Photokina 2014 highlights
NASA celebrates 50 years
 Image Credit: NASA

Cochlear implants, ultrasonically welded swimsuits, DustBusters, and freeze-dried food. You owe more to NASA than you think. Fifty years ago today, NASA’s employees turned up for their first day at work. One-hundred and fifty manned missions, $810.459 billion present-day dollars, and 382 kilograms of moon rocks later, the ripples from the creation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration have influenced society and the development of technology in ways we rarely detect. Kyle Sherer takes a closer look at the history and major achievements of the last half-century.  Read More

Samsung announces Pixon 8MP touch-screen camera phone

Samsung is looking to satisfy consumers who want more than a second string performance from their mobile phone camera with the announcement of a new full-touch screen, 8-megapixel unit dubbed the Pixon. The slimline (13.8mm) design does look more like a camera than a phone and incorporates a number of features usually found only in the stand-alone camera realm such as face detection, shake-reduction and geo-tagging. The unit's 3.2 inch, 240x400 touch screen also enhances its photo browsing capability and with auto-focus, dual power LED Flash, a music player, FM Radio, Bluetooth connectivity and video recording at 30 fps (720 x 480) including slow motion playback, it looks to be another useful example of convergence in the mobile handset market.  Read More

MIT senior Christopher Love works with a test tree

While specialist fire-fighting crews, squadrons of trucks and water-bombing helicopters all play an important role, access to reliable and timely information on fire behavior is among the most critical of all the tools used to combat wild fires and prevent the loss of life, livestock and property damage. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers are now working on a system that uses energy from the trees themselves to power a network of temperature and humidity sensors that act as remote weather stations to aid in fire management.  Read More

UPEK's FIPS 201 Fingerprint Module is now shipping on Dell laptops

Recently showed at the Biometrics Consortium Technology Expo in Florida, UPEK's its TCEFx1 USB fingerprint module uses the only silicon-based fingerprint sensor certified by the FBI for US government applications.  Read More

Significant growth predicted (Pictured: Samsung's Q1 Ultra Premium UMPC)

According to new data released by ABI Research, sales of UMDs (ultra-mobile devices) which reached just 10 million units in 2008 are tipped to exceed 200 million in 2013. With most major manufacturers having now entered the UMD consumer arena, this “new” category of portable computing is shaping up to be a significant market.  Read More

Carl Zeiss Victory RF binoculars

Carl Zeiss has incorporated a laser rangefinder into its new Victory RF binoculars, providing hunters, hikers and birdwatchers with an all-in-one viewing solution in a compact form factor. The Victory 8x45 T RF and Victory 10x45 T RF binoculars feature a world first design that incorporates a folding bridge without separate transmission optics and boast fast rangefinding capabilities that can determine the distance from an object up to 200 meters (300 yards) away in less than one second with an accuracy down to one meter.  Read More

Microvision's pico projector prototype

Microvision will roll-out its latest pico projector prototype for mobile devices at CEATEC Japan this week. Featuring a thinner, smaller and brighter PicoP™ engine and several image quality enhancements over the projector unveiled at CES in January, the pocket sized device displays full-color, high-resolution (WVGA) images and video ranging from 12 inches (30 cm) to 100 inches (2.5 m) in size onto any surface.  Read More

Envision Solar LifeVillage

Designed to address the problem of access to critical utilities in remote areas and developing nations that lack the necessary infrastructure, Envision Solar's modular self-contained LifeVillage integrates clean power and water treatment into buildings and communities, no matter what the location.  Read More

Simple device uses electrical field to boost internal combustion engine efficiency

This sounds almost too simple to be true, but a university physics professor has developed a simple device which could improve automotive fuel efficiency by 20 percent. The device creates an electric field that thins fuel, or reduces its viscosity, so that smaller droplets are injected into the engine which in turn leads to more efficient and cleaner combustion. Six months of road testing in a diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz showed the device improved mileage from 32 mpg to 38 mpg.The results of the laboratory and road tests were published this month in Energy & Fuels, a bi-monthly journal published by the American Chemical Society.  Read More

The Brudelli Leanster - remarkable car-bike fusion

The Brudelli is a new variation on the motorcycle which takes advantage of a two-wheeled front end to offer a dynamic riding experience that delivers the leaned cornering of a motorcycle with the precision steering and traction of a multi-wheeled vehicle. The machine is all skin and bones – by basing the machine around a lean and mean KTM 690 Supermoto, it’s lighter than a car could contemplate at just 238 kg. When you have such little weight to push around, the 654cc KTM engine’s 47kW @ 7,500 rpm offers incredible acceleration courtesy of the 65 Nm @ 6,550 rpm midrange all the way to 170 km/h. The concept emanated on Norwegian gravel and winter roads but is very adaptable to all surfaces including tarmac roads, go-kart tracks and speedway tracks where even newbies apparently find themselves doing 100 metre controlled power slides in no time at all. Sounds good, heh! Available now at EUR 21,000 Euros (US$30,000) ex. VAT and ex. Works Hokksund.  Read More

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