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CAD model of the FluzCrawler robot inspecting a wire cable (Image: Fraunhofer IZFP)

The important task of inspecting cables on bridges, elevators, ski lifts and cable cars for signs of strain, wear and corrosion is commonly carried out by a device that clasps around the cable and exposes it to a magnetic field, looking for disruptions in the field. The problem is that the diameter of the cables and their jackets can vary considerably, limiting the use of such devices. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Nondestructive Testing have come up with a one-size-fits-all approach in the form of a robot they’ve dubbed the FluxCrawler.  Read More

Douglass Engelbart gives his revolutionary presentation in 1968 that saw the first public ...

Douglas Engelbart, the man who made point and click possible with his invention of the mouse, has died aged 88. When he first demonstrated his invention to a computer conference in San Francisco, California in 1968, it was basically a wooden shell with two metal wheels for registering movement along the X- and Y-axes. Ahead of its time, the mouse wasn’t popularized until the release of the Apple Macintosh in 1984.  Read More

Robugtix's T8 is an 8-legged robot that will scare the bejeezus out of unsuspecting victim...

Legged robot kits aren't anything new, but unlike its competition, the T8 octopod comes with a disturbingly realistic 3D-printed exoskeleton that is sure to make an unforgettable first impression. Robugtix (a robotics company based in Hong Kong) is living up to its name with the lifelike robot tarantula, and it can be yours later this year for an introductory price of US$1,350.  Read More

The prototype 'water chip'

Although various alternative technologies are being developed, the large-scale desalination of seawater typically involves forcing it through a membrane that allows the water to pass through, but that traps the salt. These membranes can be costly, they can get fouled, and powerful pumps are required to push the water through. Now, however, scientists from the University of Texas at Austin and Germany’s University of Marburg are taking another approach. They’ve developed a chip that separates salt from water.  Read More

The DFP (Dive-Fish-Paddle) kayak, with its pontoons extended

Compared to human-powered watercraft such as canoes or rowboats, kayaks are certainly fast, plus they’re easy to paddle. Should you try to stand up and fish or scuba dive from one, however, it’s quite likely to capsize. With that in mind, California-based TrueRec has designed the DFP (Dive-Fish-Paddle) sit-on-top kayak. It features spring-loaded pontoons that fold out to the sides and lock in place for added stability when stopped, but that otherwise stay tucked in and out of the way.  Read More

Renault has ripped out the passenger seat and modified the rear end cut-out to make a Carg...

Since first being presented at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, Renault's Twizy has gone from concept to production model, and like many small young things, has also dreamed of becoming a firefighter and a F1 racer. For its latest party trick, the French auto giant really means business. The battery electric roofed quad bike has sacrificed its passenger seat and had its rear end cut-out modified to make room for a small amount of storage space. The result of this collaborative effort from Renault's Tech and Sports divisions is the new Twizy Cargo.  Read More

The Defiant Big Easy provides grit and power over sand and snow

Two big trends that have stormed the bicycle industry over the past few years are pedal-assisted electric drivetrains and fat tires. These two trends converge in Defiant Bicycles' Big Easy. Unlike other electric bikes that stop at the edge of the street, the Big Easy keeps rolling over some of the toughest, most sluggish terrain on Earth – everything from hot sand to cold, mushy snow.  Read More

A rendering of how the final product may look

Ever since moviegoers watched in awe as Marty McFly sped along on a hoverboard in Back To The Future Part II, many of us have dreamed of having a real-life hoverboard of our own. Sadly no such product exists, but that hasn't stopped someone from dreaming of making it happen. To do so, they're asking for US$1 million on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo.  Read More

The Laser Gatling Gun features six burning lasers, and one aiming beam

Patrick Priebe, the German laser weapons hobbyist who previously brought us such creations as the Iron Man Gauntlet and the Plasma Cutter, has gone and made something else. This time around, he’s built a proof-of-concept Laser Gatling Gun.  Read More

The DALE micro-home is the work of a collaboration between SCI-Arc and Caltech students

Students from the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), and California Institute of Technology (Caltech), have joined forces to produce a net-zero micro-home concept for 2013's Solar Decathlon competition. Dubbed "DALE," the futuristic dwelling is able to expand in size, for those situations in which you don't want your micro-home to be quite so micro.  Read More

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