A bendable display, a rocket-powered bicycle, and a gun that fires only for its owner
In January, the first production-ready display that you can bend and twist—and perhaps roll up and stick in your pocket—was, well, put on display at Plastic Logic’s production facility in Dresden, Germany. The monochrome panel, essentially an array of organic thin-film transistors sandwiched between pieces of plastic, will be used as e-paper and also as screens on a variety of mobile devices, the company says.
Photo: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters
Researchers are looking to create bespoke handguns by equipping pistols with sensors meant to distinguish the owner’s grip from that of an unauthorized would-be shooter. On this weapon, being given the high-tech treatment by a group at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, transducers will detect the owner’s grasp.
Photo: NJIT/AP Photo
Many teens who perform jumps, flips, and other stunts on their bicycles dream of ramping up their antics by going just a little faster and flying a little higher. But 19-year-old Raul Oaida of Deva, Romania, stopped dreaming and set about building a jet engine for his bike. The three-year project culminated in January with Oaida reaching a top speed of 42 kilometers per hour during a test run.
Photo: Radu Sigheti/Reuters
The superhuman bionic man from the TV show “Six Million Dollar Man” was a cyborg, a human fitted out with souped-up replacement parts. But that was fiction. Rex, billed as “the world’s first complete bionic man,” is just the parts. It has prosthetic limbs, a functional artificial circulatory system, and artificial organs, such as a pancreas, kidney, and spleen. The humanoid, which cost US $1 million, is currently on display at the Science Museum in London.
Photo: Andrew Cowie/AFP/Getty Images
No one needs to tell you how debilitating jet lag can be. But what if you could hack your body clock so that your internal alertness setting reflected the time zone you’re currently in? The makers of Re-Timer goggles claim that the 500-nanometer green light beamed at the wearer’s eyes can do just that by mimicking the effects of sunlight. The unit sells for about US $280.
Photo: Steve Marcus/Reuters
Is death a good reason not to keep up with today’s hottest music? For Fredrik Hjelmquist, designer of the CataCoffin, a coffin outfitted with a sound system, the answer is a rhythmic, pulsating, polyphonic no. Hjelmquist, who makes his living selling music and video equipment, hopes to convince grieving relatives that having the ability to deejay the deceased’s afterlife via an Internet connection would be comforting.
Photo: Ints Kalnins/Reuters
When this turbine inside the Furnas hydroelectric dam in São José da Barra, Brazil, was taken out of service in January, it wasn’t missed. A severe drought in the region has left water levels there so low that the hydroelectric power plant has been operating at 15 percent of its capacity. Despite the dearth of water, Brazil’s energy crunch is not as bad as it could have been, because dozens of new thermoelectric facilities carry some of the load.
Photo: Paulo Whitaker/Reuters
If you’re in Paris and need a ride, you can use your smartphone to reserve a chauffeur-driven car from services like Chauffeur-Privé, whose app includes a map that shows where the available cars are. Once you’ve selected a car and entered your destination, the app gives you the price up front and lets you pay with a single click.
Photo: Pierre Verdy/AFP/Getty Images
In January, researchers at the National Chung Hsing University, in Taichung, Taiwan, announced that they had successfully cloned two miniature pigs using a new technology called oocyte bisection. They used the technique, which costs one-sixth as much as the traditional method and requires one-third of the manpower, to produce two litters of piglets; two of those pigs subsequently gave birth to new litters.
Boeing’s Phantom Eye drone, pictured here during testing in February at Edwards Air Force Base, in California, runs on liquid hydrogen. The ultraefficient unmanned aircraft carries enough fuel to stay in the air and monitor large areas for four days at a time.