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— Electronics

Homemade laser microscope reveals water's murky secrets

Some burning questions have just got to be answered, no matter the substantial costs involved. One such question demanding attention is: can a laser pointer be used to examine the microscopic contents of a drop of water? Happily, the answer is yes, and without the aforementioned prohibitive expense. In this home experiment, a laser pointer was shone through a drop of water collected from the base of a potted plant and the magnified image projected on an opposing wall. Read on to see a video showing a bemused-looking cat watching the resulting light show. Read More
— Around The Home

Finalists showcased in Electrolux Design Lab 2010 competition

The jury has wielded the axe on the 25 semi-finalists in the Electrolux Design Lab competition, leaving just eight finalists from the original 1,300 entries to battle it out for the prize of a six-month paid internship at an Electrolux global design center and 5,000 Euros (approx. US$6,350). The 2010 brief asked industrial design students to consider how people will prepare and store food, wash clothes, and do dishes in the homes of 2050, when 74 percent of the global population are predicted to live in an urban environment. Let’s take a look at the lucky eight entries vying for the title. Read More
— Computers

New record set for ferroelectric data storage

For most of us, storing and accessing the vast majority of our computer data involves using either hard disk or solid state drives or perhaps a combination of both. Each method boasts its own advantages and while the battle for storage supremacy between the two rages in public, research at Japan's Tohoku University has revealed another option. Using a pulse generator to alter the electrical state of tiny dots on a ferroelectric medium, Kenkou Tanaka and Yasuo Cho have successfully recorded data at around eight times the density of current hard disk drives. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Ciclotte exercise bike helps you lose a few pounds – and quite a few dollars

Exercise equipment generally favors function over form, which is why it is often found gathering dust in the basement or under the bed. The Ciclotte stationary bicycle bucks that trend with an elegant design that anyone would be proud to put on display, which should hopefully increase the chances of using it. It's sexy curves aren't surprising as it derives its distinctive look from the Ciclò – a monowheel prototype bike also designed by Luca Schieppati that is now part of Milan’s Triennale Design Museum permanent collection. Read More
— Aircraft

QinetiQ claims three world records for its solar powered Zephyr UAS

QinetiQ has filed for three world records for Zephyr, its solar powered high-altitude long endurance (HALE) Unmanned Air System (UAS), with the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) – the world governing body for air sports, aeronautics and astronautics world records. The three records subject to ratification are the absolute duration record for an Unmanned Air Vehicle, the duration record for a UAV in the U/1.c / 50-500Kg category and the absolute altitude record for a UAV in that category of 70,740ft (21,561m). Read More
— Science

Scientists hope to collect electricity from the air

Nikola Tesla once dreamed of being able to harness electricity from the air. Now, research being conducted at Brazil’s University of Campinas (UC) is indicating that such a scenario may indeed become a reality. Professor Fernando Galembeck, a UC chemist, is leading the study into the ways in which electricity builds up and spreads in the atmosphere, and how it could be collected. “Our research could pave the way for turning electricity from the atmosphere into an alternative energy source for the future," he stated. "Just as solar energy could free some households from paying electric bills, this promising new energy source could have a similar effect.” Read More
— Automotive

Buckeye Bullet 2.5 claims battery electric vehicle world land speed record of 307.7mph

The Bullet Buckeye team from Ohio State University has set a world record average two-way speed of 307.7mph (495km/h) with its battery electric Venturi Buckeye Bullet 2.5. The lithium ion battery powered car eclipsed the previous 245mph (394km/h) world land speed record for battery electric vehicles set in 1999 by White Lightning. The new record was set by the Bullet at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah this week, is pending certification by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the worldwide motor sports governing body. Read More
— Science

Biosynthetic corneas restore vision to humans

A study made public this Wednesday has shown that biosynthetic corneas can and do restore eyesight in humans. Researchers from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) and the University of Ottawa in Canada, along with Linköping University in Sweden, conducted a clinical trial using ten Swedish patients with advanced keratoconus or central corneal scarring. Each patient had the damaged corneal tissue in one eye surgically replaced with a biosynthetic cornea made from synthetically cross-linked recombinant human collagen. After two years, six of the patients’ vision had improved. After being fitted with contact lenses, their vision was comparable to that of someone who had received a real human cornea transplant. Read More
— Science

Yahoo’s Time Explorer lets users search the future

Earlier this month we took a look at Recorded Future, a company that uses information scoured from thousands of websites, blogs and Twitter accounts to make predictions about the future. Now, Yahoo’s Barcelona research lab has created a similar prototype news search engine called Time Explorer. It creates timelines based on search queries that not only provide a way to check the accuracy of past predictions, but also allows users to view predictions that are yet to occur. Read More
— Good Thinking

'Dry water' could be used to store carbon dioxide

You know, I’m pretty sure I remember a Far Side cartoon or something, where someone was selling powdered water – “Just add water!” Well, dry water isn’t quite the same thing. It’s 95 percent liquid water, but that water takes the form of tiny droplets each encased in a tiny globe of silica. The resultant substance is dry and granular. It first came to light in 1968, and was used in cosmetics. More recently, a University of Liverpool research team has been looking into other potential uses for the substance. They have found several, but most interesting is its ability to store gases such as carbon dioxide. Read More
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