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Automotive

Honda's Intelligent Horse - biomimicry gives us the All-Terrain-Vehicle of the 23rd Century

If the horse is not humanity's favorite animal, it should be, as it has served us far better than any other domesticated animal. It has been the predominant form of personal transport for the last millennia, has done more work for us than any animal, and its mastery became the fundamental military technology which helped Genghis Khan build the biggest empire in history. The notion of using advanced technologies to replicate and extend the personality and functionality of the horse gave Honda a wonderful platform to explore in its latest design concept. Part sci-fi and part technology-crystal-ball-gazing, here's what a synthetic Horse V 2.0 might look like 200 years hence.Read More

Music

Stunning Di Donato guitar has beautifully classic lines, modern feel

Whether it's cars, clothing or - in this case - guitars, there's something instantly appealing about Italian design. Combining the well-known tonal properties of aluminum and hardwoods like mahogany and rosewood, the hand-crafted Di Donato guitar is the brainchild of Edoardo DiDonato, who has applied traditional luthier skills used to craft violins, violas and cellos to create an instrument that is both modern and classic at the same time. Read More

Environment

Environmental contaminants revealed by new thousand-color sensor

When any two compounds are combined, the resulting chemical reaction shows up as a specific color when natural sunlight reflects off the area where that reaction is occurring. Therefore, by assessing the colors of an object, material or environment, it is possible to determine what compounds are present within it. Unfortunately, many of those colors fall outside the mere three bands of light (red, green and blue) visible to the human eye. Spectral analysis equipment can detect a much wider range of light, but it is typically located in labs, which samples must be transported to. Now, however, a scientist from Israel’s Tel Aviv University (TAU) has created a portable hyperspectral sensor, that can “see” over 1,000 colors – this means that it could be used to detect pollutants in the environment, on location and in real time. Read More

Science

New Omni-Crawler can move in all directions

When the need to move super-heavy objects arises, short, squat crawlers are usually deployed to get the job done. Unfortunately, that heavy lifting ability comes at the sacrifice of mobility (no sideways motion), so maneuvering objects into place can be a lengthy process. Recently, researchers from Japan's Osaka University (OU) rolled out an innovative battery-powered, remotely controlled prototype crawler that incorporates properties from an omni-directional wheel, the Omni-Ball (also designed by the OU team), to travel in virtually any direction desired with minimal energy loss. They dubbed it the Omni-Crawler and it's likely to change the way things are moved from now on.Read More

Mobile Technology

Capta connects any smartphone to a tripod

One thing you can say about smartphones: their limitations have opened the door for all sorts of new inventions. Among those limitations are the facts that many phones lack a tripod mount, and require a model-specific cover/kickstand if you wish to prop them up. That's where Adewale Adelusi-Adeluyi and Bojan Smiljanic's invention, called Capta, comes in. It's a universal stand, tripod mount and cable management system, that works with any make or model of smartphone, or other mobile device.Read More

Electronics

Hobbyist builds wrist-mounted, laser-sighted crossbow

A lot of people think crossbows are pretty cool. Lasers, miniaturized things, and wearable devices also tend to rate pretty high on the neat-o-meter. It goes to follow, therefore, that a small wrist-mounted laser-sighted crossbow should have a lot of admirers. Well, laser hobbyist Patrick Priebe built just such a device, and his video of it in action has already racked up over 100,000 hits in just four days. As it turns out, the "WristBow" is just the latest of his cyberpunk-esque creations.Read More

Environment

Dissolving food stickers also wash your fruit

New York based electrical engineer and designer Scott Amron has come up with an idea that could transform the way industries label fruit and vegetables. You may not pay much attention to that fruit sticker on your apple or orange - though it's often frustrating to remove - and it usually just ends up in the trash. However, Amron is a man who has put considerable thought into that sticker, creating the Fruitwash label. Just as the name suggests, the new label dissolves into organic fruit soap that helps remove water-resistant wax, pesticides and fungicides. Read More

Digital Cameras

The Scarlet X camera from RED, at last

It would be hard to imagine a greater contrast between today's launch by Canon of its EOS C300 digital cinema camera and the launch of RED's long-awaited Scarlet. Canon's event was huge and long-winded with a string of cinematography heavyweights on stage. At the RED gathering half an hour later, an ad hoc bunch of the faithful turned up at RED studios, ostensibly just to watch the same web page update as the rest of the world. Alas it didn't quite work out like that. Read More

Robotics

Foxconn gears up to build industrial robots - world industrial robot population to double

The world's industrial robotics industry will get considerably larger in the near future as Taiwan-registered Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (best known as Foxconn) has announced plans to begin building industrial robots. Its initial plans of building one million industrial robots for its own purposes will nearly double the number of industrial robots in the world (currently The International Federation of Robotics puts that number at 1,095,000). Foxconn is best known as the largest exporter in China, the assembler/manufacturer of Apple's iPad and iPhone and for the extraordinarily high suicide rate of its employees. Read More

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