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Lakshmi Sandhana

Lakshmi Sandhana
When Lakshmi first encountered pig's wings in a petri dish, she realized that writing about scientists and imagineers was the perfect way to live in an expanding mind bubble. Articles for Wired, BBC Online, New Scientist, The Economist and Fast Company soon followed. She's currently pursuing her dream of traveling from country to country to not only ferret out cool stories but also indulge outrageously in local street foods. When not working, you'll find her either buried nose deep in a fantasy novel or trying her hand at improvisational comedy.
Scientists at Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP) have developed displays that can be written on and erased with light. The WORM (Write Once Read Many) display is an optical storage device whose molecular geometry can be altered by shining light on it, allowing information in the form of words or pictures to be impressed on it in as little as 20 seconds. The environmentally-friendly display is also easy to dispose of, the researchers report, as users only have to scratch its surface to remove its protective coating and dip it in water to dissolve it. Read More
Imagine using a mobile phone powered entirely by its casing, or an electric car that runs off power stored in its chassis. Researchers at Vanderbilt University have created a structural supercapacitor that could, they believe, bring this closer to reality, making batteries and power cords obsolete. The structural supercapacitor could make it possible to store energy directly in structural materials, allowing them to deliver power long-term while surviving the real-life mechanical stresses they're bound to experience. Read More
Envision small robotic modules, lifting the lid of a storage box, spilling out, rearranging themselves to be the box's legs and transporting it to where you might be seated. That's exactly what Swiss researchers are aiming to create with Roombots, reconfigurable robotic modules that connect to each other to transform themselves into any type of furniture and change shape when needed (from a chair to a table, for example). Designed to help the disabled or elderly, by morphing to suit their needs, the adaptive robotic furniture modules can even be attached to existing furniture to give greater flexibility and the power to move. Read More

Designer Sangli Li has created a high-tech hat that attempts to defend the wearer from unwanted actions, such as a person suddenly shouting in your ear, or leaning in too close, by using small movable fans to quickly unfold in a blocking manner. Read More

A new online tool aims to create a real-time emotional map of how people all over the world feel, from analyzing how cheerful or depressed different countries might be, to how budget cuts or other news might hit people emotionally. Called "We Feel," the tool analyzes 32,000 tweets a minute to monitor people's collective mood swings and how their emotions fluctuate over time globally. Read More
It can be tricky to take exactly one fourths of a pill or the specific dose of prescribed medication, which is why researchers at Purdue University have come up with a way to print the proper dosage that a patient requires. Their prototype uses inkjet printing technology and a predictive mathematical model that calculates exactly how much medicine the patients needs and prints out the precise doses into tablets or films. Read More
That most long-awaited form of transport may finally be arriving with California-based Aerofex announcing that it'll be launching its Aero-X hoverbike in 2017 at an estimated price of US$85,000 (+CPI). The company is already accepting refundable deposits of $5,000 on its website, with first flights scheduled for 2016. The Aero-X is designed to carry two people up to a height of 10 ft above the ground and reach speeds of up to 42 mph. Read More
Researchers at the Multimedia University (MMU) in Malaysia have developed an omnidirectional thermal visualizer that provides a 360-degree view of the area under surveillance. The device, the researchers say, can monitor more than one lane at a time in airports and crowded areas, making it easier for authorities to quickly identify people with flu or SARS-like symptoms. Read More
Bad weather can play havoc with unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) patrolling the seas, which is why scientists at the Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) have come up with a USV prototype that works even when it tips over. Called Sea-Eye, the battery-powered vehicle features a design that enables it to work just as well upside down as right way up. Read More
A multinational group of scientists has developed implantable shape-changing transistors that can grip nerves, blood vessels and tissues. According to the researchers, these soft electronic devices can change shape within the body, while still maintaining their electronic properties, allowing them to be used in a variety of applications and treatments. Read More
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