Drone Catcher can pursue and catch intrusive drones

A group of engineers from Michigan Technological University have developed a drone-catcher. This nifty device can pursue and capture intrusive drones. Useful for immensely private spaces prone to intrusion, such as military grounds, the White House, and even sports events.

Basically, the drone catcher follows the rogue drone, shoots a big net towards the intrusive drone and ferries it towards a safe location. The system can be autonomous, controlled by a ground-based human pilot, or a combination of the two.

The creators of the drone-catches proposed other potential applications to their invention, which includes: foiling spy drones, smugglers, and terrorists, and supporting the recent FAA announcement requiring drones to be registered.

What could the innovation of this tech mean for businesses everywhere? Does this mark a new era of security? Could we utilize this to create something that not only benefits our businesses, but also the common good?

'Smart Glasses' offer help to near-blind people

Researchers from Oxford University say they've made a breakthrough in developing smart glasses for people with severe sight loss.

The spectacles (smart glasses), developed by Stephen Hicks and his research team at Oxford University use 3D cameras to augment vision and help visually impaired see. Read more

The augmented reality glasses use three-dimensional cameras that detect the structure and position of nearby objects. Software then uses that information to block out the background and highlight only what is nearest to the user.

“Smart-glasses are a piece of work we’ve been doing for the past three years at Oxford looking at ways to enhance the remaining sight that people have. When you go blind, you generally have some sight remaining, and using a combination of cameras and a see-through display, we’re able to enhance nearby objects to make them easier to see for obstacle avoidance and also facial recognition,” says Dr. Stephen Hicks of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences at Oxford University, who is leading the research.

The supermarket of the future

Coop Italia collaborated with Accenture to showcase the ground-breaking Supermarket of the Future using advanced technologies at Expo Milano 2015. The store recreates the atmosphere of local open-air markets but provides innovative digital solutions that share information, facilitate store navigation and improve staff communication. 

The Supermarket of the Future transforms the customer experience with digital tools that make shopping more convenient, relevant and personalized. In the supermarket of the future, consumers would be able read detailed descriptions of the origins and health aspects of the foods they're buying, according to Carlo Ratti Associati, the firm that designed the supermarket.

There are also no shelves in the supermarket of the future.  Buying food will be more about a moment of exchange and interactions, not the hasty choir it represents for most people. The supermarket of the future will be all about human interactions; interactions between people and products and between people and people.”

A low-cost light revolution

Have you heard of the award-winning WakaWaka Light?

WakaWaka is a sturdy, highly efficient, sustainable, self-powered LED lamp that is affordable for those living on $2 per day or less.  It is a Netherlands-based invention which contains a microchip that, when placed inside a photovoltaic panel, "lures every sunray" into producing electricity.  This chip ensures that no other solar lamp in the world can match the efficiency of WakaWaka.

In low light conditions, the efficiency can be up to 200% of that of an ‘ordinary solar lamp’. In practice it means, that no matter where you are in the world, WakaWaka will work. Independent researchers show that the solar version of the WakaWaka is twice as efficient as any other solar lamp on the market. For more information see the website.

This is a wonderful example of No More Business As Usual.

The WakaWaka's business vision is ' to brighten up the lives of underpriviledged people in developing countries'. The company has a cross-subsidy model that enables the business to meet the affordability objectives. In essence, rich folk agree to pay more so that poorer consumers can pay less. Sold online, the WakaWaka lamps retail at around €29.50 in Europe and $39 in the United States. In developing world countries, the price is closer to $10. 

3D-printed Ocean Plastic shoe

Adidas and Parley for the Oceans unveiled this new concept as an example of how the shoe industry can use technology to reduce ocean plastic pollution and explore new footwear solutions. The Ocean Plastic shoe has an ocean plastic upper and a 3D printed midsole made of gill net and recycled polyster. More

Image credit: adidas

Image credit: adidas

Image credit: adidas

Image credit: adidas

Image credit: adidas

These shoes represent part of Adidas' effort to infuse exponential technology and sustainability into their core products. Adidas has pledged to boost its green credentials through a number of initiatives, such as ending the use of plastic bags in its retail stores, ending the use of plastic microbeads across all its body care products and ceasing to use plastic bottles for meetings at its headquarters in Herzogenaurach, Germany.



A Futuristic Floating City on the Ocean

The French architect Jacques Rougerie has designed a floating, manta-ray-shaped vessel for marine researchers, scientists and students. It’s also environmentally friendly and completely sustainable, running off marine renewable energy and wind power. 

The 3,000 foot long "university city" would house 7,000 individuals and will be used to conduct ocean research. The city will be equipped with classrooms and laboratories for students as well as living spaces and room for leisure activities, including sports.

App that turns a coloured drawing into a 3D character

Disney has created an amazing app that turns a coloured drawing into a 3D character on a tablet screen.

Disney Research has developed an app that transforms your colored-in pages into 3D animations, using an iPad with a camera. The augmented reality project has a "virtual spring system" that guesses what an incomplete 2D drawing would look like in 3D.

The app does that by copying pixels from your piece and adapting them for use on the object’s other regions. It also transforms your drawing into a 3D object in real time, so you can actually watch it getting colored on screen.

Smart Sensing Technologie D-Shirt

D-shirt of Smart Sensing Technologie by Cityzen Sciences. Through the shirt's sensor-laced fabric connected to a bluetooth transmitter, your activity can be tracked while you move, and it's sent to your smartphone. The material can be washed and ironed (though the transmitter must be removed first) and it is no heavier than a regular t-shirt. 

For the launch of the brand, Smart Sensing will showcase their potential with mass-market sports products: a t-shirt and cycling bib tights sensing directly the wearer’s heart rate, GPS location, speed, etc. These clothes, equipped with an artificial intelligence adaptable to each sportsperson, will be commercialised with personalised real-time coaching and monitoring applications.

The company hasn't released a prototype yet, but they did talk about the exciting product at CES 2014.

Turns Your Finger Into a Magic Wand

A wearable device looks like a normal ring that fits on your finger, which gives you control over almost anything!

It may deceivingly look like a normal ring but it generates a lot of computing power on your finger. Using the device, you can control home appliances and apps through custom gestures, device applications, even payments through specific gestures as well as write text by drawing letters in the air with your finger. Price: $185 (via Kickstarter; price may change). Kickstarter blew past it's $250,000 goal three times over and will begin shipping out devices to backers shortly.

A smartwatch that knows what you're touching

A new system developed byDisney Research known as the Em-Sense watch will be able to distinguish between different types of electromagnetic sound resonating through different objects when you touch them. When a user wears the EM-Sense sensor smartwatch, it detects any object the user touches, from door handles to laptop trackpads and drills. The system does not need objects to be hooked up to any kind of sensor ... the EmSense system can detect them based on a database of past interactions.

Disney explains: "Most everyday electrical and electromechanical objects emit small amounts of electromagnetic (EM) noise during regular operation. When a user makes physical contact with such an object, this EM signal propagates through the user, owing to the conductivity of the human body. By modifying a small, low-cost, software-defined radio, we can detect and classify these signals in real-time, enabling robust on-touch object detection." Read More>

EmSense isn't ready for consumer release yet, this is still just a research project, though it does appear to work in practice. Imagine what it would be like if we can digitize touch and tactile sensation? Could this enable a multitude of new human capabilities? What if we could have office doors or specialized equipment that only operate on the touch of an authorized users only (as verified by his/her touch and paired smartwatch)?

Wearable Smart Jewelry

CUFF is a smart device that works with stylish jewelry to keep you feeling safe and connected — even when your phone is in your purse. Unlike other would-be wearable jewelry, Cuff has an interchangeable module called CuffLinc that pops into a variety of designs. You could wear it in a pendant, a bracelet, keychain, or any other accessory designed to hold it. 

Cuffs are wearable GPS bracelets that, when connected to other devices worn by loved ones, will vibrate when the wearer presses a button. The device is being marketed as a tool for both emergency situations and simple attention grabbing. The CUFF app enables you to set up a network of trusted friends and family who will be notified when you need help.

The CUFF works without requiring any charging, eliminating the hassle of one more cord to plug in. It will stay fully charged for 6-12 months (depending on usage) before needing to be replaced. Cuff's appearance makes it unnoticeable as a smart device, instead looking like fashionable jewelry,  the device will launch with compatible apps for both iOS and Android. Price: $50 - $150 (pre-order)

The futurist Bracelet that turns Your Arm Into A Touchscreen

A team from France has come up with the idea for a bracelet that can be used to turn the wearer's arm into a smartphone screen.  They have named it 'The Cicret Bracelet'. It is an armband that projects the content of your phone onto your arm, and allows you to interact with the projected content. "With the Cicret Bracelet, you can make your skin your new touchscreen," says the Cicret team on its website. "Read your mails, play your favorite games, answer your calls, check the weather, find your way... Do whatever you want on your arm."

"The video we put online is an illustration of what our Cicret bracelet could allow users to do," says Guillaume Pommier, Cicret co-founder and in charge of press and marketing.

While the bracelet is still in its concept stage and prototype is still in the works, the inventors believe that the bracelet will replace a smartphone or tablet.  Wearers of the Cicret bracelet will be able to check an email or watch a film that’s projected onto their forearm, and control the picture by using their skin like a touchscreen. A tiny projector in the bracelet will cast an image onto the skin then eight long-range proximity sensors will detect every swipe, tap and pinch. It will also have a vibrator, an accelerator, USB port and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, according to the Cicret website.

The Invisible Bike Helmet

Two Swedish industrial design students came up with an ingenious solution: make the helmet invisible. Their concept: an airbag in a collar; in the event of an accident, it would deploy to envelop a bicyclist’s head.

The Hövding (invisible helmet) is actually an air bag, which uses a helium gas cylinder to inflate when its sensors detect a sudden jolt.

Hövding is a rapidly-inflating airbag that deploys from a collar around your neck when you’re in an accident. Here’s how it works, and a video demonstrating this amazing, but still expensive, invention.

The helmets are also CE labelled, which means they comply with EU safety standards and have undergone a variety of safety tests.

A portable water filtration device

"1 in 9 people world wide do not have access to safe and clean drinking water and  443 million school days are lost each year due to water-related diseases."... According to the Water Project

PureLives is a home filter - utilizes unique patented technology that eliminates 99.9% of the waterborne bacteria and viruses that cause human illness and disease. Portapure technology a five-gallon water filtration device, can take dirty water from a lake or stream and turn it into clean, drinkable H20 -- without the need for purification tablets or electricity. The device can provide 3,000-5,000 gallons of drinkable water before it needs a new filter.

PureLives is designed to work either in the home as a filtration unit attached to a faucet or it can be taken to a well or source of groundwater using shoulder straps.

High-tech mouthguard that can detect concussions

Detecting a concussion is difficult, and unknowingly allowing athletes to play with one can cause a lifetime of brain damage.

Mamori which is Japanese for "protect", is a mouthguard with built-in sensors that can  send alerts to coaches that  when a collision is intense enough to cause a concussion and also tell someone on the sidelines when a player has received a serious – yet invisible – injury. If the force absorbed by a player is large enough, that information can be received with the corresponding Mamori app on a computer instantaneously. This will allow for coaches and trainers to provide treatment quicker to the injured player, because they were able to recognize the concussion at an earlier period of time. Because concussions are so easily undetectable, sometimes players can just shake it off as a headache and not think anything about it; if they get hit again though, the consequences can be much more dire. Mamori will help prevent players from playing with undetected concussion - Read more

Mark Dillon, an Irish inventor, was inspired to make Manori because of the concussion problem with Gaelic football in Ireland, along with the increasing problem of players playing with concussions and getting hit again. Mamori is a finalist for the James Dyson Award, in which hundreds of university-level design and engineering students compete for cash and recognition. 

New Solar harvesting surfaces that revolutionise solar power as we know it

Researchers Develop Transparent Solar Concentrator 'Near-Infrared Harvesting Transparent Luminescent Solar Concentrators' - This technology could mean that one day entire skyscrapers might be able to generate solar power without blocking out light or ruining tenants' views. Continue Reading

Because solar panels are designed to accumulate as much light from the sun as possible, they're typically very dark in color. It makes them more efficient, but also kind of an eyesore, minimizing their adoption. So researchers at the University of Michigan have developed what they believe to be the world's first semi-transparent, colored solar panels. Read more

Wearable robotic suits that allow people with lower-body paralysis to walk upright again

Wearable robotic suits that allow people with lower-body paralysis to walk upright again

Could you ever imagine that soon wheelchairs might become irrelevant? Well, you don't have to imagine it, since the revolutionary "bionic exoskeleton" is now making this a reality. Robotic or mechanical exoskeletons provide the possibility of offering disabled people the kind of protection, support and strength they afford in nature. 

Read More

AirDrop: Turning Air Into Water

This simple, but brilliant, design actually pulls water from air through condensation. This solar- powered AirDrop low-tech device, takes  in air from above the soil and cools it  below ground, causing the water in the air to condense, in a passive  system of sub-surface drip irrigation.

With this AirDrop device, the water is delivered directly to the plants' roots, where it's most needed and the water has much less opportunity to be wasted, due to evaporation.

The 28-year old Australian inventor, Edward Linacre took his biomimicry cues from Australia's hardy desert rhubarb and from the Namib beetle, which have evolved to collect water from the air.

It works by using a solar powered fan to drive the hot air underground through a network of piping that rapidly cools the air and condenses the water out it. This is the most ingenious and efficient form of irrigation, since it does not rely on the bodies of water for its sources. Currently, it's in the prototype phase. 

While still in the beginning stages and not available for purchase... yet, this is an idea and a project to watch closely. Very closely.