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Modular

This may look like modern art, but it's actually a microfluidic system built from MFICs

With their ability to guide and analyze tiny quantities of liquid, microfluidic "lab-on-chip" devices have found use in everything from seawater desalination to explosives detection to the viewing of viruses. Each time a new type of device is created, however, it must be built from scratch. This can be time-consuming and costly, as the fabrication of multiple prototypes is a traditional part of the trial-and-error development process. Now, however, building them may be as simple as mixing and matching prefabricated Lego-like modules.  Read More

The S House, by Vo Trong Nghia Architects (Photo: Hiroyuki Oki)

Vietnam-based firm Vo Trong Nghia Architects recently revealed an affordable prefabricated prototype house that could potentially offer Vietnamese people on a very low income somewhere safe and durable to live. While still a work-in-progress and thus subject to change, the S House currently costs just US$4,000 to build.  Read More

Inventor Mees Baayen demonstrates the Ultra Allround kit rig (Photo: Paul Ridden/Gizmag)

Camcorder and stills camera rigs can be complex, heavy and bulky affairs. Dutch inventor Mees Baayen has designed a modular camera rig system which breaks down into components that can be carried in the pockets of a user's shirt, trousers or jacket. The robust Ultra kit rigs are so versatile that Baayen says he's still discovering new ways to use them.  Read More

MakerMex's MM1 3D printer is designed to be easily upgraded as the technology advances

3D printing sure is definitely a rapidly evolving field. While fast moving technologies that emerge in this way can lead to huge amounts of obsolete devices, 3D printer company MakerMex is seeking to produce something with a little more staying power in the form of a multi-material 3D printer called the MM1. The device features a modular design that enables the owner to swap components in and out as required.  Read More

The Old Town Predator XL kayak

Sometimes you feel like a paddle; sometimes you don't. The new modular Predator XL kayak from Old Town keeps you happy in either case. With the help of a drop-in electric motor module, you can leave the paddle onshore and navigate the water with 45 lb (20.4 kg) of thrust and a foot-controlled rudder system.  Read More

Brockloch Bothy, a holiday cottage in Scotland, is built from a number of Echo's Eco Pods ...

UK-based firm Echo has produced a new modular pod, dubbed Eco Pod, that measures 9 sq m (96.8 sq ft) and can be used for multiple purposes. As a standalone unit, the Eco Pod can serve as a small office or garden room, but it can also be joined together with other Eco Pods to make a flexible small home that's capable of operating off-the-grid.  Read More

Sunstar is debuting the Virtus system at Eurobike 2014

Electric bikes are an intriguing transportation alternative, but four- and five-figure price tags are just too much for many people to spend on a limited-utility, low-range electric vehicle. That price looks even steeper for those that already have a perfectly functional pedal bicycle sitting at home. Japanese-Swiss company Sunstar hopes to make e-bikes a little cheaper and more versatile with its modular Virtus electric drive that transforms a regular bike into an e-bike, then detaches in minutes, effectively giving you two bikes in one.  Read More

The all-new Goal Zero Switch 10 at Outdoor Retailer 2014

A few years ago, Goal Zero introduced the Switch 8, a small back-up battery with a series of modular tips for creating separate devices, like a flashlight. The company has added more power and more function to the Switch, in introducing the all-new Switch 10.  Read More

The Queen B (Bioshielding) model, by Noah Hornberger won a competition hosted by NASA and ...

If humans successfully colonize Mars in the future, what kind of homes will they inhabit? NASA and MakerBot recently hosted a competition which tasked people with making a 3D-printed model home suitable for the Red Planet. Noah Hornberger won with his Queen B (Bioshielding) concept home, which offers food-for-thought concerning the future of interplanetary architecture.  Read More

Volvo's Scalable Product Architecture will spread across the Swedish manufacturer's range

Many of the world's car manufacturers have decided that flexible, modular platforms are the way of the future. Volkswagen's MQB underpins everything from the VW Golf to Audi's TT coupe, and there are more MQB-based cars to come. Volvo is keen to get in on the action with its Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), which will debut in the upcoming XC90 SUV and then extend across the Swedish manufacturer's range.  Read More

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