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Tag Archives: Innovation

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 ]

The Keybiner Is Not Your Average Carabiner

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Carabiners are cool because you can attach your keychain to them, and then hang this from your belt loops, or from a backpack. But the Keybiner takes the concept a couple of steps further and itself becomes the keychain. This fully-funded Kickstarter product fits up to 14 keys within its frame, allowing each one to pivot out when it’s time to use it. But the innovation doesn’t stop there, since the device is also a multi-tool, packing things like wrenches, bottle openers, screwdrivers, and even a file. This means that for as little as a $35 pledge, you can carry around a smattering of essential tools right on your beltline and be ready to deal with any number of broken/needs-fixing things that life could throw your way.

[ Project Page ] VIA [ Uncrate ]

Spine Optics Frame Hinge Brings Innovation To The World Of Eyewear

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Wearing glasses can be second nature for some, but that doesn’t mean their eyeglasses are perfect. No matter how well fitting they are, there’s always the possibility of forcing them too far apart, or of the hinge becoming loose after some time. The Spine Optics hinge pictured above is an innovation from Italian designer Guido Medana, and features a “5 vertebra design” that attempts to mimic the human spine in its flexibility and durability. Unlike traditional glasses, the Spine hinge creates a small tension that lightly hugs the wearer’s face, adapting to any size head. This means they won’t easily fall off during exercise, but won’t be uncomfortable in a wide range of head sizes. The hinge also closes the temples automatically when you remove the glasses, a function no one else has. There are no screws to tighten, since the mechanism of action is achieved thanks to two cables and springs, as well as precision parts manufactured with a process called Micro Injection Moulding.

Price and availability are unknown, although there is word that contracts have been signed for distribution with major companies throughout the US, the UK, and Canada.

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Blocks Smartwatch Lets You Customize The Hardware To Your Heart’s Content

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Modularity is all the rage these days. Just look at the excitement over Project Ara, the modular smartphone, for proof. And why shouldn’t it be? Modular gadgets mean that we can reconfigure them to our liking, adding more of the hardware elements that we want, and less of the ones we don’t care about. Blocks, the modular smart watch being discussed in this article, is a project by the same people who were initially behind Project Ara, before Google got involved. They’re now trying the same approach with a timepiece where each link in the wristband can be a different hardware component. Modules can be dedicated extra batteries, GPS chips, contactless payments, SIM cards, and even heart-rate monitors. Don’t care about heart-rate monitoring? Swap that link for an extra battery!

It’s a great idea, but the success will depend on execution. Early prototypes, as shown in these pictures, look chunky and unattractive. The team is planning a Kickstarter for Q2 2015, so hopefully by then they’ll have refined their hardware enough to make it visually attractive. Pricing starts at $150 for the watch face itself, plus $20-$40 for each module. If you want the whole thing decked out, you’d be looking at $330.

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VIA [ Gizmodo ]

Hershey-Backed 3D Chocolate Printer In The Works

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3D printers have become the new must-have technology, at least if we go by how many exhibits showcased a 3D printer at CES 2015. But while most of them are busy printing plastic objects, 3D Systems and The Hershey Company have been collaborating on the CocoJet, a 3D printer that uses melted chocolate as its building material. Users can pick between dark, milk, or white chocolate and can print preprogrammed shapes or make new ones. And then eat them!

The printer isn’t currently available, but 3D System’s ChefJet printer is set to be released in the second half of 2015. That particular machine spits out three-dimensional sugar, chocolate, or candy confections, so it stands to reason that CocoJet could follow a similar path to market.

[ PSFK ] VIA [ Technabob ]

Immersis Turns Your Entire Room Into A Giant Projector Screen

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This is a really cool product. It’s basically a projector that analyses your room and projects in 180 degrees so that the image looks right from your point of view. This means the entire room in front of you becomes the environment that is normally just projected onto the small rectangle of your television. It’s virtual reality minus the headset! It’s turning your entire room into a giant projector screen!

By carefully analyzing the angles and protrusions in your room, Immersis is able to automatically calibrate the image it projects, creating an immersive effect unlike anything else out there. And the best part is that it’ll work with any true 3D game. The company behind the product, Catopsys, has already created a plugin that allows Immersis to work with any game that uses the Unity 3D engine. And there’s a beta for Unreal Engine. What’s more, they’re releasing the SDK so that developers can quickly and easily make their games compatible with the product.

It’s not limited to gaming though. Panoramic photos can be displayed and enjoyed without having to pan. 360° cameras typically require either a VR headset or special software to let you explore the available imagespace. With Immersis you will be “able to experience as a group all of your sport accomplishments, your vacation memories, as never before.”

It sounds awesome, and if it works as promised, could be worth the $1,150 asking price. Yes it’s steep, but that’s as close to the forefront of innovation as it gets.

[ Project Page ] VIA [ Technabob ]