Technology

Bicycle Bottle System Condenses Humidity From Air Into Drinkable Water

Drinkable waterThe weight of water limits how much can be brought on a long bike ride. There isn’t always an option to stop and fill up from a clean stream or drinking fountain, but water could be obtained from a different source: the air. Austrian industrial design student Kristof Retezár has created Fontus: a prototype of a water bottle system that condenses humid air into clean, drinkable water. His design made him a finalist for the 2014 James Dyson Award.

The Fontus attaches to the bicycle frame and consists of a condenser unit and a bottle for collection. There is a solar panel on top of the unit that powers the condenser. As the motion of the bike causes air to blow into a channel, the moist air is cooled, causing it to condense. The droplets roll back down the condensing unit, collecting in a water bottle mounted underneath.

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Lapka Bam Breathalyzer

The Lapka BAM($200) is a breathalyzer. It measures the amount of alcohol in your blood through your breath and connects with your phone to give you a reading. The elegant Breathalyzer fits in your palm and doesn´t require a mouthpiece, and take a deep breath and blow into it for 4 seconds. And the design is a super minimalist black ceramic cylinder. The result will be be wirelessly transmitted to your phone´s app, give you a reading.

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19-year-Old Inventor Finds Way to Clean Up the World’s Oceans in Under 5 Years Time

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Previously the idea of cleaning up the world’s oceans with their vast accumulations of disposed plastic material was considered an impossibility. Now a 19-year-old inventor says he and his foundation has a way to clean up the world’s oceans, and not only does he say we can do it, but that we can do it in five years time and produce a profit from it.

It is called the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ or sometimes the “Pacific Trash Vortex”, and it is a massive collection of plastic particles accumulating in the Pacific. Other oceans have their own collections of plastic wastes as well; furthermore, most of the debris in our oceans are plastic materials that accounts for approximately 90% of all the waste debris. (more…)

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Intel Is Reportedly Going To Destroy The Cable Model By Offering People The Ability To Subscribe To Individual Channels

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Intel is reportedly on the cusp of delivering something that consumers around the world have been wanting for a long, long time.

Kelly Clay at Forbes reports Intel is going to blow up the cable industry with its own set-top box and an unbundled cable service.

Clay says Intel is planning to deliver cable content to any device with an Internet connection. And instead of having to pay $80 a month for two hundred channels you don’t want, you’ll be able to subscribe to specific channels of your choosing.

Here’s the key paragraph:

This set-top box, said by industry insiders to be available to a limited beta of customers in March, will offer cable channels delivered “over the top” to televisions anywhere there is an Internet connection regardless of provider. (Microsoft Mediaroom, for example, requires AT&T’s service, and Xbox has limited offerings for Comcast and FiOS customers). For the first time, consumers will be able to subscribe to content per channel, unlike bundled cable services, and you may also be able to subscribe per show as well. Intel’s set-top box will also have access to Intel’s already existing app marketplace for apps, casual games, and video on demand. Leveraging the speed of current broadband, and the vast shared resources of the cloud, Intel plans to give customers the ability to use “Cloud DVR”, a feature intended to allow users to watch any past TV show at any time, without the need to record it ahead of time, pause live tv, and rewind shows in progress.

This is a holy-grail of sorts for people that subscribe to cable.

We’ve been skeptical of Intel’s ability to make a dent in the TV market. If it somehow manages to deliver this unbundled channel option, we’re more optimistic Intel could have success.

Before anyone gets too excited, Janko Roettgers at GigaOm is skeptical it happens. Roettgers knows the TV business very well.

The reason its unlikely to happen is that content companies don’t really want to see cable blown up. It’s been very good to them.

Last summer, Peter Kafka at All Things D poured cold water on the idea of Intel unbundling. Not only is going to be hard to make it happen, it’s unclear if it would even save money for cable subscribers:

Those bundles are core to today’s TV ecosystem. And the TV guys insist that consumers really don’t want “a la carte” programming, because if they do, the channels/shows they like today will end up costing much, much more.

Disney, for instance, charges TV distributors about $5 for every subscriber that gets ESPN. And, by some estimates, only about 25 percent of cable customers actually watch ESPN on a regular basis. So if you unbundled ESPN, the per-subscriber cost might shoot up to $20 or more, to account for the 75 percent drop in its customer base.

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Taiwan Engineers Defeat Limits of Flash Memory

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(Phys.org)—Taiwan-based Macronix has found a solution for a weakness in flash memory fadeout. A limitation of flash memory is simply that eventually it cannot be used; the more cells in the memory chips are erased, the less useful to store data. The write-erase cycles degrade insulation; eventually the cell fails. “Flash wears out after being programmed and erased about 10,000 times,” said the IEEE Spectrum. Engineers at Macronix have a solution that moves flash memory over to a new life. They propose a “self-healing” NAND flash memory solution that can survive over 100 million cycles. Ads by Google Roark Management – Computer Support & Repair Small Business Technology Solutions – www.RoarkInc.com News of their findings appears in the IEEE Spectrum, discussing flash memory’s limitations and the Taiwan company’s solution. Macronix is a manufacturer in the Non-Volatile Memory (NVM) market, with a NOR Flash, NAND Flash, and ROM products. Before their solution announcement, though, many engineers inside and outside of Macronix were aware of a life-giving workaround: heat. The snag is that applying heat was not found to be practical. As the Macronix team put it, the “long baking time is impractical for real time operation.” Although subjecting the cells to high heat could return memory, the process was problematic; the entire memory chip would need heating for hours at around 250 °C.
 They redesigned a flash memory chip to include onboard heaters to anneal small groups of memory cells. Applying a brief jolt of heat to a very restricted area within the chip (800 degrees C) returns the cell to a “good” state. They said that the process does not have to be run all that often. According to project member Hang‑Ting Lue, the annealing can be done infrequently and on one sector at a time while the device is inactive but still connected to the power source. It would not drain a cellphone battery, he added.
 Macronix estimates that the flash memory cells could beat the 10,000 cycle limit by lasting for as much as for 100 million cycles but a commercial product is not imminent. Instead, Macronix will present their approach—very high temperature in a very short time— this month at the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) from December 10 to 12 in San Francisco. This is the forum for presenting breakthroughs in semiconductor and electronic device technology. Lue observed that in coming up with the approach, his team would not be able to lay claim to any new physics principle. “We could have done this ten years ago.” He said it took merely a leap of imagination into a different “regime.” For their upcoming IEEE presentation, they said they propose and demonstrate a novel self-healing flash, where a high temperature (>800°C), and short time annealing are generated by a built-in heater. “We discover that a BE-SONOS charge-trapping NAND Flash device can be quickly annealed within a few milliseconds,” they said. Their presentation is titled “Radically Extending the Cycling Endurance of Flash Memory (to > 100M Cycles) by Using Built-in Thermal Annealing to Self-heal the Stress-Induced Damage.” The authors are H.-T. Lue, P.-Y. Du, C.-P. Chen, W.-C. Chen, C.-C. Hsieh, Y.-H. Hsiao, Y.-H. Shih, and C.-Y. Lu.

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popSLATE – Second Screen Smart Case for Your iPhone 5

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The Second Screen Experience for your iPhone 5

popSLATE is an E-Ink screen in an iPhone 5 case. That means it’s low-power, always-on, super-readable in direct sunlight, and totally customizable. It’s a blank slate you can populate with the images you love. Now you can express yourself to the world, share cool stuff with friends, and always have your favorite app functionality at a glance.

Express Yourself

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Camera to Pop

You can Pop just about anything to the back of your phone. Snap a picture. Grab images on the Web. Take iPhone screenshots. Plug in to your other photo sharing platforms, like Instagram. Receive pictures from friends. You can Pop ‘em one by one, or quickly set up a slideshow.

Always-On Productivity

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Don’t you hate it when your iPhone screen keeps turning off when you need to view something every few moments? Or, you’re in a meeting and need something important from your iPhone, but you just can’t get away with looking at it on the sly?

Since the popSLATE screen is ultra-low-power, it is always on. This opens up a bunch of possibilities. Urgent notifications, sports scores, maps, notes, calendar, talking points—you name it—will now be available at a glance.

Micro E-Reader

Kindle? iPhone? Who wants to carry both? Get a popSLATE instead. The E Ink screen is readable even in the brightest sunlight. Try doing that with your glossy LCD screen.

Open API

We will be developing an API to let you build always-on applications. With popSLATE you will be able to create entirely new ways for people to interact with the phone.

Share With Friends
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With the Popslate app, you can manage your digital image library, pass along cool things for your friends to Pop, and plug in to your other photo sharing platforms, like Instagram.

How It All Works

The popSLATE case includes the latest, ruggedized, E-Ink screen, so it protects your iPhone just like any ‘dumb’ case. In fact the screen is nearly indestructible.

The screen only uses power when the image changes so it sips negligible power from the phone. We use the lightning connector for both power and data exchange. For shortcut navigation, we’re also integrating a tactile interface based upon the phone’s accelerometer. Double tap the back of your phone to cycle through images or accept Pops from your friends.

Then there’s popSLATE app on the iPhone side. You can take pictures with the camera, browse the image gallery, manage your library, connect with other users, send/receive images and messages, and Pop what you want, when you want it.

Specs

Screen: Ruggedized, 4” diagonal E-Ink screen

Case dimensions: 5.35” x 2.56” x 0.54”

Weight: <75 grams

Case Color: Black or White

Compatibility: iPhone 5



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