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— 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
— Automotive

Hyundai thinks out of the box with hovering cars and transforming vehicles

Hyundai has been running the IDEA festival, an internal contest to challenge designers and engineers to come up with futuristic transportation solutions, for three years. In preparing for IDEA 2013, Hyundai provides a look at some of the best concepts conceived during IDEA 2012 – everything from flying cars, to egg-shaped transporters, to spare tires that transform into bikes. Read More
— 3D Printing

Inching SkySweeper robot provides cheap way to inspect powerlines

If you look up at a power line in a few years and see something skittering along the wires, it (hopefully) won't be a mutant crab monster, but a powerline inspection robot costing less than US$1,000. A prototype of such a robot, called SkySweeper, was presented this month at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) Jacobs School of Engineering's Research Expo. The robot was built with off-the-shelf electronics and plastic parts printed on an inexpensive 3D printer. Read More
— Digital Cameras

DARPA developing personal LWIR cameras to give soldiers heat vision

With their ability to pick out humans by their heat signatures, long-wave infrared (LWIR) thermal imaging cameras are a valuable asset for soldiers – and alien predators. Unfortunately, non-alien built ones are expensive and so large that they need to be mounted on vehicles. In an effort to make a LWIR camera cheap and small enough for an individual soldier to carry, DARPA is working on a five-micron camera that offers a reduced size without sacrificing performance. Read More