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— Digital Cameras

Olympus adds new PEN cameras and lenses to range

Olympus has announced three new additions to its Micro Four Thirds PEN camera family, and two new lenses. There's no increase to the now familiar 12.3 megapixel count but the new E-P3, E-PL3 and E-PM1 do come with a newly-developed sensor, a brand new image engine and a huge ISO range. The new flagship E-P3 is also laying claim to the world's fastest autofocus title and benefits from a bright OLED touchscreen display to the rear. Read More
— Computers

Facebook gets Skype-powered video calling

As expected, Facebook has announced Skype-powered video calling for its users, who now number more than 750 million according to the company. The new feature was unveiled by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Skype CEO Tony Bates at a news conference at Facebook HQ on Wednesday where Facebook engineer Philip Su provided a walkthrough of the application. The social networking giant also launched a new chat sidebar and what Su says is one of the site's most requested features in multi-person chat. Read More
— Science

Termite guts could provide a way to produce biofuel from woody biomass

Ethanol is the most commonly used biofuel worldwide and is made by fermenting the sugar components of plant materials, usually sugar and starch crops such as sugar cane, corn and wheat. The difficulty in accessing the sugars contained in woody biomass, coupled with criticism that the use of food crops for biofuel production has a detrimental effect on the food supply has prompted research into biofuels that can be made from cellulosic biomass, such as trees and grasses. By looking at the digestive system of termites, researchers have now discovered a cocktail of enzymes that unlocks access to the sugars stored within the cells of woody biomass that could help make it a more viable source of biofuels, such as ethanol. Read More
— Good Thinking

EYE 21 system lets the blind 'see' by assigning sounds to shapes

Engineers from the Research Center for Graphic Technologies at Spain's Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) have created an experimental system, that allows the blind to be aware of their surroundings through the use of sound. Called EYE 21, it consists of a pair of sunglasses with two built-in micro video cameras, a computer, and a pair of headphones. It's similar to sonar systems that have been used to achieve the same goal. Read More
— Science

Permanent spray-on antibacterial coating created

A University of Georgia chemist has invented something that should be a boon to both hospital staff and athletes ... a permanent spray-on antibacterial polymer coating. It can be applied to natural and synthetic materials – just once – and even after repeated washings, will continue to kill a wide range of bacteria, yeasts and molds. In health care settings, it could be used on textiles such as lab coats, scrub suits, uniforms, gowns, gloves and linens, to protect patients from infections. It could also be used on athletic wear, along with shoes, socks, undergarments, and just about anything else that tends to get germy. Read More
— Bicycles

Bike Fixtation self-service bike repair kiosk opens for business

Last year, Bicycling Magazine said that Minneapolis was the number one biking city in the U.S., and the city's Bike Walk Twin Cities program says that four years of bicycle counts throughout the city show a 33 percent increase in the use of two-wheelers by its citizens. Anyone in need of emergency repair while on the heavily-used Midtown Greenway bicycle route can now pop into the Uptown Transit Station and take advantage of a new extended-hours, self-service bike kiosk. Users can pump some free air into tires, use the tethered tools to make repairs, or head for the vending machine to buy basic bike parts. Read More
— Around The Home

Vax unveils a prototype vacuum cleaner made from cardboard

Corrugated cardboard can be traced back to the latter part of the mid-19th century, although cardboard itself goes back much farther than that. Most of us will have encountered it at some time, probably as the outer packaging of our latest digital must-have, but it has recently been breaking away from such traditional uses. Over the past few years, we've seen everything from a cardboard record player to a festival tent to a USB drive. Now, industrial design student Jake Tyler has created a prototype cardboard vacuum cleaner - the Vax ev. Read More
— Digital Cameras

Tiny, lens-free camera developed for scientific use

It fits on the head of a pin, has no lens or moving parts, can be made for just a few cents, and yet it can take a photo of the Mona Lisa in which she’s actually sort of recognizable ... it’s called the Planar Fourier Capture Array (PFCA), and it’s a tiny camera developed at New York’s Cornell University. Although you might choose not to use it for photographing your child’s birthday party, it could come in quite handy in the fields of science and technology. Read More
— Environment

'The Muncher' turns organic waste into compost in less than an hour

A number of cities around the world now sort their municipal trash, diverting organic matter into giant anaerobic composters that turn it into nutrient-rich soil. Such systems can be very expensive, however, and have a large physical footprint. The composting process can take as little as 14 days, or as long as one year. Nevada-based company Ecologico-Logic, however, has created an alternative system, called The Muncher. Not only is it relatively small, but its makers claim that it can convert organic waste into mulched and liquid compost in less than an hour. Read More
— Laptops

Toshiba Qosmio F750 glasses-free 3D laptop to arrive in August

Toshiba has unveiled its first glasses-free 3D laptop - the Toshiba Qosmio F750-10Q3D. Powered by Intel Core i7 CPU, the laptop features a lenticular glasses-free 3D display, a full HD 15.6-inch screen and eye-tracking technology based on a HD web camera that maintains the 3D effect while the user moves. Both 2D and 3D content can be displayed simultaneously and the Qosmio F750 comes with a built-in Blu-ray XL drive capable of burning 128GB disks. Read More
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