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3D Printed Virtual Reality Goggles

3D Printed Virtual Reality Goggles | Research Tools | Scoop.it

Oculus, as we know, was acquired by Facebook for $2 billion, and now the VR community has been buzzing about trying to figure out what to do with all this newly accessible technology. And adding to the interest, the 2nd iteration of the development kits were released, causing a resurgence in virtual reality development as computer generated experiences started pouring out from of every corner of the world. But not everyone can afford the $350 USD price tag to purchase one of these devices, bringing out the need for Do-It-Yourself projects like these 3D printed wearable video goggles via Adafruit.

The design of this project is reminiscent of the VR2GO mobile viewer that came out of the MxR Lab (aka the research environment that spun out Palmer Lucky before he created Oculus). However, the hardware here is more robust and utilizes a 5.6″ display and 50mm aspheric lenses instead of a regular smart phone. The HD monitor is held within a 3D printed enclosure along with an Arduino Micro and 9-DOF motion sensor. The outer hood of the case is composed of a combination of PLA and Ninjaflex printing-filament, keeping the fame rigid while the area around the eyes remain flexible and comfortable. The faceplate is secured with a mounting bracket and a pair of aspheric lenses inside split the screen for stereoscopic video. Head straps were added allowing for the device to fit snugly on one’s face.

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Squink - the personal electronic circuit factory

Squink - the personal electronic circuit factory | Research Tools | Scoop.it

Create circuit boards in minutes, from home, at the cost of a cup of coffee - Squink prints conductive ink and assembles your circuit. Building electronics has always been a compromise between cost, flexibility and time. Squink was created to provide all three, anywhere and to everyone.

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Robot Made of Shrinky-Dink Polymer Folds Itself in 4 Minutes

Robot Made of Shrinky-Dink Polymer Folds Itself in 4 Minutes | Research Tools | Scoop.it

Using techniques inspired by the art of origami, a US-based team has built a robot that can fold itself into shape starting from a flat sheet. The results are described in the8 August issue of Science.

The robot starts as a sheet of a polymer material — the same one used in Shrinky Dink toys, which shrink when heated in an oven  — with embedded electronics and motors attached to the top side. The sheet is cut such that it can be folded to form a desired structure. The folding requires no human intervention — the sheet contains hinges in which heating elements are embedded to cause the hinges to fold. An embedded computer directs the hinges to fold in a pre-determined order. The robot takes about 4 minutes to reach its final shape, after which the motors kick in and the robot starts walking.

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NASA engineer set to complete first 3-D-printed space cameras

NASA engineer set to complete first 3-D-printed space cameras | Research Tools | Scoop.it

By the end of September, NASA aerospace engineer Jason Budinoff is expected to complete the first imaging telescopes ever assembled almost exclusively from 3-D-manufactured components.

"As far as I know, we are the first to attempt to build an entire instrument with 3-D printing," said Budinoff, who works at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Under his multi-pronged project, funded by Goddard's Internal Research and Development (IRAD) program, Budinoff is building a fully functional, 50-millimeter (2-inch) camera whose outer tube, baffles and optical mounts are all printed as a single structure. The instrument is appropriately sized for a CubeSat, a tiny satellite comprised of individual units each about four inches on a side. The instrument will be equipped with conventionally fabricated mirrors and glass lenses and will undergo vibration and thermal-vacuum testing next year.

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Artificial retina: Physicists develop an interface to the optical nerve

Artificial retina: Physicists develop an interface to the optical nerve | Research Tools | Scoop.it

Physicists at Technische Universitat Munchen (TUM) are using the special properties of graphene to produce key elements of an artificial retina. With their research program the researchers were admitted to the heavily funded 'Graphene' Flagship Program of the European Union.

Graphene is viewed as a kind of "miracle solution": It is thin, transparent and has a tensile strength greater than that of steel. In addition, it conducts electricity better than copper. Since it comprises only a single layer of carbon atoms it is considered two-dimensional. In 2010 the scientists Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov were awarded the Nobel Prize for their ground-breaking work on this material.

In October 2013, the "Graphene" project was selected alongside the "Human Brain Project" as a Flagship Project of the EU FET Initiative (Future and Emerging Technologies). Under the supervision of Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, it bundles the research activities and will be funded with one billion euro over ten years. In July 2014 the program took on 66 new partners, including the TUM.

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The Hackaday Prize

The Hackaday Prize | Research Tools | Scoop.it

The Hackaday Prize is open for entries. Document your idea by 8/20/14 to be included in the judging rounds of the contest. If you make the first cut you'll have a couple of months to build some hardware worthy of a trip into space or hundreds of other prizes. Submitting an entry is easy:

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Editing tool lets you manipulate 3D objects in 2D photos

Editing tool lets you manipulate 3D objects in 2D photos | Research Tools | Scoop.it

Ever since snaps emerged of the Loch Ness Monster in the 1930s, the capabilities of the photo editing have boggled people's minds. Things are about to get even more trippy however, thanks to a new tool developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, which lets editors manipulate individual objects within a shot in 3D.

It is very common for objects to be resized or have their positions within the frame altered slightly within the 2D image plane, but the new tool will let people turn or flip objects, which will show bits of them that weren't even captured by the camera. The secret to this is that the software uses publicly available 3D models of objects to inform the editing software how to complete the geometry and the parts of the object not on show. By studying the structure and symmetry of an object, the software can fill in the blanks to recreate the object in its entirety -- or at least make a best guess and what it would be like.

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3-D printing helps designers build a better brick

3-D printing helps designers build a better brick | Research Tools | Scoop.it

Using 3-D printing and advanced geometry, a team at Cornell has developed a new kind of building material – interlocking ceramic bricks that are lightweight, need no mortar and make efficient use of materials.

Developed by the Sabin Design Lab in collaboration with Cornell and Jenny Sabin Studio, the PolyBrick project team included assistant professor of architecture Jenny Sabin with senior research associate Martin Miller, a visiting critic at Cornell; visiting lecturer Andrew Lucia; and Nicholas Cassab, B.Arch. ’14.

“PolyBrick is the first mortarless, 3-D printed wall assembly,” Sabin said. “It will allow for the production of ceramic wall assemblies that are robust and high strength due to the novel implementation of highly complex and organic generative design strategies that are also simply and economically produced. … 3-D printing allows us to build and design like nature does, where every part is different, but there is a coherence to the overall form at a global scale.”

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An Indoor Positioning System Based On Echolocation

An Indoor Positioning System Based On Echolocation | Research Tools | Scoop.it

The satellite-based global positioning system has revolutionised the way humans interact with our planet. But a serious weakness is that GPS doesn’t work indoors. Consequently, researchers and engineers have been studying various ways to work out position in doors in a way that is simple and inexpensive.

That’s easier said than done. Systems that rely on WiFi signals, for example, have limited accuracy because the signal strength varies dramatically throughout a building making it hard to take repeatable, unambiguous measurements. So researchers are exploring a number of other innovative methods of to pinpoint indoor position.

Today, we get an insight into a new approach for indoor localisation based on sound. Ruoxi Jia and pals at the University of California, Berkeley have developed a simple and cheap mechanism that can identify different rooms based on a relatively small dataset gathered in advance.

The new system is essentially a form of echolocation. Emit a sound and then listen for the return which will be distorted in a way that depends on the size and shape of the room, the materials on the walls and floors as well as the furniture and people within it.

The problem with this technique is that until now it has required special measuring equipment such as a microphone capable of measuring the sound field accurately. Even then, the issue of unwanted noise can significantly confuse matters.

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Out in the Open: The Free Tools That Let You Hack Your Whole Life | Enterprise

Out in the Open: The Free Tools That Let You Hack Your Whole Life | Enterprise | Research Tools | Scoop.it

Imagine a home speaker system that identifies everyone in the room and plays only the music they wanna hear.

Tapping into tiny RFID chips installed on people’s cell phones, this system would pinpoint each person’s Facebook profile, parse their music tastes by way of the streaming music service Spotify, and create a playlist on the fly. And as new people enter the room and others leave it, the system would adjust this playlist accordingly.

What you imagine is here today. Tim Ryan and a team of four other engineering students built such a contraption last year, as part of their senior capstone project at Olin College in Massachusetts, and if you like, you can build one too. Ryan and his team didn’t just create a new-age speaker system. They created a collection of hardware and software that let anyone build all sorts of physical devices that interact with the people around them. “We wanted to create a platform for building socially connected machines,” Ryan says.

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A Startup Creating a Hyper-Smart Office That Tracks Everything

A Startup Creating a Hyper-Smart Office That Tracks Everything | Research Tools | Scoop.it

So far, the Internet of Things and Quantified Self movements have led to an explosion of interesting, if slightly gimmicky consumer products. Robin, a Boston-based company, is attempting to make the Internet of Things serious business by instrumenting offices with iBeacons paired with a suite of productivity dashboards and apps. Using Robin’s system an office drone can walk into a meeting room and feel like a queen as the software automatically books time on the room’s calendar and transforms the worker’s iPad into a control center for the space’s lights and screens. It’s enterprise software that would feel at home on the Starship Enterprise.

“Any place you spend 8+ hours at daily is worth improving,” says Robin co-founder and CEO Sam Dunn. “And for many people, offices are a time capsule of technology.”

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Compact vibration harvester power supply with highest efficiency

Compact vibration harvester power supply with highest efficiency | Research Tools | Scoop.it

OMRON and Holst Centre/imec have unveiled a prototype of an extremely compact vibrational energy harvesting DC power supply with worlds' highest efficiency. The prototype will be demonstrated at the TECHNO-FRONTIER2014 exhibition in Tokyo from July 23rd till July 25th. Combining OMRON's electret energy harvester with a Holst Centre/imec power management IC, it can convert and store energy from vibrations in the µW range with high efficiency to the driving voltage of general sensors. The prototype measures just 5 x 6 cm – with potential to shrink as small as 2 x 2 cm. Its small size, light weight (15.4 gram) and user-variable output voltage are ideal for a wide-range of autonomous wireless sensor node applications in the industrial and consumer domains, particularly in inaccessible locations.

Small, autonomous wireless sensors that can simply be installed and then left to collect and share data are attracting huge interest. They are the foundation of the emerging, Internet of Things. And they could enable new levels of automation and equipment monitoring in industrial applications. The ongoing miniaturization and reduction ofpower consumption of sensors and microelectronics make these devices possible. However, a key question has been how to power them.

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How Smartphones Opened Up a Wonderful New Frontier for Art

How Smartphones Opened Up a Wonderful New Frontier for Art | Research Tools | Scoop.it

For most of history, great art tended to be inseparable from its physical setting. There was no Sphinx without Giza, no Creation of Adam without the Sistine Chapel, no Hamlet (in performance, at least) without the Globe Theater. Only in the age of reproduction (first mechanical, then digital) did we cut that once inseverable tie—culminating in our present era, when we can see and hear and watch whatever we want from wherever we are.

The irony, though, is that our mobile devices, even as they further untether our consumption of art, are nevertheless attuned to location in a historically unprecedented way. The smartphone, unlike the sheaf of paper, the marble block, the concert hall, the television, the PC, or any other previous medium for creativity, possesses an intrinsic awareness of where it is. So in the mobile era, as we consume more creativity on our phones, we have the potential to add a whole new layer to art. We can enjoy digital art that's imbued with a sense of place, and—far more important—we can once again imbue places with a sense of art.

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New graphene framework bridges gap between traditional capacitors, batteries

New graphene framework bridges gap between traditional capacitors, batteries | Research Tools | Scoop.it

esearchers at the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) at UCLA have set the stage for a watershed in mobile energy storage by using a special graphene material to significantly boost the energy density of electrochemical capacitors, putting them on a par with lead acid batteries.

The material, called a holey graphene framework, has a three-dimensional, perforated structure characterized by tiny holes; it not only increases energy density (the amount of energy stored and ready for use) but allows electrochemical capacitors to maintain their high power density (the amount of power per unit of mass or volume), according to Xiangfeng Duan, a UCLA professor of chemistry and biochemistry who led the research.

Electrochemical capacitors, also known as ECs or supercapacitors, are an important technology for the future of energy storage and mobile power supplies, but they have been limited by low energy density. Compared with traditional batteries, ECs typically have superior power density and cycle life—the number of complete charge–discharge cycles an energy source can support before it decreases to 80 percent of its original capacity and is considered "worn out." But they have had energy density of at least one order of magnitude below batteries.

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Instructables User Utilizes 3D Printing to Etch Copper Circuit Boards

Instructables User Utilizes 3D Printing to Etch Copper Circuit Boards | Research Tools | Scoop.it

It amazes me how quickly people are figuring out new ways to utilize 3D printers to make various production methods easier and more economical. There is an ever expanding list of products other than plastic little doo-dads which have been fabricated via 3D printers. Some of these products are things you would never expect from a 3D printer, utilizing the technology in creative, yet extremely productive ways.

We have already seen a handful of ways in which individuals and researchers have managed to 3D print circuit boards. Such work could eventually lead to integrated circuitry within 3D printed objects, making it possible one day for printers to fabricate complete electronics. From what we have seen thus far, the basic idea behind 3D circuit board printing is to use an electrically conductive material to print the actual circuits. One Instructables users, going by the handle of ‘Mikey77‘ has taken a couple of steps outside the box, and managed to create circuit boards using another creative method.

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Charging with ultrasound: uBeam has functional prototype

Charging with ultrasound: uBeam has functional prototype | Research Tools | Scoop.it

uBeam on Wednesday announced its first "fully functional prototype," ready to build for consumers. This is a company that on its Careers page tells visitors, "We're on a mission to untether the world," and that they seek people "looking to make tectonic shifts in the world of electricity." The Wednesday announcement has attracted attention in the press because it is all about wireless charging—and many device owners say, won't that be the day of days. Why are we still fumbling with chargers if developers and designers are working in 2014 to craft elegantly wireless products? That is a question that was not lost on uBeam founder, Meredith Perry. Her company uBeam intends to go to market with a wireless charging platform that uses ultrasound to send electricity to devices through the air which can charge portable electronics wirelessly.

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An NMR Chip The Size of a Seed

An NMR Chip The Size of a Seed | Research Tools | Scoop.it

Engineers at Harvard University have made a nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy chip so small you can hardly see it. It fits on a 2mm-by-2mm silicon chip and is the smallest NMR system built yet. The chip could lead to an ultra-compact, affordable NMR machine for spotting bacteria or cancer proteins in a doctors office or for quality control in drug and chemical production lines.

NMR spectroscopy reveals the chemical structure of organic molecules and is a common tool for studying proteins, discovering drug candidates, and for process and quality control in the petroleum and petrochemical industries. The technique involves aligning the nuclear spin of atoms along a static magnetic field and then vibrating them with a radio-frequency signal. At certain resonance frequencies that depend on the nucleus, the spins flip back and forth, producing an RF signal.

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Squidgy 'click-e-bricks' will let robots fix themselves

Squidgy 'click-e-bricks' will let robots fix themselves | Research Tools | Scoop.it

George Whitesides and his colleagues at Harvard University have developed a range of soft robots, from limbo-dancing squid to bendy tentacles, based on flexible plastics and powered by air. All of these had to be made with specialised moulds, and the team realised that they could be more creative if they used building blocks.

Looking to Lego for inspiration, the team used a 3D printer to create a mould for a 6 x 9 stud brick and filled it with a flexible plastic. The material is soft, so they used a razor blade to cut bricks of different sizes from the same mould. They call their creation click-fit elastomeric bricks, or "click-e-bricks", because the studs on top click into a recess on the base of the bricks.

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Team developing wearable tech for disease monitoring

Team developing wearable tech for disease monitoring | Research Tools | Scoop.it

A new wearable vapor sensor being developed at the University of Michigan could one day offer continuous disease monitoring for patients with diabetes, high blood pressure, anemia or lung disease.

Wearable technologies, which include Google Glass and the Apple iWatch, are part of a booming market that's expected to swell to $14 billion in the next four years.

The new sensor, which can detect airborne chemicals either exhaled or released through the skin, would likely be the first wearable to pick up a broad array of chemical, rather than physical, attributes. U-M researchers are working with the National Science Foundation's Innovation Corps program to move the device from the lab to the marketplace.

"Each of these diseases has its own biomarkers that the device would be able to sense," said Sherman Fan, a professor of biomedical engineering. "For diabetes, acetone is a marker, for example."

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Absolutely fabulist: The computer program that writes fables

Absolutely fabulist: The computer program that writes fables | Research Tools | Scoop.it

It might be a long way from "A Tale of Two Cities", but researchers at Australia's University of New South Wales have developed a computer program that is capable of writing its own fables.

The Moral Storytelling System, known as MOSS, has been developed by Margaret Sarlej, a PhD candidate at the School of Computer Science and Engineering at UNSW, led by Australian Research Fellow and artificial intelligence expert Dr Malcolm Ryan.

While humans are capable of creating simple or complex stories without a second thought, Sarlej said this is a skill that computers can't easily emulate.

"Most people can tell a story without having to consciously think about what goes into it -- the characters, events, sequencing, language and level of detail," said Sarlej.

"That's an innate talent that computers just don't have. They need detailed instructions for every step of the process, which is not easy to provide when, to a large extent, we don't even understand how people do it."

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Robotic suit gives shipyard workers super strength

Robotic suit gives shipyard workers super strength | Research Tools | Scoop.it

 AT A sprawling shipyard in South Korea, workers dressed in wearable robotics were hefting large hunks of metal, pipes and other objects as if they were nothing.

It was all part of a test last year by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, at their facility in Okpo-dong. The company, one of the largest shipbuilders in the world, wants to take production to the next level by outfitting staff with robot exoskeletons that give them superhuman strength.

Gilwhoan Chu, the lead engineer for the firm's research and development arm, says the pilot showed that the exoskeleton does help workers perform their tasks. His team is working to improve the prototypes so that they can go into regular use in the shipyard, where robots already run a large portion of ahugely complex assembly system.

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Nest Who? Here’s How to Build Your Own Smart Thermostat

Nest Who? Here’s How to Build Your Own Smart Thermostat | Research Tools | Scoop.it

Google’s $3.2 billion acquisition of Nest was a smart move.

In snapping up Nest — a home automation outfit founded by one of the fathers of the iPod — the web’s most dominant company now has a sexy consumer electronics division that can compete with Apple on multiple levels, and it has a ready-made way of gleaning insight into what we’re doing when we’re not using our computers, phones, computers, digital eyewear, or smart contacts.

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How to Make Any Smartphone or Tablet Screen out of Scratch-Proof Sapphire

How to Make Any Smartphone or Tablet Screen out of Scratch-Proof Sapphire | Research Tools | Scoop.it

This fall, rumor has it, Apple will start selling iPhones with a sapphire screen that is just about impossible to scratch.

The supposed supplier of that sapphire, GT Advanced Technologies, can’t confirm as much. But this week the company showed me a new manufacturing process that produces inexpensive sheets of sapphire roughly half as thick as a human hair, making it possible to add a tough layer of sapphire to just about any smartphone or tablet screen relatively cheaply (see “Your Next Smartphone Screen May Be Made of Sapphire”). The manufacturing technology, known as an ion accelerator, can make fine sheets of other costly materials, so it could also lead to better and cheaper electronics and solar cells.   

Sapphire, or crystalline aluminum oxide, is made in nature but can also be manufactured. It is second only to diamond in hardness, although incorrect processing can leave defects that make it brittle. Because of its scratch-proof properties, it has long been used for making LEDs, sensors on missiles, and the screens on some high-end phones that cost as much as $10,000.

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Telerobotics puts robot power at your fingertips

Telerobotics puts robot power at your fingertips | Research Tools | Scoop.it

At the Smart America Expo in Washington, D.C., in June, scientists showed off cyber-dogs and disaster drones, smart grids and smart healthcare systems, all intended to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.

The event brought together leaders from academia, industry and government and demonstrated the ways that smarter cyber-physical systems (CPS)—sometimes called the Internet of Things—can lead to improvements in health care, transportation, energy and emergency response, and other critical areas.

This week and next, we'll feature examples of Nationals Science Foundation (NSF)-supported research from the Smart America Expo. Today: tele-robotics technology that puts robot power at your fingertips.

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NRL Nike Laser Focuses on Nuclear Fusion

NRL Nike Laser Focuses on Nuclear Fusion | Research Tools | Scoop.it
Researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory have successfully demonstrated pulse tailoring, producing a time varying focal spot size known as ‘focal zooming’ on the world’s largest operating krypton fluoride (KrF) gas laser. The Nike laser is a two to three kilojoule (kJ) KrF system that incorporates beam smoothing by induced spatial incoherence (ISI) to achieve one percent non-uniformity in single beams and 0.16 percent non-uniformity for 44 overlapped target beams. The facility routinely conducts experiments in support of inertial confinement fusion, laser-matter interactions, and high energy density physics. “The development of an energy production system that utilizes thermonuclear fusion is an ongoing process of important incremental steps,” said David Kehne, research scientist, NRL Plasma Physics Division. “As such, the use of focal zooming in an inertial fusion energy system is expected to reduce the required laser size by 30 percent, resulting in higher efficiency and lower construction and operating costs.” In the direct-drive inertial confinement fusion (ICF) concept, numerous laser beams are used to implode and compress a pea-sized pellet of deuterium-tritium (D-T) to extreme density and temperature, causing the atoms to fuse, resulting in the release of excess energy. In an ICF implosion, a progressively diminishing portion of
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