Round-up: The technology you missed this week

Doodle in the air

You can get a lot done in an hour, but you can get even more done in two hours, and 3D printing pen LIX did just that.

In just two hours the pen, which is claimed to be the smallest 3D printing versions in the world, smashed its Kickstarter target of £30,000. It’s now on track to get more than ten times this with more than 25 days to go.

Source: TechCrunch

Students given free Bitcoins


Students at MIT are set to be given $100 in the digital currency Bitcoin in a bid to encourage them and local businesses to adopt the currency.

The people behind the project say it isn’t totally risk-free but that it has a lot of potential.

Source: Mashable

‘Wake up baby’


Parents in Ohio, US, are in a state of shock after a hacker broke into their baby’s monitoring camera.

They were checking if the baby was sleeping via mobile phone when the camera started moving on its own and a man’s voice was shouting ‘wake up baby’ at the tot.

Source: WGN TV

Image courtesy of Tess Shebaylo via Flickr/Creative Commons licence

Folding phone

Scientists have unveiled a brand new foldable smartphone. The shape-changing smartphone allows users to fold open up to three flexible displays.

The displays are also detachable so users can change the size of their phone’s screen.

Source: Queens Univeristy

Cash without the card


If you’re always forgetting your credit cards then one Australian bank has came up with a novel way to allow you to withdraw cash without one.

Using a mobile app customers are able to collect two pin numbers which they enter into the machine to take out the money.

To start with the feature is limited to one transaction a day but will be expanded if this proves to be a success.

Source: IT News

Self-powering notification case

This isn’t just a beautifully designed case for the iPhone – it’s also pretty useful.

Using the iPhone’s electromagnetic energy it glows whenever you receive a new message or a phone call. The product’s manufacturer is currently trying to raise funds through a crowdfunding campaign.

Source: Yahoo News

The tape of tomorrow


Sony has developed tape technology that could lead to tape cartridges that are able to hold 148 gigabits of data per square inch, roughly 74 times the density of standard tapes.

The current standard of tape technology is capable of holding 2 gigabits of data per square inch.

Source: IT World

Nintendo announce this year’s E3

Nintendo has announced that it is continuing with last year’s trend of forgoing a press conference for E3 and instead going for a slew of live streams, Nintendo Directs and Best Buy-based preview gaming.

To find out the details you’ll have to watch this fantastic video (it’s definitely worth the five minutes of your time). We love the fact that Nintendo America COO and president Reggie Fils-Aime was so up for playing the role of his mech counterpart.

In Pictures: NASA Technologies in the Wild

NASA, the US space agency, has undertaken a phenomenal amount of research at a host of institutions to further its work in space.

However, a remarkable number of technologies have sprung out of NASA research that have found their way into other applications. So many, in fact, that NASA produces an annual report of when its technologies have ended up.

This year’s report, entitled Spinoff 2013, was released yesterday, and includes examples in everything from health and safety to transportation and energy.

Here we highlight some of the latest products and innovations made with NASA technology.

ICON A5 Aircraft


NASA technology has contributed to the development of spin-resistant aircraft, such as the ICON A5. NASA undertook 8,000 stall-spins in special test aircraft to develop the spin-resistance standards for the Federal Aviation Administration, the US’ flight regulators. The ICON A5 has been designed to meet these standards for consumer recreational flying.

“We wanted to design a plane that was spin-resistant,” said Kirk Hawkins, founder and CEO of ICON. “If it wasn’t for the NASA work, there would be no FAA standard, and we wouldn’t have done this.”

Image courtesy of ICON Aircraft.

 Helpful Robots


The development of the International Space Station’s robotic crew member, Robonaut, at its successor, Robonaut 2, at Johnson Space Center resulted in the development of robot reasoning and interaction technology. This has been reworked for use in fields including warehousing and mining by Universal Robotics in the form of a technology called Neocortex.

“We found there might be some really good approaches for teaching robots and letting them learn and develop capabilities on their own, rather than having to hard program everything,” said Johnson Space Center automation and robotics engineer Robert Ambrose.

Image courtesy of NASA.

Airocide Air Purifier


Through Marshall Space Flight Center, NASA funded the University of Madison-Wisconsin to develop ethylene scrubbers that were designed to keep food fresh in space. But the technology has been developed for another use here on earth by Akida Holdings – as an airborne pathogen-killing air purifier that you can have in your home.

“In two days, you’ll notice how the bedroom just feels different. And as you get the chance to breathe in the air, you’ll start feeling better physically. You’re going to wake up feeling refreshed,” said Akida Holdings vice president Barney Freedman.

Image courtesy of Airocide.

High-Tech Workwear


The technology designed to keep astronauts’ gloves at a comfortable temperature has been appropriated for temperature-responsive clothing that can remove moisture and control odours and bacterial growth. The Apollo shirt from Ministry of Supply is one of a range of clothes using phase-changing materials to keep you smart but comfy throughout the day. The company, which is co-founded by NASA glove designer Gihan Amarasiriwardena, funded Apollo through Kickstarter, raising $430,000 in the process.

“We are different from the rest of the fashion industry because we are not about releasing new products every season. We are about putting a lot of thought, engineering, and great design into each garment before we launch it,” says Amarasiriwardena. “It’s performance wear designed to be office-wear appropriate.”

Image courtesy of Ministry of Supply.

Remote Control


The Kennedy Space Center collaborated with spacecraft software engineers Blue Sun Enterprises to develop improvements to virtual machine language (VML), which is used to control remote devices such as unmanned or manned spacecraft. After proving itself on the RESOLVE mission, the technology has spread to use in commercial applications, and can be used to improve control of weather balloons, unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, and submarines.

“Any application that requires remote autonomy could use VML to implement that autonomy and decision-making,” said VML author Dr Chris Grasso.