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Environment

Photovoltaic nanoshell "whispering galleries" trap light for more efficient solar cells

For those unfamiliar with the term, a “whispering gallery” is a round room designed in such a way that sound is carried around its perimeter – this allows a person standing on one side to hear words whispered by a person on the other. Now, scientists from Stanford University have developed a new type of photovoltaic material, that essentially does for sunlight what whispering galleries do for sound. Not only does the material have a structure that circulates light entering it, but it could also result in cheaper, less fragile, and less angle-sensitive solar panels.Read More

Science

Recording data using heat could lead to faster, more efficient magnetic recording devices

For the past several decades, it has been assumed that in order to store data on a magnetic medium, a magnetic field must be applied. Recently, however, an international team of scientists discovered that heat can be used instead of a magnetic field. Not only is this method reportedly more energy efficient, but it also theoretically allows for ten times the storage capacity and 300 times the performance of current hard drive technology.Read More

Wearables

Squid fitness monitoring shirt keeps track of your gym progress

Unless you have a personal fitness instructor following you around with a notepad, keeping track of your progress at the gym can be a real nuisance. Luckily, thanks to a group of students from from Northeastern University in Boston, you can now count on your squid-equipped shirt to do the statistical heavy lifting for you. Squid is essentially a set of electromyography (EMG) sensors attached to a box that pushes your workout data to a smartphone app. This is synchronized with a web-based management panel, to give you a detailed overview of your progress.Read More

Automotive

Gibbs unveils two new "Amphitrucks"

The folks at Detroit’s Gibbs Technologies are no strangers to aquatic vehicles. In the past several years, they have brought us the zippy Aquada sports car, the Quadski ATV/personal watercraft hybrid, and the four-wheel-drive Humdinga SUV concept. Yesterday, they announced the addition of another two vehicles to their fleet – the Phibian and Humdinga II high-speed Amphitrucks. Read More

Mobile Technology

SonicNotify: The inaudible QR codes your smartphone can hear

A new startup called SonicNotify has developed a technology that will enable smartphone apps to receive data via high frequency sound inaudible to the human ear. Though limited, the signals would be sufficient to transmit, say, a web address that could be automatically opened by your smartphone. These frequencies could be embedded into any audio being played through a speaker, and provide contextual information to the user. So, museums and art galleries could effectively transmit detailed information on their exhibits via their apparently silent PA systems. The cliche applies, I'm afraid: the possibilities are unending.Read More

Architecture

Luxury eco-hotel sits on a hillside, overlooking the Valle de Guadalupe in Mexico

Hotel Endemico is a new eco-retreat set on 94 hectares (232 acres) of wilderness, and features a collection of 20 low impact "Eco-Lofts" that blend into the surrounding environment. The romantic hideaway is located in Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California, Mexico, and is just a little over an hour's drive from the San Diego/Tijuana border. Designed by San Diego-based architects Gracia Studio, each cabin is set privately along the sloping hillside and is intended to offer simplistic luxury. Read More

Motorcycles

Suzuki and IE to commercialize FC cars and bikes

Intelligent Energy and Suzuki are to establish a joint venture company, SMILE FC System Corporation (SMILE FC), for developing and manufacturing fuel cell systems. Suzuki has already been working with Intelligent Energy for six years in the development and testing of the CrosscageFuel Cell motorcycle and Burgman Fuel Cell Maxiscooter, the latter already being approved for European roads. An extensive display of the two-wheeled FC technology in cutaway form was one of the highlights of December's 2011 Tokyo Motor Show. The press release states that the JV will produce at least one car and one motorcycle.Read More

Medical

World's first 3D-printed lower jaw implant gives 83-year old patient her bite back

The ability to create your own replacement curtain rings, door knobs or even a custom chess set at home using a 3D printer like the Replicator or the Cubify 3D printer has the potential to knock global production models on their heads. Such advances are certainly impressive but not quite in the same league as those being made in the field of medicine. We've already seen small bone-like objects printed by Washington State University researchers, and now an 83-year old patient with a serious jaw infection has become the first person to receive a full 3D-printed titanium lower jaw implant. Amazingly, the combined effort by researchers and engineers from Belgium and the Netherlands is said to have allowed the patient unrestricted mandibular movement within a day of surgery.Read More

Sports

Venture Snowboards launches "Shape Shack" experimental division and boards

With a growing focus on powder and backcountry riding, some of the snowboard designs that have come out over the past few seasons look more like original designs from the 60s and 70s than modern day equipment. They have swallowtails, pointy noses and odd profiles. Some - like the Rome Hammerhead - just look downright strange and otherworldly. With the launch of its new experimental division known as Shape Shack, Colorado-based Venture Snowboards plans to take this trend a step further in designing all kinds of Franken-boards. It may just come up with odd yet functional board designs that big companies just aren't developing. Read More

Music

Go (almost) cable-free with Ion Audio's Guitarlink Air

We've previously featured a number of devices that give players a low latency interface to the world of device-based digital tone manipulation, but each one poses something of a risk for those who like to rock out. To reduce the chances of a connected tablet or laptop flying across the room as you twirl the guitar around your body Malmsteen-style, Ion Audio has developed a wireless system called Guitarlink Air that severs the physical link between device and instrument common to products like Apogee's JAM or the AcousticLink from Alesis.Read More

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