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Good Thinking

"Smart" facade keeps offices from overheating, without using any electricity

Office buildings with plate glass windows may provide a nice view for workers, but they're certainly not ideal when it comes to energy-efficiency. Among other things, the sunlight that pours through them can raise the temperature in the office, causing the air conditioning to come on. Now, however, researchers from Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology have created a light-blocking facade for such windows that only kicks in when exposed to strong sunlight – and it's powered by that sunlight, too.Read More

Artist creates animated life-size Mechanical Horse

As a child, Brooklyn-based metal sculptor Adrian Landon played with Lego a lot. He also learned about horses from his polo-playing dad, who in turn learned about them from his father, who was an equine veterinarian. That background set the stage for Landon's latest work of art, a stainless steel life-size Mechanical Horse that gallops in slow motion at the press of a button.Read More

Perceptive perfume smells stronger the more you sweat

In potentially good news for the noses of gymnasium employees and commuters crammed into packed train carriages on hot summer days, scientists at Queen's University, Belfast claim to have developed the world's first perfume delivery system that releases more aroma the more a person sweats.Read More

Bosch Reaxx table saw saves fingers and blades

Table saws can make working with wood a breeze. They can also take fingers off the unwary in the blink of an eye. To help avoid the latter, Bosch has come up with its Reaxx portable jobsite table saw, which can tell the difference between a piece of wood and a finger, and drop the blade out of the way to prevent a messy accident.Read More

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

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