Jun 26, 2013

Store your housekey in the cloud and cut copies on demand

posted by Laura Domela

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It's 11 pm on a Saturday and you've locked yourself out of your house. You'll have to call a locksmith. Then you'll wait for him or her to come to your place… and, if you're a New Yorker, you'll end up paying about $100 to get back into your house.

But what if you could go a 7-Eleven and get a whole new copy of your key for about $20, instead? A homegrown startup called KeyMe has just installed two kiosks in New York City 7-Elevens to do just that. Three more are coming this week, says the startup's founder, Greg Marsh. But don't first go to a kiosk when you're in trouble. You'll need to have the foresight to have had a copy of your key scanned digitally beforehand.

Here's how it works. When you first go to a kiosk, you scan the key you want copied. If you like, you are able to make a copy right then and there for $3.49, for a basic key, or $5.99, for a novelty one.
via PopSci

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Jun 26, 2013

A real-life Iron Man suit that could be as comfortable as pajamas (video)

posted by Larra Morris

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Working with a $2.6 million grant from DARPA's Warrior Web Program, the Harvard researchers have been developing their suit as a way to give soldiers enhanced stamina in the field. Using a series of air bladders and engineered fabrics to strengthen, support, and assist muscles, the 17-pound suit—not including the air pump backpack—can actually make a soldier about three times as strong. However, there are no rigid parts to strengthen bones, so lifting something extremely heavy would still be dangerous.

But as a way to help a soldier march longer and farther, even over challenging terrain, the suit could one day be perfected to the point where it could be worn under a standard uniform, only coming to life as it was needed.
via Gizmodo

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Jun 26, 2013

Homecare telepresence robot undergoes real world testing

posted by Larra Morris

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In many parts of the world, people are living longer. As health and physical performance deteriorates, help is needed, but employing a full-time nurse can be costly. New developments in communications technology is providing alternatives, such as GiraffPlus. This is a pan-European, EU-funded project that uses technology to monitor the elderly in their own homes. The system has already been tested in a demo apartment in Örebro, Sweden. Now GiraffPlus is being taken further afield to be tested in real homes in see Sweden, Italy and Spain.

The hub of the system and the interface between user and care giver is the remote-controlled Giraff mobile robot. Already being used in other remote healthcare projects, this "Skype on wheels" features a display and loudspeaker that allows healthcare professionals to make virtual house call.
via Gizmag

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Jun 26, 2013

Habitable planets may be easier to find than previously believed

posted by Larra Morris

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An international team of astronomers, led by the University of Göttingen's Guillem Anglada-Escudé, claims to have identified a certain type of star that may be circled by significantly more habitable planets than researchers generally expect to find. Such stars are smaller than our Sun, requiring that habitable planets orbit close to them because of their lower mass. That makes planets cluster together, allowing them to be more easily spotted now that researchers know to look for them. "Instead of observing 10 stars to look for a single potentially habitable planet, we now know we can look at just one star and find several of them," Rory Barnes, a member of the research team, explained in a statement.
via The Verge

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Jun 26, 2013

Human powered helicopter competition is close (video)

posted by Larra Morris

Who will win the $250,000 Sikorsky human-powered helicopter competition: Gamera II (above), Upturn II, or Atlas? The prize has gone unclaimed since it was first offered in 1980. On June 13, AeroVelo tweeted that the Atlas had successfully met the competition's conditions for a valid flight. The team has alerted the American Helicopter Society, but there's been no official announcement yet.
via Boing Boing

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Jun 25, 2013

Incredible spray that makes anything totally waterproof is (finally!) available

posted by Laura Domela

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Say goodbye to water damaged phones and soggy shoes – Rust-Oleum just launched NeverWet, an amazing product that can waterproof nearly any surface or object. The ultra-hydrophobic spray coating was developed by Ross Nanotechnology, and it repels water like nothing you have ever seen. After a long time in development the product is finally available to the public, and you can get it now at Home Depot for $20 for an 18oz can.
via Inhabitat

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Jun 25, 2013

LED tie plays Tetris (video)

posted by Larra Morris

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The Tetris board is a 20 x 4 grid of WS2811 based RGB LED strips, controlled by a Digispark dev board. Structurally, the tie is just two bits of card stock with the electronic bits sandwiched in between. and taped to a cheap clip-on. In the video below, the tie doesn’t have any sort of input to control the movement and rotation of blocks. [Bill] plans to update his tie with some rudimentary AI so it can play itself.
via Hack a Day

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Jun 25, 2013

The story behind the island that wasn’t there

posted by Larra Morris

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Last November, an oddball news story caught attention around the world. A research vessel in the Coral Sea, northwest of Australia, discovered that a small island on the map didn’t actually, well,exist. It wasn’t a victim of sea level rise or a David Copperfield illusion—there just wasn’t anything there. A lot of the news coverage at the time was (quite appropriately) of the “Gee—whaddya know?” variety, but the researchers who “undiscovered” (de-scovered?) Sandy Island recently published a paper in Eos detailing answers to deeper questions—how did the island get on the map in the first place and what can we learn from its undiscovery?
via Ars Technica

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Image: Sabin Zahirovic

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Jun 25, 2013

Self-burying robot could be hiding in your backyard right now

posted by Larra Morris

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Bio-inspired robotics has been all over the place. We've got robots that walk, run, climb, fly, crawl, and swim. We've been kind of missing out on a big domain, though, and that's animals that dig. You know, like moles. Unlike just about any other sort of robot (or animal), you could have a whole family of moles chillin' within just a few feet of you (assuming you're close to the ground, of course) and you'd probably have no idea. And that's appealing for certain robotic applications:

"One use case is for this robot to drive or be air-dropped to a location close to a target, bury itself to be hidden, perform video surveillance, and send that video back to an operator."
via IEEE Spectrum

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Jun 25, 2013

These gaze-sensitive garments move when they're looked at

posted by Larra Morris

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These two dresses, by Montreal designer Ying Gao, aren’t really complete unless someone is staring at them.

Gao works with extreme materials—including things like light-sensitive textiles and photoluminescent thread—that test the bounds of social acceptability. Citing inspiration from Jacques Tati’s Playtime and critic Paul Virilio, Gao’s garments are both slyly critical and lovely, a mix of sharp cultural commentary and truly inspired design.

Her latest pieces, which goes on view at Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art this fall and were featured in a Dezeen video today, deal with how fashion is affected by the public eye—literally. The two cocktail-length dresses are made from a shell of semi-transparent and lightweight “superorganza,” which supports a detailed panel of photoluminescent strings on the front-facing body. Under the strings, a small camera identifies and tracks the movement of faces nearby. And when a set of eyes happen to land on the dress, a series of tiny embedded motors kick into gear, making the photoluminescent strings writhe and curl.
via Gizmodo

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