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Aircraft

Swiss satellite being sent to clean up the mess in outer space

NASA currently monitors approximately 17,000 pieces of space junk that are orbiting the earth at extremely high speeds. These odds and ends consist of things like dead satellites, spent rocket stages and parts that have broken off of spacecraft. As the amount of junk increases, it becomes increasingly difficult for functioning satellites to avoid colliding with it. When collisions do occur, the satellite is often destroyed, with the resulting debris further adding to the problem. Scientists from Swiss research institute EPFL, however, have decided that enough is enough – they’re currently developing a small satellite known as CleanSpace One, which will be tasked with grappling expired satellites and pulling them back to Earth.Read More

Computers

Logitech enters the button-free mouse market with the Touch Mouse M600

There's no doubt about it, we live in a touch-enabled world. Everywhere you look there's a smartphone, tablet, laptop or computer obeying the fingertip commands of users. Separate input peripherals like keyboards and mice have also had their keys and buttons replaced by a smooth, touch-enabled surface. Although somewhat late to the party (Apple introduced its Magic Mouse as far back as 2009), Logitech is about to release its own Windows 7 mouse called the M600.Read More

Science

Vibration "invisibility cloak" could protect buildings from earthquakes

While “cloaking” technology may have once been limited exclusively to the realm of science fiction, regular Gizmag readers will know that it is now finding its way into real life – just within the past few years, scientists have demonstrated various experimental cloaking systems that prevent small objects from being seen, and in one case, from being heard. Such invisibility systems involve the use of metamaterials, which are man-made materials that exhibit optical qualities not found in nature. These are able to effectively bend light around an object, instead of allowing it to strike the object directly. Now, mathematicians from the University of Manchester are proposing technology based on the same principles, that would allow buildings to become “invisible” to earthquakes.Read More

Digital Cameras

Nikon reveals new 36.3-megapixel beast - the D800 HD-SLR

Has it really been over three years since Nikon released the 12-megapixel D700 digital camera? At long last, its replacement - which effectively triples the pixel count of its predecessor - is due to arrive next month. The new D800 is about half the price of the D4 announced in early January, with which it shares a number of features, plus it's smaller and lighter, and features a new 36.3 megapixel FX-format (35.9 x 24mm) CMOS sensor. It's also the first digital camera to achieve USB 3.0 certification.Read More

Good Thinking

Smartphone app helps people with a disability access the city

How do you figure out how to pilot a wheelchair around your city? Around 10 percent or more of the population live with a disability, so chances are that you, or someone you know, has this problem. You can't be certain if wheelchair access is available unless you laboriously phone ahead to inquire for every route and every destination. Some web information is available, but knowing where to find it and what search strings to use can be a real challenge. Enter the Ldn Access smartphone app, that helps people with disabilities easily find where there are step-free access ramps, usable toilet facilities, and other services for the disabled. Read More

Architecture

Loftcube arrives in grounds of a Belgian Castle

A luxurious Belgian castle dating back to the 1880s might seem an unlikely setting for a futuristic and modern weekend away. Situated one hour outside Brussels, Chateau De La Poste is home to a fully renovated castle with 42 guest rooms amidst 42 acres of parkland, but guests can now opt for a quiet escape with the benefits of a pint-sized penthouse that lies hidden on this historical property - the Loftcube.Read More

Wearables

"Beauty and the geek" keyboard pants - would you wear them?

Where to start with the "Beauty and the Geek" wearable keyboard. It's tempting to launch into a spiel about cafe-hopping hipsters that might just (and I mean just) be tempted by a pair of jeans with a built-in keyboard. Anything to lighten the load, non? But it's hard to imagine even the least self-aware urbanite willing to subject himself to the inevitable crotch-stares that BatG would surely attract - even when he's not typing. Which isn't to dismiss Nieuwe Heren's design - it does incorporate some rather neat ideas.Read More

Architecture

Student scheme to protect Future-Manhattan from rising sea levels

A pair of students at the University of Pennsylvania have an audacious suggestion should rising sea levels make their presence felt in Manhattan, New York. Their scheme would see the installation of waterproof canopies to the lower stories of skyscrapers. Tingwei Xu and Xie Zhang say their idea has an "irreducible integrity," thanks to the canopies' various functions which, the students say, are each of equal importance. So in addition to keeping water out, these canopies provide additional structural support against lateral forces, provide green or agricultural space, and, judging by the visualizations, provide living and working areas in their own right.Read More

Aircraft

AgustaWestland AW609 tiltrotor aims for 2016 FAA certification

We’ve been following the development of Eurocopter’s X3 demonstrator with interest in recent years, but it’s far from the only aircraft that aims to combine the vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capabilities of a helicopter with the speed, range and altitude capabilities of a fixed wing aircraft. Tiltrotor aircraft that feature powered rotors mounted on rotating shafts or nacelles at the end of a fixed wing have been around for half a century, the most famous probably being the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey. While the V-22 is a military aircraft, AgustaWestland is developing its AW609 as a multi-role aircraft aimed at private, commercial, and government markets.Read More

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