Created by Michael Zöllner and Stephan Huber from the University of Konstanz, NAVI (or Navigational Aids for the Visually Impaired) allows the blind to easily navigate an environment and avoid obstacles with tactile feedback via a vibrating belt, and audio cues delivered over a Bluetooth headset. The Kinect is mounted on a helmet and feeds video and depth data to a laptop worn on the back. The laptop then triggers vibrations in the Arduino-controlled belt to alert the wearer to nearby obstacles, and announces directions and the location of obstructions over the Bluetooth ear-piece. The system can also read QR signs to alert the wearer of their location.
Foam used to cushion astronauts derriere is now being used in bras. Nick Gilbert interviews Dr Tim Nielsen, who explains the more practical uses:
“A derivation of the foam is used in the memory foam mattresses. It’s also used in the safety lining of racing car helmets, and so I realised it could have a lot of practical uses, and this softening and expansion could have a lot of benefits.”
Hang on. Softening and expanding? What exactly does this bra actually do?
“It can boost the cleavage when it detects a rise in body temperature,” Dr Nielsen said.
“Such as when a woman gets a little flushed when she gets excited. It can kind of do some of the flirting for you.”
“But it also has a lot of practical benefits.”
“For example, if you’re exercising and it detects a rise in body temperature, it can expand to offer more support when you need it.”
The bra, according to Dr Nielsen, can also adapt to a woman’s changing shape and size, meaning you’re less likely to have to shop for another bra down the line.
Sometimes inspiration comes from the strangest of places. Case in point: scientists have just created a new super strong material based on the plaque found in Alzheimer’s patients’ brains. The new substance isn’t exactly the same as the plaque that causes the tragic disease, but it has a very similar chemical structure that is then coated with an additional protective layer. The tiny spheres that result are microscopic and when put together, form a printable substance that is tougher than steel, twice as tough as Kevlar and the hardest microscopic organic substance on Earth.
Jeb Corliss is a professional wingsuit pilot and BASE-jumper – so I think the following video pretty much speaks for itself. I don’t know about you, but I needed an extra injection of wonder and awesome, today:
From slashgear, a prototype Retinal Imaging Display:
The images projected directly onto your retina simulate a 16-inch screen viewed for about three feet away according to the maker. The tech came from the Brother printer tech for laser and ink jet printers. The AirScouter will be launched in Japan for industrial uses like overlaying manuals on machinery. That is pretty cool and I could see a market for this thing in the DIY realm for folks that like to fix things themselves. Nothing like step-by-step directions clipped to your eyeball.
ThinkContacts is designed to allow a “Motor disabled person to make a phone call to a desired contact by himself/herself”. Requiring a special headset to read users’ brainwaves, it uses brain activity to determine which of three contacts on the screen the user wants to call.
While the app is looking quite basic at present, the project’s wiki at Forum Nokia only opened six days ago meaning this is likely to be an early-stage project
A Beagleboard running Angstrom Linux and a Plexgear mini USB hub that drives the Bluetooth adapter and display forms the rest of this rather simple machine. Four 2700 mAh AA batteries are used to power the USB hub. Magnusson has used a foldable Nokia keyboard for input and is piping internet connectivity through Bluetooth tethering to an iPhone in his pocket.
Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed tiny generators that can produce enough electricity from random, ambient vibrations to power a wristwatch, pacemaker or wireless sensor. In humans, these vibrations could come from moving muscles or limbs. The generators have demonstrated that they can produce up to 500 microwatts from typical vibration amplitudes found on the human body. That’s more than enough energy to run a wristwatch, which needs between 1 and 10 microwatts, or a pacemaker, which needs between 10 and 50.
Students of Stockholm’s two most prestigious design schools have collaborated to produce these awe-inspiring, full-wearable shoes, 3D printed in polyamid.
Naim Josefi and Souzan Youssouf, of Beckmans & Konstfack respectively, designed and modelled the shoes for Selective Laser Sintering (the one with all the powder and the lasers) and produced five pairs for Naim’s “Melonia” collection, shown during Stockholm Fashion Show earlier this month.
The concept for the shoes call for further exploration in ever-developing rapid prototyping processes. The pair envisage a world in which we could produce and recycle such objects in a closed loop.
When Tithi Kutchamuch learned that her dog died a month before she was able to return to her parents’ home, she realized that she wished she could have taken her pet with her everywhere. From there, she developed the idea of a secret friend: jewellery that was part of a pet animal that stayed at home. The jewellery acts as the connection when you are out and completes the sculpture when you are safely home again. Parrot Companion Parrot is the largest piece in the collection and the closest to life size, in order that the connection be made stronger.
The Deafinite Style is a concept from Munich-based Designaffairs STUDIO that turns a hearing aid into a piece of jewelry, provided you’re up for a bit of lobe stretching to get started. The main advantage they propose (aside from an instant hipster-grunge-punk look) is the opportunity to embed the TriMic System — a highly effective directional microphone system made from 3 individual microphones — into the plug, helping people who suffer from severe hearing loss.
Core77 contributor Ben Hopson (he wrote the “Kinetic Design and the Animation of Products” piece last March) collaborated with entrepreneur Glen Liberman of Kinekt Design to design a series of kinetic jewelry pieces, and the Gear Ring is the first to be realized. Made from high quality matte stainless steel, this ring is currently available here in a limited number of sizes.
Fashion designers recently went all out and put together a weird mix of creations for the China Fashion Week which was held in November 2009. A bi-annual event, the Fashion Week showcases the latest creations of prominent brand names as well as the works of the upcoming folk.
This month’s issue of tee-magazine T-post is maybe the weirdest shirt I’ve ever seen. It looks normal (and pretty nice, actually) in real life, but when worn in front of a webcam hooked up to T-post’s special web app, a ghostly, green hand emerges from it and challenges you to a game of Rochambeau.