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Good Thinking

Trees trained to grow into furniture

Much of our furniture is made from timber. The wood to make that furniture has to be harvested from a felled tree which is then milled, sawed, planed, sanded, put back together with glue and screws, and finished. Wouldn't it be easier to avoid most of these steps and simply coax a tree to grow into a piece of furniture? That way, it would be one-piece, inherently strong, and could potentially last many years longer than assembled furniture. Gavin Munro thought this too, and about a decade ago set about achieving this goal. He now creates furniture by cajoling trees to grow into one-piece items that are not only inherently practical, they are also eminently beautiful.Read More

Apps help deaf cinema-goers hear movies

For people with limited hearing, understanding movies or plays can be challenging – particularly if they don't own a hearing aid. That's why engineers at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technolgy have developed a system that streams audio from the stage or screen to the user's earphone-equipped smartphone.Read More

Review

Review: Jawbone UP Move fitness tracker

The Jawbone UP Move is an entry-level fitness tracker which can monitor daily activity and sleep, and is priced to allow everyone in on the fitness tracking action. However, as part of the Jawbone UP family, can it offer more than its spec sheet suggests? Gizmag recently spent a bit of time with the diminutive tracker to find out.Read More

Greaseless ball bearings: A revolutionary spin on a design that's been around for ages

The humble ball bearing is a key component of nearly every device with moving parts, taking advantage of the vastly reduced friction you can achieve when rolling a ball between two surfaces as opposed to sliding them across one another. Now, a Japanese company has come up with a simple design that removes a key component from a typical bearing – the cage that keeps the balls separated as they roll around. Coo Space's Autonomous Decentralised Bearings don't need to be greased, and according to their inventor, this fact alone can reduce their friction by up to 90 percent compared with standard bearings. Read More

ShopInstantShoe instant-fit shoe system is heading for stores

For women, buying the wrong shoes can be about more than just esthetics. If they end up with shoes that don't fit properly, they can develop foot disorders such as bunions, hammertoes or ingrown toenails. That's where the European Union's DemoShopInstantShoe project comes in. Established a few years ago, the collaborative effort is now about to release a device that instantly adapts off-the-rack shoes to a custom fit.Read More

Electrical supermarket trolley lightens your grocery load

Israeli electrical engineer Avraham Hagay wrote into Gizmag this week to tell us about his invention, a motorized shopping trolley designed to make it easier to push a full load of groceries around the store and back to your car. The system, which carries loads of up to 120 kg (265 lbs), can be retrofitted onto existing carts or integrated into new builds. Hagay's currently in talks with local companies and he hopes to soon find a business partner to help manufacture, market, and sell the technology worldwide.Read More

WINKpen: have your wine and write with it, too

If you're into handwriting, drawing, keeping diaries the old fashioned way and sipping wine, you may soon be able to merge all those activities into one. A new device created by Portland-based designer Jessica Chan adds a bohemian touch to the old fountain pen, by allowing it to be charged with any type of raw liquid with a staining property, including – you guessed it – wine. Called WINKpen, it also uses tea, beer, and anything else that tickles the user's fancy.Read More

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