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— Mobile Technology

Apple to replace keys and wallet with iKey app?

The humble mobile phone. What started out as a communication device has quickly evolved to become a take anywhere entertainment apparatus and essential tool for work and play. So much so that many people feel panic-stricken if they accidentally leave their phone at home. Such separation anxiety could be even worse in the future with a patent filed by Apple suggesting that the company wants the iPhone to replace your house and car keys and wallet, thereby making it even more indispensable. Read More
— Games

Sony files patent for universal game controller with LCD touch screen

According to a patent recently filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Sony is working on a universal game controller that could be used with competitor consoles from Microsoft and Nintendo. The proposed controller would see an LCD touch screen positioned on the front of the controller to replace the controller's face buttons, directional pad and thumb-sticks. Read More
— Bicycles

IsoTruss-tubed Delta 7 bikes look funny, but boast high strength to weight ratio

Go ahead, stare. It’s OK, they want you to. Delta 7 Bikes currently manufactures two of the most unusual-looking bicycles on the market, the Arantix hardtail mountain bike and the Ascend road bike. Their open-lattice spider-web tubes incorporate patented IsoTruss geometric design, wherein carbon fiber and Kevlar are woven into a network of isosceles triangles. The triangles join together to form pyramid-shaped trusses, which provide incredible structural support while using a minimum of material. If you’re a bicycle-maker looking for something with a great strength-to-weight ratio, it’s hard to beat. Read More
— Military

Metal Storm’s virtual minefield gets a patent

Metal Storm has been granted another round of patents and one in particular has important implications for the future of minefields. The company’s weapon technology functions somewhat like an inkjet printer, using computer-controlled electronic ignition and a system of stacked projectiles in multiple barrels. As each barrel can contain a variety of projectiles, it can fire a sensor from each of the barrels to cover an area with sensors. If any sensor is triggered, the barrel to which it belongs fires a subsequent explosive projectile to the exact same point. The system offers many advantages, including the ability to be switched off leaving no explosive ordnance remaining in the area that had been protected. With landmines being one of the most dreadful and enduring legacies of war, it’s an enormous shame that only one side will be using Metal Storm, as it represents a potential solution to the deployment of this insidious device. Read More
— Environment

U.S. Trademark Office fast tracking ‘green’ patents

Recognizing there’s now a sense of urgency in saving the planet, the U.S. Commerce Department’s Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will pilot a program to accelerate the examination of certain “green” technology patent applications. According to the USPTO the move is designed to “accelerate development and deployment of green technology, create green jobs, and promote U.S. competitiveness in this vital sector.” Read More
— Digital Cameras

Canon files touchscreen DSLR patent

Touchscreens have almost become standard on point and shoot digital compact cameras. The same can’t be said for more enthusiast/professional oriented DSLRs, mainly because of the different ways both types of cameras are used. Compacts are generally held out in front of the photographer who checks the framing via the camera’s LCD screen. DSLRs, on the other hand, are often still used with the photographer’s face mashed up against the rear of the camera to frame a shot using the optical viewfinder. This would wreak havoc with a touchscreen as the photographer’s nose goes about changing all those carefully nurtured manual settings. But a new patent application from Canon could solve the problem and see touchscreens appearing on DSLRs as well. Read More
— Computers

Apple patents enforced ad-interaction into OS

Anyone who has spent even a modicum of their time browsing the Internet over the last few years will be aware of how annoying pop-up and embedded ads can be, especially if they involve audio and video and particularly if it’s more difficult than it should be to find the ‘close’ button. Thankfully it doesn’t usually take too long to remove the offending source from our screens, but those who are particularly irked by this form of interruption will not be placated if a recent patent filed by Apple ever sees the light of day. Read More
— Electronics

Steuart’s Patent vacuum tank regulator – the timepiece to beat in the early 20th Century

The second in our series of interviews with Michael Bennet-Levy looks at the Steuart’s Patent vacuum tank regulator – a clock produced in 1923 that its makers, J & D Meek, claimed was accurate to “better than a second a year.” If true this would have made it the most accurate timekeeper in the world prior to the invention of Caesium clocks in the mid 1950s. The essence of the Steuart regulator is that the electric motor drives the clock and the pendulum governs and corrects the speed of the motor. Neither is connected. Ideal for telescopes (because it doesn't tick), the clock was used as a stand-in for Big Ben during WWII and in the opinion of the Scientific American it marked “the most important development in clock-making which has taken place in modern times.” Read More