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Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

Percussionist Enrico Bertelli puts the digital music cube through its paces

The aim of the Hackable Instruments project is to create instruments that can be easily tweaked by the player to find interesting new directions for producing flavorsome tones, without any specialist knowledge of electronics or engineering, while also aiding in the development of distinctive playing styles. Project members Andrew McPherson and Victor Zappi have designed and built a deliberately simple instrument that produces sounds when a player's fingers touch, slide or tap a capacitive sensing strip on one of the wooden cube's faces.  Read More

The raw materials and end products of the recycling process

Of all the things that we regularly dispose of, you would think that shoes would be one of the most difficult to recycle. Not only are well-used shoes kind of ... gross, but they're also made of a variety of different materials, all of which are joined together. Nonetheless, scientists at Loughborough University in the UK announced last week that they have created and trialled "the world’s first comprehensive system for separating and recovering useful materials from old footwear."  Read More

A Raspberry Pi microprocessor, which serves as the heart of the PAT base station

Homeless people face a multitude of challenges daily, which can make keeping even important appointments very difficult. A new project, dubbed the “Personal Appointment Ticketing service” (or PAT), hopes to make this easier with a new inexpensive method of printing out personalized appointment cards.  Read More

Scientists have created a 3D printer that makes chocolates in shapes determined by the use...

If you’re trying to woo that special someone, instead of just bringing them a box of ordinary chocolates, how about a box of chocolates that look like you? You’re right, that would just be creepy, but chocolates formed into user-defined shapes are nonetheless now a possibility, thanks to a 3D chocolate printer developed at the University of Exeter.  Read More

A soldier in a fictitious but realistic urban, desert environment, with superimposed numbe...

If you’ve ever removed the battery from a laptop, then you will know that it constitutes quite a large percentage of the total weight of the computer. Well, if you think you’ve got it tough lugging that laptop battery around, consider the plight of infantry soldiers – they have to carry multiple batteries to power devices such as weapons, radios, and GPS equipment, and they have to do so for hours at a time, often under very harsh conditions. Attempts to lighten the 45 to 70 kg (99 to 154 lb) loads typically carried by soldiers currently include the use of fuel cells, li-ion batteries woven into their clothing, and autonomous pack horse-like vehicles. Now, UK researchers are adding their two pence-worth, by developing wearable solar and thermoelectric power systems.  Read More

Slices of a Fano variety

Mathematicians are creating their own version of the periodic table that will provide a vast directory of all the possible shapes in the universe across three, four and five dimensions, linking shapes together in the same way as the periodic table links groups of chemical elements. The three-year project, announced today, should provide a resource that mathematicians, physicists and other scientists can use for calculations and research in a range of areas, including computer vision, number theory, and theoretical physics. For some mental exercise, check out these animations that have already been analyzed in the project.  Read More

A new system monitors underground soil acoustics to predict landslides

People living in landslide-prone areas will be glad to know that a new technology has been developed which monitors soil acoustics to determine when a landslide is imminent. The system consists of a network of sensors, buried across a hillside considered a risk. As soil moves within the hillside, it creates noise – the more the amount of movement, the louder the noise. When that noise reaches a threshold level, the system sends a text message warning to local authorities, that a landslide is about to occur.  Read More

Dr Iain Spears from Teesside University with the 'exergaming' system

The local pub might not seem like the most obvious location to try and improve the health of middle-aged men but that’s just the task researchers in the U.K. have set themselves. In a novel approach to get unfit men active, the researchers have devised an ‘exergaming’ system targeted at sedentary middle-aged men on Teesside in the North East of England. The plan is to put the system into workingmen’s clubs and get the men to take part in virtual boxing matches with a computer-generated opponent.  Read More

A research project at Glasgow Caledonian University is currently taking a close look at wh...

Whether you're chilling out to some smooth jazz, venting a spleen with the help of hard rock or jumping for joy to the latest in bubblegum pop – there always seems to be a song or an album that suits whatever mood you happen to be in. A research project at Glasgow Caledonian University is currently taking a close look at why a certain piece of music evokes a particular emotive response. It is hoped that the research may lead to music being used to bring folks out of a depression or even help with pain management.  Read More

Food packaging is just one of the potential applications of the compostable sugar-based po...

Traditional environmental enemies food packaging and other disposable plastic items could soon be composted at home along with organic waste and not collected for landfill thanks to a new sugar-based polymer being developed at Imperial College London. The degradable polymer is made from sugars known as lignocellulosic biomass, which come from non-food crops like fast-growing trees and grasses, or renewable biomass from agricultural or food waste.  Read More

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