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— Electronics

Researchers demonstrate advanced display technology

By - August 31, 2010 4 Pictures
Only a small percentage of backlight actually makes its way out through the multiple layers that make up the ubiquitous LCD displays we use today. That may change with the development of new filter technology at the University of Michigan. White light is sent through tiny, precisely spaced gaps on nano-thin sheets of aluminum and is said to result in brighter, higher definition color reproduction. Other benefits of the technology include efficiency gains and simpler manufacturing. Read More
— Children

Exmobaby pajamas: real-time baby monitoring straight to your cell phone

By - August 31, 2010
Seems not even babies are safe from the advances in wearable technology. Nowadays, unborn children can tweet or listen to music and fully-fledged infants can wear a suit that changes color when they have a fever. The latest wearable concept is the Exmobaby sleep suit – a baby garment designed to monitor a baby’s heart rate, emotional state and activity level and to wirelessly relay the information to a cell phone or PC. Read More
— Environment

Just how environmentally friendly are electric vehicles?

By - August 31, 2010
Because they produce no exhaust gases in operation electric vehicles (EVs) are seen as the eco-friendly alternative to conventional gas-fueled cars. While zero-local emissions is clearly a big plus, other factors contributing to the overall environmental impact of EVs are often overlooked – namely the manufacture, usage and disposal of the batteries used to store the electrical energy and the sources of power used to charge them. Now, for the first time, a team of scientists from the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research (or EMPA) have made a detailed life cycle assessment or ecobalance of the type of lithium-ion batteries most frequently used in EVs, to see if they really are as environmentally friendly as their manufacturers would have us believe. Read More
— Environment

NEC goes nuts to create new bioplastic

By - August 31, 2010 4 Pictures
NEC has announced the development of a new biomass-based plastic produced by bonding non-edible cellulose with cardanol, a primary component of cashew nut shells. The new bioplastic is said to achieve a level of durability that makes it suitable for use in electronic equipment and boasts a high plant composition ratio of more than 70 per cent. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Swimsense monitors your aquatic workout

By - August 30, 2010 2 Pictures
Joggers and cyclists have all kinds of technological wizardry at their fingertips – or wrists – to let them no how they’re performing. Now there’s an easy way for swimmers to keep track of their aquatic exertions in the form of the Swimsense from FINIS. This watch-sized device is worn on the wrist and uses motion sensing technology to automatically detect and record the number of laps swum, total distance, calories burned, lap time, pace, and stroke count... it can even differentiate between backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle and butterfly. Read More
— Robotics

Stickybot mimics gecko biology to get a leg up

By - August 30, 2010
The biology of a gecko’s foot that gives the lizard its remarkable climbing ability has been used by engineers at Stanford University to create a robot that can climb smooth surfaces including a wall of slick glass. With feet modeled on the intricate design of gecko toes, the Stickybot could lead to the development of robots that can scale vertical surfaces to access dangerous or hard to reach places. Read More
— Digital Cameras

Newly developed CMOS sensor joins high performance feature set on new Sony Alpha cameras

By - August 30, 2010 3 Pictures
There’s been a bit of a flood of DSLR cameras unveiled in recent weeks. Nikon announced its first DSLR to record full 1080p video, while Canon added the Studio Version of its EOS 7D and its EOS 60D with an articulating LCD to its lineup. Not to be outdone, Sony joined the party unveiling its new translucent mirror cameras, the α33 and α55, which aren’t like conventional DSLRs as their mirror allows light through to the CMOS sensor instead of moving out of the way. Alongside the α33 and α55 Sony also announced the 16.2-megapixel α580 and 14.2-megapixel α560, which feature Sony’s newly developed Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor and BIONZ imaging processor. Read More
— Space

Astronaut airbags hold promise of a smooth landing

By - August 30, 2010
Should the astronauts living on the International Space Station ever need to evacuate, the plan is that they will be able to board the station’s resident escape spacecraft, which will then take them back to Earth. That escape craft, called Orion, is currently under construction. Like the Apollo spacecraft that it resembles, Orion is intended to land at sea. If it should happen to come down on the land, however... well, those astronauts could be in for a rough landing. With that in mind, a graduate student in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics is developing an air bag system to cushion Orion’s occupants in the event of a dry landing. The system, interestingly enough, was inspired by the structure of seeds. Read More
— Science

Video: Animated digital tapestry wows visitors at Shanghai Expo 2010

By - August 30, 2010 6 Pictures
Anyone who’s had a look at our Yez concept car story will know that the Chinese Government haven’t taken any half measures with Expo 2010 in Shanghai. In an absolutely frightening display of power and wealth it splashed out roughly US$60 billion on the event – that’s more than the GDP of two thirds of the world’s nations. China’s foreign currency reserves currently amount to the greatest fortune ever assembled anywhere at any time on planet earth – US$2.5 trillion – and they're only just getting started with accumulating wealth. The theme of the Shanghai expo is “Better City – Better Life” and, while a lot of the focus is on technological inventions and advancements, the goal of the Chinese Pavilion is to show the past, present and future. There is no better illustration of this than the centerpiece of the Pavilion – a stunning digital tapestry that takes one of China’s most famous paintings and updates it for the 21st Century. If you were impressed by the beautiful moving scroll that wowed audiences at the Beijing Olympics opening and closing ceremonies in 2008, then prepare to be blown away all over again. Read More
— Science

Scientists sequence apple genome

By - August 30, 2010
No sooner do we hear about the sequencing of the wheat genome, than word comes this week that the genome of the apple has been decoded. The feat was accomplished through a collaboration between 18 research institutions in the US, Belgium, France, New Zealand and Italy, and was coordinated by Italy’s Istituto Agrario S. Michele all'Adige (IASMA). DNA sequences of the Golden Delicious apple were produced in 2007/08, and over 82 percent of the genome was assembled into the total 17 apple chromosomes in 2009. Now, over 90 percent of the genes have been anchored to a precise position in the chromosomes. It may all sound like Greek (or Italian) to us non-geneticists, but the upshot of the whole thing is that we should now be able to selectively breed apples like never before, resulting in hardier, tastier fruits. Read More
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