Even if you have a dashboard display showing what's behind your car when you back up, it's hard to be 100 percent sure you won't hit something. Or someone. That's why researchers at Japan's Keio University are working on a system that makes the back seat invisible, so to speak.
From the driver's perspective, the back of a car, in this case a Prius, is transparent, thus eliminating blind spots that could conceal hazards. The system is called the "see-through Prius" and it's being showcased this month at the 2012 Digital Content Expo in Tokyo. … Read more
Powerful explosives from fires or roadside bombs produce two near-simultaneous blasts: first, a high-pressure blast that can cause internal injuries, and then a thermal blast that produces temps above 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit and can literally cook skin, according to Robert Lochhead, a professor of polymer science at the University of Southern Mississippi.
He worked with chemists to engineer a high-tech camouflage paint that is waterproof; easy to apply and remove; non-irritating to the eyes, nose, and mouth; and actually reflects -- instead of absorbs, like most face paints -- intense heat.… Read more
In addition to slithering, crawling, and flying just about anywhere, what if robots could camouflage themselves? This tentacled prototype can be made to look like -- or stand out from -- its background with a simple injection of dyes.
Developed by engineers at Harvard University's Whitesides Research Group, the "soft machine" silicone quadruped crawls along on pressurized gases fed through an umbilical cord.
Users can send different dyes through channels in the robot's body, allowing it to blend in or stand out in startling fashion, such as glowing in the dark. Color changes take about 30 seconds, but don't require further power to sustain the disguise. … Read more
Pulling my dot-matrix Mighty Wallet out of my pocket, I might look like I'm living life with dollar bills stuck into an old piece of '80s printer paper. I like that. I just hope no one throws it out.
Searching for a backup wallet to replace one from a vacation I just took, I wandered down to Urban Outfitters and found this enticingly ridiculous, and ugly, dot-matrix wallet. It's a design only a geek could love. The green-and-white paper complete with tractor holes looks picture-perfect, only this wallet's not made of standard paper. Mighty Wallets are made of Tyvek, that same tear- and water-resistant material that's used in mailing envelopes and water-park wristbands. They've been around since 2005, but this is the first time I'd ever seen one.… Read more
There's not much good to say about a satellite dish sticking out from the side of your house. Depending on your part of town, it might either be stolen or the source of endless carping from aesthetically offended neighbors.
To deal with such urban complications, a few blokes who run a U.K.-based company called Sqish have come up with a solution that's either ridiculous or innovative--or ridiculously innovative, depending on your point of view. For about $300, they'll stick your satellite antenna in a compact box camouflaged with a custom sticker designed to blend into … Read more
If Motorola does end up getting out of the mobile phone business, we hope it's not counting on walkie-talkies as the future. Moto has already launched its fashionable "TLKR" line, and now we hear that it's launching a new "Talkabout" two-way radio with a camo design and a choice of five hunting-call "buddy tones"--duck, goose, turkey, elk, and coyote, according to Slippery Brick.
Hiding consumer electronics behind the facade of home furnishings can often be an exercise in excess or silliness (or or both). So we're not sure that it's a good or bad thing that people are starting to create their own camouflage designs for their entertainment technologies. Just as SoundArt does custom art to hide speakers, Snell is apparently doing something similar with its products.