Photokina 2014 highlights

Randolph Jonsson

The Canon G1 X boasts a 1.5-inch, 14.3-megapixel CMOS sensor with over six times the area ...

While most compact point-and-shoot cameras are aimed at the budget-conscious end of the market, Canon has higher aspirations for the new flagship of its PowerShot G-series. With a 1.5-inch, 14.3-megapixel High-Sensitivity Canon CMOS sensor that is just 20 percent smaller than the APS-C sensors used in Canon's EOS line of DSLRs and over six times bigger than those in previous G-series models, Canon says its new G1 X delivers the highest image quality available in a compact point-and-shoot.  Read More

NHK's gyro-stabilized balloon camera rig For those who dream of one day shooting aerial footage without the bulky cranes and cables to hold everything aloft, Japan's NHK may have just the thing: a tethered, balloon-mounted, four-axis gyro-stabilized camera rig that weighs in at about 2 kg and can soar up to 300 meters.  Read More

The Ferrari ARNO XI hydroplane

Even long-time admirers of Enzo Ferrari's sleek, red roadsters might be surprised to learn that he also lent his expertise to create what is still, nearly 60 years later, the fastest raceboat in its class, the one-of-a-kind ARNO XI hydroplane. Developed in 1952 by wealthy Italian industrialist Achille Castoldi and Ferrari Grand Prix racers Alberto Ascari and Luigi Villoresi, the speedy craft, propelled by a 4500cc V12, handily won the world speed record the following year. Now, carefully restored to its original condition, the ARNO XI will soon go at auction to the highest bidder - an honor that's estimated to cost the buyer a cool US$2 million (or more)!  Read More

Georgia Institute of Technology's new intraoral Tongue Drive system

For those unfortunate enough to suffer from severe spinal cord injuries, the tongue is often the only extremity still under their control. To take advantage of this fact, engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed what they call the Tongue Drive System (TDS), a wireless, wearable device that allows the user to operate computers and control electric wheelchairs with movements of the tongue. The latest iteration, which resembles a sensor-studded dental retainer, is controlled by a tongue-mounted magnet and promises its users a welcome new level of autonomy with both communication and transportation.  Read More

University of Texas at Austin researchers have developed a method that may speed up the bo...

In spite of numerous medical breakthroughs ranging from heart transplants to bypass surgery, cardiovascular disease still tops the list as the leading cause of death in developed countries. Key among the many problems that trouble our hearts is something called myocardial ischemia disease (MID), a condition that leads to reduced blood flow in the vessels of the heart and lower extremities and, frequently, corrective surgery. Now, University of Texas at Austin (UTA) biomedical engineer Aaron Baker and his research team have developed a method that may speed up the body's ability to grow new blood vessels (a phenomenon called angiogenesis), and best of all, no surgery is required. That's potentially great news for the nearly 27 million folks in the U.S. alone who chronically suffer from MID.  Read More

Artist's rendering of the GDPE project on the Guangzhou skyline

By this time next year, a walk along the Pearl River in Guangzhou, China, will come with an unusual bonus: a view of the completed Guangdong Plastics Exchange research center/warehouse. Far from being just another boxy building, this unique, 1 billion yuan (US$159 million) edifice is patterned after objects the Cantonese traditionally associate with luck and good fortune. One thing's for certain - at 138 meters (453 feet) in height, with a 47 meter (154 foot) diameter hole in the center, this is one landmark that will be difficult to miss.  Read More

A plasma torch eliminates bacteria from raw chicken

Judging by the number of folks who fall prey to food-borne illness each year, food safety is serious business, especially when you consider that pathogens such as Campylobacter and Salmonella contaminate over 70 percent of the raw chicken meat tested. Now, recent research from a food safety team at Pennsylvania's Drexel University offers proof-of-concept for what may one day be a common approach to preventing food-borne illness from raw poultry and meat products - the use of high-energy, low temperature plasma to eliminate unwanted bacteria while leaving the food basically unchanged.  Read More

Schematic of MIT's Photosystem-I solar energy harvesting chip

Research scientist Andreas Mershin has a dream to bring inexpensive solar power to the masses, especially those in developing countries. After years of research, he and his team at MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms, along with University of Tennessee biochemist Barry Bruce, have worked out a process that extracts functional photosynthetic molecules from common yard and agricultural waste. If all goes well, in a few years it should be possible to gather up a pile of grass clippings, mix it with a blend of cheap chemicals, paint it on your roof and begin producing electricity. Talk about redefining green power plants!  Read More

The autonomous squadron made up of 20 quadrotor robots from KMel Robotics (Photo: Kmel Rob...

Remote-controlled quadrotor robots have been around for some time, but in the following video just released by a research team at the University of Pennsylvania's General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Lab, science fiction edges much closer to science fact. Displaying complex autonomous swarm behavior, the miniature craft perform some astounding maneuvers and provide an interesting glimpse into what the future may hold for surveillance, search and rescue, light construction and warfare.  Read More

Prototype of Purdue's new rap music-powered implantable pressure sensor

We've been following the evolution of patient-embedded medical sensors for some time - miniature devices that run on batteries, transcutaneous (through-the-skin) induced current, even sugar and provide constant monitoring of various metabolic parameters. Now, a team from Purdue University's Birck Nanotechnology Center has developed a prototype pressure sensor which promises to address the shortcomings of previous designs and utilizes a novel power supply: the acoustic energy from bass-heavy riffs of rap music.  Read More

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