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Prototype

The first Seaswarm prototype being tested in the Charles River in mid-August 2010 (Image: ...

Over 800 skimmers were deployed in the Gulf of Mexico during the summer of 2010 to help clean up the Deepwater Horizon leak; however, it is estimated that these skimmers collected only three percent of the surface oil. Researchers at MIT have devised a system, called Seaswarm, consisting of a fleet of vehicles that may make cleaning up future oil spills both less expensive and more efficient than current skimming methods. A robotic prototype created by the researchers could autonomously navigate the ocean surface using cutting edge nanotechnology to collect surface oil and process it on site.  Read More

Yahoo's Time Explorer lets users peer into the future (Image: modified from seanmcgrath or...

Earlier this month we took a look at Recorded Future, a company that uses information scoured from thousands of websites, blogs and Twitter accounts to make predictions about the future. Now, Yahoo’s Barcelona research lab has created a similar prototype news search engine called Time Explorer. It creates timelines based on search queries that not only provide a way to check the accuracy of past predictions, but also allows users to view predictions that are yet to occur.  Read More

The Marmota mobile AR prototype

Augmented Reality, or AR, is currently one of the hot areas for mobile app development – for some reason, people seem quite smitten with the idea of being able to point their mobile device’s camera at a street, and having information about the buildings and businesses that appear on their screen superimposed over the images in real time. Now, a prototype mobile AR device is being tested, that concentrates more on topography than urban exploration. The Marmota mobile AR can tell you things like what the names of those mountain peaks over there are, what their elevation is, and how far away they are.  Read More

A low pass of the BonusJet (Image: Bill Pearson)

Gliders that have engines which can be used for take-off to remove the need for catching a tow to altitude by an airplane or a winch are quite common now. Such engines are usually of the electric or small-piston motor variety, but New Mexico-based company, Desert Aerospace, has gone a step further by fitting a glider with a retractable jet engine.  Read More

The hybrid magnetic tunnel junction fabricated to achieve electrical detection of spin pol...

Spintronics – or spin electronics – is an emerging technology that exploits the intrinsic spin of the electron rather than its charge, as is the case with current electronic devices. The technology promises microelectronic devices that can store more data in less space, process data faster, and consume less power. Researchers at Ohio State University (OSU) have now demonstrated the first plastic memory device that utilizes the spin of electrons to read and write data.  Read More

Studded with magnets and electronic muscles known as actuators, a prototype robot develope...

If they were real, the Transformers harking from Cybertron would be considered pretty remarkable pieces of machinery. But their transforming abilities are limited to just two forms. By combining origami and electrical engineering, researchers at MIT and Harvard are working to develop the ultimate reconfigurable robot – one that can turn into absolutely anything. To test out their theories, the researchers built a prototype that can automatically assume the shape of either an origami boat or a paper airplane when it receives different electrical signals.  Read More

Three pairs of massage motors are set up in zones which are linked to source signal locati...

The phenomenon of social networking allows fragmented friends and families to keep in touch and empowers users to share their lives with the world. Four female students from MIT think that such a medium could also help to alleviate something else that many members of the global community share and suffer from - stress. The SOS: stress outsourced system consists of wearable units containing wireless signaling technology. Should a wearer feel the burden of stress, sending out an SOS to fellow users around the globe generates a haptic massage from the relief signals sent in response.  Read More

Intel engineer, Dr. Mario Paniccia, holds the thin optical fiber used to carry data from o...

Today’s computer components are connected to each other using copper cables or traces on circuit boards. Due to the signal degradation that comes with using metals such as copper to transmit data, these cables have a limited maximum length. This limits the design of computers, forcing processors, memory and other components to be placed just inches from each other. Intel has announced an important breakthrough that could see light beams replace the use of electrons to carry data in and around computers, enabling data to move over much longer distances and at speeds many times faster than today’s copper technology.  Read More

The cervical ring and sensors used in the preterm labor detector

When a baby is born preterm – between 20 and 37 weeks – it can cause significant health risks for the child as well as emotional and financial hardship for the family. Until now, doctors have mostly relied on a external device attached to the abdomen to detect premature labor, but a new internal system - developed by Johns Hopkins graduates – could detect uterine contractions very early in the pregnancy which could assist doctors to prolong the pregnancy.  Read More

The Etta semi-recumbent cargo bike designed by Nick Foley

The upright bicycle riding position offered by the familiar diamond-shape frame has been completely abandoned by designer Nick Foley in favor of a semi-recumbent driving pose. His Etta 3-speed prototype is claimed to offer users a more comfortable, natural ride whilst also providing better all-round visibility and a built-in storage compartment. Gizmag's Paul Ridden takes a closer look.  Read More

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