've ever seen a humpback whale's fins, you might have noticed that they have knobby bits along the front edge. These are known as tubercles, and they cause the water to flow over the fins in such a way that extra lift is created. They've been copied in efforts to produce better wind turbines, undersea turbines, helicopter rotor blades ... and now, Speedo swim fins.  Read More

The Qudos Action light, mounted alongside a GoPro Hero 3 White edition camera

We've seen a plethora of accessories for the GoPro Hero actioncam cropping up over the past few years, including everything from stabilizers to drones to helmet-mounted poles. Surprisingly, though, except for scuba-specific models, there's been almost nothing in the way of lights. Australian bike gadget manufacturer Knog recently set out to fill that void, by releasing its Qudos Action light earlier this month. I recently had a chance to get my hands on the thing, and liked what it had to offer.  Read More

Male medflies that are genetically altered using the RIDL technique don't produce viable f...

Mediterranean fruit flies are responsible for extensive damage to fruit and vegetable crops, not only in the Mediterranean region but also in Australia, North and South America. While existing methods of controlling them include the use of insecticides and sterilization, the University of East Anglia and biotech company Oxitec are pioneering what they claim is a greener and less expensive approach – they're genetically modifying male fruit flies to produce only male viable offspring.  Read More

A mock-up of what the finished Intelligent Blinker may look like

As any serious bicycle commuter will tell you, it's important to let drivers know what you're doing by signaling your intention to turn. Needless to say, the more visible your hand signals are, the safer you should be. That's why a group of doctoral students at Switzerland's EPFL research institute created the Intelligent Blinker. It's a wrist bracelet that automatically starts flashing when the wearer raises their arm to signal.  Read More

V-Charge guides self-driving electric cars to open spots in transit station car parks

Although the battery range of electric vehicles continues to improve, it's still quite likely that as EVs become more popular, so will their integration into larger transportation networks – in other words, people will drive their electric cars to transfer points such as train stations, instead of making entire long trips solely by driving. With that in mind, the European V-Charge consortium is developing a system whereby users can just step out of their vehicle when they reach a public transit station, leaving the car to head off on its own to find a parking spot.  Read More

Thanks to zinc oxide nanorods, phones may someday be able to recharge using the sounds aro...

Four years ago, we first heard about how Korean scientists had proposed using sound to charge mobile phones. They explained that it could be done via a piezoelectric effect, in which zinc oxide nanowires converted sound-caused vibrations into electricity. At the time, the researchers couldn't generate enough of a current to actually charge a phone. Now, however, scientists from Nokia and Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) have succeeded in doing so.  Read More

An illustration shows how the polymer could clean up smokestack emissions – although its r...

Hydrogen may hold promise as an alternative to fossil fuels, but there's still a huge petrol-producing infrastructure in place, and not many service stations offer hydrogen refills yet. That's why some scientists are exploring a bridging technology known as the integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) process, for converting fossil fuels into hydrogen. Along with hydrogen, though, carbon dioxide is also a byproduct of the IGCC process, which must be dealt with. Fortunately, scientists from the University of Liverpool have developed a polymer that soaks up that CO2 for use in other applications.  Read More

The Barak kit allows pretty much any bicycle to be made electric

While electric bicycles are certainly becoming a popular new form of transportation, they're still generally much more expensive than their human-powered counterparts. Some people attempt to cut costs by converting existing bikes to electrics themselves, although doing so usually involves a fair bit of technical know-how. Mechanical engineer Micah Toll now hopes to open up that conversion process to everyone, with his Barak Electric Bicycle Kit.  Read More

Dr. Horst Punzmann and team leader Prof. Michael Shats, at the ANU wave tank

If you've ever tried to retrieve an object that's floating away in a lake or the ocean, then you'll know how frustrating it can be, trying to draw that item towards you. According to research recently conducted at The Australian National University (ANU), however, it's possible to move such objects in whichever direction you wish – as long as you can generate the right type of waves.  Read More

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