Category: News Posts

This App Will Let You Call An Uber Just by Clicking Your Heels

ruby heels

Every little girl who watched The Wizard of Oz thought one thing: I want those ruby slippers. They were so beautiful, sparkly, colorful, and bright, like Christmas molded into a low heel and round toe.

And the idea that you could get home with three ladylike clicks of the heel warmed our lazy little hearts. Certainly a lot more glamorous than hailing down a cab like a wild banshee or digging through the depths of your bag for your phone to request an Uber.

Well, thanks to technology, it seems that perhaps some dreams really do come true. A creative agency called iStrategyLabs just unveiled the aptly named Dorothy, a device that will give you powers much like our favorite stranded Kansan.

All you have to do is slip “the ruby” a small Bluetooth-enabled micro-controller into your shoe, click your heels three times, and wait for your Uber to arrive.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

An Army Of These Robotic Turtles Might Help Rid The World Of Landmines

robot turtle

Detecting landmines is no easy task, but thankfully, a team of researchers at the Arizona State University is developing a fleet of robotic turtles to locate (and detonate) them in the desert.

These robot turtles could safely tag landmines without risking human lives.

Every year, an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 people are killed or maimed by landmines, according to UNICEF. Militaries around the globe currently use an array of both low and high-tech approaches to remove them from metal detectors and trained bomb-sniffing dogs.

Unlike bomb-sniffing dogs, these robotic turtles have the ability to work independently in the field. Seeing as the current prototypes are intended for use all over the globe, researchers are programming them with algorithms that allow them to react and adjust to different environment.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

Robots Can Now Flawlessly Iron Clothes

TEO robot

Ironing clothes is not fun. But someone has to do it. Why not get a robot to get it done?

TEO is a robot with a camera and sensors that can do just that. Once you put a clothing item on its ironing board, TEO uses its camera to create a 3D representation of the garment and calculate the wrinkles local descriptor.

The robot takes into account all wrinkles and works the iron to smooth out each crease. TEO measures 1.8 meters tall, weighing at 80 kilograms.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

A Cardboard Bicycle Is Now A Reality

Israeli cycling enthusiast Izhar Gafni is the one behind this cardboard bicycle, where it is not only highly affordable at just $10, it is also eco-friendly and lightweight.

The pieces of cardboard have been painstakingly bent and folded into what initially resembles that of a shipping package on wheels.

Once done, all of it is dunked into a bit of resin, before a layer of pearly paint is added, and you end up with beautiful looking bicycle, albeit at a relatively cheap price.

Since it is made out of cardboard, the coat of resin has a special role to play. It makes the entire cardboard bits and pieces waterproof.

So that riders are able to glide through puddles or a rain storm without having your ride all apart or unable to take your weight due to the sogginess.

There is also an attachable electric motor accessory just in case you need to have that extra boost in speed.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

Device To Protect Brain From Concussion Inspired By A Woodpecker

For the past several years, preventing brain injury for football players has been a top priority for many organizations around the country – from high schools, to colleges, to the NFL.

Now, a new helmet technology invented by a Texas Tech University student may be able to help prevent concussions in players by mimicking the way a Woodpecker’s brain is protected from repeated hits to the head

Alberto Garcia has been working on this technology since he was just 15 years old. While playing high school football he suffered a concussion and was told he wouldn’t be able to play any more. The disappointment of this drove him to further develop his idea.

Alberto Garcia’s football helmet and shoulder-pad system protects the brain the same way a Woodpecker’s brain is protected from repeated hits to the head.

“I was 15, a sophomore in high school, when I started this project — I knew what materials I needed, but didn’t know how to build it or code it just yet,” said Garcia.

Garcia’s initial idea was sparked by observing certain animal behaviors. He noticed that woodpeckers and long-horned rams suffer repeated blows to the head on a daily basis, but never sustain a brain injury. Why is that?

As it turns out, it’s because these animals have natural stabilizers in their necks. The stabilizers prevent their head from quickly whipping back and forth when they’re banging their head against something.

Humans lack these stabilizers, which causes us to suffer whiplash upon a hard hit to the head and contributes to brain damage.

While it’s still in the testing phase, Garcia’s helmet system could be a literal game-changer for football. If the technology is adopted and refined by schools and professional organizations, it could even save lives.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

This 3D-Printed Sunglasses Can Automatically Move Into Place

iron man glasses

Designer Yousif Ashoor created a pair of 3D-printed autoshade sunglasses that automatically slide into place over his eyes in sunlight.

The glasses are triggered when a sensor detects ultraviolet light, and the lenses slide out of place when out of the sun.

Ashoor’s design is just a prototype for now, but he said he will soon be uploading the necessary files and creating a post on Instructables for anyone who would like to create their own pair.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

Meet MiRO: The robot dog with a mind of its own

Attendees of the International Conference on Robotics and Automation last year met MiRO. The robotic pet dog that has been built to provide the elderly with company.

MiRO – designed by Consequential Robotics looks and behaves like a pet dog, and has six ‘senses’ including touch sensitivity, light sensitivity, stereo eyesight and sharp hearing.

The robot dog uses a sonar sense, like bats and dolphins, to help navigate its surroundings, and MiRO’s cliff sensors help to ensure that it does not fall off a table or down a flight of stairs.

“At the heart of our approach is human-centred design – understanding the practical  needs  of  our  users  as  well as  their  emotional  wants  and  dreams,” said designer, Sebastian Conran.

Although the long-term plan is for MiRO to be a companion robot, initially the robot will be marketed to researchers who are interested in  developing  companion  robots  and  to  universities  doing  research  in robotics  or  offering training  in  robot  programming.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

People Are Turning Ocean Plastic Wastes From Haiti’s Beaches Into Laptop Packaging

One of the world’s largest electronics manufacturers will incorporate recovered marine plastics into packaging for one product line.

Texas-based Dell will begin using recovered HDPE from the marine environment in a tray for its XPS 13 2-in-1 notebook, which is a combination laptop/tablet.

The tray will be made of 25 percent ocean plastics and 75 percent recycled HDPE food packaging obtained via established recovery systems.

“This is the first time my 10-year-old daughter has gotten excited about what I do,” Kevin Brown, chief supply chain officer for Dell, stated in a press release. “This new packaging initiative demonstrates that there are real global business applications for ocean plastics.”

Dell’s commercial-scale pilot program will use an estimated 16,000 pounds of ocean plastics in 2017. It will produce about 300,000 trays.

Ocean plastics use by the company is expected to scale to 20,000 pounds in 2018, according to Dell.

Dell created a web page with details on the pilot project. It also includes a white paper that explores how other companies can incorporate ocean plastics in their supply chains.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

Charging Your Phone While Moving Around? Be Amazed By This Wireless Gadget Charger!

Scientists at Stanford University in the US have developed a device that can wirelessly charge a moving object at close range.

The technology could one day be used to charge electric cars on the highway, or medical implants and cellphones as you walk nearby.

“In addition to advancing the wireless charging of vehicles and personal devices like cellphones, our new technology may untether robotics in manufacturing, which also are on the move,” said Professor Shanhui Fan.

According to the study, published in the journal Nature, wireless charging would address a major drawback of plug-in electric cars their limited driving range. A charge-as-you-drive system would overcome these limitations.

“We can rethink how to deliver electricity not only to our cars but to smaller devices on or in our bodies. For anything that could benefit from dynamic, wireless charging, this is potentially very important,” Fan said.

The team transmitted electricity wirelessly to a moving LED light bulb but the demonstration only involved a one milliwatt charge, far less than what electric cars require.

The scientists are now working on greatly increasing the amount of electricity that can be transferred, and tweaking the system to extend the transfer distance and improve efficiency.

According to the research, the transfer efficiency can be further enhanced if both coils are tuned to the same magnetic resonance frequency and are positioned at the correct angle, but scientists found that was a complex process.

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Pass it on: New Scientist


An Area Of Antarctica Larger Than Texas Partially Melted Last Year

Scientists think strong El Niños, like the one that melted so much surface ice in Antarctica last year, will become more common in the future.

An area of Antarctica larger than Texas partially melted last year, a group of international researchers has found.

And while it’s pretty well known ice at both poles has been melting for a while now, this ice is a bit different. In this case, it was surface ice the scientists were monitoring, not sea ice.

The melting was likely caused by a strong El Niño, something scientists expect will become more common as the climate continues to warm.

Normally, strong westerly winds keep El Niño’s warm weather away from the continent, so the melt that it causes isn’t as bad. But one member of the research team said El Niños seem to be winning the “tug of war” between westerly winds and warmer air.

And combining more frequent air driven warming from above and ocean driven melting from below could spell bad news for those living on the coast. The West Antarctic ice sheet has the potential to raise the sea level by over 10 feet if it were to collapse or fracture.

This time the melting didn’t do any permanent damage. But the scientists are worried it could be a sign of things to come.

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Pass it on: Popular Science