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— Outdoors

Skizee pushes skiers across the snow

As winter continues its icy grip on the northern reaches of the planet, cabin fever may cause some of us to rethink our policy of staying indoors until spring. If you don’t live near the mountains, however, many of the winter outdoor activities available to you might seem kind of ... tame. Some people buy snowmobiles, although such vehicles require a truck or trailer for transportation, can be expensive, and are generally “more machine” than a lot of people want. Such individuals might instead be interested in the Skizee – a powered tread that pushes skiers across the snow at speeds of up to 35 kph (22 mph). Read More
— Space

Collaboration results in largest-ever image of the night-time sky

A collaboration of researchers from around the world has just made the largest ever digital color image of the sky available to the scientific community and the public. The image has been put together using photographic information obtained from a powerful digital camera mounted on a telescope in New Mexico and spectroscopic surveys executed through several programs. The Sloan Digital Sky Survey has presented the enormous sky map to the 217th annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle. Read More
— Science

Forensic tech would link sex offenders to condoms

Sexual offenders are increasingly using condoms when committing their assaults, both to reduce the risk of sexually-transmitted diseases, and to avoid leaving their DNA at the crime scene. While an offender might still leave their fingerprints behind, that often only proves that they were at a given location, and not that they were involved in any wrongdoing. Researchers from the Biomedical Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University, however, have recently developed technology that detects condom lubricant in fingerprints. If a suspect could be tied to a crime scene by their fingerprints, and be shown to have handled a condom at that location – well, they’d have a lot more explaining to do. Read More
— Music

StompBox iPad-ready pedalboard for guitarists

The numerous guitar amplifier simulators and digital effects now available via apps for the iPad are a great way to play around with different sounds and setups in a portable and relatively inexpensive format. But having to tap the screen to change effects or tweak presets while playing is, at best, awkward. Help is at hand from Griffin Technology, which has partnered with the Frontier Design Group to develop a multi-function foot controller for guitar effects on the iPad. The StompBox has been optimized for use with the iShred LIVE amp simulation and effects app and can be used to switch between up to four effects or control features such as the metronome or tuner. Read More
— Science

Axolotl eggs could provide a potent weapon in fight against cancer

A common cause of cancer is when cells are altered or mutated and the body’s tumor suppressor genes are switched off. Scientists at the University of Nottingham have managed to bring cancer cells back under control by reactivating the cells’ cancer suppressor genes using an extract from axolotl oocytes. The scientists say the discovery could form a powerful new technology platform for the treatment of a variety of cancers. Read More
— Digital Cameras

Researchers develop eyeball camera with zoom capabilities

Researchers have used the human eye as inspiration for a new type of camera that boasts the simple lens system of the eye, but features the variable zoom capability of a single-lens reflex (SLR) camera without the bulk and weight of a complex lens system. As a result, the “eyeball camera” measures less than an inch in diameter, is inexpensive to make and should be suited to a variety of applications, including night-vision surveillance, robotic vision systems, endoscopic imaging and consumer electronics. Read More
— Games

Nintendo's 3DS gets official European and U.S. release date

Nintendo has announced that its much-anticipated 3DS, which offers glasses-free 3D gaming, will launch in Europe on March 25, closely followed by a U.S. release on March 27. This comes after the previously announced February 26 release date for Japan, where it will retail for JPY25,000 (approx. US$305). In the U.S. the device will be priced at US$249.99, while pricing outside these markets will be set by local retailers – UK retailers are quoting a price range of UKP219 to 229 (approx. US$350 to $366). Read More
— Robotics

Researchers create 'fishbot' that swims in any direction using one fin

Ask anyone who keeps freshwater tropical fish to name the top five most exotic, bizarre fish available to hobbyists, and chances are the black ghost knife fish will be in there. Besides looking incredibly cool, these Amazon basin creatures have two rather unusual characteristics: they can sense all around themselves by generating a weak electrical field, and they can move in any direction, thanks to an undulating ribbon-like fin that runs along the length of their underside. In an effort to replicate that form of maneuverability for use in man-made submersibles, a team led by Northwestern University mechanical and biomedical engineer Dr. Malcolm MacIver has created the GhostBot – an underwater robot that moves via a knife fish-like fin. Read More