This Bionic Arm Prototype Comes with a Phone Charger, Torch and Even a Drone

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Four years ago, when London resident James Young suffered a freak accident that left him with an “ugly- peach-colored and obvious” prosthetic arm and leg, little did he know that he would soon become ‘part cyborg’ in a one-of-a-kind experiment that would give him a prototype bionic arm. His new, futuristic-looking arm feels realistic, and in some ways is even better than a real one. It comes equipped with several cool features like a torch, a USB port, a laser light, and even a drone!

James’s life would never be the same after that fateful day in May 2012, when he was about to board a Docklands Light Railway train in East London. He happened to be walking too close to the platform when he extended his arm to push the button to open the doors, and the momentum of the moving train made him spin and lose balance. He slipped and fell between two carriages. James has no memory of the incident, but he’s been able to piece everything together using CCTV footage.

“My friends looked round and couldn’t see me,” he said. “The train stopped and my friends got on it and pulled the alarm. Two men helped them to look for me. The guy who found me, David Kelly, climbed under the train and talked to me to keep me conscious.” James was then airlifted to the Royal London Hospital where he was kept in an induced coma for 12 days. His left arm was badly damaged, while his left leg was severed below the knee during the accident. Eventually, surgeons were forced to amputate his arm as well, and perform 12 other operations to rebuild his badly damaged face and body.

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This Revolutionary Earpiece Translates Foreign Languages in Real Time

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Translation technology has just reached a whole new level with ‘Pilot’ – the world’s first smart earpiece that can translate foreign languages in real time. So two people who speak different languages can actually understand each other using Pilot, and engage in a normal conversation.

Developed by New York-based Waverly Labs, Pilot is a three-part system – two small Bluetooth earbuds, one for each interlocutor, and a smartphone app doing the actual translation. So you and this other person speak normally – each in your own language – and the Waverly Labs app translates and sends a voice with the other person’s speech to the earpiece. There will obviously be some delay, so it’s not exactly real time, but it’s pretty close. The initial version will support a number of European languages (English, Spanish, French, Italian). Other languages, like Hindi, Semitic, East Asian, Arabic, Slavic, and African will be included in subsequent versions, but you’ll have to pay for them, unless you preorder the system.

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Catterbox – A Smart Collar That Translates Cat Meows into Human Speech

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Cat lovers of the world, rejoice! You finally have the chance to understand what your pet is saying thanks to a smart collar that can interpret feline meows and translate it into human speech. Aptly named ‘Catterbox’, the collar supposedly has a digital sensor that detects meows, and uses a special program to decipher the meaning behind them.

Developed by London ad agency adam&eveDDB, for Temptations cat treats, the invention comes preloaded with a dictionary of cat purrs, meows, and several other sounds to make the interpretation as accurate as possible. “We’re fascinated by cats, so we set out on a mission to get to know them better,” said Pete Simmons, global brand director of Temptations.

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Smart Umbrella Lets You Know It’s Going to Rain Half an Hour in Advance

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Giving Mary Poppins’s magic umbrella some serious competition is the all new high-tech ‘Oombrella’ – not only can it predict the weather, it’s also impossible to lose. The smart umbrella syncs with a smartphone app, sending users updates about weather conditions 30 minutes in advance, and reminders if they happen to leave the device behind. And here’s the added bonus – it won’t ever flip inside-out.

Designed by French company Wezzoo, the rainbow-colored Oombrella comes in two versions – classic and modern. The classic is 3.1-ft long with a curved handle, while the modern version is 0.8-ft long with a straight handle. The company describes the device as a ‘portable weather station’, made of a reflective surface with built in sensors that record real-time data such as light, humidity, pressure, and temperature. The Oombrella collects and processes this data as well as information from a social media community before sending out alerts about when it’s going to start raining.

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Free Robot Lawyer Created by 19-Year-Old Programmer Is Saving People A Lot of Money in Legal Fees

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British programmer Joshua Browder is helping people save  a lot of money on legal fees with his latest project – the world’s first robot lawyer. The 19-year-old developed a free service that allows users to ask any kind of legal question and receive relevant answers autogenerated by bots.

Browder first started the project last summer as a free website to help people appeal unfair parking tickets. He came up with the idea after getting a series of tickets himself for “trivial reasons”. Having wasted several hours on writing appeals to these tickets, he realised that many people do not have the time, legal knowledge or even the energy to appeal. So he decided to create an automatic appeal generator, using previously successful letters as a template. He aptly named the service DoNotPay, given that the legal fees involved in challenging tickets could mount up to  sizable amounts between $400 to $900.

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Researchers Create Transparent Wood That Could One Day Replace Glass in Windows

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It may seem inconceivable, but believe it or not, there really is such a thing as transparent wood. After decades of work, scientists at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm have finally managed to create a viable material that, if mass produced, holds the potential to revolutionize architecture and solar technology.

According to researchers, transparent wood is a low-cost, renewable resource, which can help reduce the cost of indoor lighting and can even be used to make solar-cell windows. It can also be used to make ‘privacy windows’ that let the light in while maintaining semi-transparency.

“Transparent wood is a good material for solar cells, since it’s a low-cost, readily available and renewable resource,” said Lars Berglund, a professor at KTH’s Wallenberg Wood Science Center. “This becomes particularly important in covering large surfaces with solar cells.”

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Researcher Creates Necklace That Counts Calories By Listening to You Chew

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A computer scientist from the University at Buffalo, New York, has come up with a unique way of keepting track of consumed calories. Instead of writing down every single meal you’ve eaten, you just put on a choker-style necklace that can determine your calorie intake based on the sounds you make when you chew!

The wearable tech device, known as AutoDietary, works on the simple idea that different foods make different sounds when chewed. So Wenyao Xu – the brains behind the innovative gadget – is currently creating a library that catalogs the biting, grinding, and swallowing sounds of different types of food. This library will be included in the app that supports the necklace Xu is developing in collaboration with researchers at China’s Northeastern University.

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Smart Textiles Company Creates World’s First Musical Tablecloth

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If you’ve secretly been perfecting your table drumming skills, now is the time to show off. Thanks to this unique musical tablecloth developed by Swedish company ‘Smart Textiles’, you can entertain your dinner guests with your musical prowess. The one-of-a-kind fabric has a drum kit and piano keys printed on it, which actually produce musical sounds when pressed!

Li Guo and Mats Johansson, the brains behind the company, explained that making a musical tablecloth is all about using sensors. While Mats is passionate about music, Li has a doctorate in textile sensors and is studying ways to integrate them into garments. So they put their heads together to combine Li’s research and Mat’s ideas, and came up with the innovative tablecloth.

“We wanted to combine sound and textiles and visualise the possibilities of textile sensors in a fun way,” Mats said. “Since I’m interested in music, we decided to create a musical tablecloth.”

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Domino’s Debuts World’s First Pizza Delivery Robot

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Domino’s is taking pizza delivery to the next level by introducing the world’s first pizza delivery robot in Australia. ‘Domino’s Robotic Unit’ (DRU) is a three-foot tall, 450-pound robot that can self-drive at 12.4 miles an hour from a Domino’s to any location within a 20-kilometer radius.

The robotic unit consists of a battery-powered heated compartment that can keep up to 10 pizzas warm, and a chilled compartment for cold drinks. The water-tight, weather-proof acrylic plastic exterior and aluminum and mild steel interior will keep food safe, while LIDAR laser-light sensors located within the unit will help the robot detect obstacles on his route. To prevent thefts, customers can only access their pizzas by entering a unique code into the pizza compartment. DRU can drive on roads as well as pavements, and is programmed to promptly return to the store for recharging after all deliveries are complete.

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Chinese Women Are Going Crazy Over This $1,400 Camera That’s Literally Made for Selfies

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Casio’s latest offering, the Exilim EX-TR70, is priced at a whopping $1,399! That’s rather steep for a compact camera, but the price tag is justified by its unbelievable selfie-friendly features. Targeted mainly at Chinese women who are obsessed with taking photos of themselves and sharing them online, the camera is expected to earn the Japanese company a $403 million profit this year.

The new TR70 is a third generation Exilim, a line of unusually shaped cameras that are specifically made for selfies. Right from the physical features to the UI, these cameras are streamlined to help the user click the perfect pic of their face every time. The hinged frame helps the device support itself, so it can easily be placed on any surface to face the subject. It offers several ways to actually click a picture, including squeezing the body, using the ‘selfie pad’ on the side, using a countdown self-timer, placing the hand on a certain part of the frame to be detected by the camera, and by touching the 3” LCD.

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Bicycle Washing Machine Will Clean Your Clothes While You Exercise

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Laundry workouts might soon be the new fitness trend, thanks to a new invention by a group of students at China’s Dalian National University. They’ve created a washer that’s powered by a stationary bike, and they’re calling in ‘b.w.m’ (short for Bike Washing Machine).

“Riding a bike is a popular exercise, washing laundry is something that you might do on a daily basis or at least once a week, so why not combine them into a single useful equipment/appliance,” the makers wrote on Tuvie, a blog dedicated to tech innovations.

The clothes fit into a large drum positioned at the bottom of the stationary exercise bike “When you ride this bike, the pedaling motion causes the drum of the washing machine to rotate, at the same time, the superfluous electricity is generated which can be used to power the display screen or stored for future use.”

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World’s Cheapest Smartphone – Indian Company Launches $3.67 Handheld

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Indian company Ringing Bells is making waves in the tech industry with its latest product, the ridiculously cheap ‘Freedom 251’ smartphone priced at an unbelievable 251 rupees ($3.67).

Despite the phone’s low price, the company is promising a host of swanky features like 8GB storage, 8MP and 3.2MP primary and secondary cameras, pattern lock with face detection, 5-inch touch screen, 1080p video support, bluetooth, and of course, 3G support. “We will be the first Indian company to offer an incredible smartphone at a highly affordable price,” the Ringing Bells website states, adding that the phone will work on a “no-frills” platform that’s a “minimalistic and lightweight take on the Android 5.1 Lollipop operating system.”

According to a Ringing Bells spokesperson, the company believes that the phone – strongly resembling Apple’s iPhone 4 – will “bring a revolution” in the industry. While the initial promise was to price the phone under 500 rupees ($7.3), the actual cost was revealed at the launch event last Wednesday, creating a global stir. The high profile event conducted in Delhi was attended by members of the Indian Parliament and other state level leaders. The website went live for pre-orders the next day, but with 600,000 hits per second their website crashed within a few hours and they were forced to close bookings. The company later revealed that they received 37 million orders on Day 1 and 24.7 million on Day 2. They are now promising to deliver the devices to all their customers within four months.

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This Rock Is Actually Fire-Powered Wi-Fi Router

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At first glance, this rock, placed strategically in a small clearing in the woods part of an outdoor museum in Germany, seems like an ordinary boulder. But a closer look will reveal that the inconspicuous 1.5-ton boulder is far from ordinary. It’s actually an art installation with a fire-powered WiFi router and USB drive hidden inside!

Created by Berlin artist Aram Bartholl, the rock, named ‘Keepalive’, tries to highlight the contrast between ancient and modern survival techniques. Bartholl revealed that his inspiration to merge the concepts of primitive and modern survival came from the sight of people selling BioLite stoves during Hurricane Sandy. In the absence of electricity, people were actually using the flame-powered stoves to power their devices and stay connected. “It was funny – the power goes out, and people would buy these little stoves and make a fire to charge their phone,” he said.

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Google Engineer Turns His Bathroom Mirror into Futuristic High-Tech Device

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When you’re an engineer at Google, you really don’t need to wait around for someone else to invent the products you want to use. Max Braun, for instance, went ahead and made a smart-mirror for his bathroom, using simple, easily available supplies. The otherwise rudimentary accessory has now become a notification center of sorts, displaying the time, date, weather forecast, and latest news headlines.

Remember the smart mirror that greeted Arnold Schwarzenegger and showed him his daily schedule in the 2000 sci-fi flick The 6th Day? Well, like other futuristic inventions showcased in movies, it has become a real thing. And it turns out that all there is to it is the smart use of a two-way mirror, a display panel and a controller board among a few other secondary components and arts & crafts supplies. Braun has provided links to all the supplies he used, and also a brief description of the build process, but in a nut shell the display behind the two-way mirror is connected to an Amazon Fire TV Stick, using a mini controller board. The Fire TV Stick runs the software, while the board is also connected to a power button and green LED.

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Self-Filling Fontus Bottle Converts Air into Drinkable Water

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Producing water out of thin air used to sound like magic, but thanks to modern technology, this ‘spell’ is becoming available to everyone. Fontus, a $100 solar-powered device can pull moisture from the air and condense it into potable water.

Fontus is the brainchild of Vienna-based designer Kristof Retezár. It works on the simple principle of condensation, just like the droplets of water that collect on the sides of a cold soda can when you take it out of the fridge. But the Fontus can collect a lot more water than that, because it uses thermoelectric cooling. A condensator in the device is connected to a series of hydrophobic surfaces that repel water. So when it takes in air, these surfaces get cold, leaving behind condensation.

“Because they’re hydrophobic, they immediately repel the condensed water that they created, so you get a drop flow [into the bottle],” Retezár explains.

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