India's largest car manufacturer has signed a deal to create a production version of the MiniC.A.T. air-powered (sort of) car. The vehicle is small, light, cheap to build and cheap to run, and the engine uses compressed to drive each of the cylinders. A reserve tank is used to store the compressed air to drive the engine, giving you an effective range of between 200 and 300km. The tank is either refilled in about 3 minutes at a service station equipped with a high-pressure air pump, or the tank can be refilled in less than 4 hours by plugging it into an outlet. The top speed is only 68-km/hr so it is only useful for in-city driving. You can find out more about it at http://www.theaircar.com/ which is being marketed as a pollution-free alternative to standard automobiles.
Source: PC World
A German company is offering a unique solution to the fire risk of hot server rooms: reduced oxygen atmosphere. Normally the air we breath at near sea level contains approximately 21 percent oxygen, but wood fires cannot burn when the oxygen content falls below 17%, and plastic cease burning at 16%. Meanwhile, humans can function in as little as 15% oxygen so one trick that is being employed is to replace enough oxygen with nitrogen to keep the (sealed) server room at at around 15% oxygen. One way to do this is to use a fuel cell to remove excess oxygen from the air and generate electricity as a side benefit.
Some non-profit and government groups are looking for a new type of donation: unused patents. The idea is that patents that have been sitting idle in a company's holdings can be given to entrepreneurs who attempt to create new businesses out of them. Apparently, 90 to 95% of all US patents are currently sitting idle. In some cases, the donating company receives a share of any profits that the new company earns, while in others they receive grants and other incentives that immediately benefit the donating company.
Source: Information Week
A case is currently in the courts between a Colorado resident and the web crawler Archie to determine if the webcrawler's inclusion of her public data in its search constituted a breach of contract, even through the automated system is incapable of comprehending the legal notice she placed on her website. If the case goes in her favour, search engines like Google will need to obtain permission before obtaining any information from a site in which a person places a contract agreement notification. The key question in the case is whether posting the notice constituted a "meaningful opportunity to review the terms" of the agreement.
Source: ABC Science News
Australian researches have developed a dress made from fermented wine. Normally when wine turns to vinegar, a rubbery layer of cellulose is produced. The scientists removed the material as it formed and layered it over an inflated human doll. When complete, the doll is deflated and the dress is ready for use. One catch: they have to be kept wet, otherwise they tear like tissue paper. They hope to find a way to polymerize the short chains produced in the vat to long chains that will withstand daily wear.
Kodak has developed a type of RFID that can be safely ingested. Coated in a soft gelatin, they stop working after a predefined period of time when they become exposed to gastric juices. While active, the person who ingested them sits next to a transmitter/receiver to determine where the RFID is in the gastric tract.
Source: American Inventor Spot
When you think of vibrators, shoes are the last thing that come to mind. Enter the Good Vibrations Therapeutic Vibrating Shoes that can buzz away sore feet by vibrating at high frequency for up to five hours. The $60(US) shoes are rechargeable and made flexible enough to fit men or women with a wide variety of foot shapes.
Source: Coolest Gadgets
I previously reported on this interesting (yet creepy) video camera clock, but what I missed on my previous read is that the device uses the household power lines to transmit video back to the PC.
Tired of wrecking furniture with your Wii-toys? Nerf is offering soft, foamy versions of those hard, plastic Wii attachments, rendering the safe for energetic Wii-athletes.
This notepad serves double-duty as a good, old-fashioned pen-and-paper notepad, but what you write can be stored in the pen's onboard memory. This $160(US) device can store up to 100 pages and is USB compatible.
Source: CBC News
Thanks to ancalagon_tb for alerting me to this story. Researchers in the US have discovered a new way to catch virus attacks by monitoring the rate at which similar packets are sent from a host computer. If many similar packets are sent, the channel is shut down and the packets analyzed to determine if this is, indeed, a virus attack. If the packets are cleared, then the transmission is allowed to proceed.
Source: Sci Fi Tech
Cyclone is a tall class column which contains a tall, dancing flames, real flames. Think of it as a fireplace with 360-degree visibility. The price tag is a cool $3,800(US), so you may want to be rich enough to burn money in those columns.
Source: Technology Review
Stanford researchers plan to model the cerebral cortex in silicon. The system is based on transistors that mimic the behaviour of neurons, a process called neuromorphing. The artificial cortex will consist of 16 chips, each containing a 256x256 array of artificial neurons. The resulting system is expected to have an equivalent processing speed of 300 teraflops, allowing them to perform experiments in real-time that would take days to simulate in software.
Source: Coolest Gadgets
Johnson Tiles allows you to imprint digital images, or any portion thereof, onto tiles for things like kitchens, bathrooms and swimming pools. The tiles are fade and scratch resistant.
Bonsai sandals are covered with sheepskin to keep your feet warm in the winter and cool in the summer. They're $35(US) a pair, but what price happy feet?
Source: Defence Tech
British SAS troops are expanding the functionality of their WASP micro-spy planes by loading them with C4. The US Air Force, meanwhile, plans to go one better by using a swarm of them to attack vehicles or structures.
Source: National Post
Telus is the first phone company to offer access to pornographic videos and pictures as part of their cell phone service. Only in Canada'r, eh? Pity.
Apparently Google maps pixelates out facilities that are considered "high risk. For example, the Operational Nuclear Research facility at the University of Massachusetts shows up as a blur. Here's a project: see if you can find any other pixelated sites.
Source: ABC News
An Israeli inventor has a novel idea for getting the flying car out of science fiction and into regular use: use them for emergency vehicles. They key, he says, is that a flying car (or equivalent) has the maneuverability of a helicopter but the rotors are enclosed so are less prone to damage. This makes them, and in particular his design, better suited to situations like saving people from the top of burning skyscrapers and saving those trapped behind enemy lines. The only drawback is that the rotors are smaller so these vehicles use 50% more fuel than a traditional helicopter. There is more information in his vehicle here.
Although it may be contrary to logic, making polymer nanofibers thinner may actually make them stronger. Specifically, at a diameter about 100 times thinner than a human hair these fibers suddenly become much stiffer. If they could be mass produced at this diameter, the fibers could be used to make much stronger fabrics that are thinner and lighter than possible today.
The US military has been testing what they refer to as an active denial system for "safely" dispursing crowds. It consists of a beam of millimetre length electromagnetic waves that penetrate less than 1/64 of an inch into skin. The effect is to active pain sensors in the skin as they heat, causing the person to feel as if they are on fire (which, technically is true, given that the nerves are actually being heated). Experiments have been underway for quite some time (since prior to 2003), the most recent and public being a demonstration of how if forces a crowd of soldiers to disperse. Earlier experiments consisted of a series of 14 tests on humans that examine things like the effects of alcohol intoxication on people subjected to this beam and the effectiveness of sunblock. The system is expected to be in use by 2010. (Thanks to ancalagon_tb for reminding me to post this)
Source: BBC News
Speaking of experimental crowd-control weapons, the US military is exploring the idea of creating a polymer-based artificial black ice, what they refer to as a Mobility Control System. They are looking for a material that can be sprayed into an area, dry quickly, and be cleaned up easily. Plans include using a "reversal agent" on boots and tyres so that "friendly" forces will not be slowed.
Source: Coolest Gadgets
This personal hovercraft will whizz you along at a blistering 15 mph (ok, maybe not blistering, more like lukewarm). Yours for only $15,000(US).
Source: Coolest Gadgets
Yet another example of our disposable society. These biodegradable cotton underpants are meant to be discarded after use.
Source: Coolest Gadgets
Strange though this looks, this device uses the heat of your break to warm your inbreaths, as well as your face and neck.