COULD THIS BE THE SKIN OF THE FUTURE FOR ROBOTS & MAYBE MANKIND?

An international research team led by Professor Takao Someya of the University of Tokyo has manufactured extremely thin (2 μm) and light (3 g/m2) soft organic transistor integrated circuits (ICs) on ultra-thin polymeric films. The research team developed a novel technique to form a high-quality 19-nm-thick insulating layer on the rough surface of the 1.2-μm-thick polymeric film. The electrical properties and mechanical performance of the flexible ICs were practically unchanged (no degradation was seen) even when squeezed to a bending radius of 5 μm, dipped in physiological saline, or stretched to up to twice their original size. A major application of this flexible IC and touch sensor system is medical monitoring. “This can be attached to all sorts of surfaces and does not limit the movement of the person wearing it,” says Someya.

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Henry Sapiecha

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We all know about these commonly used inventions, but they had a dark side.

1…..Ecstasy


Anton Köllisch developed 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine as a by-product of research for a drug combating abnormal bleeding. It was largely ignored for around 70 years until it became popular in  dance clubs of the early 80s. It was only when the Rave party culture of the late 80s adopted Ecstasy as its drug of choice that MDMA became one of the top four illegal drugs in use killing an estimated 50 people a year in the UK alone. Its inventor died in World War I.

2…Concentration camps

Frederick Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts set up “safe refugee camps” to provide refuge for civilian families who had been forced to abandon their homes for one  reason or another related to the Boer War. However, when Lord Kitchener succeeded Roberts as commander-in-chief in South Africa in 1900, the British Army introduced new tactics in an attempt to break the guerrilla campaign and the influx of civilians grew dramatically as a result. Kitchener initiated plans to- “flush out guerrillas in a series of systematic drives, organized like a sporting shoot, with success defined in a weekly ‘bag’ of killed, captured and wounded, and to sweep the country bare of everything that could give sustenance to the guerrillas, including women and children.” Of the 28,000 Boer men captured as prisoners of war, 25,630 were sent overseas. The vast majority of Boers remaining in the local camps were women and children. Over 26,000 women and children were to perish in these concentration camps.

3…ROCKETS


Despite a lifelong passion for astronomy and a dream that rockets could be used to explore space, Wernher von Braun’s talents were used to produce the Nazi V2 rocket which killed 7,250 military personnel and civilians and an estimated 20,000 slave laborers during construction. Later in the US he developed a series of ICBM rockets capable of transporting multiple nuclear warheads around the globe before redeeming his reputation with the Saturn V rocket that put men on the moon

4…NUCLEAR FUSION

Sir Marcus Laurence Elwin Oliphant was the first to discover that heavy hydrogen nuclei could be made to react with each other . This fusion reaction is the basis of a hydrogen bomb. Ten years later, American scientist Edward Teller would press to use Oliphant’s discovery in order to build the hydrogen bomb. However, Oliphant did not foresee this – “We had no idea whatever that this fusion reaction would one day be applied to make hydrogen bombs. Our curiosity was just curiosity about the structure of the nucleus of the atom”.

5…SARIN GAS

Dr. Gerhard Schrader was a German chemist specializing in the discovery of new insecticides, hoping to make progress in the fight against world hunger. However, Dr. Schrader is best known for his accidental discovery of nerve agents such as sarin and tabun, and for this he is sometimes called the “father of the nerve agents”.

6…LEADED PETROL


Thomas Midgley discovered the CFC Freon as a safe refrigerant to replace the highly toxic refrigerants such as ammonia in common use. This resulted in extensive damage to the Ozone Layer. His other famous idea was to add tetraethyl lead to gasoline to prevent “knocking” thus causing worldwide health issues and deaths from lead poisoning. He is considered to be the man that – “had more impact on the atmosphere than any other single organism in Earth’s history.”

7…TNT

Joseph Wilbrand was a German chemist who discovered trinitrotoluene in 1863 to be used as a yellow dye. It wasn’t until after 1902 that the devastating power of TNT as it is better known was fully realized and it was utilized as an explosive in time for extensive use by both sides in World War I, World War II. It is still in military & industrial use today.

8…GATLING GUNAdd an Image


Richard Jordan Gatling invented the Gatling gun after he noticed the majority of dead from the American Civil War died from infection & illness, rather than gunshots. In 1877, he wrote: “It occurred to me that if I could invent a machine – a gun – which could by its rapidity of fire, enable one man to do as much battle duty as a hundred, that it would, to a large extent supersede the necessity of large armies, and consequently, exposure to battle and disease would be greatly diminished.” The Gatling gun was used most successfully to expand European colonial empires by ruthlessly mowing down native tribesmen armed with basic primitive weapons.

9…AGENT ORANGE

Arthur Galston developed a chemical that was meant to speed the growth of soybeans and allow them to be grown in areas with a short season. Unfortunately in high concentrations it would defoliate them and it was made into a herbicide even though Galston had grave concerns about its effects on humans. It was supplied to the US government in orange striped barrels and 77 million litres of Agent Orange were sprayed on Vietnam causing 400000 deaths and disabilities with another 500000 birth defects. Service personnel to some extent were also affected

10…ZYKLON B

Fritz Haber was a Nobel Prize winning Jewish scientist who created cheap nitrogen fertilizer and also made chemical weapons for the German side in World War I. It was his creation of an insecticide mainly used as a fumigant in grain stores that was responsible for the deaths of an estimated 1.2 million people. His Zyklon B became the nazis preferred method of execution in gas chambers during the Holocaust.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

CREATING A HUGE WALL POSTER FROM SMALL SECTIONS

It’s hard to say whether this sort of product will unleash a stream of creativity or a gushing torrent of poor taste. Dutch printing company ixxi has come up with an innovative, inexpensive and very nifty way to print and hang large scale artworks. By breaking the photo or design up into lots of smaller cards, which are later joined together for presentation using funky little plastic x and i shaped connectors, ixxi avoids the prohibitive expense of larger scale printing, as well as making it easy to package a wall-sized piece of art up into a small box. In fact, the same technology lets you visit an art gallery, and take a life size, photorealistic replica of your favorite wall fresco home with you, ready to reassemble and hang.

  • The ixxi X connector
  • White cards joined together by ixxi X connectors.
  • Translucent ixxi wall as seen at the Design Academy Eindhoven
  • Translucent ixxi wall as seen at the Design Academy Eindhoven

Just quietly, dear readers, I occasionally fancy myself as a bit of a photographer. In fact, just last week I pulled out a bunch of my favorite snaps (including this one, which really nails the spirit of a mate and his wife) and got them printed on big 100 x 50 cm (39 x 19.7 in) canvas boards to hang on walls around the house.

Canvas prints and photo prints look great, but they’re fairly expensive – a problem that gets exponentially bigger with size. So on a reasonable budget, you might be able to get a couple of boards printed, but you’re up for quite a lot of money if you want to create a whole feature wall.

That’s where ixxi comes in – this Dutch company has created a very simple, classy system that lets you print any number of smallish cards, on a variety of media, then join them together to form larger artworks using i and x shaped connectors.

That lets you break a photograph up into 50 smaller squares and present it on a large scale … or, you can experiment with the form, creating photomosaics or even pixel art.

Once the cards are linked together, you can choose to hang them on a wall, or even dangle them from a roof to make a bespoke room divider or temporary wall. That looks even cooler when you use semi-translucent card material to print on, like they have in the Design Academy Eindhoven – see below.

The results are impressive enough that if you visit the Rijkmuseum Amsterdam, you can buy a number of the museum’s famous artworks in ixxi format – and take them home with you in a small gift box, full size and ready to assemble.

The best part is the price – because you’re only printing on small squares, generally below A4 size, the printing process is uncomplicated and inexpensive … to the point where a gigantic 2 x 2 meter (6.6 x 6.6 foot) print with whatever you want on it comes out at a measly EUR 125.00 – or just US$178 for a mega print that will transform an entire wall in your house. Try pricing one of those up on canvas … and heck, try transporting the thing!

Now, if I could only learn to take a photo or create a pixel artwork worthy of that kind of presentation!

More at the ixxi website.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Tech Talk Video about building guidance system

Thumbnail image for video asset.

Doughnut blimp guide

A Queensland avionics engineering student has created a floating doughnut shaped blimp to guide people through a building. Courtesy CSIRO.AUSTRALIA

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

New lacquer-based antibacterial

active film keeps food fresher for longer

By Ben Coxworth

18:36 October 7, 2010

Fraunhofer's antibacterial food packaging film kills bacteria on food by releasing sorbic ...

Fraunhofer’s antibacterial food packaging film kills bacteria on food by releasing sorbic acid

Researchers from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging have developed a new type of food packaging film that kills food-inhabiting bacteria. While antimicrobial polymers in food packaging have been around for some time, the new material is unique in that it incorporates sorbic acid that has been dissolved into a lacquer, which is then deposited onto the film. When that lacquer first touches the food, a timed release of the acid begins, which neutralizes a significant number of the microorganisms on the food’s surface. The result, according to the researchers, is the ability to keep meat, fish and cheese fresher for longer.

Fraunhofer food chemist Carolin Hauser chose sorbic acid not just because it kills germs, but also because it’s non-toxic, non-allergenic, water-soluble, and doesn’t have a strong smell or taste. It is already used as a preservative in many foods, and is considered environmentally-safe, as it breaks down rapidly in soil.

Hauser used fresh pieces of pork loin for her evaluation of the film. She contaminated each of them with 1,000 colony-forming units of the E. coli bacteria, then wrapped some of them in regular film and some in her product. Differences in color between the two groups were apparent after several days in an 8C (46F) fridge. When she did a microbial analysis, she discovered that the E. coli population on the pork wrapped in her film had decreased to about one quarter its original size.

“After a week or so, the total germ count on the surface had decreased significantly compared to the meat packed in untreated film,” she said. “This indicates that our active film is suitable for maintaining the freshness – and above all the safety – of meat preparations, cheeses, fish fillets and other cold cuts.”

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Ten intriguing Apple patents

to get excited about

January 20, 2011 – 11:08AM

This post was originally published on Mashable.com

Apple was granted 563 patents in 2010, some of which will show up in future products and might well change the consumer technology landscape just like the iPod, iPhone, App Store and now the iPad have.

Apple patent expert Jack Purcher of Patently Apple has been monitoring the company’s patents since 2006. Mashable asked him why he thought Apple is such an innovative company.

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“Many have asked me why I think that Apple is more innovative than others. I usually answer that question the same way each time,” says Purcher. “I’m not sure that they are on a technical level. The difference is that Apple has an inspired leader and CEO who, for decades, has had a real vision of where technology should go.”

Mashable has taken a look at some of Apple’s recent patent applications to see what exciting developments might be in store for the future – as any one of these patents could be the next step in Steve Jobs’s master plan or vision. As Purcher puts it:

“Jobs’s vision for the digital lifestyle a decade ago is still on a roll. It’s innovation at its finest. But it began with a vision – and that’s the difference.”

1. iBike

Apple’s smart bike concept is like the Nike+ running system, but for those on two wheels. In addition to seeing pertinent data from you (heart rate, etc.) and the bike (speed, distance, etc.) on your iPod or iPhone, the system could be used as a tool for group communication when biking with others.

2. Wand remote

2. Wand Remote

Is gesture control the next big thing to follow touch? It seems Apple might think so with this patent for the Apple TV that sees the home entertainment gadget shipped with a Wiimote-like motion controller. Besides managing the on-screen cursor via movement, the “remote wand” could be used to browse through and control media.

3. Solar-powered iPhone

Is gesture control the next big thing to follow touch? It seems Apple might think so with this patent for the Apple TV that sees the home entertainment gadget shipped with a Wiimote-like motion controller. Besides managing the on-screen cursor via movement, the “remote wand” could be used to browse through and control media.
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3. Solar-Powered iPhone

Apple has come up with a way – in theory anyway – of adding solar tech to its portable devices without spoiling the all-important aesthetics. By integrating the photocells into the touchscreen, future iPods, iPads and iPhones could soak up the power of the sun via their displays, making for greener gadgetry.

4. Touchscreen iMac

Apple has come up with a way — in theory anyway — of adding solar tech to its portable devices without spoiling the all-important aesthetics. By integrating the photocells into the touchscreen, future iPods, iPads and iPhones could soak up the power of the sun via their displays, making for greener gadgetry.
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4. Touchscreen iMac

This clever concept gives the desktop PC iPad-esque functionality. While the monitor is upright, it’s a common iMac running Apple’s full operating system controlled with a mouse, but flip it horizontally and it switches to the iOS and the touch controls take over.

5. iKey

This clever concept gives the desktop PC iPad-esque functionality. While the monitor is upright, it’s a common iMac running Apple’s full operating system controlled with a mouse, but flip it horizontally and it switches to the iOS and the touch controls take over.
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Chances are your iPhone has already replaced your compact camera, MP3 player and handheld gaming console, but Apple could take the convergence a step further and replace your keys. The Cupertino company has patented the idea that your iPhone could unlock your car and home with a proximity-based PIN code system.

6. iHeadset

Chances are your iPhone has already replaced your compact camera, MP3 player and handheld gaming console, but Apple could take the convergence a step further and replace your keys. The Cupertino company has patented the idea that your iPhone could unlock your car and home with a proximity-based PIN code system.
5. iKey
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6. iHeadset

This is one patent we could definitely see coming to market. Apple has designed a Bluetooth headset with standalone media playback functionality. This could well be a future version of the iPod Shuffle – small, wearable and, thanks to the Bluetooth features, multi-tasking.

7. Shareable apps

This is one patent we could definitely see coming to market. Apple has designed a Bluetooth headset with standalone media playback functionality. This could well be a future version of the iPod Shuffle — small, wearable and, thanks to the Bluetooth features, multi-tasking.
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How would you like to be able to beam your latest App Store download to a buddy? Apple has come up with the idea of an “application seed” system whereby developers could choose to make their apps shareable via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. It’s a fantastic concept for content providers who are looking to spread the word as far and wide as possible. Additionally, trial version options could be a great word-of-mouth money maker.

8. Video game comic books

How would you like to be able to beam your latest App Store download to a buddy? Apple has come up with the idea of an “application seed” system whereby developers could choose to make their apps shareable via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. It’s a fantastic concept for content providers who are looking to spread the word as far and wide as possible. Additionally, trial version options could be a great word-of-mouth money maker.
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If you want to relive that last level of Mass Effect that you aced, Apple might offer a way to do so in the future. This unusual patent allows you to describe your progress through a video game, record it, and then turn it into a book or e-book in comic style.

9. Magnetic lenses

If you want to relive that last level of Mass Effect that you aced, Apple might offer a way to do so in the future. This unusual patent allows you to describe your progress through a video game, record it, and then turn it into a book or e-book in comic style.
8

iPhotography is hot, and its potential is limited only by hardware restrictions. Although Apple has steadily improved the iPhone’s camera, it’s still just a point-and-shooter. This patent describes a way of enhancing a portable device’s camera functionality with a magnetic zoom or macro lens attachments.

10. MacBooks with built-in projectors

iPhotography is hot, and its potential is limited only by hardware restrictions. Although Apple has steadily improved the iPhone’s camera, it’s still just a point-and-shooter. This patent describes a way of enhancing a portable device’s camera functionality with a magnetic zoom or macro lens attachments.
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This exciting idea could see future Apple laptops coming with built-in projectors. Just think how handy it would be to be able to share what’s on your laptop screen – whether that’s a movie or a presentation – with a group of others by simply clicking a mouse.

Spourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


IBM’s annual list of five innovations about to change our lives in the following five years

IBM has announced its fifth annual Next Five in Five – a valued list of five technologies that the company believes “have the potential to change the way people work, live and play over the ensueing five years.” While there is an absense of flying cars or robot servants on the list, there are however holographic friends, air-powered batteries, personal environmental sensors, customized commutes and building-heating computers.

1…3D pics of humans

2…Heat from computers generating power

3…Our breath/air used to power devices

4…Personal sensors in civilians

5…Traffic/Road studies done remotely

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Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


High-tech gadgets

dressed up to look old

Roy Furchgott

December 24, 2010

Clockwise from top left, the U.S.B typewriter, the Yeti THX-certified microphone, the BookBook MacBook Pro case, the Crosley portable U.S.B. turntable, the ThinkGeek Bluetooth handset and the Surround-sound X-Tube.Clockwise from top left, the U.S.B typewriter, the Yeti THX-certified microphone, the BookBook MacBook Pro case, the Crosley portable U.S.B. turntable, the ThinkGeek Bluetooth handset and the Surround-sound X-Tube.

This has been a great year for the next new electronic thing. The iPad, new iPhone, the Nexus S, HTC Evo and other Android phones, the Kindle 3 and Microsoft’s Kinect caught the eye of consumers.

But some people prefer their next new thing to look like an old thing. So what’s the appeal of the latest electronics wrapped in a retro design, like full-size jukeboxes that are really $US4000 iPod docks and manual typewriters reconfigured to work as USB keyboards? Has anyone ever said, “It’s a nice Ferrari, but it would be cooler if it looked like a covered wagon?”

There are theories: The throwback designs make challenging technology seem familiar. For the technically proficient, an old phone handset that connects to a cell phone seems comically ironic. Retro designs can also give a sense of permanence to disposable devices. Some of it is art.

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An example of the phenomena is a manual typewriter refashioned as a computer keyboard. Jack Zylkin of Philadelphia made one as a novel way for people to sign in when visiting Hive76, a Philadelphia communal studio for electronics tinkerers. “I thought it would be kind of a lark,” he said. “I didn’t realise there was such demand for them.” Now he is turning out several typewriters a week, with a two- to three-week lead time for new orders.

Zylkin says he starts with a typewriter that has been refurbished by a retired Remington salesman, then wires it with a sensor board that recognizes when a key is pressed. It leads to a USB plug that makes the typewriter work like any computer keyboard. Even if the type bar doesn’t hit the platen, a computer will recognize the input, but if you bang the keys hard enough you can make an old-school hard copy on paper while a computer also records your keystrokes.

The typewriters sell for $US600 to $US900 at the website Etsy, although it is $US400 if you supply your own typewriter. If you are handy with a soldering iron, you can buy Zylkin’s do-it-yourself conversion kit for $US70.

A variation of this theme of fashioning the old into new relies on the smart design of the old Western Electric Bell telephones. Consider the handset. Unlike today’s telephone earpieces and cabled headphone and mic arrangements, the large handset put the speaker over the ear and the microphone next to the mouth so bystanders weren’t forced to listen to bellowed phone conversations.

The gadget purveyors ThinkGeek have taken that old handset and added Bluetooth so you can have some privacy while connected wirelessly to a mobile phone. The $US25 handset can transmit and receive at a distance of about 30 feet from your phone.

Crosley Radio has been making the old new again since the early 1980s when a group of investors bought a discarded radio brand and started cranking out replica radios. The company has replica Wurlitzer-style jukeboxes that play music from CDs or iPods. “What really rolls out the door is the turntables, that has been a runaway train,” said James P. LeMastus, president of Crosley.

The company has had a hit with the Crosley AV Room Portable USB turntable, made exclusively for the youth-oriented clothing chain Urban Outfitters.

The $US160 portable player has built-in speakers and an amp, and a USB connection so it can be used with a computer to turn songs on vinyl records into MP3s. The company makes about 25 styles of turntables, some with iPod docks and CD and cassette tape players and recorders. They can be found at stores including Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn and online.

The Yeti from Blue Microphones may look like something from the golden age of radio, but it is the first THX-certified microphone, meaning it is capable of high-fidelity reproduction. While it looks as if it belongs on the desk of Walter Winchell, it has three built-in miniature mics that can capture sound three ways: from just in front of the mic, in stereo or from an entire room.

The Yeti works on PCs and Macs and requires no software drivers to work, although there is a free recording program for it in the iTunes store. Good enough to record your band’s demo, the $150 mic is also popular with podcasters and VoiP users who want to sound as smooth as Orson Wells.

The X-Tube looks like a vacuum tube from inside an old radio that would have broadcast Wells. It’s really a small processor that plugs into a computer through a USB connection to produce surround sound for headphones. The warm glow? A blue LED light.

The device processes DTS Surround Sensation software to alter the volume of certain frequencies and add delays to some sounds, all psychoacoustic tricks to fool the brain into perceiving sound as coming not just from left and right, but from the front and back as well. The device, which comes with over-the-ear headphones, isn’t easy to find in the United States, but can be ordered from Japan for about $US95.

Sometimes, retro designers cloak the electronics in something other than older electronics. Makers of laptop covers usually brag about the high-tech materials they use: high-impact plastics, advanced neoprenes or carbon fiber. Twelve South brags that its MacBook Pro and iPad cases use old-fashioned bookbinding technology. The covers are leather-bound and distressed to look like a collectible volume. The cases have a hard cover on top and bottom, with a zipper around the center to keep your computer secure.

The BookBook covers are priced at $US80 to $US100, depending on the size of your computer. The company says the covers disguise the device inside and could deter thieves — unless they know that many collectible books are worth far more than the next new thing.

The New York Times

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


FBI issues cybercrime alert

over Barbie doll with hidden camera

December 8, 2010 – 8:42AM
Barbie... now with built-in camera, casing privacy concerns.Barbie… now with built-in camera, casing privacy concerns.

The FBI has issued a cybercrime alert on a new Barbie doll that comes with a hidden video camera.

Mattel’s Barbie Video Girl has a video camera lens built into its necklace that can record up to 30 minutes of footage to be downloaded on a computer.

Officials warn that it could possibly be used to produce child pornography, but say they don’t have any reported crimes. 

The FBI’s Sacramento office issued a report with the warning on the doll last month.

FBI spokesman Steve Dupre says the alert was inadvertently sent to the media but was meant for law enforcement agencies advising them not to overlook the doll during any searches.

A Mattel spokeswoman says the FBI has confirmed no reported incidents of using the doll for criminal activity.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Smart Tape Like Gecko Feet

Posted on January 30, 2008 by dikidee

gecko feet

Inspired by the gecko feet, University of California, Berkeley have created a new kind of tape.

Conventional adhesive tape sticks when pressed on a surface. A new gecko-inspired synthetic adhesive (GSA) does not stick when it is pressed into a surface, but instead sticks when it slides on the surface. A similar directional adhesion effect allows real geckos to run up walls while rapidly attaching and detaching toes. The gecko-inspired adhesive uses hard plastic microfibers. The plastic is not itself sticky, but the millions of microscopic contacts work together to adhere. The number of contacts automatically increases to handle higher loads. A feature of the hard plastic gecko-inspired adhesive is that no residue is left on surfaces as is left by conventional adhesive tapes.

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Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha