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Tag Archives: future

In Potholes, There is Power: Tech Harnesses Vibrations to Charge Your Phone

Vibration Tech Charges Phones

 

Nobody likes driving on roads filled with potholes. Not only is it a huge pain to everyone on board, but it can also damage your car (and ruin people’s moods), especially on long drives. There’s nothing that can be done about car damage, but this concept might just change people’s perceptions towards potholes.

This wasn’t the goal of Dr. Xudong Wang from the University of Wisconsin when he teamed up with researchers researchers from Sun Yat-sen University in China. Rather, their goal was to come up with something that’ll make the most of all the bumps and humps, and they did so by developing a novel material that generates energy every time it’s jostled or moved.

The nanogenerator takes advantage of a common piezoelectric polymer material called polyvinylidene fluoride, or PVDF. Piezoelectric materials can generate electricity from a mechanical force. The researchers incorporated zinc oxide nanoparticles into a PVDF thin film to trigger formation of the piezoelectric phase that enables it to harvest vibration energy. 

No timeframe yet for when this concept will actually be released commercially.

VIA [ Dvice ]

Boeing’s Black is a Self-Destructing Smartphone

Boeing Black Phone

 

 

 

Boeing has a top-secret phone in the works, and unfortunately it’s going to stay top-secret until its completion because it’s only going to be sold to government agencies. Dubbed as “Black,” it’s a smartphone that has a self-destruct feature when it’s tampered with, so the secrets and data it holds will remain a secret forever.

Boeing’s Bruce Olcott explains that the phone “will be sold primarily to government agencies and companies engaged in contractual activities with those agencies that are related to defense and homeland security. The device will be marketed and sold in a manner such that low-level technical and operational information about the product will not be provided to the general public.”

The phone will reportedly come with dual SIM card slots, a removable battery, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities. The phone will be able to operate on the GSM, WCDMA and LTE networks.

VIA [ Dvice ]

If You Like It, Then You Better Put a Smarty Ring On It

Smarty Ring

If smart watches are too bulky for your taste, then how about a smart ring? That’s what the folks behind the aptly-named Smarty Ring are working with. Currently in development, the ring connects via Bluetooth to your iOS or Android smartphone. Alerts for new messages, calls, new email messages, and the like will be flashed on the ring’s display. For social media addicts, updates from Facebook, Twitter, Hangout, and Skype can also be displayed.

Aside from connectivity, it allows users to track the location of their device (if it goes missing) and control it remotely. The Smarty Ring raised about $300,000 on Indiegogo last December, with delivery slated for April 2014. If you missed out on the campaign, then you can still pre-order the ring for $175.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Werd ]

OrbSys Saves Water By Letting You Shower in the Same Water, Again and Again

OrbSys shower

Water is a finite resource. At the rate things are going, it’s going to run out sooner rather than later. Then what would become of the human race? Working with this line of thinking are the folks behind the OrbSys shower system, which encourages people to conserve and recycle water as they bathe. Of course, the water is purified before it’s meant to be used again because it would just be gross if it weren’t.

OrbSys offers ten-minute showers that only use five liters of water. Normally people use about 150 liters for a typical shower, so that’s reducing water usage by about 96%. This is made possible by the shower’s closed-loop system that purifies the spent water to drinking water level before it comes out of the shower head for it’s succeeding runs.

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Plate Cooker Heats Meals for One in a Jiffy

Plate Cooker

Life can get pretty hectic sometimes–so hectic that you might even forget to eat lunch or choose to skip dinner, simply because you didn’t have the time. But don’t use time as an excuse, because you’re going to be paying for skipping meals with poorer health. A lot of people don’t have time to cook every day, so they prepare large batches of food over the weekend to be frozen and reheated throughout the week. While fresh is still best, this alternative is better than not eating altogether.

Something that could make the cook-freeze-and-reheat process better is the plate cooker. It looks like a sandwich grill, expect it has a bunch of compartments instead of grills when you lift the cover.

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Three Gadgets People Have Longed For That Are Now a Reality

GadgetsCollage

I’m not going to lie. I grew up with the dream of becoming a writer one day, and the thing that I wanted people to invent the most was that telepathic typewriter from The Tommyknockers. In case you aren’t familiar with this particular Stephen King story, the main character is a writer who builds a battery-powered typewriter after coming into contact with a thing buried in the ground. It’s not your everyday typewriter, since it was capable of reading his thoughts and typing up pages and pages of work, even while he was sleeping.

Imagine what the lives of writers would be like if they had a typewriter like this. I just finished reading the book again, so the whole thing is fresh to me. And every time I think about that typewriter, I remember all the other things that we only used to dream about that are real now: smart fridges, telepathic cameras, and gesture control devices.

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AWAD Robo-boots Give You a Boost of Strength

AWAD Boot

Need help walking? Then strap on the Ankle Walking Assist Device (AWAD for short) and go. It’s a robotic exoskeleton developed by Yaskawa Electric that’s designed to help people who have trouble walking. They’re geared towards the elderly who can’t walk at the pace that they used to, due to their age and all.

The AWAD system comes with two robo-boots and a battery pack that’s mounted around the waist. When the boots detect that its wearer’s heel has hit the ground, it gives a small boost of strength that helps maintain balance and keeps the person moving at a good pace. The system is adjustable based on the level of assistance its wearer needs.

People won’t be able to use AWAD to run like Usain Bolt, but it will help a lot of older folks walk and do their errands at a faster pace. Yaskawa plans to release AWAD into the market by 2015.

VIA [ Dvice ]

Concept Urinals Aim to Harness the Power of Pee

ECO-Urinal

What do people do a lot every day that’s generally considered as a waste-generating activity? Pee, that’s what. I remember seeing a show on TV where they featured a woman who’d pee in a jar so she could use it to water her plants (now that I think of it, it was an episode of Extreme Cheapskates where people were being, well, extreme cheapskates.)

Well, if this concept becomes a reality–and if it’s proven to actually work–then people could be getting more from pee than just compost or fertilizer for plants.Continue Reading

So It’s Come To This: Baton Twirling Drones

Ok, so it’s a bit of an exaggeration to say the robots in the video above are full-fledged baton twirlers. But folks at the ETH Zurich’s Flying Machine Arena have managed to program a pair of quad-rotor drones to toss a stick to one another, with a flip in the middle. If that’s not baton twirling for bots, I don’t know what is.

Two of the most challenging problems tackled with quadrocopters so far are balancing an inverted pendulum and juggling balls. My colleagues at ETH Zurich’s Flying Machine Arena have now combined the two. As part of his Master thesis Dario Brescianini, student at ETH Zurich’s Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control, has developed algorithms that allow quadrocopters to juggle an inverted pendulum.

First, a state estimator was used to accurately predict the pendulum’s motion while in flight. Second, a fast trajectory generator was needed to quickly move the catching quadrocopter to the estimated catching position. Third, a learning algorithm was implemented to correct for deviations from the theoretical models for two key events. [...]

The result is automated flying drones performing the kind of aerobatics that can only foreshadow a fiery death for mankind at the grips of a superior robotic race. It’s a worn-out cliché, sure, but you’ll understand if you watch the video.

VIA [ BoingBoing ]