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Prototype

French architectural firm St. André-Lang has designed and built a compact circular housing prototype that incorporates corn cobs within the walls. The 20 square meter (215 square foot) pavilion style home is located in the protected parklands of Muttersholtz, France and recently won the Archi<20 competition for low-cost, environmentally-friendly architecture. “The total cost of the project was €7,000 [US$8,705],” St. André-Lang architect and co-creator Bastien Saint-André told Gizmag. “But we had some partners (carpenter, woodworker) – the real cost would be around €10,000 [US$12,435].” Read More
As a child, there was something magically rewarding about dropping some small change into the slot of a gumball machine, turning the lever and being rewarded with some hard candy. The Razorfish Emerging Experiences team has now updated the mini-vending machine for the digital age with a prototype Digital Gum Machine that delivers a digital treat to a smartphone in exchange for a 50 cent coin. Read More
If you’ve ever yearned to take part in a space program but haven’t been given the chance, then perhaps you should take a look at the Remote Rover Experiment (RRE) Kickstarter campaign. Created by a team named Part-Time Scientists (PTS), the project aims to involve the general public in testing technology which will eventually be sent to the moon. Available pledge points include the option to remote-pilot an Asimov R3A moon rover in an Earth-based location modeled after the Apollo 17 landing site, and the purchase of an Asimov R0 moon rover self-assembly kit. Read More
The current US space suit used by NASA is a dinosaur. Designed in 1992, it was only ever intended to be used by crews aboard the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. That may have been good enough in the days of 14 kps modems, but with eyes turning increasingly toward missions to the Moon, Mars and the asteroids, space explorers need something better. That’s why NASA is designing its first new suit in twenty years. Developed by NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems (AES), the Z-1 prototype space suit currently undergoing vacuum testing at the Johnson Space Center is a wearable laboratory of new technology. And it’s a hatchback. Read More
Five Norwegian engineering students from the University of Life Sciences in Oslo have come together to design and build an electric motorcycle that's a little different from the rest of the field. Rather than construct the vehicle around a steel or aluminum frame (like the Brutus we covered last year, for instance), the Roskva bike features a carbon fiber monocoque frame that reportedly weighs less than 25 kg (55 pounds). Carbon fiber is also the material of choice for the wheels, single-sided swingarm and enclosed driveshaft. Read More
We’ve seen a number of next-generation display technologies emerge in recent years, such as Sony’s “Crystal LED,” Uni-Pixel’s time-multiplexed optical shutter (TMOS) technology, and quantum dot LED (QLED) display technology from LG and QD Vision, and now there’s another one to add to the mix. While displays based on the new “spintronic” OLED technology invented by physicists at the University of Utah are still some years off, the researchers say they should be brighter, cheaper and more environmentally friendly than the LEDs found in the current crop of TVs, computer displays, traffic lights and other electronic devices. Read More
Though 3D movies have been around for a while, the experience of visiting a cinema to catch the latest blockbuster is dampened by unwieldy glasses and the limitation of only one fixed perspective being offered to all. The illusion of depth is present, but this is far removed from the hologram-like, multiple-perspective experience which would truly wow movie-goers. MIT's Media Lab’s Camera Culture group proposes a new approach to 3D images that promises glasses-free multiple-perspective 3D. Perhaps best of all though, MIT's technique uses inexpensive existing LCD technology, clearing the way for the tech to be implemented into TV's. Read More
With sprinting events at the elite level decided by fractions of a second, athletes are always on the lookout for anything that can provide even the smallest advantage over their rivals. We recently looked at Nike’s Pro TurboSpeed suit that is claimed to cut down a runner’s wind resistance by using golf ball-like dimples, but footwear plays an equally, if not more, important role in an athlete’s performance. Now French engineer and designer Luc Fusaro has employed 3D printing technology to create lightweight sprint shoes that are customized for individual athletes that could prove the difference between winning and losing. Read More
Six years after the initial announcement that Terrafugia, Inc. would develop a "roadable airplane", the Transition has completed the first phase of flight testing. The flight testing, carried out at Plattsburgh International Airport in northern New York State, assessed the light sport aircraft's full performance envelope. The Transition prototype was reported to perform "exceptionally well", allowing the testing to be carried out quickly. Read More
During this year’s Amsterdam-based Music Hack Day, two intrepid hackers originating from Berlin created a musical umbrella which produces a random series of lo-fi 8-bit tones. The tones are triggered by raindrops striking the outside surface of the umbrella's canopy and the abstract results bring to mind a warped soundtrack for the first generation Nintendo Game Boy. Read More
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