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— Inventors and Remarkable People

Ambitious project to bring world's first general purpose computer to life

Charles Babbage was the quintessential "man ahead of his time". In the mid 19th century the English mathematician and inventor developed the concept of a programmable computer and designed complex, steam-powered calculating engines that were never completed during his lifetime. One of these machines – the Difference Engine – was successfully constructed using Babbage's original plans in 1991 and now programmer John Graham-Cumming is on a mission to build a working replica of a second, more complex computing machine known as the Analytical Engine. Read More
— Good Thinking

Electrified nano filter could mean cheap drinking water

Yi Cui, an Assistant Professor of Material Science and Engineering at Stanford University, has invented quite the water filter. It’s inexpensive, is very resistant to clogging, and uses much less electricity than systems that require the water to be pumped through them. It also kills bacteria, as opposed to just trapping them, which is all that many existing systems do. Read More
— Sports

DTV Shredder stands up for off-roading

Twenty-one year-old Canadian Ben Gulak heads up BPG Werks, a company that is developing this seriously fun looking vehicle called the DTV Shredder. Like the Scarpar Powerboard, the Shredder is an all-terrain tracked vehicle that the rider stands on, like a skateboard – or in this case, a mini-tank. What sets it apart is its larger size, handlebars, and an in-development 48hp rotary combustion engine that should allow for a top speed of over 97km/h (60mph). Read More
— Environment

The UFO-like Domespace rotating wooden house

Taking up a large section of the Eco Habitat zone at the recent Viv'expo exhibition in Bordeaux was a walk-in cutaway model of a rotating wooden house known as Domespace. Built on a central concrete pedestal, the Domespace home benefits from little or no damp penetration, and its aerodynamic shape has been found to be resistant to cyclonic winds of up to 174mph (280kph). It also makes the most of passive solar energy, has a central chimney with a designer open fire and is surprisingly spacious. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

App allows users to view electrocardiograms on smartphones

Gone are the days when we simply used our mobile phones for calling people – now we can conduct our own ECGs. We’ve already seen iPhone and Android applications that can create ultrasound images and that measure air pollution. Now tech companies IMEC and the Holst Center, together with TASS software professionals, have released a new heart rate monitoring application. Read More
— Around The Home

Glass roof tiles let a little sunshine in to cut heating bills

Swedish company, Soltech Energy, recently received the gold medal for this year’s hottest new material at the Nordbygg 2010 trade fair in Stockholm. The award was fitting because it was for the company’s home heating system that features roof tiles made out of glass. The tiles, which are made from ordinary glass, weigh about the same as the clay roof tiles they replace but allow the sun to heat air that is then used to heat the house and cut energy bills. Read More
— Good Thinking

Hand-E-Holder is a handy way to keep hold of an iPad

Tablet computers like Apple’s iPad and RIM's PlayBook might be great in the portability stakes but their handy form factor also means it’s all too easy for them to slip from your fingers and make a beeline for the floor. If you’re lucky the floor is some particularly plush carpet, if not it could be some concrete and your much beloved device ends up sustaining some debilitating injury. A Michigan-based company has come up with a simple piece of kit called the Hand-e-holder that makes it easier to securely hang onto your tablet to avoid such catastrophe. Read More
— Automotive

Ford Fiesta gets mirror-mounted rearview camera

The Ford Fiesta is the latest vehicle to offer a rear facing camera screen integrated into its rearview mirror with Ford U.K. offering it as an option on all models from Edge to Titanium. It's one of those clever ideas that seems obvious once you see it, and it's slowly gaining traction. Mazda brought the system to the U.S. in 2007 and Toyota introduced it into Europe last year on the Corolla Verso. Ford also has the tech available on other models. Read More
— Medical

SpectroPen shines a light on tumors in real time

Statistics indicate that complete removal, or resection, of a tumor is the single most important predictor of patient survival for those with solid tumors. So, unsurprisingly, the first thing most patients want to know after surgery is whether the surgeon got everything. A new hand-held device called the SpectroPen could help surgeons provide a more definite and desirable answer by allowing them to see the edges of tumors in human patients in real time during surgery. Read More