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— Games

MIT releases time-bending, relativistic clusterfuddle of a game

A bite-sized computer game exploring the effects of Einstein's special theory of relativity is the first output from the MIT Game Lab made available online. In A Slower Speed of Light, the player navigates a seemingly rudimentary 3D environment with the goal of collecting 100 orbs. Thing is, each orb slows down the speed of light until, by the 90th or so orb, it has slowed almost to walking pace. The slower light travels, the trippier the effects, and the more taxing the game becomes. Read More
— Science

Israeli scientists find way to see through frosted glass

Taking a shower while secure in the knowledge that no one can see through the curtains may soon be a thing of the past. Researchers Ori Katz, Eran Small and Yaron Silberberg of the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel, have developed a method for de-scattering light to form coherent images in real time. In other words, they have found a way to look through shower curtains, frosted glass and other image-blurring materials. The technique may one day aid scientists in seeing through living tissue or around corners. Read More
— Urban Transport

Xfire system projects a bike lane onto the road

A lot of people won’t ride a bicycle on city streets because they’re scared that a vehicle will run into them. This fear certainly isn’t helped by the many drivers who unknowingly get dangerously close to cyclists while driving alongside them. Xfire’s Bike Lane Safety Light is designed to address that problem by using lasers to project a virtual bike lane on the road around the bike. Read More
— Robotics

Light-activated skeletal muscle “blurs the boundary between nature and machines”

In Sir Arthur C. Clarke’s 1972 novel Rendezvous with Rama, the explorers of a seemingly deserted alien spaceship passing through our Solar System encounter a strange three-legged creature that turns out to be an organic robot. In the ‘70s, this seemed so incredible that it could only be the product of an alien civilization thousands of years ahead of us. In 2012, scientists at MIT and the University of Pennsylvania are proving otherwise by starting work on organic robots here on Earth. Using genetically engineered muscle tissue that responds to light, they are blurring the line between animal and machine at the cellular level. Read More
— Science

Scientists use light to alter properties of high temperature superconductors

When people have a difficult problem they often talk about “shining a light on it.” Creating and controlling high-temperature superconductors has been a problem for scientists and engineers for over two decades. Now, Yoram Dagan, a professor at Tel Aviv University's (TAU) Department of Physics and Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, has made a breakthrough in superconductors by literally shining a light on them. By doing this, he is able to control their properties. Read More
— Bicycles

EcoXPower powers bicycle lights and charges mobile devices simultaneously

EcoXPower by EcoXGear is another take on a concept which most Gizmag readers will be familiar with: harnessing the kinetic energy produced while one pedals a bicycle in order to convert it into electricity and charge a smartphone or similar device. Though we’ve covered several products of this nature in the past, such as Nokia's Bicycle Charger Kit, Dahon's BioLogic ReeCharge, and the PedalPower+, the EcoXPower sets itself apart by charging your smartphone or GPS and providing electricity to front and rear lights at the same time. Read More

Stackable Tetris Light creates a pixelated desk sculpture

It's safe to say that almost anyone who has played a video game has felt the pull of Tetris at some point. There's just something about the simple, yet addictive puzzle game that draws people in for hours and has even prompted MIT students to recreate it with a whole building. Now, inspired by the classic game, the Tetris Light lets you create your own pixelated lamp out of colored blocks that light up when stacked on top of each other. Read More
— Electronics

Light-polarizing system could mean big things for tiny projectors

Liquid crystal video projectors could be getting smaller, more energy-efficient, and less expensive. Currently, such devices require polarized light for the projection of images. Unfortunately, conventional LEDs only produce unpolarized light. While an optical filter is typically used to polarize it, the polarization process wastes over 50 percent of the original light, converting it into heat instead of allowing it to pass through. That heat, in turn, must be dissipated using a noisy, power-consuming fan. Now, however, researchers have created a new polarizing system that allows almost 90 percent of the LED light to be converted to usable, polarized light. Read More