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— Automotive

Eyetracker watches drivers' eyes for signs of drowsiness

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology in Ilmenau, Germany have created a system for warning drivers when they’re getting too drowsy to drive. The Eyetracker system utilizes two or more dashboard-mounted cameras to monitor drivers’ eyes, and sounds an alarm if their eyes are off the road for too long. It can apparently be mounted in any car, and doesn’t require complicated calibration of the cameras, or an external computer. Read More
— Science

Setting a new standard for 3D model ears

When devices such as telephone handsets, headsets, headphones, hearing aids and hearing protectors are electro-acoustically tested, mannequins known as Head and Torso Simulators (HATS) are used to replicate the upper part of the human body. They allow researchers to simulate Head Related Transfer Function, which is the process by which sounds are changed by the time they reach the human eardrum. The mannequins' calibrated pinna (outer ear) simulators have traditionally been represented through a series of two-dimensional cross-sectional profiles – this is the industry standard for pinnas on HATS. Now, as part of a revision of that standard, the Acoustics Team from the UK’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL) have created a three-dimensional pinna that overcomes the limitations of the 2D variety. Read More
— Science

Japanese manufacturer Teijin creates next-gen firefighting suit

Japanese manufacturer Teijin, in cooperation with firefighting apparel maker Akao Co. Ltd., has announced the development of new firefighting suit that reportedly sets new world standards in both protection from extreme heat and lightweight wearability. Made from TRIPROTECH aramid fibers, Teijin's new suit consists of multiple key layers with even more clever monikers to boot, like GBARRIERLIGHT, TECHWAVE, and TECHNORA. The technical details of the layers' composition are somewhat hairy, but the upshot is that Teijin's improved aramid fibers have resulted in a firefighting suit that weights only 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs) and is 60 percent more effective in preventing burns than the company's prior lightweight suits. Read More
— Automotive

Norman Foster rebuilds Bucky Fuller's Dymaxion car

Bucky Fuller's Dymaxion car was never meant to be a car. Looking like something between a Zeppelin and a VW camper van it was intended to fly, but sadly only three of these concept vehicles were ever built after tragedy struck. Now, as part of a Madrid retrospective on Bucky Fuller's work, Norman Foster, Fuller's collaborator for twelve years, has rebuilt his hero's Dymaxion car. Read More
— Medical

Cheek swab technique could provide simple cancer screening

Early detection of lung cancer is vital for increasing a patient’s survival rate and to prescribe the best form of treatment. Now New York researchers have developed an early detection method involving a simple cheek swab. Called partial wave spectroscopic (PWS) microscopy, this new technique involves shining diffuse light on cells from the swab. The test is able to distinguish individuals with or without lung cancer, even if the patient has been a lifelong smoker or suffers from other smoking related illnesses. Read More
— Games

Thrustmaster gets serious with flight simulation

It's called the HOTAS WARTHOG and Thrustmaster really has gone the whole hog with it new flagship flight simulation gaming peripheral. A full replica of the controls from a U.S. Air Force A-10C attack aircraft, the WARTHOG dual throttle system features a total of 55 programmable action buttons and 2 four-direction hat switches designed to perfectly mimic the resistance required in a real airplane. Read More
— Home Entertainment

Heavyweights team up to create Sony Internet TV, powered by Google TV

In May, Sony and Google announced a strategic alliance to develop new Android-based hardware products. The partnership is bearing fruit in the form of Sony Internet TV, powered by Google TV. It seems that most premium new release HDTVs come with Internet connectivity these days but one of the big differences offered by Sony’s Internet TV devices is a Dual View feature that lets viewers watch TV and surf the web at the same time. Read More
— Spy Gear

Computers could identify people by their ears

If you’ve watched any spy movies, then you’ll know that biometric security systems can recognize individuals based on physiological traits such as their fingerprints, handprints, faces and irises. Well, you may soon be able to add “ears” to that that list. Scientists from the University of Southampton’s School of Electronics and Computer Science have used a program called image ray transform to achieve a 99.6 percent success rate in automatically locating and isolating ears in 252 photos of peoples’ heads. Read More
— Electronics

Flat batteries could improve performance and lower cost of energy storage

In the continuing search for ever more efficient and cheaper batteries, researchers at the Department of Energy’s (DoE) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have managed to increase the performance of sodium-nickel chloride batteries in an interesting way – flattening them. No, not running them down until they’re out of juice, but rather replacing their typical cylindrical shape with a flat disc design. The redesign allows the battery to deliver 30 percent more power at lower temperatures, making them a viable alternative to lithium-ion batteries. Read More