Highlights from Interbike 2014

Jan Belezina

The transparency grenade prior to assembly

If you thought Wikileaks was a disruptive idea, the transparency grenade is going to blow you away. This tiny bit of hardware hidden under the shell shaped like a classic Soviet F1 hand grenade allows you to leak information from anywhere just by pulling a pin. The device is essentially a small computer with a powerful wireless antenna and a microphone. Following detonation, the grenade intercepts local network traffic and captures audio data, then makes the information immediately available online.  Read More

The Google PageRank algorithm has been used to determine bonds between molecules

Aurora Clark from Washington State University has found an unlikely application for Google's link ranking technology - harnessing it to analyze hydrogen bonds in water. Connecting the fields of computer engineering and chemistry, her project aims to predict chemical reactivity between differently shaped particles while bypassing the hassle and expense of carrying out actual lab-based experiments.  Read More

The state of Nevada has approved regulations that set out guidelines for testing self-driv...

Nevada is now officially the first state in the USA where the operation of self-driving vehicles on public roads is regulated by law. The regulations approved by the Legislative Commission of the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles set out guidelines for companies who want to test autonomous vehicles on public roadways. They also include a set of requirements for people who'd like to "drive" such vehicles.  Read More

The CAMDASS augmented reality system provides untrained personnel with instant medical kno...

Before we are able to download knowledge straight to our brains - Matrix style - gaining medical expertise will remain a slow and painful process. That's fine by most people, who can just go and visit a trained doctor. But what if you are a member of a small team of specialists operating at a remote, isolated location with no immediate access to medical resources? Then you either need to be a doctor, or you need the Computer Assisted Medical Diagnosis and Surgery System. Devised by the European Space Agency (ESA), the augmented reality-based CAMDASS aims to provide astronauts with instant medical know-how.  Read More

Odorico Pordenone expandable trailer by Jakub Novak - rear view

Jakub Novak, a Czech student from Brno University of Technology, designed a trailer that would look oddly out of place in a campground. Odorico Pordenone, named after Italian medieval traveler Odoric of Pordenone, offers all the benefits of a luxury camper van, while also allowing you to show off your stunning sports car. Expandable when stationary, the trailer strikes a fine balance between utility and beauty. Although Novak was awarded the Czech National Award for Student Design last year, the project remains only a concept.  Read More

Squid uses EMG sensors to keep track of the electrical activity of muscles during a workou...

Unless you have a personal fitness instructor following you around with a notepad, keeping track of your progress at the gym can be a real nuisance. Luckily, thanks to a group of students from from Northeastern University in Boston, you can now count on your squid-equipped shirt to do the statistical heavy lifting for you. Squid is essentially a set of electromyography (EMG) sensors attached to a box that pushes your workout data to a smartphone app. This is synchronized with a web-based management panel, to give you a detailed overview of your progress.  Read More

Engineers and researchers at UT Arlington aim to develop a biomask that could revolutioniz...

Engineers and researchers at the University of Texas, Arlington in collaboration with military medical institutions aim to develop a mask that would use mechanical, electrical and biological components to speed up the healing process following severe facial burns. The flexible polymer face mold is to be fitted with sensors for the monitoring of the healing process. If necessary, embedded components would selectively administer the appropriate pharmaceuticals to the right section of the wound. The aim of the Biomask project is not only to prevent further disfigurement, but also to facilitate facial tissue regeneration in injured soldiers.  Read More

The self-guided bullet developed by Sandia National Laboratories has been fitted with an L...

A group of researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have built a prototype of a small-caliber bullet capable of steering itself towards a laser-marked target located approximately 2,000 meters (1.2 miles) away. The dart-like design has passed the initial testing stage, which included computer simulations as well as field-testing prototypes built from commercially available parts.  Read More

Magnetically levitated micro robots are simple to scale down and could potentially be comb...

The past five to ten years have seen the birth of microbotics. A whole range of components that are vital for building robots, such as actuators, motors or batteries, became available in micro-scale only fairly recently. Finally enthusiasts got what they needed to put their own systems together, and the whole field benefited from their work. But there are obvious limitations to scaling down robots full of sensors, motors, and other mechanisms. That is, unless you make the machines extremely simple, which is exactly what Ron Pelrine of SRI International has done. His work on levitated microrobots may have powerful implications for robotics, and is likely to bring us a step closer towards fast, precise and affordable robotic systems comprising thousands, if not millions of microrobots.  Read More

Potentially, if turned into a viable drug, irisin could induce the benefits of a workout w...

A group of researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, led by Bruce Spiegelman and Pontus Boström, have discovered a hormone that mimics some of the results of a workout by facilitating the transformation of white fat into brown fat. While the purpose of the former is to accumulate excess calories, the latter is used to produce heat. Irisin, named after the Greek goddess Iris, could one day help address obesity and diabetes. However, there is still a long way to go before the hormone is made into an actual drug.  Read More

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