Meet the Eggasus: Personal Electric Vehicle of the Future is Now

It’s stylish, quiet, environmentally friendly, and innovative, but is the Eggasus everything it’s cracked up to be? The mysterious egg-shaped vehicle is set to be launched sometime this fall.

Eggasus

As it stands, very little is known about this eco-friendly car or the people who have designed it. On their website, www.eggasus.com, they claim they have been in the prototype and “specialty gas and electric vehicles for over 25 years”. The mission of the Eggasus designers is simple which is “to create a vehicle for the future today. Zero emission with an eye catching, out-of-this-world design, Eggasus moves you quietly from place to place or building to building in an all-weather enclosure.”

The Eggasus is a personal transporter with a futuristic design. It is meant to be used in congested urban areas, campuses, and as a rolling billboard. It’s basically a 3 wheel scooter with an enclosure around it to protect the driver from the elements. It was a finalist in the “Manufacturing & High Tech” section of the Sierra Nevada Innovation Challenge, which is hosted by Innovate North State, a public/private partnership to build economic development for rural northern California. In the challenge, competitors had six minutes to convince the judges of their particular genre why their product will revolutionize the industry. Below, is a short embedded video showing off the “eggs”traordinary vehicle.

The Eggasus team has decided to fund their project using the social media route. They have posted a $50,000 goal on Indiegogo. You can help fund them at http://www.indiegogo.com/eggasus?c=home. The vehicle appears to be going for a starting price of around $5000. To be honest, it is hard for me to get real “eggs”cited about Eggasus because there are so many questions left unanswered. Hopefully, they will get more specifications about the vehicle posted on their website soon.

Future Displays May Consist of Water and Air

Can you say superhydrophobic three times real fast? Yeah, me neither. This is a term that describes something that is extremely resistant to water. If you were superhydrophobic, you would emerge the clear winner in any water gun fight. However, I shall get back to the point. Researchers have long marveled at how the lotus leaf, pictured below, repels water. Its surface is so smooth that water and dirt cannot adhere to it. To achieve this super water repellency on a surface, there have to be structures in place which force air between the water and the surface of the leaf. Researchers have mimicked this effect by developing a surface that allowed them to print letters in the air layer between it and the water above it.

Water Drop on Lotus
Water Drop on Lotus (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Dr. Robin Ras of Aalto University in Finland lead the study along with researchers from University of Cambridge and Nokia Research Center Cambridge. You can watch a really neat display of this technology at work via this link http://youtu.be/AEWPIjLbrSE.  It is pretty impressive to see how they carried this research out. They squirt water directly onto the surface where below, you can see the word “Nokia”. The water just bounces off the surface until it is completely covered. In an effort to keep this simple, what basically happens because of the presence of nano-scale posts on the surface, a layer of air is trapped between the superhydrophobic surface and the water above it. Because of the way the posts are designed, the shape of the air can exist in two “wetting” states. The researchers refer to this as “reversible switching”. All it takes is a pressure change to change the shape of this air layer. “The minimal energy needed to switch between the states means the system is bistable, which is the essential property of memory devices, for example”, Academy Research Fellow Dr. Robin Ras points out. However, there is a feature that makes it all the more interesting: there is a striking optical contrast between the states due to a change in the roughness of the water-air interface. “Combined with the optical effect, the surface is also a bistable reflective display.” Video is also embedded below.

Who knows where this research could lead? It could have applications such as lower power data storage all the way to low power displays. The amazing thing to me is that the original idea came from observing nature. There is so much discovery left in this world and so much to learn. If only, we took more time to ponder nature’s wonders, who knows what amazing innovations we might achieve.

For more information on this research, you can view the published study on the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences website at http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/06/05/1204328109.

 

 

World’s Social Media Gathering

If you are a social media geek, if you remain in touch with the developments that take place there within AND expecting a conference that stimulates your expectations, then you are right on the money! A conference encompassing such an atmosphere is taking place next month from July 6 to July 8, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. Captioned “World’s Social Media Gathering”, the conference is intended to focus on ideation, innovation, creative thinking and doing things beyond convention. It intends to gather social media trend-watchers, media analysts, businesses and strategic decisions makers from all over the planet to provide a perspective different from what this intended audience would provide. How would that happen? Well, the “World’s Social Media Gathering” will be hosted by unconventional speakers who would promote creativity among the audience by instilling thought-provoking ideas, implement innovative methods using practical sessions with a focus that would not deviate from YOU!

Changing the Rules of the Game

Since social media aims to provide a platform where every single individual on the face of this planet has an equal say in affairs of all types, this conference tilts the see-saw towards the common individual providing him the power, the decision making ability and putting ideas forward. Now people who have previously called the shots at corporate level will have to sit back and watch the future unfold. Inspired yet? If not, check this out:

Senseg Brings Texture to Touchscreens

This, quite possibly, could be one of the coolest new technologies we’ll see in the near future. A technology company called “Senseg” is developing a touchscreen technology which allows touchscreens to come to life with textures, contours, and edges that users can feel. They claim that they can turn touchscreens into “feel screens” and they are working with Smartphone and tablet developers to make this a reality.

Feel Screen

You may be familiar with the term “haptics”. Haptics is the technology that allows you to feel that little vibration at the tip of your finger when you press on your Smartphone touchscreen. Senseg has brought haptics to a whole new level. Their patented technology introduces the “Tixel”. To quote their website, “by passing an ultra-low electrical current into the insulated electrode, Senseg’s Tixelâ„¢, the proprietary charge driver, can create a small attractive force to finger skin.” This attractive force basically creates the sensation of sharp edges and rough surfaces.

Tixel

Senseg’s solution is comprised of three core elements:

  • Senseg’s unique Tixel technology that activates the touch screen for electrostatic vibration
  • Senseg’s electronics module
  • Senseg software that manages effects in applications
The “Tixel” is essentially a special coating that can be applied to a touchscreen surface to give the sense of texture. Keep in mind that there are no moving parts. The sensations are electrical and immediate. The electronics module manages the electrical signals that are sent to the “Tixel”. Lastly, the software can be configured by developers to enhance the consumer experience with a wide range of haptic capabilities.
Imagine being able to look at a painting on your Smartphone and be able to feel the artist’s brush strokes. I could see this being great for teachers when they teach small children about different textures. Imagine the uses for the blind. How cool would it be to have braille on a touchscreen? The really cool thing about this technology is that it can be applied to just about any kind of surface, including curved, flat, and soft.
It appears that this technology is in the development stages but will appear in consumer electronics within the next 12 months. In the meantime, if you would like to keep up with Senseg, visit their website at www.senseg.com.

Smartphone on Four Wheels: Fun Vii

Toyota has unveiled the Fun Vii. It’s a fun concept car that has brought in a new twist into the conservative auto industry. Vii stands for Vehicle Fun Interactive Internet.”  Though media is a very impotrant part of our culture today, being inspired  by these social media concepts that define the very world that we live in is nothing new. But apply these concepts on a car and you have some zing. The  Tokyo Motor Show 2011, which is just  around  the corner, has given its theme as    “Mobility can change the world” that was used as an inspiration by  Toyota for the Vii.

Toyota  based its car on a smartphone for this project, which has allowed them to make radical changes on our normal perceptions of a “car”. So it still runs on four wheels and all that, but there are these few cosmetic changes that will affect our perceptions. For example,  consider  the touch-screen door.

Ready for more? No more one-color only for your car. With the Vii, you can customize the car’s exterior aka the wallpaper.

The Vii brings the network inside your car. You will be able to communicate with everything from location services for instructions to other  smart phones  (the ones  without  four wheels) using the Vii’s inbuilt assistant. For example, you can turn on the air conditioning before you enter the car.  How cool is that?

It could have been just another electric car produced by just another very fuel-efficient company. Toyota’s hybrid cars have been a hit all over the world for their fuel-efficiency, cost, and reliability. The Vii is an example of how we can look at a standard a bit differently. Though, there are no official plans from Toyota about the launch of the Vii, the public reaction to their concept car will be a likely litmus test to determine just how soon the Vii will hit our roads. That day is one that I do look forward to with much anticipation.

Images from  cardesigncommunity.com

Google Science Fair 2011 Finalists’ Event To Be Streamed Live on YouTube

The first Google Science Fair Grand Finale is today and is just a few hours away. The finalists will meet will huge names in science today at the Google HQ in California. They will present their projects short-listed amongst thousands others to esteemed guests, including inventors and science Nobel Laureates.

The show is tonight, starting at 7:00 PM PST or 10 PM EDT. The whole event including the final awards event will be streamed live on YouTube channel.

From a pool of 7500 entries from over 10000 students from 60 countries, only 60 semi-finalists were chosen. The selection of 15 from these 60 was based on public voting. We had brought this story to you here. This is the biggest science fair in the world and, come next year, it’s expected to get bigger.

The categories for the entries ranged from renewable energy source to prosthetics.

The finalists are now in Google Headquarters in Mountain View, California. The prizes include experiences at CERN, Google and Scientific American in addition to $100,000 in scholarship funds. The list of the 15 finalists can be found here. A list of judges along with a short bio of each of them can be found here.

Here’s a short promotional video released by Google.

 

If you want to get a head start and sign up for the 2012 version of the fair, here’s the link you’d like to visit.

Is a next Einstein on the way? Well, maybe…

Google Science Fair: Vote To Find An Einstein Of The Future

It’s up to you, dear reader, to select the next big innovator in science. The results of the preliminary round of the first-ever Google Science Fair competition are out and 60 semi-finalists have been chosen from thousands. Google claims to have received over 7500 entries from over 10000 students from across the globe. The public is now free to vote for these sixty semi-finalists.

The grounds for selection included creativity, resourcefulness, scientific merit and, importantly, relevance to society, both on a local as well as on a global level. The topics for the various projects ranged from innovative ways to solve the energy crisis from solar to oceanic energy harnessing to algorithms on auto-pilot modes of aircrafts, cancer treatment and algorithms for music analysis.

The names of the sixty finalists can be seen on the Google Science Fair blog. Vote here.

Voting opened today and will be open till the 20th of May. There are three age groups 13 to 14, 15 to 16 and 17 to 18 in which voting is being conducted. The People’s Choice winner, to be declared on 23rd May, will take home a $10,000 scholarship. The top 15 finalists will be flown to Google’s headquarters for final judging by a panel of distinguished scientists and innovators. This will be accompanied by a celebration party.

You can sign up for the science fair in 2012, so as to receive a notification when it is announced.

Do vote for your favorite candidate. You never know where the future Einstein might be hiding.
http://youtu.be/YRHCCzLZCME

Pittsburg Steelers Fans Make A Towel Twirl With #Steelersnation Hashtag

Remember the 10 Really Amazing and Extraordinary users of Twitter? If you don’t go ahead and read the earlier post. But while you are at it, here is another amazing thing that the Pittsburg Steelers fans have done with .

Twitter Tower Twirl #SteelersNation

Steelers who will be playing in Super Bowl XLV can look forward to the support of their fans who have build a really cool gadget which makes use of Twitter to twirl a towel whenever someone uses #Steelersnation in a tweet, or twerribletowel too as the creators of the gadget told me.

The gadget looks for the above words in tweets and then uses an old fan motor to twirl the towel whenever it comes across it. The gadget is built by Steelers fans who are technology enthusiast. You can watch the Towel twirl live in action by visiting http://twerribletowel.com/. The site will display your Twitter handle and show you the number of twirl’s it has made.

Quite interesting and amazing. Want to try this out? Go ahead and open http://twerribletowel.com/ and then tweet anything with the hashtag #steelersnation to get it rolling. Have fun.

(h/t @fossiloflife)

Voice Search In Google Chrome

Most of the smartphones today have the ability to accept voice commands and perform actions. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just speak something and get things done on your PC too?

Google Chrome Voice Search

Well, if you use , here is a great feature which will allow you to search several search engines by speaking. The called Voice Search is an experimental add-on which allows you to search Google or any other search engines by speaking out the words you want to search.

This is a really amazing add-on and goes on to show the capabilities built into Google Chrome. I tested this feature out to demonstrate how this works, the video is a bit grainy due to bad lighting; will upload another one shortly. Of course, the extension is not perfect and does not recognize all the words, however, once fully developed it would become a really good way to type text without having to use the keyboard.

(Click here if you can’t see the video)

Voice Search comes pre-loaded with the following default services: Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo and Wolfram|Alpha. You can also add your own user-defined search engines. It also integrates a speech input button for all websites using HTML5 search boxes, all of the default search engines’ websites, Facebook, Twitter, reddit, and GitHub.

Of course you require a microphone for this to work. Excited? Go ahead and download the Voice Search extension for Google Chrome now.

Sony Opens Up an Ear for its Fans

With an increasing number of its users becoming quite vile about its shortcomings, Sony’s PlayStation wing has opened up a dedicated site called PlayStation.Blog Share. Here, fans can submit their own ideas and the community votes on the idea.

image

In its own words, this new serviceis dedicated to bringing certain ideas to life:-

Do you have an idea for how to improve the PlayStation experience? If so, Share it! PlayStation.Blog Share is a place to formally submit your best ideas on how we can improve all PlayStation products. It’s also a place where you can discover and vote on other people’s ideas, as well as communicate with us and other PlayStation fans about how to bring great ideas to life. You can only submit one idea per day. Make it count!

image

I was pleasantly surprised to see a tweet that went to a completely new section of the PlayStation blog. With a little bit of snooping around it seemed that Sony was genuinely interested in hearing from its fans at long last.

Let’s hope Sony does act on the suggestions. I for one am hoping that the PSP dev kit is priced lower in the future!