The British electrical plug may be a design classic, but it's also very bulky and doesn't exactly fit in with the ultra-mobile digital age. To save some tablets from an undeserved scratching, Hong Kong-based OneAdaptr has come up with its Flip folding plug. The focus of a Kickstarter campaign running through December 18, the Flip opens like a pair of jaws and combines USB charging ports with an optional internal battery.
If one thing has been learned in the last half century, it's that sending astronauts into the harsh, unforgiving environment of space is both dangerous and expensive. To find a way to minimize risk and cost, NASA is sending a pair of prototype humanoid robots back to school. The space agency is giving two R5 "Valkyrie" robots to university groups at MIT and Northeastern University for advanced research and development of robotic astronauts that could act as vanguards for manned missions or as assistants for humans traveling to Mars.
Home security cameras can provide a sense of, well, security, but there's something Orwellian about having a lens staring at you like a prop out of an episode of The Prisoner. A more discreet solution is something that doesn't look like a camera and, better yet, combines some other functions to make it more welcome. One example is the Sentri home monitoring system that combines a motion-activated camera with the looks of a digital information center. We powered one up to see what it could do.
Umbrellas may be a handy thing to have in a downpour, but opening and closing one is often tricky and coming in out of the rain raises the question of what to do with a soggy bumbershoot. The RainBender umbrella tackles this age old problem with an inside-out design where instead of folding, the canopy vanishes inside its own handle.
Heart disease and high blood pressure are the world's leading killers and one way to combat them is to track key health indicators, such as blood pressure and heart rate. The problem is that even with the introduction of digital technology, it's often difficult for people to regularly take readings and interpret the results. One alternative to traditional sphygmometers and stethoscopes is Mocacare's Mocaheart cardiovascular health monitor, which we put through its paces.
Scientists from the University of Warwick have produced the first weather map of a planet outside our solar system. The planet in question – HD 189733b – is not likely to top the list of interstellar tourist destinations, with winds 20 times faster than any recorded on Earth raging across its surface.
If some people get impatient waiting for a soft-boiled egg to cook, that's nothing compared to a group of theoretical physicists at the Imperial College London. They've come up with a new method that could allow lasers to heat certain materials to temperatures hotter than at the Sun's core in 20 quadrillionths of a second. The new technique would reportedly be 100 times faster than the world's most energetic laser system at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, California, and may one day have applications in future fusion research.
Most piston-driven helicopters use aviation-grade gasoline or avgas, but as part of the European Clean Sky initiative, Airbus Helicopters has begun flight testing of a new high-compression engine that burns widely-available kerosene aviation fuel. Installed in an H120 demonstrator aircraft, the advanced lightweight V8 piston engine promises to be a more efficient, cleaner alternative to turbine powerplants in high-performance rotorcraft.
Technology, from satellites to drones, has dramatically increased the amount of imagery being gathered by military intelligence, posing a daunting task for the analysts that must look at and and evaluate it. Researchers at the US Army's Mission Impact through Neurotechnology Design (MIND) Lab at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland are looking to speed things up by leveraging the power of the human brain.
The latest and most powerful variant of the Rolls-Royce Trent engine has taken to the air for the first time. Billed as the "world’s most efficient civil aircraft engine," the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 replaced one of the four Trent 900 engines on an Airbus A380 flying testbed aircraft during the flight over Toulouse, France.