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James Holloway

It appears that Nippon Moon remains a concept for now (Image: UNStudio)

With Nippon Moon, UNStudio is bringing more than sheer scale to the concept of the enormous observation wheel. Though the height of the wheel has not been fixed, Nippon Moon is clearly intended to put Japan on the map (the map of gigantic ferris wheels, that is), and compete with, if not surpass, the likes of the 165-m Singapore Flyer and the 135-m London Eye. However, UNStudio hints that smartphone apps or even augmented reality could be used to enhance the ride, and make it an observation wheel fit for the 21st century.  Read More

Driblet is a self-powered Wi-Fi-enabled water meter

Here's a crowd-funding campaign that probably deserves to be doing better than it is. Driblet is a smart water meter that connects to a water pipe to track use. Best of all, once it's installed, you don't need to worry about it running out of energy.  Read More

The Budgee Bot concept

With its Budgee Bot robot, Five Elements Robotics has created a machine that embodies what was presumably in Karel Čapek's mind when he originally applied the word robot to an artificial automaton. First brought to public attention in his 1920 play R.U.R. (short for Rossum's Universal Robots), the word robot was adapted from robota, meaning something akin to a slave laborer in his native Czech. And though Budgee Bot is not designed for a life confined to a factory (and appears unlikely to overthrow human society), it is designed to obediently follow you around, carrying your stuff.  Read More

Kindle MatchBook provides ebook copies of your old book purchases

In what is potentially exciting news for anyone with a library split between the digital and physical realms, Amazon has launched the Kindle MatchBook service, which aims to provide Kindle ebook copies of your old, pre-digital manuscripts (or books, as some may remember them) bought from Amazon. However, the service will not be available for all books, and in many cases, matched ebooks will cost a few dollars.  Read More

But it may be premature to declare CAPTCHA technology dead (Photo: Maen Zayyad/Shutterstoc...

San Francisco-based artificial intelligence startup Vicarious has announced that it has developed software algorithms which can solve CAPTCHAs up to 90 percent of the time. Though CAPTCHAs are any automated test which differentiates between humans and computers, they often take the form of strings of partly distorted letters and numbers which many websites use to check that a visitor is human, the idea being that a computer cannot read the disguised text while a human (hopefully) can. It’s this type of CAPTCHA that Vicarious’s algorithms are designed to beat, and the high success rate renders the current standard of text-based CAPTCHAs ineffective, the company claims.  Read More

Artificial shells for hermit crabs by Aki Inomata (© AKI INOMATA)

About this time two years ago, we looked at the efforts of Miles Lightwood and the Thingiverse community to 3D print shells for hermit crabs, but Tokyo-born artist Aki Inomata has been creating artificial shells for hermit crabs since 2009. Her most recent efforts are intricate and ornate, incorporating ideas on the theme of national identity through depictions of city skylines and vernacular architecture. The hermit crabs seem to like them too.  Read More

The O bridge concept

Three guess how this novel design for a footbridge to be built in Salford, UK got its name: the O. Its distinctive ring provides support for the walkway it surrounds. In a sense this is two bridges in one. Two thirds of the bridge is suspended in order to span the entire width of the River Irwell, while the final third is supported by columns.  Read More

Zaha Hadid's master concept

Her work may have its critics, but you can't fault the consistency of her design language. Even those with the most fleeting of interests in architecture and design cannot fail to recognize that this yacht design for Blohm+Voss has Zaha Hadid written all over it.  Read More

Experiments suggest that electrodes implanted in the sensory cortex of the brain can simul...

It's something most of us take for granted, but our sense of touch is every bit as useful to us as our sight and hearing. Though it seems simple, picking up and holding an object requires nearly instantaneous sensation in the parts of our hands and fingers in contact with the desired object, as well as a sense of the pressure we're applying. Many experimental efforts to simulate a sense of touch in amputees fitted with prosthetics require the subject to learn new associations between touching an object and some abstract sensation. But new research at the University of Chicago suggests that it is possible to map the individual finger pads of a prosthetic hand to the corresponding parts of the brain. In other words, prosthetic hands which offer a realistic sense of touch may theoretically be possible.  Read More

Ghost, a new free blogging platform, has opened its doors to the public Ghost, a free blogging platform billed as the first to put writers before developers, has been made available to the public. The software was developed and is managed by the non-profit Ghost Foundation, conceived to make the software unobtainable for corporate takeover.  Read More

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