iCandy October 2010: Broadcasting Live From Above Your Ear
This month's images include a broadcast tower that fits in your pocket, an ear-mounted camcorder, and a plug-in solar motorcycle
Engineers have yet to devise an electronic replacement for hair stylists, but they have come up with a way to save time on your next visit to the salon. Panasonic has unveiled a prototype hair-washing machine that begins with a 3-D scan of the user’s head, then lathers, rinses, and repeats. Panasonic says the machine, which uses 16 mechanical fingers to massage in the shampoo and help wash it out, will be available for sale in 2012.
Photo: Yoshihazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images
You no longer have to wait until you get home to share the footage you’ve recorded with your video camera. With the MiniCaster from TV1, in Unterföhring, Germany, you can transmit video and audio directly from a camcorder to the Internet via landlines, cellular networks, or satellite. The device, which is about the size of a pack of cigarettes, encodes signals in several modes, including full HD.
Photo: TV1 GmbH/PRNewsFoto
The owner of this Suzuki GS 550 spent US $2500 replacing its gasoline engine and fuel tank with an electric motor, lead-acid batteries, and two sets of solar panels. When the bike is parked, the panels can be flipped up to capture the sun’s rays. The batteries, good enough for 38 kilometers on a single charge, can also be topped up from a wall socket.
Photo: John Terhune/Journal & Courier/AP Photo
More embarrassing moments and tragic events are bound to show up on YouTube or the local evening news with the introduction of Looxcie, a hands-free video camera that you wear over your ear. It stores up to 5 hours of video, and you can control it remotely with your smartphone. You can send the Looxcie’s MP4 video clips wirelessly or with a USB cable.
Photo: Kevin Thrash/Bloomberg/Getty Images
In early 2011, this motorized tricycle, designed by Japanese automotive design firm YDS for wheelchair users, will go on sale. The WCV (for “wheelchair vehicle”) can reach speeds of 30 kilometers per hour and will go about 50 km on a single charge of its lithium-ion battery pack. Throttle, brakes, and other functions of the vehicle, which will sell for US $6000, are all controlled by hand.
Photo: Yoshihazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images
This test dummy, in a lab at the Cleveland Clinic, is almost ready to take it on the chin. The sensor array mounted there is one of several that will quantify the amount of force endured by athletes in head-to-head collisions so that researchers can learn more about what causes concussions and other head and neck injuries on the playing field.
Photo: Mark Duncan/AP Photo
You’d think the twin electric motors that add a 120-kilowatt jolt to this race car’s 360-kW engine as it pulls off the line would be enough to leave competitors in the dust. But the Porsche 911 GT3 R hybrid also stores the energy from regenerative braking in a flywheel. The driver can draw the energy from this charge collector on demand to provide a turbo boost analogous to what nitrous oxide does for a combustion engine.
Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
Despite growing U.S. consumer demand for fuel-efficient hybrid electric vehicles, batteries capable of delivering the energy needed for these cars have been made almost entirely in Asia. U.S. government grants are changing that. These machines, which are fabricating components at A123 Systems’ lithium-ion automotive battery plant, in Livonia, Mich., were provided by US $250 million in economic stimulus grants.
Photo: Jeffrey Sauger/Bloomberg/Getty Images
It’s one thing to say your product is tough, but talk is cheap. Flash memory maker Kingston Digital, in Fountain Valley, Calif., is backing its claim with cash. It’s offering US $3000 to the person who comes up with the most inventive way to test the durability of its SSDNow line of memory devices. Contestants have until 5 November to devise a diabolical scheme for prematurely putting a memory module out to pasture.
Photo: Kingston Technology Co.
This wheelchair, created by Panasonic, converts to a bed so that elderly and disabled people will suffer fewer painful shifts that leave them at risk of falling or being dropped. With the Robotic Bed, the user can change modes from bed to wheelchair with voice commands; a joystick on the armrest controls where you go from there.