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Motion

The pyramid patterns created in a polymer sheet increase current production in the new tri...

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have taken advantage of the triboelectric effect, which sees an electric charge generated through friction between two different materials, to develop a generator that could supplement power produced by piezoelectric nanogenerators previously developed at Georgia Tech. The triboelectric generator could be used to produce electricity from activities such as walking and even has the potential to create touchscreens that generate their own power.  Read More

U.K. Olympic hopeful Mimi Cesar using the MotivePro vibrating suit to help perfect her rhy...

Many professional athletes employ motion capture technology to help identify problems with their techniques so they can be corrected. However, such technology generally takes the athlete out of the usual performing environment and only lets them review their technique after the fact. Now researchers at Birmingham City University have developed a wearable device, dubbed the “Vibrating Suit,” that provides feedback to the wearer about where their body is in space in real time. Aside from assisting athletes perfect their technique, the technology could also be used to help prevent injuries in those that perform strenuous activities as part of their job.  Read More

Scalybot 2 replicates the rectilinear locomotion employed by snakes that is efficient and ...

While you might think its lack of limbs might limit how it gets around, snakes have actually developed several different forms of locomotion. One of these is “rectilinear locomotion,” and while most snakes are capable of it, it is most commonly associated with large pythons and boas. Although it is the slowest form of snake locomotion, it is also very efficient and allows the snakes to crawl into tight spaces. It is these latter two qualities that appealed to Georgia Tech researchers when developing a new all-terrain robot called Scalybot 2.  Read More

A conventional gyroscope

Earlier this year the iPhone 4 became the first smartphone to boast a built-in gyroscope in addition to an accelerometer, proximity sensor and ambient light sensor. Combining a gyroscope with an accelerometer allows the device to sense motion on six axes – left, right, up, down, forward and backward, as well as roll, pitch and yaw rotations – allowing for more accurate motion sensing abilities comparable to a game controller such as the Wii-mote. The iPhone 4 uses a MEMs (micro-electro-mechanical-systems) gyroscope but a newly developed optical gyroscope, small enough to fit on the head of a pin, could allow the integration of more accurate motion sensing technology in not only smartphones, but also in medical devices inside the human body.  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

The Swimsense performance monitor from FINIS

Joggers and cyclists have all kinds of technological wizardry at their fingertips – or wrists – to let them no how they’re performing. Now there’s an easy way for swimmers to keep track of their aquatic exertions in the form of the Swimsense from FINIS. This watch-sized device is worn on the wrist and uses motion sensing technology to automatically detect and record the number of laps swum, total distance, calories burned, lap time, pace, and stroke count... it can even differentiate between backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle and butterfly.  Read More

ROCR features a tail that swings like a grandfather clock’s pendulum (Image: William Pro...

Engineers have used a variety of techniques to create robots that can scale walls – “the Climber” uses a rolling seal, while the insect-like robots from SRI have caterpillar tracks with electro-adhesive properties. While such robots generally focus on speed, adhering to the wall and deciding how and when to move, the creators of a small robot named ROCR say it is the first wall-climbing robot to focus on climbing efficiently. And it does so by using the momentum of a tail that swings like a grandfather clock’s pendulum.  Read More

The Riiflex dumbbells add some weight to the Wii-mote and Nunchuk controller

Wii Fit-ness fanatics looking for a way to add a bit of weight training to their Wii cardio workout that doesn’t involve dipping a Wii-mote in gold need look no further than these Riiflex Dumbbells. The dumbbells slide over the Wii-mote and Nunchuk controller to put an extra 2-pounds (1kg) in each hand and provide some extra calorie-burning resistance while playing.  Read More

Diagram tracking the movement of gears turned by the bacteria (Image: Igor Aronson/Argonne...

Researchers have discovered that common bacteria suspended in a solution can be made to turn microgears. This opens up the possibility of building hybrid biological machines at the microscopic scale. The researchers say the discovery demonstrates how microscopic swimming agents, such as bacteria or man-made nanorobots, in combination with hard materials, can constitute a "smart material", which can dynamically alter its microstructures, repair damage, or power microdevices.  Read More

A laboratory mockup of a thin-screen LCD display with built-in optical sensors (Photo: Mat...

The gestural interface used by Tom Cruise in the movie Minority Report was based on work by MIT Media Lab’s Hiroshi Ishii, who has already commercialized similar large-scale gestural interface systems. However, such systems comprise many expensive cameras or require the user to wear tracking devices on their fingers. To develop a similar yet cost effective gestural interface system that is within reach of many more people other researchers at MIT have instead been working to develop screens with embedded optical sensors to track the movement of the user’s fingers that could quickly make touch screens seem outdated.  Read More

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