Category Archives: SCIENCE

next generation Google Maps for Mobile to have 3D landscapes

Google Maps for Mobile 5 screenshot 544px
(image credit: Google)

just when we thought Goggle street view is the best Google Maps could offer, it awe us once more with the soon-to-be available Google Maps for Mobile that offer 3D building data for over 100 cities. this fifth iteration of the Google Maps will feature vector graphics for 3D maps and because its vector-based it could means reduce storage space and faster load time. well, 3D in this case doesn’t mean those 3D images or videos that we are now accustomed to now, but rather just 3-dimensional images that we can rotate, tilt, panned, zoom et cetera.

sounds pretty cool. but, in terms of navigation with a map, i think 2D is still the way to go. it just feel awkward to have your route blocked by the Empire State Building and all other buildings along the route – even though the buildings are translucent. why not just see from the top which couldn’t be more straight forward. unless it has the fly-by capability where the user will ‘fly’ through the predetermined route on the 3D map to your destination, then subsequently move on to 2D i.e. birds eye view for you to proceed with the planned journey. then again, that’s just being fancy. i guess 2D is sufficient at this point.


harness the power of the wind with Wing Cube for your home

Wind Cube img1 544px
(image credit: Liao-Hsun Chen / Wen-Chih Chang)

just imagine being able to harness the power of the wind – courtesy of Mother Nature – and converts them into useable electricity in your own home. you don’t need a 300 feet juggernaut wind turbine to do that, all you need is Wind Cube – a concept free power generator for your very own home. Wind Cube is an award winning design by designers Liao-Hsun Chen and Wen-Chih Chang which sought to make wind generated power available to common households.

according to the designers, each Wind Cube – which looks suspiciously like a ceiling fan – can generate about 21.6 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month. an array of the Wind Cubes could be deployed to generate more electricity. the designers projected a family of four uses 324 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month, thus, theoretically speaking, if you rigged up 15 of those Wind Cubes, you could be getting enough electricity for that family of four for the whole month. i guess it also depends very much on the weather too and it will be damned if you are staying in a largely windless area.

to use the Wind Cubes, all you have to do is to install it on an external wall that’s likely to have wind (obviously…), connect it to whatever battery that can store power and hit the switch to activate it. after which, all that’s left to do is to wait patiently for the power to accumulate. in case you happen to reside in an area with ultra strong wind or occasional bad weather that may threaten the well-being of the Wind Cubes, the blades can be retracted back safely into its receptacle (which also happens to be its mounting base).

we really hope to see the Wind Cube becomes a reality soon. we are so in need of free power and love the prospect of making our electricity provider go mad.

Wind Cube img2 544px
(image credit: Liao-Hsun Chen / Wen-Chih Chang)

Wind Cube in array 544px
(image credit: Liao-Hsun Chen / Wen-Chih Chang)

Wind Cube installation and modes 544px
(image credit: Liao-Hsun Chen / Wen-Chih Chang)

via Yanko Design

Holographic maps are way cooler than 3D images

Zebra Imaging Holographic Maps 544px
(credit: screenshot from YouTube video)

remember the movie AVATAR (Twentieth Century Fox, 2009)? those commercial alien-mineral diggers were viewing a holographic map of the Na’vi tribe’s dwelling area? well, this innovation from Zebra Imaging works something like of sort. the best part is, you have wear those ugly 3D glasses to see them in real 3D – with depth. not that those guys over at Pandora are wearing any though.

i don’t really think holographic imaging is suitable for TV (i can’t imagine the headache i will get with so many layers of activity going on at the same time) but more for mapping, just like what they did on the Pandora. perhaps an excellent idea for landscape planning, rescue mission planning, battle field planning et cetera. just don’t use it for illicit activities such as snatching other being’s resources. check out the videos below. it really look awesome.

via Wired

deboning the pork goes robotic with HAMDAS-R

HAMDAS-R Deboning Robotic Arm 544px
(image credit: DVICE)

we are accustomed to robotic arms assembling cars, but what you don’t see often or even at all, is a robotic arm that debone pork. this specialized robotic arm, known as the HAMDAS-R, has a sharp knife on its end, instead of a grapple or robotic fingers.

it is designed specifically for deboning of pork which is a task that, to date, only human can manage due to the variations in form of pork. the HAMDAS-R has the ability to determine the variations and debone swiftly and accurately. kinda cool, except that if this robots are employed, i am sure there will be placards touting workers amassing in the streets in protest.

just don’t add any more Artificial Intelligence than necessary to it, and please excludes any form of legs or wheels as well. we hate to see this thing chasing after us just because we made some silly comment about it.


Anti Sleep Pilot keep you awake while you drive

Anti Sleep Pilot 544px
(image credit: Anti Sleep Pilot)

remember the time when you felt sleepy on a long drive? those were dangerous moments where you would almost dozed off behind the wheel which could lead to unimaginable accidents. these guys over at Denmark has a gadget, dubbed Anti Sleep Pilot, that promised to eliminate this dreadful problem.

the Anti Sleep Pilot is not an autonomous pilot that drives you but rather, it is a compact gadget that sits on your dashboard and keeps you awake when it determine you are tired or falling asleep behind the wheel. the product uses the patented Anti Sleep Pilot algorithm to calculate how tired you are, maintain your alertness and lets you know when it is time to take a break.

Anti Sleep Pilot 544px
(image credit: Anti Sleep Pilot)

when first set-up, the Anti Sleep Pilot will ask you a few questions to determine your personal risk profile. the built-in accelerometer determines the movements of the car, and while on the move, it constantly monitors your fatigue level and update you via its color code display. it will also maintain the driver’s alertness by regularly testing the driver. the reaction timing for the tests are recorded and taken into account to determine the driver’s alertness.

when it determines the fatigue level has reached a critical level, visual and audio signals alert the driver to take a break. if you are on the road always, you will definitely appreciate what this gadget can do for you. we appreciate the innovation but we hope to see this innovation not only as a gadget add-on to your vehicle but to incorporate into all future vehicle.

how do you like your print to be? print screen or print from the screen?

Byeong Min Choe Document Extracter 544px
(credit: Yanko Design)

when we mention ‘Print Screen’ means hitting the ‘PRT SCN’ key on your keyboard for Windows-based machine or Command-Shift-3 on the Mac. however, designer Byeong Min Choe has a different idea – printing your screen directly out from your monitor.

how nice to see your print out being spit out from below your LCD display monitor? seriously, you can’t anymore literal than this. i say its awesome and it saves us some of our valuable table top real estate. now that Min Choe has dreamed up on this, how about doing the same for scanning?

Byeong Min Choe Document Extracter 544px
(credit: Yanko Design)

via Yanko Design

advance textile that hardens on impact: Dow Corning DEFLEXION textiles

Dow Corning DEFLEXION textiles
DEFLEXION by Dow Corning | US$POA |
(screenshots by Mike taken from Dow Corning)

traditional body protections made of polycarbonate can be stiff and impedes movement. now there’s an advanced textiles from Dow Corning, dubbed the DEFLEXION, will harden instantly upon impact and returns to its flexible state after the impact. the fabric absorb and disperse the shock of impact, protecting the wearer from damage and injury. sounds like materials that a superhero suit would be made of.

the material uses silicone technology and provides protection without the bulk and stiffness of the traditional padding and body armor. its shock protection properties aside, these fabrics behaves like any ordinary textile which makes it ideal for use in apparels. the DEFLEXION offers better comfort and is washable, breathable, can be cut to size and sew-able. protection is not restricted to human, the materials can also use in protective sleeves to keep gadgets and other devices safe without adding bulk like hard cases do.

Dow Corning DEFLEXION textiles - application for gadgets and other devices
(screenshots by Mike taken from Dow Corning)

DEFLEXION is available in a variety of thickness, weight, flexibilities, breathability and levels of protections to suit different purposes and designs. i must admit i am totally sold. i almost wanted to acquire some to create my own stuff (shsss… what i am making is a secret). this is probably just the beginning, we could be seeing military-grade applications in near future. who knows? this technology could be developed further and perhaps someday we would see a bullet-proof jacket someday.

Dow Corning DEFLEXION textiles - application in apparels
(screenshots by Mike taken from Dow Corning)

via Core77

LEGO in action with Intel Labs Seattle Interactive Projection Systems

Intel Labs Settle OASIS screenshot 544px
(screenshot by mike from Intel Labs OASIS video)

Intel Labs Seattle has been toying with a series of techniques and Kinect-style depth cameras. among them is something called Object Aware Situated Interaction System or OASIS. what it does is combining depth cameras with micro-projectors to enable recognition, tracking of objects and gestures. two videos were showcased using this development and the LEGO playing scenario definitely catches my eye.

the system recognizes objects that are place on a table and introduce special effects relating to it via the micro-projectors. in this particular example, when a LEGO dragon is placed on the table, the system recognized it and relates fire throwing and breathing with the beast, and projects an animated image of fire spitting out from the dragon. put a LEGO house on the table, the system projects a road in front of the house, add the dragon facing the house, the system generates the same fire spitting animation and sets the house on fire. time to put out the fire before it burns the house down. rope in a LEGO fire engine, again, the system recognizes it and projects animated water onto the LEGO house, thus putting out the fire. clever.

the OASIS has thus, makes imagination a think of the past when playing with LEGO. however, i thought this system would be great for puppetry-like story telling for children where the system plays out the additional animated visuals to aid the story telling when toys are used. on a second thought, would this predetermine scenario hampers a child’s imagination? or maybe adding a mind-reading/control device which translates the child’s thought into animated sequences? scary thoughts but it should at least encourage imagination in a child.

admittedly, i was totally captivated by OASIS (the LEGO scenario, to be specific) and can’t stop thinking about its potential. if only if the projections are in holographic 3D….

check out the video below. trust me, you won’t want to miss this.


is WiFi killing our trees? or killing us?

CNET UK laptoptrees 544px
(photo credit: CNET UK)

according to an article on CNET UK, some tree-huggers over at Dutch city of Alpen aan den Rijn commissioned a study to investigate if this is indeed happening. this initiative was carried out after abnormalities was found on trees not relating to viral or bacterial infections. the study lasted for five years with result showing that all deciduous trees in the western world are affected by radiation from mobile phone networks and wireless LANS.

the aforementioned abnormalities include trees displaying signifiant variations in growth, bleeding and fissures in their bark. these symptoms was termed as Wi-FI sickness. apparently 70 percent of the trees in urban Netherlands are affected by this Wi-Fi sickness which signified a 60 percent increased compared to five years ago.

although there hasn’t been any conclusive proof as to whether Wi-Fi is harmful to humans or not, i have a hunch that there in lies a longer term health issue for us. personally, i thought this isn’t limited to just Wi-Fi, but to other forms of radio waves such as mobile phone signals and bluetooth transmission.

there are many factors around that could hamper a conclusive study for the effect of these signals on human beings. ever since the popularization of mobile phones, it was surrounded with controversies and speculations including mobile phone signals could potentially disrupts medical equipments and aircraft instruments. if these are conclusively proven to be true, then i see no reasons why human bodies will be exempted from this effect.

according to CNET UK’s article “Wi-Fi is killing trees, study finds“, “our exposure to radio signals from Wi-Fi is well below government safety levels, and much lower than from mobile phones” but does it mean we should feel safe? i am wary about these signals that can pass through walls, because if it passes through walls, it is passing through us at any given time – even right at this moment as i am composing this article.

it appears that “we have to live in a Wi-Fi hotspot for a year to absorb the same among of radio waves as you would from a twenty minute phone call”. how assuring that was. does this statement include periodical exposures? if yes, than i would have, at the very least, made 60 minutes of phone call to date. now, that’s not quite a good news, isn’t it?

the fact remains that the majority of us can’t live without the Internet and mobile phones. as we use the Net more, we demand more speed and more freedom of access. hence we go wireless, even in our homes. i bet most folks who has Wi-Fi at home don’t switch them off and as result we are exposing ourselves by our own accord. if Wi-Fi is harmful, then wouldn’t it be a situation where we’re intentionally setting up our own death trap? if there was a slightest hint of harm from Wi-Fi signals (to us, animals and trees included) or any other types of radio waves for that matter, would we stop using these technologies?

i don’t know. i can’t imagine life without any connectivity, let alone telecommunications via mobile phones. basically, i can’t live without the Internet and, to some extend, Wi-Fi as well. being a gadget person, i dread the day when we realize the truth that radio waves, regardless of its nature, hurts. meanwhile, i would just cross my fingers and hope that radio waves are just fine.

reference(s): CNET UK

an efficient way of filling sandbags: GoBagger One Man Sandbag System

GoBagger One Man Sandbag System 544px
GoBagger One Man Sandbag System | US$59.95 |
(photo credit:

sometime, the simplest things should also deserve some form of innovation. hence, even the simplest chores should deserve an update in the way it has always been done. this is what GoBagger aims to do: change the way how we bag our sands. traditionally, filling of sandbag requires at least two person – one person holds the empty sandbag, and the other shovels the sand into the bag. sounds simple enough but what if we could speed up the process by, say, five times?

GoBagger does exactly that and all it takes is one man to do the job that quickly. the concept is simple: a scoop-like device with a handle upfront, a mouth (entrance), a back handle and an exit. the user use one hand to hold the front handle, while the other hand holds the back handle with the sandbag tucked in place. with a scooping down action, the mouth of the device receives the sands and the upward swing action, throws the sands back through the exit and into the sandbag. simple and quick action.

depending the size of the sandbag, and the user’s scooping action, one scoop with the GoBagger could be enough to fill a single bag. well, why we didn’t think of that? constructed out of low-density polyethylene, the GoBagger weighs in at just 1.9 kg which makes it easy to transport around. on top of that, the nature of its design enables several of the GoBagger to be “stacked” together for easy storage and transportation.

according to GoBagger, the traditional way of sandbag-filling can produced 85-90 bags an hour, but with the GoBagger, the same two person can churn out 480 bags in an hour. this is THE model for efficiency. we simply love innovation.

via Gizmag