Crowdsourcing Massage Jacket

Posted by on May 20th, 2009

Developed by MIT students Carnaven Chiu, Xiao Xiao, Keywon Chung, and Peggy Chi , SOS: Stress Outsourced is a networked wearable system that allows users to send and receive massages anonymously. A new type of haptic social networking (or social therapy), SOS allows stressed individuals to send anonymous signals via the wearable to a global social network. In response, individuals within the network calm the stressed victim by sending them a “massage” stroke.

Link and words via

Fujitsu working on a flash drive that can auto-erase data

Posted by on April 21st, 2009

Worried about your data if you lose your flash drive? Fujitsu may soon offer a commercial solution:

The company will deny it of course, but the sharp eyes over at GetUSB just released some top-secret info regarding Fujitsu’s prototype USB flash drive that can erase the data it contains after a set amount of time, or if someone attempts to copy or transfer the data to an “unauthorized workstation or server”

Link via

Killer robots to get silent-running whisper mode

Posted by on January 23rd, 2009

Georgia Tech has announced plans to silence larger UAVs. From

Some robotic aircraft are already very quiet – the small battery-powered aeroplanes, often hand-launched, which are used for infantry reconnaissance and perimeter security are almost totally silent. Electric quadcopters, as favoured in some situations by the Merseyside plods and (it is rumoured) the SAS, are also unobtrusive. Such technology typically causes a stir only when employed in the form of flying genitalia.

But larger machines, able to tool up with deadly weapons and wreak havoc among their puny human opponents, are much noisier. The racket of engines, propellors and whatnot – when at low level – often warns the hapless fleshies beneath, giving them a slim chance to hide or escape.

Gaeta and his colleagues want to take away that chance. The plan is to equip the roving robotic spyeyes and gun-platforms of tomorrow with Blue Thunder-style whisper mode*. The GIT team have apparently visited unnamed “US military installations” for the purpose of examining machines already in operation.

Silent death from above.

HP Announces Flexible Computer Screens On the Horizon

Posted by on January 8th, 2009

Arizona State University’s Flexible Display Center and HP recently announced a prototype of a flexible lightweight computer screen that stands to revolutionize computers and electronic devices. Created in a similar roll-to-roll manufacturing process as thin-film pv, these new computer screens are printed onto plastic sheets that are virtually indestructible, use less energy and are less costly to produce than conventional screens. These new displays could potentially use up to 90% less materials by volume to produce as well.

Link and photo via

The Box is Free… the Use Costs Money

Posted by on January 7th, 2009

     Cory Doctorow’s fantastic and amazingly useful novel Little Brother posits a world where Microsoft has started giving out gaming hardware (a new generation X-Box) for free as a loss leader and makes up the profits on the back end with pay-per-use subscription fees and games.     The free and ubiquitous X-Box hardware is uncerimoniously hacked and then becomes the base unit of a vast undernet, allowing the protagonist and others to operate out of sight of the DHS.

     Well, first of all the Paranoid Linux distribution that was one of the fictional resources of the book is now in real development.

     Now?  Microsoft has submitted a patent for a free or subsidized computer system that would make its profits off of a pay-per-use or subscription system.  

     US patent application number 20080319910, published on Christmas Day 2008, details Microsoft’s vision of a situation where a “standard model” of PC is given away or heavily subsidized by someone in the supply chain. The end user then pays to use the computer, with charges based on both the length of usage time and the performance levels utilized, along with a “one-time charge”.

Microsoft notes in the application that the end user could end up paying more for the computer, compared with the one-off cost entailed in the existing PC business model, but argues the user would benefit by having a PC with an extended “useful life”.

“A computer with scalable performance level components and selectable software and service options has a user interface that allows individual performance levels to be selected,” reads the patent application’s abstract.

“The scalable performance level components may include a processor, memory, graphics controller, etc. Software and services may include word processing, email, browsing, database access, etc. To support a pay-per-use business model, each selectable item may have a cost associated with it, allowing a user to pay for the services actually selected and that presumably correspond to the task or tasks being performed,” the abstract continues.

Integral to Microsoft’s vision is a security module, embedded in the PC, that would effectively lock the PC to a certain supplier.

     Sure if such a box ever sees the light of day, it will require some serious hacking.  But once upon a time Cable couldn’t be stolen, iPhones and X-Box’s were unhackable, and CDs and DVDs were supposed to be impossible to copy.  

     Welcome to 2009, where Microsoft is trying their best to see you living in a more fictional world.    Also welcome to a world where companies are trying their damnedest to change how you think about the things you posess and who really owns them.    Food for thought and fodder for Grinding? 

Cheap Cellphone Hack Turns Phone into Medical Diagnostic Tool

Posted by on December 20th, 2008

I really wanted to say “Turns Phone into Tricorder” but I couldn’t bring myself to geek like that in public.

LOS ANGELES — A new MacGyver-esque cellphone hack could bring cheap, on-the-spot disease detection to even the most remote villages on the planet. Using only an LED, plastic light filter and some wires, scientists at UCLA have modded a cellphone into a portable blood tester capable of detecting HIV, malaria and other illnesses.

Check out the original article (here at WIRED) to see some exclusive pics of the hack in process. 

Tadpole Airship

Posted by on December 12th, 2008

Via The Register, Germany is testing a new unmanned airship design:

Windpipe Transplant

Posted by on November 19th, 2008

Stem cells taken from a woman were used to grow new cells that were grafted onto a donated trachea, in effect giving the woman a new trachea. Ideally, a person would receive a new organ grown from their own cells, but this is the next step in organ transplant.

- photo via

“Surgeons can now start to see and understand the potential for adult stem cells and tissue engineering to radically improve their ability to treat patients with serious diseases.”

He said that in 20 years time, virtually any transplant organ could be made in this way.

US scientists have already successfully implanted bladder patches grown in the laboratory from patients’ own cells into people with bladder disease.

The European research team, which also includes experts from the University of Padua and the Polytechnic of Milan in Italy, is applying for funding to do windpipe and voice box transplants in cancer patients.

Clinical trials could begin five years from now, they said.

Link and photos via

‘Slurpee’-Like Mixture Designed to Save Lives

Posted by on November 19th, 2008

    - photo via

From, comes the news that scientists have developed a mixture of frozen saline and liquid designed to be injected into the lungs, arteries and veins of critically ill patients and cool them down internally. Lowering the body’s temperature would give doctors more time to work on patients during taxing or delicate operations. Successfully tested on larger animals, the company that developed it is seeking FDA approval to begin trials on humans.

Tiny Radio Tags Track Bees

Posted by on November 14th, 2008

    - photo via

It’s no mystery to scientists that bees have been disappearing and or dying off in record numbers. Besides contributing billions of dollars to the US economy, they play an important role in the pollination of crops. That apple you are eating? Not possible with out a little help from the honey bee.

Tracking their movement has come one step closer:

In the bee-tracking project, Wikelski and his colleagues are using transmitters the size of three or four grains of rice, powered by a tiny hearing-aid battery and with a crystal-controlled oscillator and an antenna measuring up to an inch and a half.

The transmitters, at a featherweight 0.006 ounces (170 milligrams), are small and light enough to attach to the backs of bees from two relatively hefty species, weighing .02 ounces (600 milligrams), with just a bit of eyelash glue and superglue.

Even loaded up with these backpacks, nearly a third of their body weight, “they fly beautifully,” says Wikelski.

The transmitters allow the scientists to track the insects as long as the bees remain within a few miles of their receiver. So far Wikelski and his team have fitted tags on orchid bees at Panama’s Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and conducted successful indoor tests in a New Jersey lab with North America’s biggest bee species, the carpenter bee.

These early tests are proof of concept. Most bees are much smaller than orchid and carpenter bees. In fact, many wild bee species are the size of just a pine nut.

The tags are tiny, but need to be smaller still for honey bees. Although they have tiny robots, having a camera on a bee would make for excellent surveillance. They would just have to avoid being swatted.

Link and photo via

Philips develops “intelligent pill”

Posted by on November 11th, 2008

    - photo via

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Dutch group Philips has developed an “intelligent pill” that contains a microprocessor, battery, wireless radio, pump and a drug reservoir to release medication in a specific area in the body.

Philips, one of the world’s biggest hospital equipment makers, said Tuesday that the “iPill” capsule, measures acidity with a sensor to determine its location in the gut, and can then release drugs where they are needed.

Delivering drugs to treat digestive tract disorders such as Crohn’s disease directly to the location of the disease means doses can be lower, reducing side effects, Philips said.

While capsules containing miniature cameras are already used as diagnostic tools, those lack the ability to deliver drugs, Philips said.

Link and photo via

Tiny Backpacks for Cells

Posted by on November 6th, 2008

MIT engineers have outfitted B-lymphocytes and T-cells with “backpacks” that could one day allow for direct delivery of drugs to cancer sites or assist in the rebuilding of damaged tissue. The cells can be directed using a magnetic field and the tiny patch doesn’t interfere in the cells normal activities.

Link, photos and video via MIT.

Implanted Microchip Will Monitor Your Health, Deliver Drugs From Under Your Skin

Posted by on October 22nd, 2008


The chip is much more precise than the finger pricking method for monitoring blood, and in diabetes sufferers, can minimize the risk of complications like blindness and kidney failure. The first glucose-monitoring and osteoporosis drug-releasing chips will begin human clinical trials next year. MicroCHIPS is looking into developing more advanced versions that can predict heart or kidney failure, biodegrade in the body, and release multiple vaccine or drug doses over time.

Hello Medical Tag! Ok, a primitive medical one, but it’s a good step in the right direction. I wonder if they have even considered adding any kind of sercurity to this? How easy could it be to hack into the tag and trigger an overdose of meds?

Robot Prototype Finds, Attacks and Kills Breast Cancer Cells

Posted by on October 13th, 2008

A working prototype, but it will still be trapped in years of trials due to bureaucracy:

The beauty of this prototype is that it can work inside an MRI thanks to its titanium and stainless steel construction. Everything from biopsy, to diagnosis to cancer-hunting is all completed within the MRI, making for a convenient one stop trip for patients.

The robot kills cancer cells by way of a probe that is inserted into the breast until it reaches the tumor. The probe then burns the cells until they’re all dead. Researchers say the robot, if successfully deployed into the medical field, could consolidate three months of hospital trips into a single visit. Better yet, the robot will also be able to access parts of the human body that human surgeons can’t, although researchers didn’t elaborate much on that point.

Link via

Repliee R-1 child robot scares adults

Posted by on October 8th, 2008

    - photo via

Seen on, robots are still far away from looking human.

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Link and video link via

The C-Leg Prosthetic Limb

Posted by on September 28th, 2008

From Wired’s NextFest, via Gearlog:

The leg contains a microprocessor that measures angles and force at a rate of up to 50 time a second. And while many of the exhibits at the show were still in prototype phase, C-Leg has already proven itself outside.

In fact, the gentlemen who explained the device to me was an amputee himself, wearing one on each leg, and as he walked around to demonstrate its effectiveness, swearing up and down by the prosthetic limb.

See for yourself:

YouTube Preview Image

The self-adjusting lamp

Posted by on September 17th, 2008

stimuli 3

This is Chris Natt’s take on a lamp:

The Stimuli light draws inspiration from the behaviour of plants and how they respond to changes in their environment such as sunlight exposure. The device communicates changes in its immediate surroundings using semantics associated with changes in colour, movement and shape. The differing effects of the light creates an atmosphere reflective of the subtle changes happening around it.

Or, as Yanko Design have had him explain:

“[Stimuli 3.0 is] a lighting system whose shape and therefore light output sensitively varies inversely with the surrounding natural light intensity. For example, at dusk, illumination gradually increases as natural light recedes. At the heart of this device is a unique 3 axis gear box which enables this subtle alteration of lighting through an attractive and striking change in form of the device.”

via electro^plankton.

How Chicken Petting will lead to Sex Suits

Posted by on September 11th, 2008

Researchers at the Mixed Reality Lab have developed a system where a person can pet a faux chicken and have the real chicken, miles away, feel the sensation through a specially worn haptic jacket. Chicken “petting” is not super sensational, but the technology behind it is the real star.

The technology is still in it’s infancy, but:

The team is investigating the possibility of “internet hugging” and plans to develop an advanced haptic suit for humans, which will incorporate tiny air sacs, compressors and valves to impart a “high-fidelity” feeling of being hugged.

Touches, created and shared between users. Sound familiar? The little tactile sensations are still years away from being developed, but the brick road of haptic interface shriekygirl culture just had another development piece added to it.


The team will begin work on the human version of the haptic suit in August, and estimates it will take about a year to deliver the first prototype.

A full haptic suit? Reminds me of a part in a book, where the humans wear the full haptic suits – and what happens to them when someone takes the suits over…..

Link to article via

“Eco Ride” to be Tested in Japan

Posted by on August 20th, 2008

Senyo Kogyo Co Ltd and Senyo Kiko Co Ltd announced that they will build a test line for “Eco Ride,” an energy-saving urban transportation system, in October 2008.

The test line will be built as part of the joint research with the laboratory of Yoshihiro Suda, a professor of the Institute of Industrial Science (IIS) of Tokyo University. The line will be constructed in the Chiba Experiment Station of IIS in Chiba Prefecture, Japan.

The new transportation system operates using the height difference on the railway. Drive units to pull the cars up are installed at various points on the railway so that the Eco Ride can obtain the potential energy to run. This is the same principle as a roller coaster.

Shapeways beta invite give-away!

Posted by on August 5th, 2008

John from Shapeways has contacted us with the following offer:

We’d love to give your readers 150 beta codes. They can go to and use the BETA code GrindBeta.

Thanks John and all the rest of the Shapeways crew!

Soon your design could be instantiated on their Objet printer, just like this one: