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— Automotive

Better Place launches battery switching system for EVs

By - June 18, 2010 2 Pictures
By now must of us are aware of the benefits of electric vehicles (EVs). They’re better for the environment, they’re quiet, they have less moving parts and are therefore more reliable and cheaper to operate and maintain than their combustion-powered counterparts. But it’s obviously not all upside or EVs would be the rule on our roads rather than the exception. One of the major hurdles holding EVs back is the time it takes for them to recharge their batteries. One solution is swapping a dead battery for a fully charged one. That’s just what a project in Tokyo is doing with the launch the world’s first switchable-battery electric taxi. Read More
— Around The Home

RavenWindow automatically changes transparency with temperature

By - June 17, 2010 1 Picture
Windows that change their tint are not new, but this window by RavenBrick does so without any energy use required. The RavenWindow changes its transparency depending on the temperature, so basically if it's hot outside less heat passes through it and if it's cold outside then it becomes more transparent, allowing in more heat from the sun. The implications are obvious – savings on your energy bill as a result of reduced use of your heater or air conditioner. With "America's Greenest Building" commissioning the first commercial installation of the product, it's bound to have a bright future. Read More
— Children

Interactive rock t-shirts for kids

By - June 17, 2010 7 Pictures
So you’ve got a junior wannabe rock star on your hands but you’re not convinced of their musical talent? Before you start forking out big bucks for that electric guitar or drum kit they have their eye on, how about testing their musical prowess on an interactive rock t-shirt? The kids’ rock guitar shirt and drum kit shirt can actually be played – just like real instruments – so junior can happily bang out a drum solo or guitar riff and you can hang on to your hard-earned bucks…for now. Read More
— Science

Tracking down endangered species

By - June 17, 2010 4 Pictures
Documenting the location and number of rare animals isn’t an easy task - by definition there just aren’t that many of them around. That’s why researchers at Auburn University, Alabama, have turned to man’s best friend to lend a helping hand – or more accurately, a helping nose. The school’s EcoDogs project trains detection dogs to find endangered animal species, or rather their sign (read excrement), in the field to aid researchers in their goals of ecological research, management, and conservation. Read More
— Robotics

CRB100 module turns ordinary machines into robots

By - June 17, 2010 3 Pictures
If the US Navy’s sociable Octavia robot is looking for a little synthetic companionship in the future, all she may have to do is plug a newly-developed electronic brain into the nearest vacuum cleaner, floor waxer, or other cleaning appliance. The CRB100 module, designed by researchers from Spain’s Universitat Jaume I (UJI), is intended to convert ordinary mobile machines into robots. Read More
— Electronics

Land mine detection system built using off-the-shelf components

By - June 17, 2010 1 Picture
Land mines are terrifying and indiscriminate weapons, harming soldiers and civilians alike. Even long after the conflict in which they were deployed has ceased they end up killing and injuring civilians and render land impassable and unusable for decades. There are a variety of methods used to detect mines by both humanitarian and military groups, but many are dangerous, most are less than 100 percent reliable and some of the more reliable detection methods are prohibitively expensive. Physicists have now built a relatively inexpensive land mine detection system using off-the-shelf components – including some sourced from online auction sites. Read More
— Digital Cameras

Microsoft's glasses-free 3D display technology

By - June 17, 2010 1 Picture
The popularity of 3-D cinema is skyrocketing and 3-D-capable TV sets are heading for our living rooms, but almost every 3-D ready technology still requires that you don a set of special glasses. Microsoft has developed lens which could help change all that. With the ability to keep track of the position of viewers and send separate images directly to each eye, the new prototype display eliminates the need for 3-D glasses. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Replacing 'steel plate in the head' with skull's own material

By - June 17, 2010 1 Picture
People may joke about someone having a steel plate in their head, but in the case of punctures to the skull, that often ends up actually being the case - the hole in the bone is plugged with a permanent titanium-based patch. Researchers from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology, however, have just announced the development of biodegradable patches that stimulate the skull into healing itself. As the bone grows back in, the patches disappear. Read More
— Sports

RoboCup 2 – return of the golf ball

By - June 17, 2010 1 Picture
Last year, we told you about a little something cleverly named the RoboCup. Designed for golfers practicing their putting, it sits inside the hole on the green, and gently shoots balls up to 14 feet back to the golfer. It runs on four AA batteries, which should be good for around 15,000 ball-returns – that’s a lot of saved walking over and bending over. Fine Tune Golf has now announced the launch of “the new generation of RoboCup”... RoboCup 2, perhaps? Read More
— Around The Home

Electrolux Design Lab 2010 semi-finalists announced

By - June 17, 2010 11 Pictures
This year's Design Lab competition from Electrolux has seen 1,300 entries from 17 countries flood in for consideration. The theme for 2010 is the "2nd Space Age" and the 25 semi-finalists have just been announced. Soon that number will be further reduced to just eight, who will then battle it out to try and win a wad of cash and the chance to work at one of the company's design centers. But before that happens, let's take a quick look at what's on offer. Read More
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