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Good Thinking

Hamburg walls use hydrophobic paint to pee back

Hamburg's St. Pauli is one of the world's most famous red light districts. It attracts around 20 million visitors a year, but it's also a bit smelly because, after a night on the tiles, a good number of those visitors urinate in public places. Now, in a fit of poetic justice, the walls of St. Pauli are being upgraded so they retaliate on micturators in kind. Read More

Robotic student helps kids learn to write

Armed with the knowledge that children tend to learn better when they teach their new-found skills to others, Swiss researchers have enlisted the help of a humanoid robot that improves along with them. This CoWriter system has been well received in tests with school children aged six to eight, where students "teach" the robot to improve its penmanship and see the robot's improved performance reflected in their own handwriting.Read More

Google, Gehry and BMW among Designs of the Year 2015 nominations

London's Design Museum has announced the nominations for its Designs of the Year 2015. Now in its eighth year, the awards recognize innovative, interesting and forward-looking designs from the last 12 months that promote or deliver change, enable access, extends design practice or capture the spirit of the year in the categories of architecture, digital, fashion, product, graphics and transport. We've selected a few of the nominations that caught our eye, some of which had done so previously.Read More

CriticaLink provides emergency care when 911 isn't an option

Many of us take for granted that, should we have an accident, the emergency services will be able to help. In some places that's not possible though. CriticaLink, being trialed in Dhaka, Bangladesh, seeks to provide volunteer emergency assistance when it might not be otherwise possible.Read More

Putting the world's largest and most powerful gas turbine to the test

One of the problems with building the world's largest and most powerful gas turbine is that you need to build a test bed to match. Having invested US$1 billion in its 500,000 bhp 9HA Harriet gas turbine, GE had to fork over another US$185 million to build a full-load test bed at GE Power & Water in Greenville, South Carolina that can handle the grid-busting output of Harriet.Read More

CorPower system gives wave power the gears

Harnessing wave power can be a tricky business. It's one thing to build a device that simply moves up and down with the waves, but another to build one that's efficient enough to be cost-effective. Swedish company CorPower Ocean claims to have done just that, however. Its wave energy converter buoys reportedly generate five times more energy per ton of device, at a third the cost of other wave power systems. Read More

Smart measuring tape aims to take the guesswork out of online shopping

No matter how sure you are of your size, buying clothes online always carries the risk that they won't fit correctly when they arrive. With different brands having different ideas of what's small, medium and large, how do you know for certain that you've ticked the right box? Italian fashion startup Xyze (pronounced "Size") is currently running a crowdfunding campaign for a smart measuring tape that records your body's dimensions and translates this to a particular brand's size chart, threatening to deal a critical blow to the "never worn" category on eBay. Read More

Flow frames put honey on tap directly from the beehive

A new invention by two Australian beekeepers is claimed to be able to siphon honey straight from a beehive without opening the lid or disturbing the bees inside. When a tap attached to a specifically developed honeycomb "Flow" frame within the hive is opened, the bee-formed cells are split slightly open inside the comb, thereby allowing channels to form through which the honey flows down to a sealed trough and out of the hive straight into collecting jars. All the while, the bees are virtually undisturbed on the surface of the comb.Read More

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