more top stories »
— Science

New transparent, light-harvesting material could lead to power generating windows

While rooftops are the obvious place to put solar cells to generate clean electricity for the home, we’ve seen a number of technologies aimed at expanding the potential solar collecting area to include windows using transparent solar cells. These include Octillion Corp’s NanoPower Window technology, RSi’s semi-transparent photovoltaic glass windows, and EnSol’s transparent thin film. In this latest development, U.S. scientists have fabricated a new type of self-assembling transparent thin film material that could boost the cost effectiveness and scalability of solar window production. Read More
— Telecommunications

Researchers transmit holographic images in near-real-time

We may still not have light sabers or faster-than-light spacecraft, but one other piece of Star Wars technology now looks like it may be on the horizon: 3D holographic videoconferencing. This week researchers from the University of Arizona, Tucson, unveiled a holographic system capable of transmitting a series of three-dimensional images in near-real-time – a significant step towards the live transmission of life-size, full color, holographic video of people or other objects. Read More
— Mobile Technology

See what you're drawing with the oStylus touchscreen stylus

If you've ever tried to create a work of digital art on an iPad then you may have suffered the frustration of not being able to see exactly what's going on directly beneath your finger. Even a stylus can't offer an ideal view of the exact edge of those thin outlines. Looking somewhat like it should be in the hands of a dentist, the oStylus solves this by giving tablet artists a porthole to the screen beneath. There's no need for cables or driver software, the capacitive screen for which this device was designed simply registers the flat disc at the end as though it was a human digit. Read More
— Bicycles

When biking and camping collide – the Bikamper

Camping, especially when it’s not car-supported camping, is all about reducing what you have to carry with you. If someone comes along with a tent that doesn’t require poles, then that’s definitely welcome news. As its name implies, however, what Topeak’s Bikamper does require instead is a bicycle – probably a little bulkier to carry with you than tent poles, but presumably the folks at Topeak are assuming that you would have the bike with you already, anyway. Read More
— Marine

Tethys underwater robot takes best of both worlds to go the distance

When it comes to exploring the murky depths of the oceans, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) have become increasingly important over the past decade. These vehicles generally fall into one of two groups: propeller-driven vehicles such as Snookie that can travel fast and carry lots of instruments, but are limited to expeditions of just a few days, and “gliders,” which can stay at sea for weeks or even months at a time, but are slow. Engineers have combined the best of these two approaches to create a new long-range AUV (LRAUV) that can travel rapidly for hundreds of kilometers, “hover” in the water for weeks at a time, and carry a wide variety of instruments. Read More
— Computers

IE9 takes top place in W3C HTML5 test

The next revision to the web document creation language has generated a lot of excitement in web circles, the most headline-grabbing change of course being the option for creators to choose how audio and video are delivered to a user's computer. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has just announced the results of a browser test where all of the top players were pitted against each other to see how well they cope with HTML5. And the winner is... Read More
— Computers

Creative enters tablet computing market

Creative Technology has announced its break into the tablet computer market with the forthcoming release of the 7- and 10-inch ZiiO entertainment devices. The tablets are said to deliver the "best wireless audio performance you will get from an Android-based tablet" and also offer fuss-free Bluetooth pairing with the company's headphones and speakers. Also announced is the Zen Touch 2 media player. Read More
— Science

Earth-sized planets could be common, according to NASA survey

Astronomers at the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii have just completed an intensive five year survey of the heavens, looking at planets orbiting 166 sun-like stars within 80 light years of our own solar system. Contrary to popular theory, the study has found that the majority of planets in close orbit to their stars are some three to ten times the size of our Earth and not, as previously thought, giants with three times the mass of Jupiter. The study has also led the researchers to speculate that there could be billions of as-yet-undetected smaller planets capable of supporting life. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

A scientific assessment of the harmfulness of the 16 most commonly used drugs

One of the more interesting news items of the last week came from the release of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs’ first piece of research – Drug harms in the UK: a multi-criteria decision analysis. The findings of the committee, based on wide ranging criteria, apply scientific methodology to answering the perpetually vexing question of exactly how much harm certain drugs do to their users and those around them. The table above summarises the findings and the full paper is available free on the web, where you’ll see just how complex the equation actually is. Most interesting of all was that without government meddling and industry lobbying, alcohol was rated more harmful than any other drug, while tobacco (the only other taxed legal drug on the list), is more harmful than cannabis. Read More
— Bicycles

Going all terrain with the Hanebrink electric bike

With its chunky fat tires, 14-speed gears and centrally-located electric motor, the Hanebrink all-terrain vehicle looks like a fun ride. Built to cope with a multitude of off-road situations with style and speed, the pedal-assist electric bike is classified as a bicycle throughout the U.S. so should also be good for popping down to the local mall and hauling back the week's shopping on the rear cargo rack. It's also managed to claim first place in the very first Interbike Hill Climb Challenge. Read More