Monday, 7 January 2013


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20 Top Tech Stories from December
By Jaymi Heimbuch,
Treehugger, 2 January 2013.

We're taking a look back at the best stories from December from the technology section, including a few reviews of 2012, from the coolest robots to the best of the DIY [Do-It-Yourself] movement. Also, read up on nature-inspired drones, enjoy NASA's night-time images of Earth, learn about lights powered by gravity, and other amazing news.

1. New World Record Set for Solar Cells: 44% Efficiency

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Scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Solar Junction have set a new record for high-efficiency solar cells with an unprecedented 44% efficiency rate.

2. 9 Drones Inspired by Nature

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Drones are becoming an undeniable part of our future and many researchers look toward the natural world for design inspiration.

3. New Radar System Can Tell Planes and Wind Turbines Apart

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Credit: erikogan

Wind farm developers have had to keep their distance from airports because traditional radar confuses the spinning turbine blades with aircraft, but a new technology clears things up.

4. DIY Arduino-Powered Bike Lights, Turn Signals, and Odometer

Be safer this winter when you're out cycling, thanks to this cool do-it-yourself project.

5. Apple Assembling Some New iMacs in the U.S.

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Some new 2012 iMacs are bearing an "Assembled in USA" label. Is this a sign that Apple is moving more assembly operations here?

6. NASA's "Black Marble" Photos of Earth At Night

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Beautiful images just published by NASA show our planet in the dark of night, but still lit up by human-made lights, all thanks to the latest in satellite technology.

7. 30 Best Moments in the DIY Movement in 2012

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Credit: etharooni

Before the year ends we want to take a moment to glance back over the best articles and projects of the DIY movement from 2012.

8. Patientless Hospital Uses Skype for Long Distance ER Doctoring

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In rural areas where the only ER doctor may be a general practitioner, a long distance doctoring service uses Skype to help treat patients.

9. Printed Circuit Boards Inspire Lighter Wind Turbines

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A light-weight motor for wind turbine generators borrows the design of a printed circuit board.

10. Most Awesome Robots of 2012

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We take a look back at our favourite robot stories: from the miniature to the hulking, from the record-breaking to the mundane.

11. Lights Powered by Gravity Brighten Rural Areas

A brilliant concept design comes up with a simple formula for powering lamps in off-grid areas. [Related Post]

12. Bendable, Super-Strong Plastic Could Replace Touchscreen Glass

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The plastic is as hard as gorilla glass and extremely scratch-resistant, which could cut down on all those cracked smartphone screens.

13. Powerful Portable Solar Power with WakaWaka Device

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This popular solar charger is back with a new version of the device, and it is blowing its Kickstarter fundraising goals out of the water.

14. Make Your Own Tablet Device from an Old Macbook

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It doesn't take a lot of money to make your own tablet device (but it does take some skill and courage!).

15. Automated Photo-ID Technology Helps Researchers with Grey Seals

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Credit: Tim Sackton

Scientists have figured out a way to overcome the problems of using image software on animals that don't always look the same in every photograph.

16. Tiny Robots Tested in Terminator-style Intelligent Swarms (Video)

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Could ping pong ball sized robots called droplets clean up oil spills or assemble equipment in space?

17. Boeing Uses Potatoes to Test In-Flight Wi-Fi

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Credit: graibeard

The spuds are helping the aircraft maker to improve Wi-Fi signals throughout the plane.

18. Blind Cave Fish Inspire Better Sensing Technology for Underwater Robots

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Researchers are copying the sensory systems of cave fish to help underwater robots move through murky water.

19. GE's Jet Engine Technology Could Keep Gadgets Cooler, Greener

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Credit: GE

The next generation of gadgets could be even thinner and more efficient, thanks to a new cooling technology from GE.

20. Foldify Brings Downloadable Designs To Your iPhone

Foldify from Pixle on Vimeo.

This is fun, and this is the future, as you design and print out neat toys right on your phone.

[Source: Treehugger. Edited.]

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