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Tag Archives: Innovation

Telephoto Contact Lenses May Be Right Around The Corner

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Imagine putting your contact lenses on, flicking a switch, and suddenly getting magnified vision. If the project by a team of researchers from the US and Switzerland (led by University of California San Diego Professor Joseph Ford) ever becomes a commercial product, you may be able to do just that. Initially developed for patients with macular degenerative disease, the lenses feature a telescoping area in the center, which can provide 2.8X magnification:

The new lens system developed by Ford’s team uses tightly fitting mirror surfaces to make a telescope that has been integrated into a contact lens just over a millimeter thick. The lens has a dual modality: the center of the lens provides unmagnified vision, while the ring-shaped telescope located at the periphery of the regular contact lens magnifies the view 2.8 times.

To switch back and forth between the magnified view and normal vision, users would wear a pair of liquid crystal glasses originally made for viewing 3-D televisions. These glasses selectively block either the magnifying portion of the contact lens or its unmagnified center. The liquid crystals in the glasses electrically change the orientation of polarized light, allowing light with one orientation or the other to pass through the glasses to the contact lens.

Granted, you have to wear a pair of glasses over your contact lenses for this to work, so we’re far from the “bionic enhancement” that most geeks are hoping for. But it’s early tech, and there’s no telling what the next few years have in store.

[ Press Release ] VIA [ DVice ]

Hally Hensen Jacket Features Body Temperature Regulation

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There are a good number of garments that promise to keep you warm when cold, and cool you down while hot, simultaneously. However these often rely on simplistic improvements over the fabrics used in their making. The Hollow Heat Flow (H2) system from Hally Hensen is a little different.

[It] combines insulation (200g fleece in this case) with both positive and negative spaces (aka holes) and the ability to make the right kinds of adjustments to the garment to better regulate your body temperature. Put another way, heat gets trapped in air pockets in certain areas around the body and the holes in the fleece not only trap that hot air, believe it or not, but also help circulate cool air when you unzip the vents.

In other words, the jacket is very sensitive to the opening of vents which will keep you cooler when opened, and vice versa. When you’re out in the kind of weather that starts off pretty cool (requiring a jacket) and ends up warmer, you’re going to appreciate the efforts put into a jacket like this. What you’ll like a little less however, is how much you’ll have to spend for it: $180.

Hit the jump for a couple of videos that demonstrate how the system works, as well as links.

Bonus: ladybug pattern on the liner!

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Twist-Off Wine Cork Invented; Mankind Can Finally Rest

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Buying a regular screw-top wine bottle can mean a number of things in some circles: 1) you have no appreciation of good wine; 2) you are cheap; 3) you are an efficient drinker (read: alcoholic). Overplayed (and possibly inaccurate) stereotypes aside, there’s a stigma to metal screw-tops that’s only redeemed by the typically lower cost of the wine they contain. It’s an often difficult choice at the liquor store, a tradeoff between class and pice. But the Helix cork pictured above could bridge that gap. In testing for about four years, the product is a result of a collaboration between “cork manufacturer Amorim and those at bottle-making company O-I. The new threaded, resealable design (and matching threaded bottle neck) is aimed at the “popular premium” wine market, which includes bottles that retail for between $8-$15, roughly.” Yes, this does mean these types of new corks will only work with matching bottles, since the grooves must fit in the treads to create a tight seal. You do, however, end up with an easily resealable bottle of wine, sold at a reasonable price, that doesn’t come with the common stigma of metal screw-tops.

And why spend 4 years testing a cork? Well, the companies were making sure the “agglomerated cork” material used didn’t end up affecting the taste, colour or aroma of the wine. It doesn’t. And even though the product was unveiled yesterday at the Vinexpo in Bordeaux, it’s going to be a couple of years before you see it in shelves.

VIA [ Gizmodo ]

Want To Be A Better Gamer? Give Yourself Electro Shocks

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That would seem to be what the foc.us device is proposing. To be fair, calling it an ‘electroshock’ has incorrect connotations. The company is instead proposing that in order to sharpen your skills, and fine tune your reflexes, you don the above headset and submit your cranium and brain to what’s called “transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS), a controversial practice that has seen a minor resurgence in recent years.” The theory is that by passing a low current through your pre-frontal cortex, which controls memory, vigilance and focus among other things, your brain will eventually become better at getting kill streaks on CoD. So does it work? It’s hard to tell.

Studies have shown the practice of tDCS could help in treating depression and certain brain injuries, but there’s only been one study that measured video game performance, and that was only used as a tool to gauge a soldier’s aptitude.

One study is hardly conclusive evidence of anything.

Critics have also questioned why the headset is built to stimulate the prefrontal cortex instead of the motor or visual cortices, which directly affect a person’s reaction time.

Indeed. Until more data is out, we’d suggest holding off on dropping $249 on the device. Then again, if you’re really desperate to try anything to show those kids who swear they’ve seen your mom in various stages of undress who’s boss, then what’s $250 if it might work? Know that if you do order, shipping is expected for July.

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[ Product Page ] VIA [ Gizmag ]

Disney Research Is Working On Air-Based Tactile Feedback For The Kinect

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The original Kinect became popular among home-brew, DIY tinkerers… but failed to make much of a splash among its actual intended audience, the gamers. For the next iteration, Disney Research is working on one element they feel might have been missing from the original device, and that’s any form of physical feedback. But they don’t want you wear anything in order to feel this feedback, since that would defeat the purpose of the Kinect, so they’re working on a device which basically blows compressed air on you at the right time, in the hopes of making you feel something or other. It’s called the Aireal.

The air coming out of Aireal does so as a vortex, which is capable of traveling quite a long distance without losing much speed or its shape. The Aireal device also moves to track the player, meaning precise placement of the air hits on your body can be achieved.

How well this works is still being worked out, but Disney Research will be presenting a technical paper on the technology at SIGGRAPH 2013 in July. There’s also no word on whether Microsoft is even interested in bringing this to market, or whether even Sony or Nintendo would like to incorporate this into their gaming console strategies. But credit must be given to a desire for innovation, whether it bears commercial fruit or not.

Hit the jump for another picture, a video, and links.

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Pirate3D Brings 3D Printers’ Prices Lower Still

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Another day, another 3D printer, and that’s definitely a good thing. The more of these on the market, they cheaper they’ll get. Case in point is the Buccaneer by a company called Pirate3D, pictured above. If things go as planned, it should cost all of $347. That’s what people were paying for regular printers 10 years ago, and most definitely within the range a regular household might be willing to pay for what is still early adopter technology. Admittedly inspired from Apple products, the Pirate3D has an obvious Mac aesthetic and is made from stamped steel parts to keep manufacturing costs low. Its resolution is on par with similar printers, going as low as 100 microns, and with a top speed of 50 millimeters per second (approximately 2 in/s). It’s got an air filter to keep fumes at bay, and has a striking top-loading central cartridge to make loading and unloading the plastic filaments as easy as possible. On a desk, it takes up just a small space of 25 x 25cm (9.8 x 9.8 in), though its actual printing area covers 150 x 100 x 120 mm (5.8 x 3.9 x 4.7 in).

The company plans to start taking pre-orders soon and has applied to Kickstarter to be able to complete its funding. More pics and links, after the jump.

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Loopwheels Move The Bicycle’s Suspension Directly Into The Wheel

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People are fond of saying that you can’t reinvent the wheel, but if you take a look a the LoopWheel, you realize that’s not entirely true. The device uses a regular, off the shelf tire, rim and hub, but it replaces the common spokes with a flexible carbon-composite system that gives suspension directly to the wheel. By making the new loopy “spokes” flexible, the LoopWheel’s hub is able to go off-center by as much as 45mm (1.7 in.), effectively giving it a suspension with 1.7in of travel. Granted, that’s not mountain bike material, but the LoopWheel isn’t intended as such. Currently only being produced in a 20in. size (a small bicycle wheel size), they’re intended to be used in folding bikes or any other compact bikes that wouldn’t normally be able to fit a regular suspension system.

Like many innovative items, the LoopWheels are on Kickstarter, but they’re fully funded. If you still want to get in on the action, it’ll cost you 490£, or roughly $763.

Hit the jump for a video of the wheels in action, plus links.

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DropStop Plugs The Black Hole On Either Side Of Your Car Seats

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If you’ve driven for any period of time, you know that the best way to lose any personal item is to drop it in the deep, dark canyon on either side of your seat. It’s an annoying “feature” of pretty much every vehicle on the road, but luckily, Marc Newburger and Jeffrey Simon may have found a solution. It’s called the DropStop and is essentially just a foam tube with a reinforced opening through which the seatbelt fits. Stuff it into the opening and watch in awe as pennies, phones, keys, important receipts and anything else falls within easy reach, instead of what the company calls “The Carmuda Triangle.” It’ll work with almost and make and model, and $20 will get you a set, along with a credit-card sized LED flashlight.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Gizmag ]

Repap Paper Made From Stones

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Felling trees for the sake of turning them into paper is not only an increasingly unnecessary practice in a digital age, but it’s also one that’s always been sort of a dick move for the planet. So our interest was piqued when we read about Repap. It’s a kind of paper that’s made from stones. Yeah. Stones.

Repap is made up of 80% calcium carbonate (CaCO) and a small percentage, 20%, from non-toxic resins (high intensity polyethylene). The calcium carbonate present in Repap comes from the limestone recovered from caves and used in the construction industry. The Calcium carbonate is reduced to a fine powder and the polyethylene acts as a binder, creating Repap, a resistant and durable, as well as a waterproof paper. A paper that is also soft, smooth, bright white, resistant like a film but without the use of substances derived from petroleum.

To be perfectly honest, that sounds like a great product and if you want to get your hands on some yourself, you can. The link below takes you to a website that sells notebooks called Ogami, that are made from the stuff. Prices start as low as $13.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Werd ]