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Prototype

Laser pointers may be great fun to tease the cat with, but for pilots they are a major hazard. The United States FAA reports over 2,000 incidents every year of planes having lasers pointed at them - some of them powerful enough to pop a balloon. To combat the danger that lasers pose to aviation, the U.K. Ministry of Defence (MoD) is developing new eye wear that can filter out a wide range of laser wavelengths. Read More
Astrobotic Technology Inc., a spin-off company of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), has debuted its full-size flight prototype of its Polaris lunar water-prospecting robot. Polaris is specially designed to work in the permanently shadowed craters at the Moon’s poles. Scheduled to be sent to the Moon using a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle, the solar-powered rover is a contender in the US$20 million Google Lunar X Prize and is tasked with seeking ice deposits that could be used by future colonists. Read More
With pat downs, metal detectors, X-ray machines, and “puffer machines,” catching a plane can see you and your belongings scanned and probed more thoroughly than a trip to the doctor. Yet another explosives-detecting device may soon be added to the airport screening arsenal. However, because the explosives-detecting equipment is integrated into a boarding gate, the developers claim it won’t disrupt the flow of passengers boarding a plane. Read More
A five foot long (1.5 meter) robo-fish prototype that monitors oxygen levels and salinity is currently being tested in waters north of Spain as part of the EU-funded Shoal Consortium project. If the project proves successful, teams of autonomous robot fish could be patrolling ports, harbors, and estuaries for telltale signs of pollutants in the next few years. Read More
Thanks to gyros, accelerometers and sophisticated control mechanisms, remaining upright on a two-wheeled vehicle is no longer quite the balancing act it might once have been, even when at a standstill. Visions of future mobility like Honda's U3-X take such ideas in whole new directions, quite literally, by including multi-directional capabilities, and concepts such as Supple go even further still by ditching wheels altogether in favor of balls. It's this freedom of movement that inspired a group of students from the Charles W Davidson College Of Engineering at San Jose State University to begin work on the ambitious Spherical Drive System (SDS) electric motorcycle. Read More
San Francisco-based startup Boosted Boards has produced an eponymous electric skateboard prototype capable of providing a push-free ride for up to 6 miles. While an electric skateboard isn't anything new in itself, this particular longboard is declared by its makers to be the world's lightest electric vehicle. Read More
Researchers at the University of Missouri have developed a prototype app that combines a smartphone’s GPS, compass and imaging capabilities to calculate the exact location of distant objects and track their speed and direction. The researchers say the PositionIt app could allow a single off-the-shelf device to replace various pieces of equipment carried by soldiers on the battlefield, or be used closer to home to judge the distance to the green when playing golf. Read More
Research headed by professor Nosang Myung at Bourns College of Engineering, University of California, Riverside (UCR), has resulted in the development of a prototype "electronic nose." The work brings to mind previous "electronic noses" that we reported on back in 2010, but rather than discovering forms of cancer, Myung's prototype is designed to detect harmful airborne agents, such as pesticides, bio-terrorism, gas leaks and other unwanted presences - with clear applications in military, industry and agricultural areas. Read More
So the year is 2015, and you're in a serious disaster – one that requires the immediate provision of food, water, medical care, and shelter for a hundred thousand people. In other words, not something that a few airlifts will handle. If there is navigable water anywhere nearby, you could be saved by a future version of one of DARPA's new toys: the Captive Air Amphibious Transporter (CAAT). Read More
Have you ever sat and wondered what the radiation level is in your house? Or whether that food you're about to greedily tuck into is organic or not? Then Lapka may have been conceived with you in mind. The people behind Lapka – a set of sensors and accompanying app for the Apple iPhone – claim their product can do all of the above and more besides. Read More
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