Category Archives: SCIENCE

B-Squares: modular solar-powered charging and more

B-Squares 544x288px
(image credit: OCTO 23 Technologies) B-Squares Modular Solar-Powered Electrics | from US$15.00 |

remember Cubelets, the modular robotic construction kit that lets you custom your ‘robot’? the B-Squares here is conceptually similar, except this isn’t a robot but a modular solar powered system that allows you to create anything from iPhone dock to LED light to Arduino. as Jordan puts it, “B-Squares is a 3D modular electronics system with an emphasis on (but not limited to) solar power and expandable energy storage.” Continue reading B-Squares: modular solar-powered charging and more

Prism 200c backpack lets you see through walls

Cambridge Consultants Prism 200c 544x428px
(credit: Cambridge Consultants)

now, this is creepy. a backpack that lets users see through walls that are constructed out of bricks, blocks, woods, and even concrete walls. humans obsession in seeing through things has spurred such early developments but this backpack, dubbed Prism 200c developed by Cambridge Consultants, is the first highly portable single-user version. Continue reading Prism 200c backpack lets you see through walls

ugly scratch marks on cars might be a thing of the past

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(image credit: screenshot from Self-healing polymer fixes scratches)

researchers at the Case Western Reserved University has developed a polymer-based material that can heal itself under ultraviolet light. catch a short clip after the break to see the polymer in action and also the theory behind it. the researchers are working on a coating based on their development which could see a wide range of applications, including the automotive industry. while you can really make a car entirely out of plastic, but you could coat them with this special polymer that could make scratch marks on your car a thing of the past. Continue reading ugly scratch marks on cars might be a thing of the past

Diffused Light Control theory used in projection screen

DLC Projection Screen 544x260px(credit: DigInfo TV)

finally, a projection screen that is not at the mercy of lightings. typically, when we want to project something we would have to off the lights and draw the curtains in order to have a clear picture. however, that will not be the case for this newly developed projection screen from the Uchida Research Laboratory of Tohoku University. basing on the theory of Diffused Light Control (DLC), this high visibility screen enables projected image to view under normal lighting condition. Continue reading Diffused Light Control theory used in projection screen

this RC car is powered by pull-rings from drink cans

UPC BarcelonaTech dAIH2Orean 544x298px

still remember the DeLorean Time Machine from Back to the Future II (Universal Pictures, 1985)? it had a Fusion reactor that ran on trash? looks like we are one step closer to that reality of using trash to power our vehicles, except that this particular RC car here feeds on aluminum pull-rings from our everyday drink cans or just any aluminum waste that are small enough to fit into the fuel tank. dubbed the dAIH2Orean, this RC car is not your run-of-the-mill radio controlled car, it is modified to run on aluminum soda ring cans, or aluminum residual parts mixed with hydroxide of sodium dissolved in water. Continue reading this RC car is powered by pull-rings from drink cans

you can make your own brain-controlled RC Helicopter

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(credit: Puzzlebox)

no kidding. this is a real working RC helicopter hacked to be controlled by an EEG headset. the consumer-grade EEG headset measures the brainwave’s concentration and relaxation, communicates the flight commands to the helicopter via the electrode on the headset, which act as an antennae. two software are used in this process, namely, Puzzlebox Synapse and Puzzlebox Brainstorms. the former connects to consumer-grade EEG headsets such as the NeuroSky MindSet or Emotiv EPOC while the latter connect to the transmitter chip harvested from the RC helicopter’s original remote control. Continue reading you can make your own brain-controlled RC Helicopter

will ABB’s FRIDA replace human assembly workers?

ABB FRIDA Concept Robot 544x368px
(credit: ABB)

even though ABB’s FRIDA may be just a concept robot, it is still a hint that robot with human’s dexterity may one day replace us in the assembly line. most people would think these advanced robots will be out to replace third world countries’ workers but i beg to differ. developed nations’ workers generally are higher paid and hence, the prospect of being replaced by robots deem higher. unless ‘complain-cum-demand’ control takes priority.

the FRIDA concept robot is roughly the size of a human torso which is supposedly small enough to work along side their human counterpart. ya, right. will there still be human when FRIDA comes along? perhaps, by then all that are left will be FRIDA’s technicians or engineers or may be the janitors. oh wait, we have robot that does the cleaning too, don’t we? oh, did we mention that she has no head? in place of the head is a handle that allows you to lug it around. no head, no vision, equals no distraction from her work.
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the best part about robot like FRIDA? they don’t get tired and they don’t complain that you are in fact using illicit chemicals that are making them sick. they don’t fall sick, they just break down. therefore, the only things you are left to worry about is the rising electric bill and of course, the union workers holding placards protesting outside your plant. perfect.

ABB via DVICE / Engadget

head tracking with iPad 2 camera enables glasses-free 3D

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(credit: screenshot from Head Tracking for iPad video)

if you think the front facing camera of the iPad 2 is only for FaceTime. think again. a couple of folks from the Laboratory of Informatics of Grenoble put the front facing camera to another use: tracking your head to create a 3D illusion. check out the demo video after break.

[quote style=”boxed”]we track the head of the user with the front facing camera in order to create a glasses-free monocular 3D display. such spatially-aware mobile display enables to improve the possibilities of interaction. it does not user the accelerometers and relies only on the front camera.[/quote]

Jeremie Francone and Laurence Nigay cited inspirations from work of Johnny Lee with a Wii remote. whatever their inspirations are, it is still awesome and because we think 3D glasses is not cool!
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YouTube video via DVICE / MacRumors

GMAIL Motion April Fools joke is not a joke after all?

USC answer to GMAIL Motion with FAAST 544x311px
(credit: screenshot from ICT MxR Lab’s video)

we had a good laugh at Google’s GMAIL Motion. it turns out that the folks over at the University of Southern California did actually make it work. so is it for real this time round? check out the video after jump and judge for yourself. these dudes from the Institute of Creative Technologies or ICT has made Google’s joke a reality with the use of Microsoft Kinect, employing the same (fantasy, i say) gestures as Google has suggested in their April Fools’ Day video. while i enjoy this video, i still have doubt if this is even real.

somehow the acronyms FAAST (Flexible Action and Articulated Skeleton Tookit) and SLOOW (Software Library Optimizing Obligatory Waving), does make me feel that this is yet another joke. however, the video also quantify that “this application is pretty ridiculous. however, the software powering it is real.” i still don’t know what to make out of this video. so, is it real or not? in anyway, if you are still not aware of the Google’s joke, you might want to check it out HERE.

YouTube video via

Better Place’s battery swap gets your EV juiced up in 3 mins

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(credit: Better Place)

long charging duration for electric vehicles is the stumbling block to its adoption. unless you can swap out your battery like you would with a mobile phone. well, Better Place in Israel does exactly that – swapping the low juice battery of the EV for a fresh one, so you can get on with your journey in a snap. the downer is, it is in Israel and it only serves Renault Fluence Z.E. the process is simple: the driver uses a RFID card to access this car wash-looking station, align their car like they would for any auto car wash and the machine will lead the car to the battery swapping spot. the floor underneath car opens up to a pit and the robot below will proceed to swap your juiced out battery for a fresh one – all these are done while you go “hum-ba-dum” as you tap on your steering wheel for about three minutes. not the best solution but it is an intermediary for now before super capacitors or super long lasting battery become a reality. check out the video of the Better Place (with an emotionally-charged soundtrack) in action below. Continue reading Better Place’s battery swap gets your EV juiced up in 3 mins