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Prototype

Robotics

Rosphere spherical robot could be rolling up for work to monitor and tend crops

If you see what looks like a hamster ball rolling around a cornfield, it doesn’t mean that someone’s pet is incredibly lost. It may be an experimental robot developed by the Robotics and Cybernetics Research Group at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) called Rosphere. The spherical robot can propel itself over uneven ground and may one day be rolling up for work in fields to monitor and tend crops. Read More

Architecture

Ikea's turns its flat-pack philosophy to improving refugee shelters

A tragedy of modern times is the millions of refugees displaced by poverty, oppression, war and natural disaster. Most end up living in canvas tents of a basic design that are hot in summer, cold in winter, and only last about six months in constant use despite some refugees living in such tents for up to 12 years. On World Refugee Day in June, the Ikea Foundation unveiled a new flat-pack refugee shelter with a modular design and solar panel designed to help improve living conditions for refugees.Read More

Good Thinking

Tantrum puts 168 new twists on the electric screwdriver

One of the most frustrating parts of DIY projects is when a screw is at just the wrong angle for the screwdriver to reach. It’s even worse when an electric screwdriver with all its bulk is involved. To make things a bit easier, former University of Washington robotics student Joel Townsan of Bellingham, Washington came up with the Flipout Tantrum, an articulated electric screwdriver designed to work in very tight spaces. Read More

Home Entertainment

Prototype BBC radio rewrites scripts on the fly to reflect local conditions

Radio plays can transport listeners to far away exotic settings but the BBC’s prototype Perceptive Radio aims to give listeners a more localized experience. Shown to the public recently at the Thinking Digital Conference in Gateshead, UK, the Perceptive Radio uses local data and onboard sensors to adjust itself and even alter the script of a radio play in real time to reflect local conditions. The goal is to make listening to the radio more like attending live theater.Read More

Mobile Technology

Sony unveils 13.3-inch e-reader destined for students

Most popular e-readers available today tend to be based around a 6-inch screen. Though you can read technical manuals, textbooks (with graphics and tables), comic strips or electronic magazines on these devices, the roughly paperback-sized display does tend to feel just a little cramped. The Kno double-screened digital textbook offered hope of bigger display real estate a few years back, but dedicated hardware was abandoned in favor of a multi-device app. Together with E Ink Holdings, Sony has developed a new flexible electronic paper display technology called Mobius, that will make its debut in a new 13.3-inch Reader prototype at EDIX 2013 in Tokyo between May 15 and 17. Read More

Military

DARPA announces winner in FANG challenge

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced on Monday the winner of the first challenges in its competition to design the Fast Adaptable Next-Generation Ground Vehicle (FANG). The US$1 million prize went to “Ground Systems” – a three-person group with members in Ohio, Texas and California. The first of three challenges, the purpose of the competition is to bring crowdsourcing to the problem of creating armored vehicles, with the hope of reducing the design costs by a factor of five. Read More

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