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Tag Archives: Innovation

Ferrolic Display Makes Good Use Of Ferro Fluid

Ferrolic

You’ve probably seen Ferrofluid before: it’s a black goo that contains iron particles and reacts to magnets in a fascinating way. Zelf Koelman became so enamoured with the little blobs that he and his team spend “a few thousand hours” developing Ferrolic, a special display piece that uses Ferrofluid in creative and mesmerizing ways.

In the front, the display has a basin comparable to an aquarium in which Ferro Fluid can move freely. Behind the scenes powerful electromagnets enable Ferollic to influence the fluid’s shape, to pick it up and move it around. Both modules, the basin and the electronics, sit secure in an aluminium frame.

The software behind these electromagnets, and thus the shapes and information displayed, can be edited. Ferrolic is controlled by an intelligent internal system that is accessible trough a web-browser. In this way users can assign “the creatures” to display time, text, shapes and transitions. Experienced users can create animations from their own custom shapes.

In the display above, Ferrolic is being used as a clock, but that’s just one of the many thousands of things it can display.

It’s a work in progress, and a Kickstarter is planned for some time in the future. But for now there are 24 early production models available for anyone who’d like to develop for Ferrolic… at the princely sum of €7,500 or about $8,500USD.

Ferrolic from zelfkoelman on Vimeo.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Werd ]

Homping Grill Is An Upgrade To Portable BBQs

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BBQ season is in full swing and the list of ways to get your meat cooked is nearly endless. You’re going to have to add the Homping Grill to that: it’s a portable charcoal BBQ with an integrated fan, and 95% less smoke than traditional grills. It uses a special gel to light the briquettes, which reach 400 degrees within 2 to 3 minutes. The angled design of the cooking surface directs fat drippings away from the flames, reducing flareups and thereby keeping smoke production to a minimum. The battery-powered fan stokes the flames, maintaining a constant temp, or reducing it as needed. Best of all, it’s already available at $200.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Werd ]

Sketchbook Made From Synthetic Skin For Tattoo Artists To Practice On

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Everyone has to start somewhere, but when it comes to tattoos, you’d hope your artist wouldn’t start on you. Like anyone else developing a craft, they need practice, but low-standards Guinea Pigs are hard to come by. That’s why we’re really digging Tattoo Art Magazine’s initiative to create “The Skin Book”, a sketchbook made entirely of artificial skin, as part of a marketing push made in partnership with Brazilian ad agency Lew’Lara TBWA. Each page is made to feel just like a different part of the body, such as knuckles or a man’s chest. Artists can practice their craft while using real ink and needles, which we imagine behave differently than pencils.

There’s no word on whether The Skin Book will ever see the light of day as a product you can purchase, or if it is to remain a marketing prop. But now knowing it exists highlights the fact that this is very probably a product that would find a market in no time, and should consequently be taken seriously as more than just a conversation piece.

VIA [ Gizmodo ]

Single-Serve Coffee Pods Are So Yesterday. Meet Genie, The Single Serve Food Pod Machine

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Most people who buy a Keurig machine love it: it makes coffee, hot chocolate, and even tea in less than a minute, with barely any maintenance and fussing around. So it stands to reason that the same principle could be equally successful if instead of liquids, a similar machine would be able to handle foods. Well that’s exactly what the Genie claims to be able to do. “Ayelet Carasso and Doron Marco are the Israeli entrepreneurs behind the device”, and they claim that all you have to do to get a hot meal is pop a pod of freeze dried foodstuffs in the machine, press a button and wait a minute. The Genie then… does its magic and spits out complex things like muffins, chicken and rice, and chocolate soufflé. The inner workings of the machine are a bit of a secret, so we’re not sure how it does what it does, but the pictures of the resulting foods look promising. The food in the pods have a shelf life of 1 to 2 years, and can be tweaked for those with dietary requirements.

It’ll cost a few hundred dollars when it’s released in Israel in the coming months, with a wider roll-out planned for later if successful there. The food pods will cost about as much as a similar, non-pod meal would normally cost.

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Nexpaq Case Gives Your Current Phone Ara-like Functionality

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Remember Phone Bloks? No? What about Project Ara? In case you need a refresher, this is one of Google’s projects, one that will create a completely modular smartphone, where individual hardware components can easily be replaced, independently of others, at your discretion. Well, it’s a nice idea but it’s taking a while to get to market. Meanwhile, we have a cool case here that purports to do much the same thing, only with an iPhone 6, Galaxy S5 or Galaxy S6 Edge. The case comes with a 1,000mAh battery, and you can add up to 6 different modules that can do a variety of things, like a breathalyzer, an Air Quality sensor, an SD card reader, extra battery modules, a Super LED flashlight, and more. The integrated battery powers the modules, and can also give your phone extra juice. Modules can be swapped between cases, so an Android user could technically trade one of his modules with an iPhone 6 user. And of course the SDK is open so third party developers are free to make new modules that will work with the Nexpaq case.

It’s an awesome idea, and if it works as advertised, we can’t wait to try it out. Better yet, the pricing seems to be just right, with the case and four modules starting at $89, or $109 if you miss the Early Bird pricing. It is fully funded, but you’ll sadly have to wait until August 2016 to get yours.

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[ Project Page ] VIA [ MikeShouts ]

Give Your 3D Printer Color Abilities With The Palette

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The 3D printing scene is thriving at the moment, but some realities still exist. Specifically, if you hope to be able to print in color, you will have to spend more money on more sophisticated multi-nozzle systems, which print slower, and smaller. But if you already own a printer, you should know that The Palette will be able to give it the ability to print in color, with the one filament system it already uses. The way is works is by sitting between the color filament spools, and your machine. It can take up to four different such coloured filaments, and cut them and splice them as needed to then feed them into your printer. It simply analyzes the model you hope to print, and creates a custom multicoloured filament on the fly. It requires no modification to your machine, so as long as it accepts standard 1.75mm filaments and runs on .gcode or .x3g, you’re good to go. It’s an ingenious solution that, while being expensive at $899, will still save you quite a bit of money versus current color-capable printers on the market.

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[ Project Page ] VIA [ Engadget ]

Infitinte USB Is The Modular USB Cable That Never Runs Out Of Ports

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You plug a USB cable into your computer, and that’s it for that port: it’s used up and is no longer available. But what if the cable you’re plugging has a port of it own? This means that you could plug yet another cable in, and if that other cable is an Infinite USB cable, then you’ll still have a port free. Matter of fact, you could do this indefinitely, and just keep plugging more and more cables as you require them, creating a modular and expandable USB hub. That’s the premise for the Infinite USB cables, and it’s a cool idea.

The cable is short (8 inches) and isn’t meant to tether your devices from a distance. It’s got a magnetic plug that allows it to fold back on itself for easy transport. And the best part is there is a USB-C version in the works, which could make your life with the new MacBook a lot easier.

It’s a $12 pledge for a MicroUSB and $14 for a Lightning version, with shipping in June.

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Goodyear Is Developing An Electricity-Generating Tire

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Think for a minute about how much energy is wasted in a car. All that gas it burns to get it rolling is almost entirely dissipated and lost as heat in the brakes as it slows back down, while the rest goes to combatting air resistance and drivetrain inefficiencies. By some accounts “only about 14%–30% of the energy from the fuel you put in a conventional vehicle is used to move it down the road.” Newer electric vehicles have started harvesting some of that energy back through regenerative braking, but Goodyear is taking things a couple of steps further by developing a special tire that itself generates power. The concept is called BHO3, and it takes both the friction heat as well as the deformations the tire undergoes while driving to generate an electric current, which is then presumably fed back into the car’s batteries.

To do this, the BHO3 is lined with a fishnet pattern of thermo/piezoelectric material. This net turns the heat into electrical current, and its piezoelectric properties also allow it to harvest energy from the tire as it deforms during driving. To keep the tire from overheating, there’s also a cooling system in the sidewalls.

It’s only a concept at the moment so don’t expect to see it on the road any time soon. But it’s nice to know people are constantly working to wean us off fossil fuels.

[ Press Release ] VIA [ Gizmag ]

This Bee Hive Can Give You Honey On Tap

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The Flow Hive has gone viral, to the tune of raising (as of this writing) $5.9m in a crowdfunding campaign that was initially seeking $70k. Why? It may very well represent the biggest advance to apiculture since the invention of the movable comb hive in the 1800’s! The Flow Hive features an ingenious internal structure with pre-made honeycomb cells that the bees fill with honey and cap with wax as they normally do… only the back of the cells can be opened by an external operator and the sweet contents extracted at will without disturbing the bees. The honey then just flows down a center channel, out of a tap and into an awaiting bottle. No more having to dress in a special suit, no more putting the bees to sleep with smoke; just turn the tap and collect. Granted you still have to tend to your hive, inspect for disease, etc., so you’ll need that suit still. But at least the collection aspect has now been immensely simplified.

It looks like you can start out on the Flow Hive fun for a $290 pledge, although the featured product that contains everything you need out of the box (except the bees) is $600. Delivery is slated for December 2015.

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[ Project Page ]