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— Environment

Cambridge University team gears up for 2011 World Solar Challenge

The biennial World Solar Challenge is the oldest and most high profile solar car race in the world, a grueling test of endurance and innovative engineering that sees teams take part in an epic 1800 mile race across the Australian outback. In 2009, the Cambridge University team placed 14th with its Bethany solar powered vehicle after being let down by a bad battery. Now, they're almost ready to make their comeback for the October race with an updated version of Bethany - the Endeavour. Read More
— Computers

Enormous walk-in sculpture made of dead computer parts

We tend to quickly forget about technology that's no longer shiny and state-of-the-art, which is part of the reason that piles of discarded electronics are becoming larger and larger. Polish sculptor Marek Tomasik, however, thought of a way of bringing them back to life ... sort of. He created an enormous and disturbing rectangular, walk-in sculpture made of several thousand discarded computer parts. The piece, entitled "Sometimes You Have To Be Open," is in the form of a room measuring 5m x 4m x 4.5m (16' x 14' x 15'), based around a wooden structure. Read More
— Around The Home

Standard platform in the works for 'Internet of Things'

Whether it's a washing machine that monitors the power grid, or a fridge that you can "look" in with your smartphone, more and more devices that aren't computers can now perform actions or be controlled via the internet. The phenomenon is known as The Internet of Things, and as technology advances, so will the number of "things" involved. In the same way that the regular internet has experienced some major growing pains, some people worry that the Internet of Things could also end up getting chaotic and disorganized. To that end, a group of Norwegian researchers are developing a standard platform for online devices, so that they're all on the same playing field. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

New brain imaging method sheds light on the nature of consciousness

Using a newly developed imaging technique, researchers in the U.K. have for the first time observed what happens to the brain as it loses consciousness. The method known as "functional electrical impedance tomography by evoked response" (fEITER) uses a 32 electrode array to scan the brain at a rate of 100 times a second and by applying this as an anaesthetic drug takes effect, researchers are able to build a real-time 3-D video that will aid in better understanding of how the brain functions and the nature of consciousness. Read More
— Automotive

Device lets disabled people drive with one hand

Your driving instructor probably told you to always keep two hands on the wheel, and your feet ready at the pedals. For people lacking the use of one or more upper or lower limbs, however, this isn’t always possible. Such people shouldn’t be precluded from driving, but they shouldn’t have to worry about not being able to fully control their car, either. While there are some solutions that can be applied to existing steering wheels and pedals, a group of Spanish researchers have come up with something else – a single device that allows drivers to steer, accelerate, change gears and brake with one hand. Read More
— Outdoors

FishEyes rod and reel shows you the fish before you catch them

When you cast a fishing lure out into the water and it goes beneath the surface, it enters a dark, mysterious world that you can only imagine. Perhaps that’s overstating things a bit, but the fact is, you can’t see where it is or what’s around it. A fish finder can provide you with some basic information (if you’re in a boat) but it doesn’t actually show you what it looks like down there. That’s where the FishEyes Rod and Reel with Underwater Video Camera comes in. Its built-in color LCD screen provides you with a live image of your lure, and any fish that happen to be near it. Read More
— Bicycles

Wattbike reaches U.S. shores

Stationary bicycle trainers are an invaluable tool for cyclists who wish to stay in shape over the winter, or who even just want to work on their technique on rainy days. There are a variety of options available, including old school exercise bikes, rollers/resistance trainers that the cyclist's existing bike can be mounted on, or ... things like the Wattbike. Essentially a high-end indoor bike that is set up to replicate the feeling of riding a road bike as accurately as possible, one of the Wattbike's unique features is the fact that it measures and displays its rider's power output in watts - hence the name. Although it's been around in the UK since 2008, it is only now becoming available in the U.S. Read More
— Computers

Microsoft asks developers to get moving with release of official Kinect for Windows SDK

Microsoft’s about-face in relation to the “modification of its products” – specifically its Kinect sensor – is complete with the company releasing the official Kinect for Windows SDK beta. When the motion controller was initially released and hackers set about creating open source drivers for the device, Microsoft responded saying it didn’t condone such actions. But it has since changed its tune, even going so far as to invite a group of developers to its Redmond campus for a live 24-hour coding marathon to build concept applications using the SDK. Read More
— Digital Cameras

Kinect-like camera interface for taking self-portraits

While digital cameras have made it easier to take self-portraits thanks to the inclusion of self-timers, face, smile and motion detection, and the positioning of displays on the front of the camera - as seen with Samsung's DualView camera - changing the framing or altering settings still requires the user to run back to the camera itself to get things right. Now researchers at the University of Tsukuba's Department of Computer Science in Japan have developed technology that lets shutterbugs put themselves in the picture and snap a pic using Kinect-like hand gestures. Read More
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