A robotic newspaper-storage locker, an electronic fork, and shoes that track your dance moves
This image shows the massive scale of the soon-to-be-completed Newspaper Storage Building at Boston Spa, in West Yorkshire, England. The building will serve as the central repository for the British Library’s collection, which includes more than 300 years of print newspapers. The 64- by 24- by 24-meter space will be outfitted with robotic shelving, so no human will ever have to go inside. To keep the newsprint from degrading or catching fire, there will be close monitoring of temperature, humidity, light, and oxygen levels.
Photo: Anna Gowthorpe/Press Association/AP Photo
Hapilabs’ Hapifork helps to change the habits of people who eat too rapidly. This is important, clinicians say, because eating slowly helps prevent indigestion and overeating. The Hapifork tracks how long it takes to finish a meal, the intervals between forkfuls, and how many forkfuls you take per minute. An LED on the fork lights up and the utensil vibrates if you don’t allow at least 10 seconds between forkfuls. The fork, which will be available this spring for US $99, comes with a smartphone app for checking your progress and a coaching program.
Now you can play the immensely popular video game series Dance Dance Revolution anywhere. A group of graduate students at National Cheng Kung University, in Taiwan, have created an electronic add-on that turns any shoe into a “smart shoe” capable of sensing movement so there’s no need for an electronic dance floor. It works with an app on either a smartphone or tablet computer to monitor and display dance moves as well as the number of calories burned.
Photo: Pichi Chuang/Reuters
Quick—what country is the world’s leading wind and hydropower energy producer? Bet you didn’t guess China. The photo shows the country’s most well-known renewable energy project, the Three Gorges Dam. Electricity is generated as water from the Yangtze River rushes through the dam, the world’s largest capacity hydroelectric plant, at Yichang, in Hubei province.
Photo: Imaginechina/AP Photo
Thirteen-year-old Gregory Hoffman, who received an iPhone as a Christmas gift, holds the contract his mother drew up that governs his use of the smartphone. The contract’s 18 points demand that he share passwords with a parent, answer his or her calls, avoid hurtful texts, and pay to replace the phone if it’s lost or damaged. The agreement predicts: “You will mess up. I will take away your phone. We will sit down and talk about it. We will start over again.”
Photo: Michael Dwyer/AP Photo
Yan Ching-hong, a quadriplegic patient, is shown browsing the Internet using a pacifier-shaped switch invented by Luo Ching-hsing, a professor at National Cheng Kung University, in Taiwan. The switch, which connects to the computer via a USB port, uses Morse code to translate long and short presses into keyboard commands. Ching-hong has become so adept that he can type out messages to his Facebook friends at a speed of 50 words per minute.
Photo: Pichi Chuang/Reuters
In the wake of the 14 December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Miguel Caballero, the Colombian company known for making bulletproof clothing for heads of state, unveiled a children’s line that includes a protective vest and backpack. Here, a worker at the company uses software to design the bulletproof togs.
Photo: John Vizcaino/Reuters
On 20 December, when this train made its first trip along a brand new, 20.2-kilometer section of the Chongqing rail line, which links Shapingba and Daxuecheng, it became the first in China to conserve energy with regenerative braking. Light-rail trains on this line are also the first Chinese metro trains to tip the scales at less than 35 metric tons.
Photo: Liu Chan/Xinhua/Landov
This pod is a module of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, scheduled for test launch aboard a Delta IV Heavy rocket in 2014. Technicians at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, in Florida, prepare it for the addition of a component that will enable more precise prelaunch checks of the spacecraft’s systems.
This pair of room-cleaning robots at Johns Hopkins Hospital, in Baltimore, doesn’t dust or mop. One robot saturates the air inside the room with a highly concentrated version of hydrogen peroxide. Once the chemical—which is toxic to humans—has done its job, the other robot releases a catalyst that turns it into water. The process dramatically decreases the likelihood of a patient having to battle drug-resistant bacteria while in the hospital.
Photo: Algerina Perna/Baltimore Sun/Getty Images
Powering this government office building in Huzhou, China, with green energy was not a token gesture. Nearly 1650 photovoltaic panels, covering an area of more than 5000 square meters, have been installed on its roof. The solar panels generate an estimated 320 000 kilowatt-hours of energy each year.