Kenny of the Block, Gymkhana 4…

FROM 2011. The anticipation has been building for WEEKS. Monster fans, petrol heads and rally junkies have been holding their breath for Gymkhana 4, Ken Blocks next extreme driving video. Hold your breath no longer Gymkhana fans number 4 is here, Kenny of the Block and Monster World Rally have teamed up once more to bring us this next adrenalin charged film and it delivers.

Filmed on the backlot of Universal Studio’s in California the Gymkhana series takes on Hollywood production values, the director Ben Conrad –Zombieland and 30 Seconds or Less– delivers explosions, effects, and some amazing camera work, with the super slow motion shots being put to great effect. While Gymkhana 3 was pure driving and adrenalin Gymkhana 4 tries to be more, it’s got humour and pazaz, it will make you chuckle then throw you back n you seat.

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John A Rogers Electronic Tattoo, Epidermal Electronics Systems…

Genius inventor John A Rogers and his research group have produced the first flexible stretchable adhesive electronic device that can be applied to the skin. Epidermal electronic systems – EES. Initially designed as a biological sensor the electric tattoo has potential to be much more than an expression of difference or rebellious body art. Biologic sensors built-into the device can detect brain waves, muscle activity, temperature and monitor for heart arrhythmia.
Looking like a crumpled spiderweb the device combines flexible electronics with clever flexible wiring, giving the electronic tattoo staying power. Using Radio Frequency Identification, ESS can be used to non-invasively track patients for progress , and possibly minimizing medication or surgical mistakes. The sensing functions allow basic body function to be measured wirelessly.
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The snake-like connectors link electronic components acting like extension leads, where as wires on a circuit board tend to be straight – limiting the amount of movement – Rogers clever snake-like wires allow movement and flexibility. Using bendy wires as part of the design is clever engineering, the work done to make the electronic component flexible now that is genius.

Kenny of the Block, Ken Block the man behind the Wheel

Ken Block is the sort of driver that other rally drivers love to hate. After shooting to YouTube stardom with his Gymkhana – extreme driving video’s – then stepping into a rally car in which he now consistently finishes in the top five. Block’s previous life is even more astounding!

The founder of uber-succesful brand DC Shoes, Block is a multidimensional driven bloke who is seemingly unstoppable. There is more to Ken Block than just grinning behind the wheel of an extreme rally car while driving sideways, sideways then more sideways. Ken Blocks story is a tale of the kid from the block working his ass off and making it good. He’d started his first company while he was still in community college and has just never stopped.

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i2R E-Paper Power Free Display…

As display technologies evolve display panels are finding their way into many new places, this is about to accelerate. R&D scientists from Taiwan have demonstrated a new display technology that completely cuts the cord, the i2R e-paper has no plug. A display that doesn’t have a clue what electricity is. The flexible panel uses heat instead of electricity to erase and write images to the display.

Created in the R&D labs at Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute – ITRI – this may be the technology that allows displays to be everywhere. The i2R e-Paper is already winning awards for ITRI, having once again won a place on the R&D 100 Awards, the Oscars of invention.

“This year ITRI was again honored with the R&D 100 Awards for its rewritable electronic paper i2R e-Paper. This is a special green energy conserving display technology.” John Chen, general director of ITRI’s Display Technology Center.

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The Stretchy Flubber Like OLED Display…

Are we on the brink of a major technology shift, display and electronics technology is shifting from metallic wires to plastic -polymer electronics- with surprising results.

Research scientist at UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have demonstrated an amazing form of OLED display material that can be stretched up to 45%. Not quite ready to be rolled up into a ball and bounced around the room this hardy little stretchy display is a breakthrough on the road to fully plastic electronics built into everything clothing to coffee tins.

The OLED display demonstrated by the researches was able to be twisted and stretched then return to its original shape all while still operating unaffected. A number of breakthroughs were made in producing this stretchy little patch of plastic. The use of carbon nano-tubes in the polymer electronics gives the display flexibility and negates the need for metallic wiring. The polymer also acts as a framework for the carbon nano-tubes to form around, simplifying the manufacturing allowing roll to roll manufacturing.

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MIT’s Zippo Power Generator, TPV power for the Masses…

Power, electrical power is the life blood of our modern world, a constant heartbeat that drives every gadget on the planet. MIT scientist have demonstrated a huge breakthrough in power, a Zippo lighter sized power station that’s three times as powerful as lithium-ion batteries and runs off a tiny cap of methanol.

The technology behind the tiny device is able to convert any source of heat into electricity. Called a Thermo-Photovoltaic system – TPV -, the Zippo generator is able to convert heat into specific frequencies of light which is used by a tuned PV cell – solar cell – to generate electricity.

While it may sound complicated, there are no moving parts, nothing to wear out and it is made of cheap materials. The team of MIT researchers have managed to produce a cheap and efficient take on the technology previously only available to NASA. Will the Zippo make a come back as every iPhones best friend, maybe.

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The Moving Image Picture, Sony HD S-Frame Innovation Series…

Sony has this week release a new picture frame with a difference, the HD S-Frame Series. As well as the usual assortment of PictureFrame functions, slide show, clock, alarm, the new series picture frame can play full 1080 HD media files on its LCD screen. Three new models have been introduced as part of the HD S-Frame line-up, top of the range is the DPF-HD1000 with a 10″ LCD – 1024×600 – , DPF-HD800 8″ – 800×480 – and not to be forgotten the cut down bargain of the group the DPF-HD700 7″ LCD.

With the new S-Frame models Sony has achieved a very clean and sharp look, the front fascia is free from sparkles and fancy button layouts that have been used in the past on Sony picture frames. Attractive but they still look at home by the bed or on the mantle piece.

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The Light of the Future and the Amazing X-Ray Camera…

As science develops new devices for studying the world humanity as a collective gains a new way of looking at the world.

The European XFEL X-ray Free-Electron Laser – is one such facility, allowing scientists to photograph molecules, in real-time 3D of course. This allows scientists for the first time to capture chemical reactions taking place, reactions too fast for previous technologies. This is a very big window to the world of the hyper small, nano.

XFEL may never be as well-known as CERN and they’re headline grabbing antics, but it will make an important contribution to science none the less.

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Texas Instruments RGB LED Coffee Table, Coffee Table in Disco…

Texas Instruments has managed to invent the funkiest piece of furniture almost completely by accident. The team from TI have created the ultimate Disco coffee-table. Designed as a demonstration project for TI’s MSP-430 microcontroller the project was just a side note until they switched it on.

The project was given the title ‘The RGB LED Coffee Table’ and the plans are available for anyone to make their own. Watching the video you are quickly hypnotised by the wild colour changes and rhythmic beat matching that causes colours to wash over the table in waves. The LED lights used are capable of displaying any of 16 million colours in its palette, and it shows, graduated fade outs being one of the beautiful results.

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