Jul 28, 2016

Pattern-changing shirts react to pollution and radiation

posted by Larra Morris

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As air pollution becomes a bigger concern in communities around the globe, creative ways to detect it are beginning to proliferate. We've seen smartphone sensors proposed, as well as portable personal pollution monitors and even backpack-wearing, pollution-monitoring pigeons. Now, a designer out of New York City has released a line of shirts that change to solid black when they are contaminated by pollutants.
via Gizmag

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Jul 28, 2016

Pocket-sized gadget shows if you've evenly applied sunscreen

posted by Larra Morris

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Sunscreen is invisible once you rub it in, so you typically only discover you've missed a spot after developing an awkward-looking sunburn. Sunscreenr—a new pocket-sized gadget—wants to save you from this painful fate, Mashable reports.

Developed by Voxelight, a light-based technology startup, the tiny camera lets you view reflected UV rays when you peer through its viewfinder. If the light appears black when you look at your skin through the device, that means your sunscreen is doing its job and "blocking" the rays. But if you see a pale patch, that means you skimped on sun protection and need to apply more. You can even use the gadget to record a 30-second video of yourself and play it back to ensure you've covered your entire body with lotion.
via Mental Floss

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Jul 28, 2016

Robotic exoskeleton for babies can help prevent cerebral palsy

posted by Larra Morris

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University of Oklahoma's robotic exoskeleton for babies does two things: (1) make the kiddos look like tiny Dr. Octopuses and (2) help prevent cerebral palsy. The motorized device has power steering that gives babies at risk of the illness a little push needed to be able to move and crawl like their peers can. See, the condition can be caused brain damage, infections and injuries early in a person's life. To combat the illness, therapy must start as early as possible -- unfortunately, it's not typically diagnosed until a child turns one year old.

The good news is that one of this team's original members developed a method to detect which babies between two and eight months old are most likely to develop cerebral palsy. Since children at risk of the disease can't move their bodies the way they want to, they stop trying to crawl after a while, causing the brain to stop developing new motor skills. This machine provides the push they need to crawl normally, promoting brain growth and the formation of motor skills.
via Engadget

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Jul 27, 2016

The Smithsonian is hiring a beer historian

posted by Larra Morris

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The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC wants a beer scholar on staff to explore and explain beer in American life. The Washington City Paper quotes curator Paula Johnson:

"We have collected food history for many years, so when we were doing the research for the exhibition, which is all about big changes in the post WW II era in how and what we eat, one thing we were curious about is the craft beer movement," Johnson says. "We were looking at wine, coffee, cheese, artisanal bread, and farmers markets. Well, this movement with small-scale, local regional beer is part of the ethos."
via Neatorama

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Photo: @joefoodie


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Jul 27, 2016

Inkjet printed solar cell turns your portrait into a power source

posted by Larra Morris

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Researchers at Aalto University have come up with an inexpensive inkjet-printed solar cell that can be made into text or images. Designed to be used with low-power devices, it has already shown performance and durability comparable to that of existing organic dye solar cells.

The cell is formed by inkjet printing a concentrated dye solution on a titanium oxide film, which acts as an electrolyte. This combination was originally developed by the Swiss École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and the Aalto team has applied it to form solar cells using an image file with darkness and transparency suitably adjusted for clarity and efficiency. The result is a colorful, patterned cell that can not only generate electricity, but is pleasing to look at and can convey information by text or digital code.
via Gizmag

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Jul 26, 2016

Solar Impulse becomes first plane to go around the world using solar power

posted by Larra Morris

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Over 17,000 solar cells line its wings, supplying a series of electric motors and charging four on-board lithium batteries. It’s designed to be entirely solar-powered, and, thanks to those batteries, able to fly through day and night.

Solar Impulse’s journey started in March of last year, and this baby has hit all the hottest airports like Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley International Airport and Dayton, Ohio, managing to make two stops in Arizona. No wonder the journey took a mere 505 days. (FWIW, the plane also traveled at the speed of a car.)
via Gizmodo

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Image: Solar Impulse

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Jul 26, 2016

See this odd "ouroboros" robot roll right along

posted by Larra Morris

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Researchers from Germany's University of Bielefeld presented their OUROBOT, a "Self-Propelled Continuous-Track-Robot for Rugged Terrain," at the recent IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation. From their technical paper:

Adapting the concept of continuous tracks that are propelled and guided by wheels, a self-propelled continuous-track-robot has been designed and built. The robot consists of actuated chain segments, thus enabling it to change its form, independent of guiding mechanisms. Using integrated sensors, the robot is able to adapt to the terrain and to overcome obstacles. This allows the robot to “roll” and climb in two dimensions. 
via Boing Boing

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