Monday, 10 August 2015


Tasty Tech Eye Candy Of The Week (August 9)
By Tracy Staedter,
Discovery News, 8 August 2015.

Concrete crushing robots, racing wheelchairs, and a laptop-sized "car" are just a few of the innovations you'll find in this week's tech gallery.

1. Projecting Change


On the evening of August 1, the Empire State Building became a skyscraper-sized canvas displaying digital images of endangered species. The art installation, Projecting Change, was a collaboration between by Travis Threlkel of Obscura Digital and the filmmaker and photographer Louie Psihoyos, who director of the Oscar-winning documentary “The Cove.” The images were created using 40 stacked, 20,000-lumen projectors on the roof of a building on West 31st Street.

2. Airbus Hypersonic Jet


This week, Airbus was awarded a patent for a new hypersonic jet design. An instructional video from Patent Yogi shows how the Mach 4.5 aircraft would work, from take-off to landing. Patent Yogi calls it the world's tallest rollercoaster ride - and also the fastest. At 3000 mph, the jet would fly passengers from NYC to London in just one hour. Check out the video.

3. WalkCar


It's not a skateboard or a bicycle or a Segway - but it is a supercool and compact personal mobility device that you can carry in your backpack. The WalkCar from Kuniaki Saito and his team at Cocoa Motors weighs just 6.6-pounds and carries passengers up to 265 pounds on four small wheels. To steer, the rider leans right to left and to stop, he simply steps off. The device will cost around US$800 and the company is taking pre-orders now.

4. Capturing Facial Expressions


Animated characters as well as computer avatars are becoming more and more lifelike. It should come as no surprise that scientists at Disney Research are making such improvements. This week, they unveiled a program that requires only a single camera to capture complex facial features in real-time. The software could eventually be used by animators to track the expressions of actors and convert them into realistic digital characters.

5. Wind-Powered Cargo Ship


Ship design could return to the days of wind and sails. At the University of Tokyo, scientists are testing retractable rigid sails for use on cargo ships. Using abundant and free wind power out at sea for long-distance journeys could reduce emissions and fuel costs.

6. Carrot Helmet


Waste not, want not. Researchers Fabiano Piccinno, Roland Hischier and Claudia Som from the Swiss research lab Empa found a way to turn the waste from carrot juice production into nanofibres that can be used to reinforce items such as motorcycle helmets, surfboards, dining tables, and high-end loudspeaker boxes, among others.

7. Privacy Laptop


Do you really know what kind of software is on your computer and what third-party company is seeing your activity? Most likely not. A new laptop called Purism Librem 15 could change that. It will operate with free, open source software from top to bottom that, according to developer Todd Weaver, will respect your rights. Weaver has already sold 500 laptops and has surpassed his fundraising goal on the crowd-funding site, CrowdSupply. Click the link to find out more.

8. Concrete Crushing Robot


Japanese construction equipment maker Taguchi Industrial gave us a peek this week at the future of heavy-duty machinery. I foresee a book by Stephen King, because the "Super Guzzilla" is a thing of nightmares. The vehicle is capable of traversing rough, uneven terrain and has two metal pincers arms capable of crushing concrete like it's butter.

9. Paralympic Wheelchair


Sure BMW is known for it's sleek and fast cars, but did you know the company also develops sports gear? Their bobsled was used by Team USA to bring home two Olympic medals in the 2014 Sochi games. And now BMW is working on a streamlined wheelchair for the 2016 Paralympic Games. Drawing from its expertise in aerodynamics, steering and braking, to name a few, BMW plans to build a racing wheelchair that will give the paralympic team an edge in Rio de Janeiro.

10. Cool Headgear

Credit: Nike

Nike and Olympic decathlete champion Ashton Eaton have partnered to create a cooling hood prototype that could help athletes recover faster from overheating. It's essentially an ice pack for the head, with a triangular grid of metal and ice. The inner layers are designed to retain cool water without leaking and the overall frame offers a secure fit.

Top image: Wind-Powered Cargo Ship (Wind Challenger Project), via Gizmag.

[Source: Discovery News. Edited. Top image and some links added.]

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