Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Matryomin Theremin Delivers Eclectic Sound

Japanese theremin maker Mandarin Electron has embedded a pitch only theremin inside a Russian matryoshka doll dubbed "Matryomin" as a means of creating art with art. Embedded inside a handmade Russian matryoshka doll, the pitch-only theremin can be easily manipulated through the soft wood to produce delicate electronic and eclectic sounds that give the doll the appearance of singing to the touch of the player.

Theremins were conceived by the Russian inventor Leon Theremin in 1919, so the Matryomin is as much a tribute to Russian ingenuity as it is a strong eye-catcher for a musical performance. Now, combined with a Japanese sense of style and design, it’s reached a new level on a small scale. The Matryomin runs on four AA batteries, with rear controls, and is incredibly lightweight at 500 grams. The Matryomin was created by master thereminist Masami Takeuchi seen here playing a piece called Swan.


Promachoteuthis Sulcus: A Squid with human teeth


Another rare octopus which has 9 Tentacles

Monday, 29 October 2007

Convert Audio Cassettes To MP3 And Vice Versa

I'm blogging this clever little blighter for the many of us who have over the years built up huge collections of that once upon a time useful cassette tape. Now with the plusdeckEX Audio Converter we can copy all those tapes over to the mp3 format.

It connects to a computer via USB and includes a 7.1 channel built-in sound card for converting the analog signal from a cassette tape into a digital file format like MP3. The downside of course is that the process can only be done in real-time (unlike ripping an audio CD) but it ensures your analog tunes will be preserved for an eternity.

And for those who are still living with just a cassette player in their cars the plusdeckEX works the other way as well, allowing you to transfer your MP3s to an audio cassette and enjoy them on the road. There doesn’t appear to be any pricing info on the plusdeckEX as of yet, but it’s expected to go on sale sometime in 2008.


Sunday, 28 October 2007

Hybrid Scooter Runs On Both Electric Power & Ethanol Fuel

Steven Ambrose and Vishy Karri of the University of Tasmania have created a hybrid scooter which is able to reach a top speed of 80 km/h and uses 35 per cent less fuel than the petrol-only machine and gets 1.7 L/100km when operating in hybrid mode. The vehicle also uses regenerative braking to charge the batteries in operation

The scooter's primary power source is an electric motor, unconventionally mounted on the front wheel, which provides enough power to initiate motion then a standard internal combustion engine, converted to run on renewable ethanol, kicks in seamlessly.

The control system is generic, so we can take it and put it onto a 4WD car and with minor changes it would work, the retro-fitted parts cost just $1500 but could be sourced for as little as $800 in full-scale production.

When not in use, the scooter can be plugged into a household power point to recharge in just 40 minutes.


Saturday, 27 October 2007

String Theory Explained In 2 Minutes With Rubber Duck

String theory is at this moment the most promising candidate theory for a unified description of the fundamental particles and forces in nature including gravity. But could you explain it in two minutes? Discover Magazine recently had a contest to do precisely that: create a two minutes or less video of everything you need to know about string theory. The best video in my opinion is String Ducky or you can view the other ones here.

A more detailed explanation of String Theory can be found here.

Friday, 26 October 2007

Mark Frauenfelder Ed. of Make Magazine Intro's Mister Jalopy

Mister Jalopy, a guy who scavenges the world for discarded treasures, often creating some treasures of his own. He shows us the museum in a jar he discovered at an LA garage sale. And during a trip to Mister Jalopy's garage of delights, Eric Jon Kurland shows off his homemade 3-D movie camera made from scavenged parts, and gets into a stereoscopic camcorder duel with BoingBoingTV producer Nihar Patel.


Future Aircraft To Use Hydrogen Propulsion

Boeing has successfully completed tests for a hydrogen propulsion for future aircrafts. The craft entitled HALE is an extreme endurance plane that will be able to fly for seven days non-stop in the stratosphere. The engine was developed by the Ford Motor Company and was tested for three days under the simulated conditions of a 65,000-feet flight.

Chris Haddox of Boeing's Advanced Systems has said that it may be "several years before HALE flies" however, even while the hydrogen engines look like a good option for reducing carbon emissions, we ought not expect this technology to hit a Dreamliner anytime soon. It's primary purpose is communications for military or commercial purposes. Since it will be able to stay aloft for seven plus days, it would also be used for persistent intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance purposes. The long endurance autonomous aircraft will be a propeller-driven, lightweight structure with a high-aspect-ratio-wing.


Thursday, 25 October 2007

Gimmick On Web Site Bound To Influence Mimickers

Digital World Tokyo a Japanese Gadget & Technology site that I occasionally peruse for new Technology trends has employed an innovative unique feature on their website. After you have right clicked this link just watch the page in the right hand corner and you'll notice an ever so slightly curling corner showing a dark eye. Now put your mouse on the eye and slide your mouse away from the right hand corner at a 45 degrees towards the lower left. Effectively we are appearing to peel the page over. The page below may or may not appeal to your interest, nevertheless this gimmick is bound to be mimicked many many times more by other web site developers. Perhaps web site constructors may eventually apply this function to whole pages. Perhaps this novel action is not new, you therefore may like to reveal other sites to me in the comments to this post ?

Maker Faire 2007 Austin Texas

Rocketboom and Sarah Meyers covers Maker Faire 2007 Austin, Texas This was the first time Make Magazine & O’Reilly Media was doing the show in Austin, and they expected 25k attendees. Inventors, hobbyists, garage tinkerers, robots, and craft makers displayed all their stuff. Everything from art cars, to pedal powered fair rides, to a life size mouse trap, Pleo the robot pet, to ping pong ball shooting robots & more.


Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Airbus A380 Panoramas

Here are some panoramas of the first Airbus A380 which was handed over to Singapore Airlines, its a rather corporate affair Lots of suits and poor smiling hostesses standing on stage trying not to fidget. The Airbus A380 is a double-deck, four-engined airliner manufactured by the European corporation Airbus. The largest passenger airliner in the world, the A380 is scheduled to begin commercial flights on 25 October 2007 with Singapore Airlines.

Interesting things to note are ;
Every coach passenger gets a 27 cm video screen with a USB port and PC charging port.
Business Class gets 86 cm wide and flat sleeper seats.
Premier Class gets a ‘private suite’, with a full 6’ 6” double bed with mattress, massive televisual screen and there’s 12 of them on-board each plane and you can invite people for a meal in your private suite.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Super Thin Solar Cells Generate Their Own Energy

The latest solar cell from a team of chemists at Harvard University, are developing minuscule two hundredth the size of a normal human hair, solar cells. Tiny silicon nanowires convert light into electrical energy, producing the equivalent of about 200 picowatts. Incoming light produces electrons in the outer shell of the wire's multilayered structure, which are eventually moved down micropores into its core, producing electrical charges. Enough at a nanoscale level, to run ultra-low power electronics worn on and in the body. Though not much (that's only two hundred billionths of a watt), Charles Lieber (Team Leader) explains that, on a nanoscale level, it should be enough to run ultra-low power electronics that could be worn both on and inside the body.

Lieber's solar cells have a conversion efficiency of about 3.4%, which is scalable to 5% depending on the incoming light's intensity. The next step, he says, will be to find new ways to boost their efficiency - once they reach 10-15%, he expects they will even become practical for large-scale applications. There’s no physical reason it couldn’t be higher. I’m pretty optimistic that we’ll be able to track down the efficiency issue...

Source: Ecofriend & Video

Leopard: Apples' Next Operating System

In a few days from now (October 26 US time) Apple will release its latest operating system entitled Leopard, or more specifically Mac OS 10.5. This new system looks to be a very much easier operating system to use then all past systems largely because the entire contents of your computer will be accessible thru an iTunes like window using Cover Flow.

Here is a link to Apples' introductory demo which is viewable and or downloadable as an ipod version or a full screen quicktime video format.

The Leopard System includes up to 300 new features like Spaces and Time Machine which are very seductive indeed, notwithstanding the Mail and iChat enhancements.

Image: Source

Monday, 22 October 2007

Panorama From The Top of Sydney Harbour Bridge

This Panorama was captured from
the short tower on top of The Sydney Harbour Bridge (called Blinky Bill, for its blinking aviation safety light)
which rises a few meters above the
main top girder.

The cage on top of the tower where Peter Murphy was positioned for this shot, contains, besides the light, a weather station.


Sunday, 21 October 2007

Discovery Channel with French Umbrella on Mobuzztv Podcast

Discovery Channel has bought the internet site HowStuffWorks for $250 million and Treehugger for $10 million.

Pileus a French Umbrella that connects to the internet and has an inbuilt video camera, motion sensors, a GPS and a screen enabling a use to use google maps in order to help
navigate the streets

It appears that Apple may have met their match in the land of equality, liberty and fraternity where it seems to be possible to buy an unlocked iPhone !


Saturday, 20 October 2007

Dog Robot Researcher Coaches Clambering Canines

The LittleDog’s legs are powered by three electric motors.
Sensors measure the angles of each joint as well as body orientation and foot/ground contact. The basic strategy for walking over both smooth and rough terrain is to adjust
a smooth walking pattern generator with the selection of every foot placement such that the center of gravity follows a stable trajectory.

Source & Video

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Shy Crows Caught on Camera Using Tools

Scientists from the University of Oxford have recorded New Caledonian crows using tools in the wild for first time. The footage was captured by attaching tiny cameras to their tail feathers. (the red triangle in the image) The wireless cameras weigh just 14 grammes and can be worn by the crows without disturbing their natural behavior. The trick has provided the first direct evidence of the birds' using tools in the wild and may represent an important development in animal behavior studies.

Nevertheless, some crows in Japan come up with a clever way to eat food that they naturally wouldn't be able to. David Attenborough narrates.

And a crow fails to grab something with straight wire, so it bends it into a hook

Mozart's Turkish Rondo Played by David Hull

Egad, this is pure genius
from David Hull a 20 year
old musician who plays
this well known piece of
Classical Music
Turkish Rondo on a
6 String Electric Bass Guitar.

FastMac Announces Blue Ray Recorder For Mac Portables

Fastmac announces 2X Blu-Ray Optical Drive Upgrade for Laptops; Low Profile Slot Loading Drive Provides 50 GB of Storage on 1 Disk for Apple PowerBook, iBook, MacBook Pro, iMac & Mac mini; New Drive Cuts Burn Times in Half.

The unit is slated to ship within 30 days and is available for pre-order as we read for a stiff $999.99 US. Whew that equals about 5 Teraabyte of Hard Drives for the same price, the obvious difference is whether you want to carry round a couple of discs in your pocket or fill up your computer desk shelves with hard drives !

Is it only a matter of time before some genius mp3/mp4 player manufacturer turns up with a half size or Mini version of a Blue Ray device. This culd mean a more pocketable and thus attractive format for consumers ?

A 25 Gig Disc is plenty big enough to have up to 10 movies on one Disc !

Source: Engadget

Quid Pro quo: Currency For Space Travellers

Scientists have come up with a new currency designed to be used by inter-planetary traveller, They are called the Quasi Universal Intergalactic Denomination, or Quid.

It is designed to withstand the stresses of space travel and has no sharp edges or chemicals that could hurt space tourists. Quids are made from the polymer used in non-stick pans, so expect to see lots of free floating cash in the future.

These Quids are possibly a new international currency that may be come thick as raisins in the future.

The word 'Quid' is not exactly new it was in fact used quite extensively in England and other english speaking countries like Australia to mean One pound. You may have used or heard of the expression "give us a few quid for it" ? In fact one can still over hear people using the expression even today.


Boing Boing tv: Trailers From Hell/ Discount Lobotomies

Boing Boing;
A blog of wonderful things

Xeni Jardin presents the new
boing boing tv channel,
watch by clicking this or
if you prefer subscribe to
the feeds via iTunes.

Friday, 5 October 2007

Transparent Plastic That is Strong as Steel

Composite plastic that’s as strong as steel, but light and transparent at the same time is now a reality and its made out of clay and a non-toxic glue similar to that used in school classrooms, the material is cheap, biodegradable and requires very little energy to produce.

University of Michigan researchers have mimicked a brick and mortar molecular structure found in seashells to create such a type of plastic. It is made up of layers of clay nanosheets and a water-soluble polymer that shares chemistry with white glue.

The material, which is described today in the U.S. journal Science is already being developed for practical applications and could become commercialised within a year or two. Researchers are now building a machine in their lab to create pieces as big as one meter by one meter.


Thursday, 4 October 2007

Can You Imagine A Battery Having 30 Years of Electric Power ?

Apparently within 2 to 3 years consumers will be able to purchase a Betavoltaic Battery to install in their laptop computers and similarly powered devices. No idea of cost yet but this new invention is only barely out of the Laboratory.

This revolutionary battery has emerged from the Scientists at the US Air Force Research Laboratory and is essentially based on that famous equation E=mc2 and are constructed from semiconductors and use radioisotopes as the energy source.

As the radioactive material decays it emits beta particles that transform into electric power capable of fueling an electrical device like a laptop for years.

Most importantly these batteries do not produce any radioactive or hazardous waste.


Meet Mick: A Rare White Koala Bear

Mick, a rare white koala, a rare white koala is nursed back to health after being found ill in a remote part of eastern Australia and received medical treatment in an Australian animal hospital after suffering blindness caused by chlamydia. Mick is not an albino, as he had a black nose and yellow eyes, but was a rare white koala. Koala Hospital supervisor Cheyne Flanagan told local media. Mick was returned to the wild at a secret location to protect him from poachers. Mick, was found by police and was taken to the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, north of Sydney. The koala underwent surgery and was given antibiotics to restore his sight and health.

continue and video here

Borat Wrestles CBS Interviewer Harry Smith

Kazhakistanian TV Reporter Borat -- aka Sasha Baron Cohen -- dropped by CBS' "The Early Show" this week and ended up in a wrestling match with Harry Smith.

Found this video at a blog called Wat Central

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Mowgli: Robot Leaps Half A Metre On A Single Bound

Mowgli, a type of frog robot created by engineers at the University of Tokyo, is able to leap vertically about 50cm into the air and has been seen jumping onto and off chairs and other objects.

Previous robots using motors to drive their legs have only ever managed to get a few millimeters off the ground - Mowgli makes a much greater leap by virtue of having artificial muscles driven by compressed air.

Mowgli's artificial musculoskeletal system consists of six McKibben pneumatic muscle actuators including bi-articular muscle and two legs with hip, knee, and ankle joints. Mowgli can reach jump heights of more than 50% of its body height and can land softly. Our results show a proximo-distal sequence of joint extensions during jumping despite simultaneous motor activity. Extensions in the whole body motion are caused by the compliance and the natural dynamics of the legs........

Source: Japanese link; scroll to bottom of page for details or watch the video

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

STriDER: Self-excited Tripedal Dynamic Experimental Robot

STriDER. is a three-legged walking machine that exploits the concept of actuated passive dynamic locomotion to dynamically walk with high energy efficiency and minimal control. Unlike other passive dynamic walking machines, this unique tripedal locomotion robot is inherently stable with its tripod stance and can change directions while walking. it is inherently stable (like a camera tripod); it is simple to control (vs. bipeds) as the motion is a simple falling in a predetermined direction and catching its fall; it is energy efficient, exploiting the actuated passive dynamic locomotion concept utilizing its built in dynamics. The tripod configuration makes it lightweight, enabling it to be launched to difficult to access areas, and its height makes it ideal for deploying and positioning sensors at high position for surveillance, see video.

Source: Tuzworld

Next Page