Tech for choosing wine, regrowing hair, or becoming a superhero
A futuristic skyscraper called the Bionic Arch will look something like this when it’s completed sometime in 2016. The 380-meter-tall tower, to be located in Taiwan, will feature sky gardens on each of its 23 floors. The plant life, in combination with built-in solar panels and wind turbines, will allow the building to clean the air inside and out, generate enough energy to meet its needs, and light the surrounding Taichung Gateway Park.
Photo:Image: Vincent Cellebaut/Rex Features/AP Photo
You may never be granted superpowers, but Firebox.com will at least let you have a superhero’s body—sort of. Submit front-facing and profile pictures of yourself and the company will use a 3-D printer to make a plastic model of your head that fits on a 17-centimeter-tall action figure of your choice.
Photo:Images: Firebox/Rex Features/AP Photo
In early March, a group of California high school students launched Camilla, the rubber chicken mascot of NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, into the stratosphere. The flight occurred at the height of a solar storm that sent a shower of high-energy protons toward Earth. Two radiation badges, four cameras, a cryogenic thermometer, and two GPS devices tracked the bird and delivered data on levels of radiation experienced by the flying fowl.
Photo: Rex Features/AP Photo
Ever wonder how automakers test their newest creations to see if they can stand up to what drivers put them through? One such proving ground is the Vienna Climatic Wind Tunnel, run by Rail Tec Arsenal. A Rail Tec employee is shown adjusting a measurement device inside the 100-meter-long wind tunnel, where temperatures can range from –45 °C up to 60 °C, wind speeds can reach 300 kilometers per hour, and vehicles can be pelted with rain, snow, or ice.
Photo: Lisi Niesner/Reuters
Researchers at the Tokyo University of Science have grown hair on hairless mice (such as the one pictured), by implanting follicles created from stem cells under the rodents’ skin. Great as that is for people with alopecia, the bigger news is that the scientists used adult stem cells. This opens the possibility that someday a patient’s own genetic material could be used to make replacement body parts.
Photo: Rex Features/AP Photo
If you’re not a wine connoisseur, Vinereco can help you choose the right bottle of wine for any occasion. The firm has created an interactive kiosk, called Max le Sommelier, that it says will help you select from a wineshop’s available options in 30 seconds. Just tell the kiosk what dish you’ll be serving, the color of wine you prefer, and how much you want to spend, and it will print a ticket to guide you to the shelf location of the recommendation.
Photo: Nicolas Tucat/AFP/Getty Images
Testing for esophageal cancer used to involve a lot of effort and cost; patients had to be sedated to undergo the procedure. But not anymore. Here, a doctor uses a transnasal flexible laryngoscope to examine the inside of a patient’s larynx. A light and video camera at the end of the flexible wand provide high-resolution views of the vocal folds. Going through the nose doesn’t incite the gag reflex, so the procedure can be done during an office visit without anesthesia.
Photo: Brendan McDermid/Reuters
Technicians install the S&C Electric Co.’s IntelliRupter PulseCloser on an overhead power line in Chattanooga, Tenn. The device is designed to limit overcurrent stress on distribution system components resulting from temporary faults. It verifies that the problem has been resolved before restoring power to a given section of the line. This precaution extends the life of transformers, connectors, lines, cables, and substation transformers.
Photo: S&C Electric Co./AP Photo
This is the future of traffic. The digital image is typical of what one of Google’s autonomous vehicles sees when it scans its surroundings. Earlier this month, the self-driven cars were approved for use on roads in the state of Nevada. At least they won’t text and drive or hit the road after a long night of tequila shots.
Photo:Image: Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles/Reuters
These tubes are part of a NASA experiment that, if successful, will pull carbon dioxide out of the air while rapidly producing biofuel. The tubes, which float in a treated wastewater pond at a sewage treatment plant in San Francisco, use organic material in the water to feed algae growing inside them. The added benefit of this setup? It doesn’t compete with agriculture for water, fertilizer, or land.