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— 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
— Electronics

Graphite foam promises longer-lasting LEDs

By - August 30, 2010
LED lamps may soon be able to go much longer between fixture replacements thanks to a new graphite foam cooling system developed at the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The graphite foam works by passively wicking heat away from the lamp via its lightly-packed, open skeletal structure – and given that a ten-degree decrease in operating temperature can double the lifespan of LED lighting components, the benefits of keeping them cool are clear. Read More
— Digital Cameras

Sony unveils new translucent mirror Alpha cameras

By - August 30, 2010 13 Pictures
If you've suffered a missed photo opportunity due to the short time your digital SLR takes to get its mirror out of the way, then Sony reckons it has the answer. The mirror inside the new α33 and α55 digital cameras doesn't move out of the way at all, it's just semi-transparent and simply allows the light from the lens through to the CMOS sensor while also redirecting some to the camera's autofocus sensor. Whether shooting stills or high definition video, Sony says that its new technology allows for simultaneous image capture and fast, accurate autofocus. Read More
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