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— Digital Cameras

Automatic photo tagging with TagSense smartphone app

The old adage says “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but just exactly which words is the question. While facial recognition and GPS-enabled cameras have made tagging digital snapshots with names and locations much easier, a team of students from Duke University and the University of South Carolina has developed a smartphone app called TagSense that takes advantage of the range of multiple sensors on a mobile phone to automatically apply a greater variety of tags to photos. Read More
— Robotics

Hexagonal plate skin gives robots sense of touch

Providing robots with sensory inputs is one of the keys to the development of more capable and useful machines. Sight and hearing are the most common senses bestowed upon our mechanical friends (perhaps soon to be foes?), but even taste and smell have got a look in. With the sense of touch so important to human beings, there have also been a number of efforts to give robots the sense of touch so they can better navigate and interact with their environments. The latest attempt to create a touchy feely robot comes from the Technical University Munich (TUM) where researchers have produced small hexagonal plates, which when joined together, form a sensitive skin. Read More
— Aircraft

Geocopter delivers its first unmanned GC-201 helicopter

Quadrocopters like the AR.Drone and Datron Scout may have been hogging the UAS limelight lately but Dutch unmanned rotorcraft system manufacturer Geocopter has shown there’s still life in the traditional helicopter design yet with the official delivery of its first light unmanned helicopter called the GC-201. Designed and built just like a normal helicopter, the GC-201 features a twin gas turbine engine propulsion system, lightweight carbon fiber fuselage and full automatic takeoff, mission and landing capabilities. Read More
— Medical

Student-designed device could make dialysis safer and easier

There are approximately 1.5 million people worldwide who require regular hemodialysis treatments, due to the fact that their kidneys are no longer able to clean their blood. Clinicians generally reuse the same access point on each patient's body, for routing their bloodstream to the dialysis machine. Unfortunately, over time this can cause infections, blood clots or narrowing of the arteries at that access point. This can result in the need for a blood-vessel-opening procedure, or sometimes even in death. Now, however, a group of five biomedical engineering graduate students from Johns Hopkins University have created an implantable device, that could act as a safe, easy access point for dialysis. Read More
— Architecture

Building design incorporates 65 shipping containers

Because they are sturdy, waterproof, transportable, and perhaps only a little bit smaller than some low-rent apartments, disused shipping containers have become very popular for conversion into low-impact buildings. Past efforts have included using them as emergency housing, trendy relocatable bachelor pads, and portable restaurants. Now, Los Angeles design group APHIDoIDEA has proposed putting 65 of the things together, to create an environmental education center for the city of Long Beach. Read More
— Bicycles

Solar Cross e-bike uses Sun's energy to help with the pedaling

This March, we reported on the Kinetic Photovoltaic Vehicle (KPV), a one-of-a-kind solar-electric scooter that fits inside a suitcase. Well, it seems that Terry Hope, the Canadian inventor who created the KPV, wasn't content to stop there. He recently contacted us about his latest creation, the Solar Cross ebike. As its name suggests, it's a pedal-electric bicycle that receives its power from the Sun ... and the rider, of course. Read More
— Automotive

Bug-E multi-purpose EV concept features sliding steering wheel

With a top speed of just 15 mph (24 kph), Thomas Young's Bug-E electric vehicle concept is not likely to be a contender for the next must-have personal transport solution on our roads, but that's not what it's really about anyway. This multi-purpose four-wheeler is more suited to trundling around public parks and gardens, theme parks or the golf course - and it sports four rear storage options to help it fit into numerous usage scenarios. Users would also be able to slide the steering wheel into a left- or right-hand drive position, to share the responsibility of driving without having to swap seats, or to fit in with local conditions. Read More
— Robotics

Designer creates sweating robotic armpit

When we think of robots, we tend to think of clean, antiseptic automatons that don’t suffer from yucky things like halitosis, flatulence or body odor ... unlike us humans. According to London designer Kevin Grennan, however, this difference alienates us from robots, and will keep us from ever fully accepting them as anything other than machines. His solution? Robots that secret human odors, in situations in which people would secrete those odors. While some of his odor-secreting devices are purely conceptual, he has produced a working model of at least one – a sweating robotic armpit. Read More
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