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Good Thinking

TV-B-GONE goes open source

When Mitch Altman created the TV-B-Gone he envisioned a simple, keychain-mounted device that could surreptitiously switch off the annoyingly loud TVs in public places. But he was pleasantly surprised to find out that electronics enthusiasts had turned his invention into a hat, incorporated it into a mobile phone, modified it into a long-range “sniper” model, and tweaked it to provide more power output. These innovations led him to make the device open source, allowing anyone to build or hack their own model. Read More

Packaging innovation promises to reduce landfill

Each year an estimated 20 billion cubic feet of styrofoam is used globally for the shipment of 250 million perishable packages. Once the packages have arrived safely, this quickly translates to mountains of landfill. Coldpack's eco-friendly alternative is an inflatable insulating liner that converts a corrugated box into a cooler with better insulation and cushioning properties than styrofoam, reducing supply chain costs as well landfill.Read More

The worker assist device - coming to a workplace near you?

November 9, 2008 One of the most interesting and perhaps landmark technology projects we’ve ever seen is Honda’s experimental walking assist device - the second partial exoskeletal device exhibited by the company this year. The original machine shown by Honda was designed to assist weak leg muscles in the elderly. The second iteration is being trialled in Honda factories as a worker assistance device to support bodyweight when performing tasks on the workshop floor. This second experimental machine could have vast ramifications for skilled factory workers around the globe – if human efficiency in complex tasks can be improved, such robotic assistance devices could make a lot of sense on the balance sheet.Read More

Bike lock covers would-be thieves in permanent dye

Who stole my bike? This all too common question could soon be much easier to answer if the SmartLock takes-off. Operating on the same principle as a dye bomb safe, the cable-lock design adds an extra element to bicycle theft prevention by incorporating cores of compressed air and liquid running through its body. When a bolt-cutter wielding would-be thief cuts the cable, the liquid is sprayed out making the bike, the perpetrator, their tools and the crime scene easily identifiable.Read More

Coffee with a healthy spin

November 5, 2008 Feng Shui Coffee combines one of the world’s most popular drinks - coffee - with natural medicinal herbs and minerals designed for maintaining health and wellness and ties it in with the ancient Chinese principles of Feng Shui. It strikes us as an odd combination, but it does involve coffee.Read More

Smart cars to be trialed in city mobility scheme

In a progressive move that shares similarities to bike sharing schemes currently operating in some European cities, Daimler is looking to combat urban road congestion with car2go, a new program to be trialed in Germany which will utilize a microchip system in order for members to access environmentally friendly Smart cars.Read More

Can a machine think? Almost!

The Loebner Prize for artificial intelligence ( AI ) is the first formal instantiation of a Turing Test, the test named after British mathematician Alan Turing. In 1950, Turing proposed that if the responses from the computer were indistinguishable from that of a human,the computer could be said to be thinking. Last weekend saw the 18th Loebner Prize conducted with the final between five artificial conversational entities (ACEs). All the ACEs managed to fool at least one if their human interrogators, with the eventual winner fooling 25% of its interrogators. Read More

Unique navigation aid for the visually-impaired

Another interesting entry from the Create the Future Design Contest, the Navigation aid for the Blind uses existing technology in a very clever way. It consists of a headset which has an audio transducer and a built-in microphone and uses GPS, obstacle detection technology and speech recognition to safely guide the wearer to their destination. The wearer simply states the destination address into the microphone and the technology does the rest, guiding and directing the user safely through the streets.Read More

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