Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Prototype

Multi-sensory 3D maps give spoken directions and building information when touched, along ...

Getting around unfamiliar public spaces can be tough even with all your senses, but if you can't see where you're going it's downright intimidating. A new multi-sensory model promises a brighter future, though, with 3D maps that give spoken directions and building information when touched. The technology comes courtesy of a collaboration between tactile-graphics company Touch Graphics and the University of Buffalo's Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access (IDeA Center), and while it was designed specifically to help visually-impaired people, it's also meant to show off the potential of tangible touch interfaces.  Read More

The Jellyfish Barge operates off-grid and produces its own water via an onboard system of ...

Italian design office Studiomobile has teamed up with the University of Florence's Professor Stefano Mancuso, who is the director of the International Laboratory of Plant Neurobiology, to produce a prototype floating greenhouse in a bid to improve food security in areas with little arable land. The Jellyfish Barge operates off-grid and produces its own clean water via an onboard system of solar distillation.  Read More

The significance of the Stanford research lies in its inexpensiveness and ease of installa...

Though a large earthquake can prove catastrophic to life and property, even relatively minor tremors may compromise the structural integrity of a home, resulting in large repair costs. A team of engineers based at California's Stanford University has developed a new method of building earthquake-resistant homes that could be implemented relatively easily and inexpensively.  Read More

The Mark I MegaBot prototype

Who hasn't looked at a sporting event and thought that it would be better if it involved giant robots wailing on each other? That seems to be the thinking of the people behind the MegaBots Kickstarter campaign, who are raising money to build giant humanoid robots with human drivers to take on each other in paintball arena games.  Read More

The new RF circulator could revolutionize microminiature communications devices (Photo: Co...

In the world of electronic components, there are many devices out there that do their job well and reliably, but are almost never heard of – even though they may be vital to equipment that plays a role in our technology-driven lives. The radio frequency (RF) circulator is just such a device: it has simply done its job as a nondescript box of gubbins buried in radio communications systems, quietly directing radio frequency signals to the places they should go. Now researchers at the University of Texas have given the RF circulator a makeover. Not only is the new prototype smaller, lighter, and cheaper, it's also claimed to be easily adapted to different frequencies on the fly, which is something the old style circulator cannot do.  Read More

The Microsoft-developed technology aims to provide those with blindness with a greater deg...

While the act of walking down the street might be second nature to most of us, it can be a much more difficult experience for those who are blind or visually impaired. To combat the issue, Microsoft has developed a headset that uses bone-conducting audio, creating a 3D soundscape to safely guide users to their destinations.  Read More

The Wide Path Camper should be available for purchase in early 2015 and set you back aroun...

Denmark's Mads Johansen has designed a charming bike-towable caravan prototype that could – providing you're fit enough of course – prove handy for some long distance bicycle touring. Though still in the prototype stage, the Wide Path Camper should be up for sale early next year.  Read More

A US$270 programmable, 3D-printed electromyographic prosthetic hand may soon change the li...

A PhD candidate and six undergraduate students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UCIC) have created a low-cost, programmable, 3D-printed prosthetic hand that may soon change the lives of amputees in Ecuador. The hand costs just US$270 to manufacture, making it a small fraction of the cost of a typical prosthetic of this type.  Read More

The inventor of the Ambulance Drone says it could boost cardiac arrest survival rates from...

If there's anything we can take from the barrage of delivery drones to emerge recently, its that the technology has the potential to transport objects with unprecedented efficiency. Graduate student Alec Momont from Holland's Delft University of Technology is looking to tap into this ability to reduce emergency response times to cardiac arrest incidents. His Ambulance Drone prototype carries a defibrillator to the scene and promises to dramatically increase the rate of survival.  Read More

The RAZAR riflescope allows shooters to change focus without distraction

In combat, seconds count and a moment’s hesitation or distraction can mean the difference between life and death. So it's no small problem that modern riflescopes often require soldiers to look away from their targets or take their hands off their rifles in order to change magnification. Sandia National Laboratories’ Rapid Adaptive Zoom for Assault Rifles (RAZAR) riflescope is capable of switching between high and low zoom magnifications at the touch of a button, allowing soldiers to concentrate on the battle rather than their scopes.  Read More

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