2014 Paris Motor Show highlights

University of Bristol

The reflection of a user's finger 'touches' a museum artifact, causing a projected pop-up ...

Perhaps you've been in a situation where you noticed that your reflection in a window looked like it was actually standing amongst the items that were visible through that window. Now, scientists at the University of Bristol have taken that phenomenon and incorporated it into an experimental new interactive display. Among other things, it lets users select objects seen through a pane of glass, using the reflection of their finger on that glass.  Read More

SensaBubble provides information and feedback to users in the form of colored bubbles whic...

Rating as probably one of the stranger human-computer interfaces we’ve seen, the Sensabubble allows users to receive alerts and feedback from their connected devices in the form of images, text, and smell – all encased in and projected on smoke-filled bubbles. Popping away annoying alerts is viscerally more satisfying than swiping them off, but this isn’t a toy. It's part of research being presented at the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems by researchers from the University of Bristol.  Read More

MisTable combines a 2D tabletop display with 3D personal fog screens (Photo: Bristol Inter...

When we think of computer displays, we probably think of something solid and substantial that won't stand up too well when you put a hand through it. Fog screens, that use a curtain of mist on which to display images, have no such weakness, which is one of the reasons a team at the University of Bristol has used the technology to create MisTable, a tabletop display aimed at collaborative efforts.  Read More

This artificial muscle-driven heart pumps human urine and will be used to power the Ecobot...

It's strange to wrap one's mind around the idea of human pee powered robots, but that's exactly what a group of UK researchers are attempting to create. Mimicking the human heart, their latest innovation is a heart pump with artificial muscles that aims to deliver human urine to their latest generation of Ecobots – a self-sustaining robot that runs on all manner of waste matter collected from its environment.  Read More

The Samsung GT-E2121B mobile phone that researchers powered with urine

If asked what would be a great power source for mobile phones, it’s a fair bet that most people wouldn't make urine their first choice. But that's exactly what a group of scientists at Bristol Robotics Laboratory in the UK have done. As part of a project to find new ways to provide electricity for small devices in emergency situations and developing countries they have created a new fuel cell system powered by pee.  Read More

Some of the shape-shifting Morphee prototypes that boast different 'shape resolution'

There may soon be another technical specification to consider when buying a mobile device. Researchers from the University of Bristol and the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI Saarbrücken) have coined the term “shape resolution” to indicate the self-actuated shape-shifting abilities they believe will be featured in the next generation of mobile devices. To demonstrate this new metric, the researchers have developed a number of prototype shape-shifting devices they have dubbed “Morphees,” which have the potential to change their shape on demand, depending on the desired use.  Read More

The Tilt Display prototype has nine screen components that move and tilt individually to p...

There are a number of different display technologies that provide the illusion of 3D images on a 2D screen. A team of researchers led by the University of Bristol has offered a new take on things by creating “Tilt Display” – a prototype screen that's split in a 3x3 configuration with the nine individual sub-screens physically moving and tilting up and down to physically represent the three dimensional content being displayed.  Read More

The straight-sided and curved glasses used in the team's experiments (Image: PLoS ONE)

Are you getting blotto on lager more often than you should? If the University of Bristol’s School of Experimental Psychology is to be believed, then you can (try to) blame your glass. According to Dr. Angela Atwood, drinking out of a curved glass makes you drink lager faster.  Read More

Scientists have created squid-inspired artificial muscles and cells, that could lead to ca...

If you’ve ever watched a cephalopod such as a squid changing color, then you’ll know that it’s a pretty amazing process – they can instantly change the appearance of their skin from dark to light and back again, or even create pulsating bands of color that travel across it. They are able to do this thanks to muscles that manipulate the pigmentation of their skin. Now, scientists from the University of Bristol have succeeded in creating artificial muscles and cells, that might someday allow for the same sort of color changes in smart clothing that can camouflage itself against different backgrounds.  Read More

A newly-developed magnetic soap could be used to minimize the environmental impact of oil ...

When oil gets spilled in a waterway, clean-up crews will often introduce a solution known as a surfactant. This is a detergent that lessens the surface tension between the water and the overlaying oil slick, causing the oil to form into individual droplets which then sink or get dispersed by wave action. Unfortunately, such detergents aren’t entirely environmentally-friendly themselves, so the use of them on oil spills has been criticized as simply replacing one pollutant with another. Now, however, scientists from the University of Bristol have created a magnetic soap, that could be removed from the water once it had done its job.  Read More

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