For behind the scenes pictures, stories and special contests, follow us on Facebook!
Subscribe:

Tag Archives: Technology

BKON Craft Brewer Means Speed, Painful Price Tag

bkon-craft-brewer

When it comes to making tea or coffee, it seems the options are endless. If heaping a spoonful of instant into a cup of hot water isn’t your thing, you can opt for single-serve machines. These are great, but since laying eyes on the BKON Craft Brewer, we’ve realized that they’re really just amateurs. The BKON means business, as it’s able to crank out a cup of tea or coffee a minute for an hour. It also stores up to 200 recipes and lets you browse them through its touchscreen. It uses a process called RAIN technology, which is their patented vacuum extraction method that allegedly beats regular extraction by allowing for lower temperatures (which avoid bitter flavours) and faster brewing speeds.

Yeah, this is a fancy machine, and it’s one that’ll make your wallet cry: $14,000 is the asking price. You better have some deep pockets or a serious need for it, because we’re going to stick with our Tassimo.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Uncrate ]

“Shoot Now, Focus Later” Camera Maker Lytro Releases Illum, A New Model With Fancy Lens

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 2.18.03 PM

Lytro made a huge splash two years ago with the introduction of their “light field photography” camera, which captured images that could be refocused after the fact. It was groundbreaking innovation, although its functionality has since then been replicated in smartphones with software trickery. The Illum being released now, however, raises the bar again. Aside from it’s slick futuristic looks, it packs a new 30 to 250 mm lens with a f/2 aperture across the range which contains only 13 pieces of glass, in contrast with an equivalent lens from Canon that contains 22. The result is a lighter, smaller lens that captures equally splendid pictures thanks to the complexity of its sensor and advanced algorithms.

It’s a futuristic camera that opens up a world of possibilities not previous available to photographers. Owning one will obviously cost a pretty penny, and in this case it’s $1,599. That’s a lot of dollars, but you’re also getting a lot of camera.

lens

[ Product Page ] VIA [

These Little Blocks Could Herald Self-Assembling Structures

Self-stacking robotic blocks

The folks at MIT are always cooking up some interesting technology, and the latest we’ve come across is the self-stacking M-Blocks. Each little cube contains a radio, a printed circuit board, a flywheel that can spin up to 20,000 rpm, and magnets that line the edges. With these, the cubes are able to move around on their own and stack themselves in all kinds of different configurations. Heck, they’re even able to make small leaps!

Currently only a proof of concept, it’s possible that the guts be one day miniaturized enough to allow for more complex structures to be built using only an assembly program and the self-stacking building blocks themselves. Human intervention barely required.

“These proof-of-concept robots are the first step in a project that will hopefully lead to the development of modular robot blocks that are cable of generic lattice-based self-reconfiguration.”

Couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

[ Popsci ] VIA [ Gizmodo ]

This Is An Atomic Watch, Really

cesium-133

There’s really nothing quite like the National Institute for Standards in Technology (NIST) new F2 atomic clock when it comes to precision in time-keeping; at most it’ll be off by one second… every 300 million years. And while the watch you’re looking at above isn’t quite as precise, it is powered by the same kind of mechanism behind the NIST-F2. It’s called The Cesium 133 and as the name implies, uses the precise decaying properties of the Cesium-133 isotope to keep an extremely accurate track of time. It’ll lose a second every 1,000 years, which should be enough to keep you punctual within your lifetime, and a few generations down.

Of course no one really needs this kind of precision, but for the geeks out there it’s a fun piece of technology to wear on your wrist. You likely won’t be able to get one though, since it looks like only 10 are being made. It’s probably a good thing too since you’d have had to spend $6,000 to get one.

[ Project Page ] VIA [ Geek.com ]

Would A Transparent Hood Be A Feature You Want?

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 2.15.59 PM

Say you’re off-roading and it’s critical to know exactly where your wheels are landing; common sense says that experience is paramount and that if you don’t know exactly where your wheels fall, maybe you shouldn’t be going into treacherous terrain. But a little bit of visual encouragement never hurt anyone, and Land Rover seems to think a grille-mounted camera system coupled with a Heads Up Display should do the trick for those of us with more guts than skills. With this system you’ll be able to virtually see right through your hood, straight to the road below, along with a visualization of where your wheels are and are pointing. That big rock you shouldn’t roll over? It’s right there.

It’s an ingenious solution, though it’s one that’s only at the prototype stage at the moment. It’ll be shown off at the New York International Motor Show next week, but there’s no word on when or if it might actually make its way onto new models.

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 2.22.13 PM

VIA [ Engadget ]

Thermo-Electric Element Will Harness Your Body Heat To Power Your Gadgets

Thermo-element-body-heat-to-produce-electric-energy

Your body is using up energy every second you’re awake. Some of that energy is translated into your muscles moving, and some of it is lost as heat. Researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have developed a wearable strip of material that can easily be woven into clothing and can convert your body heat into usable electric power. A thin strip about 4 inches in length can produce 40mW of power, which isn’t much, but is enough to power a semiconductor chip. Increase the strip to 20in.-40in. and suddenly you’re looking at 2W, which is enough to charge your phones or other electronics. The material is made from fibreglass, which makes it flexible, unlike current ceramic-based thermo-electric solutions. It’s also claimed it has a 14-fold efficiency improvement over other methods. According to Professor Jo Byeong-jin, the lead researcher, this technology could be commercialized within the next 2 to 3 years, pending “issues concerning element integration process optimization and mass-production.”

Gadget-charging jackets with thermo-electric strips woven into the sleeves? Yes, please!

[ Press Release ] VIA [ DamnGeeky ]

Smartphone Batteries That Charge In 30 Seconds May Be Just Around The Corner

storedot-590x330

StoreDot is an Israeli startup that’s been working on making our batteries better. They’re created a prototype that can go from 20% to 100% in about 30 seconds, and then discharge at the same rate as a regular battery. This is accomplished by using organic “nanodots”, or 2 nanometer wide “bio-organic peptide molecules” that fundamentally alter the way the batteries work. The company has even received $6 million in funding from an undisclosed Asian smartphone manufacturer to further work on the technology, because as exciting as this is, it isn’t ready for prime-time. For one, the current prototype is huge. Secondly, capacity is still an issue, since even at this size the battery doesn’t even equal that of a Galaxy S4. But these are hurdles that could potentially be overcome, and StoreDot is hoping to have something commercially viable by 2016.

Stay tuned.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Geek.com ]

Alaska To Get World’s First Airborne Wind Turbine

AlterosPrototype

Did you know the air blows much stronger at higher altitudes? It therefore makes plenty of sense to put a wind turbine up there to harness the energy; that’s exactly what the residents of Fairbanks, Alaska, will be enjoying soon. The MIT startup Altaeros Energies has been given a $1.3 million grant by the Alaska Energy Authority to test the design over the course of 18 months. The turbine, known as BAT-Buoyant Airborne Turbine, will be filled with Helium and allowed to go up 1,000-2,000 feet where it’ll be able to generate twice as much power as a ground-based structure. While it’s up there, it’ll also serve as a WiFi hotspot, providing not only power but Internet connectivity to the families currently living off the grid in these remote areas.

VIA [ Inhabitat ]

Miracle Machine Turns Water Into Wine

Miracle-Machine

Jesus may have performed this trick some time ago, but he didn’t do it with technological panache. The Miracle Machine pictured above however claims to turn water into wine using sophisticated electronics… only not really. See, it does make wine and it does use water as a starting ingredient, but then you have to add “grape concentrate, yeast, and a finishing powder that imbues the liquid with barrel-aged flavour.” Ok, that’s not quite as impressive as Jesus’ magical trick of yore, but it is arguably less painstaking than making wine the traditional way. The Miracle Machine uses an array of “electrical sensors, transducers, heaters and pumps”, and churns out what’s being called a “$20 bottle of wine” from $2 worth of ingredients in about 3 days. Using a smartphone app, your job is simply to select the type of wine you want, add the ingredients and wait. You’ll get a notification when your wine is ready to drink.

There’s going to be a Kickstarter soon, with the expected retail price at around $500, though the early adopter figure should be much lower. You can register on their website to be notified when the campaign goes live.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Mashable ]