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Prototype

Electronics

Magic Finger turns any surface into a touch interface

A trip on public transport or to the local coffee shop might give the impression that touchscreens are everywhere, but scientists at Autodesk Research of the University of Alberta and the University of Toronto are looking to take the ubiquity of touch interfaces to the next level. They are developing a “Magic Finger” that allows any surface to detect touch input by shifting the touch technology from the surface to the wearer’s finger. Read More

Military

Ministry of Defence developing new anti-laser eyewear

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

Science

Water-prospecting Polaris lunar rover prototype built

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

Aircraft

Prototype explosives-detecting boarding gate keeps passengers moving

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

Motorcycles

Students designing an omnidirectional sphere-wheeled electric motorcycle

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

Mobile Technology

Smartphone app determines location, speed and direction of distant objects

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

Electronics

Prototype "electronic nose" sniffs out danger

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

Military

DARPA releases video of floating tank-like CAAT vehicle

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

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