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Electronics

How to root the Nook Tablet

The Nook Tablet from Barnes and Noble offers meatier specs than Amazon's Kindle Fire for half the price of an iPad, but the selection of apps on offer for the e-reader/tablet hybrid is a bit underwhelming. Fortunately, it takes less than 30 minutes to turn a Nook into a fully-functional Honeycomb tablet with access to the Android Market.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Silk microneedles are claimed to better-deliver medication

Microneedles continue to show promise as a replacement – in at least some applications – for the hypodermic needle. Typically, a sheet containing an array of the tiny needles is adhered to the patient’s skin, like a bandage. The microneedles painlessly pierce the top layer of skin, then gradually deliver the medication within them by harmlessly dissolving into the patient’s bloodstream. As an added bonus, once everything is complete, there are no bio-hazardous used needles to dispose of. Now, bioengineers from Massachusetts’ Tufts University have developed what they claim is an even better type of microneedle, which is made from silk.Read More

Good Thinking

Pudding vending machine tells kids to scram

Let's say you had a sweet dessert that you wanted to market specifically to adults. Now to spice things up, let's say you're also a Scooby Doo villain and can't stop wringing your hands over all the "meddling kids" who are going to ruin your campaign trying to steal delicious treats from your intended audience. Well, what can you do about it? Make a vending machine that detects the age of its users and tells any approaching children to get lost? Apparently yes, as Kraft Foods has introduced a new machine that scans a person's face to determine their age and dispenses free samples of their Jell-O Temptations dessert only to adults. Read More

Medical

New handheld devices designed to detect brain injuries on-the-spot

It's sadly ironic that the very properties which make our skulls such excellent brain protectors, strength and rigidity, often work against us after head injuries. Not only does the hard bone conceal damage from concussions and bleeding, say, but it also confines the swelling, causing intra-cranial pressure to surge, a situation that can lead to further brain damage. While CT scans and magnetic resonance imaging systems are crucial to an accurate assessment, they are rarely available to emergency medical personnel at remote accident sites or on the battlefield. To help address the need for rapid and timely diagnosis of head traumas, separate research teams at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Office of Naval Research (ONR) have each developed hand-held devices that use Near Infra-Red (NIR) imaging to quickly detect hematomas (internal bleeding) and other life-threatening traumatic brain injury (TBI).Read More

Music

Music creation at the touch of a button with Tabstrummer

Electronics enthusiast Miroslaw Sowa and programmer Vsevolod Zagainov - both from Montreal, Canada - are currently busy putting the final touches on a new button-based, guitar-shaped sound machine called the Tabstrummer. In the same way that tablature notation has allowed players like me (who are unable to read score) to learn new songs, this new MIDI instrument allows folks who'd like to play a guitar, but for whatever reason can't, the opportunity to easily create some chord-strumming music. The instrument allows chord shapes to be assigned to clicky buttons on the short neck, which can then be recalled and played as a song by simultaneously strumming or picking the virtual strings.Read More

Spy Gear

Researchers create invisibility cloak for sound

Many of the current experimental "invisibility cloaks" are based around the same idea - light coming from behind an object is curved around it and then continues on forward to a viewer. That person is in turn only able to see what's behind the object, and not the object itself. Scientists from Germany's Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have applied that same principle to sound waves, and created what could perhaps be described as a "silence cloak."Read More

Automotive

Korea gets its first production electric vehicle - the Kia Ray EV

Korea might be home to a couple of the world's biggest automakers in Hyundai and Kia but, with the exception of concept cars, it isn't until now that the country has launched an electric vehicle. Intended exclusively for the Korean market, the Kia Ray EV shares the same dimensions as the Ray CUV (crossover utility vehicle) that was launched last month, but instead of a 1.0-liter gasoline engine, the car is powered by a 50 kW electric motor and a 16.4 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack that gives it a range of up to 139 km (86 miles) on a single charge. Read More

Mobile Technology Review

Review: Kindle Touch

The Amazon Kindle Touch is quite a remarkable little machine. In many ways, it can be seen as a halfway point between the Fourth Generation Kindle e-Reader and the Kindle Fire Tablet. However, it's not simply a glorified reader, nor is it a stripped down tablet. Rather, it is another way in which Amazon is building on its lead in the e-Reader market by optimizing the reader interface and user controls. With the Kindle Touch sure to find its way under many a tree this holiday season we put the device through its paces with a hands-on review.Read More

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