Robots are pretty cool, but have you ever wanted to create your own iPhone controlled cyborg? Backyard Brains is banking that a lot of kids are interested in cyborg technology and neuroscience (ethical dilemmas be damned), so after three years of R&D they’ve come up with the RoboRoach – a small electronic surgery kit that lets you turn a real-life cockroach, into an iPhone-controlled cyborg for a few minutes.
The kit comes with a backpack that contains a battery and receiver you superglue to the cockroach after sanding down a patch of shell. You have to jab a groundwire into the cockroaches thorax, and then after that you carefully trim the antenna so you can stick some small electrodes onto both of them and receive signals from your iPhone. Don’t worry, the iPhone app and the cockroaches come free with the $99 kit, so you don’t have to go hunting for some behind your supermarket’s dumpster.
Usually when we mention a Kickstarter project it’s with a mixture of excitement (because it’s like a totally cool product) and disappointment (because it will usually be at least half a year before we see a product, if ever).
However, some of these products make it into stores. The Vaavud is one. It’s a no-power wind-meter which you can buy today.
All it takes is some double sided tape and a $7 lens to turn your iPhone into a microscope
Add microscopes to the list of things your iPhone can replace. A group of scientist visiting Tanzania were able to convert their iPhone 4S into a microscope using nothing by a $7 lens, some double sided tape, and a torch.
After macgyvering the iPhone 4S into a microscope, the scientest then used it to take pictures of stool samples to determine the presences of eggs in some schoolchildren. Amazingly, the iPhone picked up 70 percent of the infections.
Question: What’s the only (non-gimmicky) photographic filter that can’t be duplicated in software? That’s right, you smart genius you! It’s the polarizer. A polarizer will do two things for your photography: it’ll increase the saturation of the colors in your pictures, and it’ll cut out unwanted reflections from glass and water. And Photojojo will now sell you one that’ll clip right onto your iPhone.
You like robots? You’re gonna love this. This is an iPad app all about robots. Just robots, nothing but robots, loads and loads and loads of robots. It’s made of robots, in the same way we are made of meat. It’s fantastic.
Wave your hands in the air like you just don’t care
Researchers in the UK have put together a prototype wrist-worn sensor that turns your own hand into a 3D movement controller for almost any device you can think of.
Experts from Newcastle University and the Cambridge-based Microsoft Research used off-the-shelf parts to assemble a sensor that straps to your wrist and detects movement of your arm, hand and fingers. There’s no need for any external sensor, nor for line-of-sight to the device you’re controlling. Everything’s done using the technology you wear.
Plug in your iPhone or iPad and charge it up, and you’ll notice that while the first 80% or so will go by pretty fast, they actually kind of suck at charging up that last 20%, taking a lot more time to do so than it feels like they should.
There’s a reason for this. Charging batteries up to “full” is a complicated process. There’s no real way to tell if a battery is completely “full” so all you can do is measure the voltage, which (and this is a vast simplification) tells you how much resistance is being met when you try to put more electricity into the battery.
That’s why it takes so long for an iPhone to charge that last 20%. It charges full blast until it measures a certain voltage, then goes into what’s called “trickle mode” to slowly allow small sips of electricity into the battery until it thinks, based upon some software calculations, that the battery is more or less full. But a new algotihm could make the time it takes to charge your iPhone or iPad go by a lot faster.
When I was a cub scout, I made my own backyard weather station. It was to get my science badge, or weather nerd badge, or whatever, and it mainly consisted of counting the millimeters of rain in a jamjar with an oversized plastic funnel perched on the top. And there was always rain: This was England.
If I’d had access to the wonderful technology of today, though, I could have stayed in watching TV and let the Netatmo do the work for me. The Netatmo is a weather station for both indoors and outdoors, and is sold as something that will stop you from worrying about your children and — therefore — the future.
This is the highest-resolution image that could ever be made.
What resolution is Retina resolution? 220 ppi (like the new MacBook Pro)? 264 ppi (like the iPad 3)? Or the amazing 326 ppi found on the iPhone?
What about 10,000 ppi? That’s the resolution of an image printed by researchers at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research in Singapore. It’s the picture you see above which, at just 50 x 50 microns, is the same size as a single pixel on an Apple Retina display.
Pop quiz: what color is the mirror inside your camera? If you answered “No color. It’s a mirror. What the hell are you on about this time, Sorrel?” then you’re dead wrong. Kinda. It turns out that mirrors are ever-so-slightly green.