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9
Jul

After Math: Bigger and better


It was a bumper week for big ideas. Jay-Z’s latest album went platinum in under a week, despite it only existing in the ethers of the internet. RED (of high-end camera fame) revealed that it’s working on a “holographic” cellphone. And Tesla is going ahead and building the world’s biggest battery array down in Australia. Numbers, because how else will we decide which is best?

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9
Jul

Trump talked to Putin about creating a ‘Cyber Security unit’


Yes, you’re reading that headline correctly. In the wake of a meeting at the G20 summit, President Trump has revealed that he talked to Russian President Vladimir Putin about creating an “impenetrable Cyber Security unit” that would protect against “election hacking, & many other negative things.” He didn’t go into details as to what this meant, but the statement is baffling on its face. Multiple US intelligence agencies have determined that the Russian government conducted an election hacking campaign in the US, targeting the DNC’s servers, elections officials and voting systems in a bid to help Trump win. Why would you trust the fox to guard the henhouse, especially when you’re already taking heat over allegations of collusion with the Russians? Whether or not you believe the claims are well-founded, it doesn’t look good.

The claim was unusual enough that it led some Republicans to criticize the move. Senator Marco Rubio likened teaming with Russia on cybersecurity to “partnering with Assad on a ‘Chemical Weapons Unit,’” while Senator John McCain joked on Face the Nation that Putin’s assistance would be helpful “since he’s doing the hacking.”

There’s no mention of whether or not Putin was receptive to the idea. As it stands, there’s a good chance that Congress and intelligence organizations would balk at the concept before it got off the ground. The concern isn’t so much that it could happen as that it was even discussed in the first place — even if you don’t believe that Russia meddled in the US election, its fondness for state-sponsored hacking isn’t exactly a well-kept secret.

Putin & I discussed forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, & many other negative things, will be guarded..

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2017

Partnering with Putin on a “Cyber Security Unit” is akin to partnering with Assad on a “Chemical Weapons Unit”. 2/3

— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) July 9, 2017

Via: Reuters

Source: Donald Trump (Twitter)

9
Jul

Best laid plans of mobs and men: The 5 biggest crowdfunding failures of all time


In a perfect world, all crowdfunding projects would live up to their promises and deliver on time — but unfortunately we don’t live in a perfect world.

Crowdfunding sites can’t promise that the projects funded on their platforms will definitely come to fruition — it’s up to backers to look out for warning signs that a project isn’t exactly what it seems. On more than one occasion, budding endeavors on Kickstarter and Indiegogo haven’t been able to live up to their promises, often leaving backers with a feeling of disappointment (and an empty wallet).

These are some of the most notorious.

iBackPack

At first, iBackPack seemed like the perfect Indiegogo investment. It had diagrams, happy videos with lots of millennials, and an interesting concept: An urban backpack that could store, charge and help provide hotspots for iPhones on the go, with plenty of room to spare. It was also vastly successful, raising more than $720,000 in 2015 alone, plus more from Kickstarter.

Then iBackPack vanished. YouTube videos were taken down. Communication ceased almost entirely, and updates stopped completely with no word on if the backpacks would ever exist. It’s now almost certain that the iBackPack will never exist. The company behind the project claims that the backpack ran into problems because of issues in finding safe charger batteries, but some investors have noted that the batteries they were intending to use don’t appear to have had any specific problems. Currently, it looks like this startup won’t start, and a lot of unhappy people will be left behind.

CST-01

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Central Standard Timing raised more than $1 million in pledges from 7,658 backers on Kickstarter, for what it deemed “the world’s thinnest watch.” The CST-01 was funded in 2013, and boy, has it been a journey since then. Delay after delay plagued the e-ink watch as the company struggled to find the sort of technology it needed to actually create the watch.

There’s been a lot of silence from Central Standard Timing, but in 2015, the company posted an apology — and an update — for where the watch stood. It wasn’t good. Central Standard Timing had parted ways with the manufacturer it had been working with for the majority of the process. After another year of silence, Business Insider reported that the company had filed for bankruptcy, making it even more unlikely that CST-01 backers would ever see the money they’d given the company.

It’s likely that Central Standard Timing didn’t intend to scam its backers out of money; it sounds like the company was in over its head in regards to the manufacturing of the watch. However, that certainly doesn’t excuse the money lost by Kickstarter backers.

Elio Motors Scooter

Elio Motors launched a crowdfunding campaign promoting a new 3-wheeled electric vehicle that was supposed to hit the markets in 2014 with incredible fuel efficiency. The company was certainly good at one thing: Raising money from casual investors, to the tune of $17 million for its first crowdfunding round, including over 65,000 that reserved a model ahead of time. Elio even hit the road with a conference on how to properly raise money via crowdfunding.

Then … well, nothing happened. Elio Motors burned through its investment money in only a few short months, primarily on suspicious soft expenses easily summed up as “paychecks.” The supposed released date has been pushed back for years, Elio has failed to get any additional loans for production, and it is now obvious there will never be an Elio scooter. The company is currently selling its small amount of manufacturing equipment just to keep the lights on, and is expected to collapse entirely any time now.

Skarp Laser Razor

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The Skarp Laser Razor was supposedly going to revolutionize shaving by using a laser to remove hair. Apparently, human hair contains a chromophore (a particle that can absorb certain wavelengths of light) that allows follicles to be cut when hit with a particular wavelength of light.

The company behind the razor, Skarp Technologies, claimed to have a working prototype. However, the video on the project’s page didn’t exactly garner confidence from skeptics. Sure — Skarp’s technology might able to snip off a few hairs, but it wouldn’t be anywhere near as effective as a regular ol’ razor.

Kickstarter eventually stepped in after more than 20,000 backers raised more than $4 million in funding. An email sent to backers soon reported that the company did not actually have a working prototype, and the company was in violation of a rule that requires working prototypes of physical products that are offered as rewards.

Shortly thereafter, the project quickly moved itself over to IndieGoGo, where it raised close to $500,000. Skarp is still coming out with periodic updates about…uh, lavish, empty meeting rooms and more pseudo-science about fine-tuning their fibers.

Cataldo’s Cancer

One of the most infamous crowdfunding cancer stories comes from Alabama, where Jennifer Flynn Cataldo, 37, set up GoFundMe campaigns to help pay for medical bills associated with her cancer. She got donations of more than $38,000, before being quickly convicted of fraud. Her assets are now being seized to pay back donors.

While this story had a happy ending, cancer scams are incredibly common. In fact, it’s a good policy to never trust a crowdfunding campaign for any kind of medical bills or any personal problems whatsoever. It’s far too difficult to verify these costs, and much too easy to get distracted by the emotional stories.

ZANO Autonomous Drone

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Torquing Group Ltd. raised more than $3 million in pledges from 12,075 backers on Kickstarter for this palm-sized and much-hyped drone. The ZANO, as it was called, was supposed to connect to iOS and Android smartphones to capture and instantly share photos and videos. Everything seemed to be going smoothly, but then the delays started piling up. Eventually, Torquing Group filed for bankruptcy — at which point Kickstarter hired investigative journalist Mark Harris to find out why the project had failed.

Apparently, Torquing tried really hard to make the drone, but just didn’t have the resources to see it through to completion. The drones were “barely operational,” according to Harris,  which was bad news for everyone, but mostly for backers who coughed up hard-earned cash that they’ll never get back.

Congressional Internet History

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Here’s an odd one: Search Internet History was created on GoFundMe in 2017 to buy the browsing data of U.S. congresspeople. Not just casual data, but all their searches, and all the internet activity of their families, too. Despite being quite illegal and almost entirely impossible, the campaign fed the fires of ire and politics, managing to raise $190,000. Eventually, people who actually knew how the internet worked stepped in and said, “This actually can’t happen, legally or technically.” Politics and independent fundraising appears once again to be a poor mix.

Triton Gills

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Triton — the creators of a device that supposedly would allow users to breathe underwater — have admitted to misleading its backers, and have re-funded nearly $900,000 to Indiegogo backers. The company initially suggested its device was able to “extract breathable air” from water, but that wasn’t entirely true. When the internet (and Digital Trends in particular) started questioning the science behind the product, Triton had to come clean.

Triton Gills actually used what Triton calls “liquid oxygen” cylinders to allow swimmers to breathe underwater. These aren’t currently reusable, and don’t last forever. Those who purchased the Triton Gills will have to buy cylinders to keep using the device. The company remains confident that it can deliver on its new promises, but many backers aren’t convinced.

FND Films

FND Films was a three-man comedy group from Chicago and very popular in their own way, at least until 2014, when they announced an Indiegogo campaign to make their own movie. Fans reacted quickly and the group managed to raise more than $75,000 from 603 very invested people. The result was a big solid nothing for more than 3 years. Well, nothing on the film front, at least. The group did post Instagram shots of them on vacation in Europe and Mexico, which raised a lot of eyebrows.

However, this story has an even more annoying ending: FND was trolling its fans the whole time. The movie they did announced in 2017 was called “It’s All Good” and is about indie filmakers who raise around $75,000 with crowdsourcing and blow it on partying. Apparently, the previous scandal was some sort of marketing campaign for the idea…which has got to make those angry fans feel a whole lot better, right?

Kobe Red

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A Kickstarter campaign for beef jerky, made from organic, beer-fed Japanese cows could have taken lots of money from eager jerky fans. Luckily, however, Kickstarter shut down the campaign on the day it was set to end — even though the project made far more than its original goal of $2,374. Kobe Red garnered a cool $120,309 in pledge money from more than 3,000 backers.

The company behind the project, Magnus Fun, intended to offer three flavors, including brown sugar with lemongrass, sweet spicy ginger teriyaki, and smoked honey with spiced curry. Everything seemed to be going well until backers grew suspect of the company; after all, the Kickstarter page had almost no information regarding the organization. Documentary filmmakers soon began investigating the company and its product, only to find a bunch of sketchy information when they took a peek behind the scenes. Luckily, Kickstarter stepped in before any backer payments had been processed.




9
Jul

Top 3D modeling software options


Whether you are looking for the right software to fuel your latest design project or picking the best engineering program for a company or class, here’s the best 3D modeling software — and what makes them such popular picks.

Keep in mind, however, this software can be taxing on your system. It’s a good idea to carefully examine the required specifications for running the software in question, before making a final decision. Many developers provide both a “minimal” and “recommended” set of specs. The minimal set will allow you to run the software, but, depending on your computer’s configuration, you may not have access to all the features that you need. Try to focus on recommended or optimal specifications and make sure your hardware can handle it.

Blender (Free)

Blender continues to be one of the most user-focused design programs available, especially if you’re still a little new to modeling and want a free option where you can learn, play, and then get to work once you’ve familiarized yourself with the program. Because it’s such a large, open-source project, it can do a bit of everything, allowing you to tackle modeling, rigging, animation, simulation rendering, motion tracking, full-game creation, and more. There’s a strong “by artists, for artists” philosophy behind it, which makes it particularly well-suited for independent creators.

Unlike some software on our list, Blender excels at multi-stage development, and is able to handle many different steps toward a completed product. However, while you can learn a vast amount about modeling from both the software and its robust user community, it’s not easy to jump right it. Even preliminary modeling requires a bit of patience, so prepare to spend some time learning the tools — including a few of Blender’s odd control choices.

Download it now from:

Blender

Cinema 4D ($3,495+)

Maxon’s Cinema 4D software has a tight focus on advanced 3D modeling, which makes it ideal for conceptual product design and those times when you need to add more complex layers to artistic projects. It’s also very slick. The interface is filled with detailed tools, everything has a “help” option associated with it, and the system goes through careful quality control before updates are released, making it more dependable than some alternatives. There’s also a rudimentary version available for less-intensive projects, but it’s good to keep in mind that even the full version doesn’t branch out much beyond detailed 3D modeling. It’s great modeling software, but its limited applications make it less useful for some creators. You’ll also need a Maxon license to use Cinema 4D.

Buy it now from:

Maxon

Autodesk Maya ($1,470 annually)

Autodesk’s Maya animation software was recently updated with a new, user-friendly interface that features drop-down menus and highly visible icons. The company has also done a lot of work to integrate tools from Autodesk Mudbox (previously from Skymatter), allowing for more deft polygon sculpting, and letting you reap the benefits of two types of modeling software from a single application. The amount of detail you can achieve in Maya is quite impressive, and the 3D modeling software is ideal for detailed texturing and modeling, along with those with an eye for animation (Maya was integral in the making of Kubo and the Two Strings, for example). Future editions should be even better, too, given Autodesk will likely integrate more Mudbox tools.

Buy now it from:

AutoDesk

AutoCAD ($1,176 annually)

AutoCAD is an Autodesk classic. That said, we’re putting two Autodesk entries in a row to highlight their differences. AutoCAD’s 2D and 3D modeling is designed specifically for engineering, architecture, and product design. Graphic designers and artists won’t find this software very useful, but engineers often learn it while perusing their degree, rendering it a familiar choice for many. The company has also worked to actively update the software, and has added greater customization and a slew of useful sharing tools — including an accompanying mobile app — which make it a great pick for companies. Opting for the free trial may be a good idea if you’re thinking about using the software professionally and want to ensure it has everything you need.

Buy it now from:

AutoDesk

ZBrush ($795)

ZBrush traditionally is used as a “sculpting” tool, one that lets you to add greater details after nuts-and-bolts 3D modeling. However, in recent years, a number of updates have come to the system to improve how it works and what it does, including additional tools that allow creators to start building directly in the system and even apply rendering after the sculpting phase. This has turned ZBrush into an excellent, general-purpose tool for artists who need to carefully detail their work and would rather not jump between expensive platforms to get it done.

Buy it now from:

Pixologic

3DS Max ($1,470 annually)

For those invested in creating high-end productions that will really impress the public, 3DS Max is worth a look. The software — which was used to create graphics for Assassin’s Creed, among other projects — is focused on modeling, ultra-detailed animation, and rendering via Arnold, V-Ray, Iray, and other commonplace tools. Like Autodesk’s other software, the latest updates are pushing further integration and compatibility with 3DS, while focusing on making the software as VR-friendly as possible for developers. However, if you’re more interested in basic modeling than the progression toward full video animation, you may want to look elsewhere.

Buy it now from:

AutoDesk

SketchUp ($695)

While modeling software can be notoriously difficult to master, SketchUp is designed for the real world, with feature made for beginners, learners, and more flexible workplaces. The modeling software includes a “3D Warehouse,” which is used to store and share models with the community, as well as a number of extensions that add different pre-built shapes. However, this simplicity also limits the reach of SketchUp; it’s primarily used for architectural modeling, interior design, home planning, and similar projects. There are several versions available, though, each of which is based on your goals, along with both personal and professional use.

Buy it now from:

SketchUp




9
Jul

Stream your shows anywhere there’s Wi-Fi with the $25 Google Chromecast


Best Buy has the Google Chromecast for just $25. That’s $10 off the normal price and is being matched at other retailers like Target and B&H. B&H is actually the cheapest option if you include the shipping charges, since none of them offer free shipping for a $25 item. However, Best Buy currently has a deal for streaming devices where you can get a free month of DirecTV Now and stream live channels to your device, and you can always avoid the shipping charge altogether with free in-store pickup.

chromecast.jpg?itok=D2cAFAcc

Chromecast is a great device for two reasons. First, it’s tiny. You can take this thing with you anywhere and get streaming services any place you can connect to Wi-Fi. Second, it’s great because it’s cheap. Obviously it’s even cheaper with this deal but even at $35 it was always super affordable.

The Chromecast streaming services are at the top of the game and compete with the likes of Roku. In one little device you’ll have access to all the major music services like Pandora and Spotify as well as top TV streaming services like HBO Now, Netflix, and Hulu.

If you really want to cut that metaphorical cord, Best Buy also has a Chromecast bundle including an HDTV antenna for $20 off its normal price.

See at Best Buy

9
Jul

Ben Heck’s mini pinball: Simulating gameplay


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Ben and Felix meet with Terry from Mathworks to find out how they can use Matlab and Simulink to create a simulation of the miniature pinball table and teensy microcontroller. Terry explains how Simulink, and hardware running a real-time OS, can mimic the experience of an embedded hardware system. Throw in an accurate 3D model created with Autodesk’s Fusion 360, and the team gets a good idea how the prototypes will work without having to rebuild the design. The team can even control it with an XBox One controller! Join in with the build over on the element14 Community.

9
Jul

Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Liquid plastic welders and cheap 3D printers


At any given moment there are approximately a zillion different crowdfunding campaigns happening on the Web. Take a stroll through Kickstarter or Indiegogo and you’ll find no shortage of weird, useless, and downright stupid projects out there – alongside some real gems. We’ve cut through the Pebble clones and janky iPhone cases to round up the most unusual, ambitious, and exciting new crowdfunding projects out there this week. That said, keep in mind that any crowdfunding project — even the best intentioned — can fail, so do your homework before cutting a check for the gadget of your dreams.

Obsidian — $99 3D printer

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3D printers are getting cheaper. Drastically cheaper, in fact. In the early days, it wasn’t uncommon for even the most basic printer to carry a price tag upwards of $3,000, but in just a few years’ time the average price has plummeted. Nowadays, there are dozens of printers you can get for under 500 bucks, and some are even cheaper than that. Obsidian is the latest addition to this sub-$200 club. Priced at just $99 on Kickstarter, it’s easily one of the most affordable printers we’ve ever laid eyes on.

Aside from its promise of VR-integrated design and ridiculously low price tag, the big selling points of the Obsidian 3D printer are its out-of-the-box, assembly-free ease of use and attractive appearance.

Starting at $99 for your choice of either a black or white model, it aims to spit out objects that are a comparable quality to printers with a considerably higher price tag. A higher tier $249 “Obsidian Deluxe” model comes with additional features such as a Smart LCD screen, heated bed, built-in camera, and more.

Cero One — Front-loading electric cargo bike

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Be it a big or small basket, a simple platform, or a few tie down straps on the rear rack, the Cero One has the ability to undertake some serious hauling. Touting up to 12 different combinations, Cero Bikes specifically constructed the bicycle differently from much of what’s currently on the market. Featuring a smaller front wheel to assist with bigger front cargo, it also relies on a lower center of gravity to achieve excellent stability. The company also outfitted the bike with wide balloon tires to increase the balance and smoothness of the ride

Outside of its construction, the Cero One also offers several pedal-assisted drive modes. Capable of cruising at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour, buyers can expect to get 44 miles out of its High drive mode, 62 when switched to Normal, and an astounding 93 miles when set to Eco mode. For most people who want a commuter bike, these ranges are more than capable of serving them on a day-to-day basis.

MummyPod — hammock-focused sleeping bag

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As hammock camping continues to grow in popularity, the available gear has continued to evolve over the past few years. Case in point? A company called Outdoor Vitals recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to help crowdfund a new product called the MummyPod, an all-in-one sleep system designed from the ground up with hammock campers in mind.

The complete MummyPod system consists of three individual parts: a sleeping bag, hammock, and a rain tarp. All those elements were designed to work together to create a lightweight yet highly versatile option that can be used virtually anywhere. The entire system weighs just 4.4 pounds and packs down to an incredibly small footprint, taking up less room in a backpack than a traditional sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and tent.

When deployed, the MummyPod acts as a cocoon, wrapping around the exterior of your hammock to provide warmth and protection from the elements. This is unlike traditional sleeping bags that sit inside the sling itself.

Smart Buckle — smart wristwatch band

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Why buy a new smartwatch when you can just smarten up your old watch? That’s the question Gooseberry answers with its Smart Buckle, a little device that goes a long way with your existing accessories. It’s heralded as the first device that “intelligently upgrades classic timepieces with advanced step, calorie, activity, and sleep monitoring capabilities.”

So if you don’t want to give up the feel of your familiar watch but want some innovative technology, this could be the solution for you.

“Many of us have worn our watches for years, sometimes as a tradition and other times as a personal fashion choice,” Alexei Levene, co-founder of Gooseberry said. “We wanted to create a product that allows people to wear their favorite timepieces while also being able to have access to smartwatch capabilities, such as fitness tracking, making use of current technology trends.”

All you have to do to breathe new life into your existing watch is replace the buckle — from there, you can track how many calories you’ve burned, the distance you’ve traveled, your pace, and even your sleep habits.

Bondic Evo — liquid plastic welding

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Glue is incredibly useful, but it’s not exactly the most user-friendly stuff in the world. It’s messy, unwieldy, and difficult to apply with any degree of precision. But now, thanks to dentist-turned-inventor Dr. Thomas Offermann, there might a better alternative. Instead of haphazardly squeezing some adhesive out of a tube, Offerman’s Bondic system allows you to join two materials together with liquid plastic that hardens under UV light. You know those little UV glue guns that dentists use to fill minor cavities before they get too serious? It’s basically the exact same adhesive technology, just tweaked a little and redesigned for a different purpose.

To use Bondic — or more specifically, the new-and-improved Bondic Evo — you simply apply the desired amount of liquid plastic to whatever you’re hoping to repair. The goop can bond practically anything (plastic, metal, fiberglass, wood, fabric, etc.), and the high-precision extrusion tip allows you to apply exactly as much adhesive as you need.

This adhesive will remain in liquid form until you hit it with a blast of UV light, so you’re free to fiddle with it and make adjustments before you commit to hardening. After about four seconds of direct UV exposure, the plastic becomes hard as a rock but not so hard that it resists sanding and finishing. You can file it down and smooth it out when you’re done or add extra layers for additional strength.




9
Jul

Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Liquid plastic welders and cheap 3D printers


At any given moment there are approximately a zillion different crowdfunding campaigns happening on the Web. Take a stroll through Kickstarter or Indiegogo and you’ll find no shortage of weird, useless, and downright stupid projects out there – alongside some real gems. We’ve cut through the Pebble clones and janky iPhone cases to round up the most unusual, ambitious, and exciting new crowdfunding projects out there this week. That said, keep in mind that any crowdfunding project — even the best intentioned — can fail, so do your homework before cutting a check for the gadget of your dreams.

Obsidian — $99 3D printer

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

3D printers are getting cheaper. Drastically cheaper, in fact. In the early days, it wasn’t uncommon for even the most basic printer to carry a price tag upwards of $3,000, but in just a few years’ time the average price has plummeted. Nowadays, there are dozens of printers you can get for under 500 bucks, and some are even cheaper than that. Obsidian is the latest addition to this sub-$200 club. Priced at just $99 on Kickstarter, it’s easily one of the most affordable printers we’ve ever laid eyes on.

Aside from its promise of VR-integrated design and ridiculously low price tag, the big selling points of the Obsidian 3D printer are its out-of-the-box, assembly-free ease of use and attractive appearance.

Starting at $99 for your choice of either a black or white model, it aims to spit out objects that are a comparable quality to printers with a considerably higher price tag. A higher tier $249 “Obsidian Deluxe” model comes with additional features such as a Smart LCD screen, heated bed, built-in camera, and more.

Cero One — Front-loading electric cargo bike

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Be it a big or small basket, a simple platform, or a few tie down straps on the rear rack, the Cero One has the ability to undertake some serious hauling. Touting up to 12 different combinations, Cero Bikes specifically constructed the bicycle differently from much of what’s currently on the market. Featuring a smaller front wheel to assist with bigger front cargo, it also relies on a lower center of gravity to achieve excellent stability. The company also outfitted the bike with wide balloon tires to increase the balance and smoothness of the ride

Outside of its construction, the Cero One also offers several pedal-assisted drive modes. Capable of cruising at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour, buyers can expect to get 44 miles out of its High drive mode, 62 when switched to Normal, and an astounding 93 miles when set to Eco mode. For most people who want a commuter bike, these ranges are more than capable of serving them on a day-to-day basis.

MummyPod — hammock-focused sleeping bag

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

As hammock camping continues to grow in popularity, the available gear has continued to evolve over the past few years. Case in point? A company called Outdoor Vitals recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to help crowdfund a new product called the MummyPod, an all-in-one sleep system designed from the ground up with hammock campers in mind.

The complete MummyPod system consists of three individual parts: a sleeping bag, hammock, and a rain tarp. All those elements were designed to work together to create a lightweight yet highly versatile option that can be used virtually anywhere. The entire system weighs just 4.4 pounds and packs down to an incredibly small footprint, taking up less room in a backpack than a traditional sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and tent.

When deployed, the MummyPod acts as a cocoon, wrapping around the exterior of your hammock to provide warmth and protection from the elements. This is unlike traditional sleeping bags that sit inside the sling itself.

Smart Buckle — smart wristwatch band

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Why buy a new smartwatch when you can just smarten up your old watch? That’s the question Gooseberry answers with its Smart Buckle, a little device that goes a long way with your existing accessories. It’s heralded as the first device that “intelligently upgrades classic timepieces with advanced step, calorie, activity, and sleep monitoring capabilities.”

So if you don’t want to give up the feel of your familiar watch but want some innovative technology, this could be the solution for you.

“Many of us have worn our watches for years, sometimes as a tradition and other times as a personal fashion choice,” Alexei Levene, co-founder of Gooseberry said. “We wanted to create a product that allows people to wear their favorite timepieces while also being able to have access to smartwatch capabilities, such as fitness tracking, making use of current technology trends.”

All you have to do to breathe new life into your existing watch is replace the buckle — from there, you can track how many calories you’ve burned, the distance you’ve traveled, your pace, and even your sleep habits.

Bondic Evo — liquid plastic welding

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

Glue is incredibly useful, but it’s not exactly the most user-friendly stuff in the world. It’s messy, unwieldy, and difficult to apply with any degree of precision. But now, thanks to dentist-turned-inventor Dr. Thomas Offermann, there might a better alternative. Instead of haphazardly squeezing some adhesive out of a tube, Offerman’s Bondic system allows you to join two materials together with liquid plastic that hardens under UV light. You know those little UV glue guns that dentists use to fill minor cavities before they get too serious? It’s basically the exact same adhesive technology, just tweaked a little and redesigned for a different purpose.

To use Bondic — or more specifically, the new-and-improved Bondic Evo — you simply apply the desired amount of liquid plastic to whatever you’re hoping to repair. The goop can bond practically anything (plastic, metal, fiberglass, wood, fabric, etc.), and the high-precision extrusion tip allows you to apply exactly as much adhesive as you need.

This adhesive will remain in liquid form until you hit it with a blast of UV light, so you’re free to fiddle with it and make adjustments before you commit to hardening. After about four seconds of direct UV exposure, the plastic becomes hard as a rock but not so hard that it resists sanding and finishing. You can file it down and smooth it out when you’re done or add extra layers for additional strength.




9
Jul

Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Liquid plastic welders and cheap 3D printers


At any given moment there are approximately a zillion different crowdfunding campaigns happening on the Web. Take a stroll through Kickstarter or Indiegogo and you’ll find no shortage of weird, useless, and downright stupid projects out there – alongside some real gems. We’ve cut through the Pebble clones and janky iPhone cases to round up the most unusual, ambitious, and exciting new crowdfunding projects out there this week. That said, keep in mind that any crowdfunding project — even the best intentioned — can fail, so do your homework before cutting a check for the gadget of your dreams.

Obsidian — $99 3D printer

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

3D printers are getting cheaper. Drastically cheaper, in fact. In the early days, it wasn’t uncommon for even the most basic printer to carry a price tag upwards of $3,000, but in just a few years’ time the average price has plummeted. Nowadays, there are dozens of printers you can get for under 500 bucks, and some are even cheaper than that. Obsidian is the latest addition to this sub-$200 club. Priced at just $99 on Kickstarter, it’s easily one of the most affordable printers we’ve ever laid eyes on.

Aside from its promise of VR-integrated design and ridiculously low price tag, the big selling points of the Obsidian 3D printer are its out-of-the-box, assembly-free ease of use and attractive appearance.

Starting at $99 for your choice of either a black or white model, it aims to spit out objects that are a comparable quality to printers with a considerably higher price tag. A higher tier $249 “Obsidian Deluxe” model comes with additional features such as a Smart LCD screen, heated bed, built-in camera, and more.

Cero One — Front-loading electric cargo bike

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Be it a big or small basket, a simple platform, or a few tie down straps on the rear rack, the Cero One has the ability to undertake some serious hauling. Touting up to 12 different combinations, Cero Bikes specifically constructed the bicycle differently from much of what’s currently on the market. Featuring a smaller front wheel to assist with bigger front cargo, it also relies on a lower center of gravity to achieve excellent stability. The company also outfitted the bike with wide balloon tires to increase the balance and smoothness of the ride

Outside of its construction, the Cero One also offers several pedal-assisted drive modes. Capable of cruising at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour, buyers can expect to get 44 miles out of its High drive mode, 62 when switched to Normal, and an astounding 93 miles when set to Eco mode. For most people who want a commuter bike, these ranges are more than capable of serving them on a day-to-day basis.

MummyPod — hammock-focused sleeping bag

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As hammock camping continues to grow in popularity, the available gear has continued to evolve over the past few years. Case in point? A company called Outdoor Vitals recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to help crowdfund a new product called the MummyPod, an all-in-one sleep system designed from the ground up with hammock campers in mind.

The complete MummyPod system consists of three individual parts: a sleeping bag, hammock, and a rain tarp. All those elements were designed to work together to create a lightweight yet highly versatile option that can be used virtually anywhere. The entire system weighs just 4.4 pounds and packs down to an incredibly small footprint, taking up less room in a backpack than a traditional sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and tent.

When deployed, the MummyPod acts as a cocoon, wrapping around the exterior of your hammock to provide warmth and protection from the elements. This is unlike traditional sleeping bags that sit inside the sling itself.

Smart Buckle — smart wristwatch band

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Why buy a new smartwatch when you can just smarten up your old watch? That’s the question Gooseberry answers with its Smart Buckle, a little device that goes a long way with your existing accessories. It’s heralded as the first device that “intelligently upgrades classic timepieces with advanced step, calorie, activity, and sleep monitoring capabilities.”

So if you don’t want to give up the feel of your familiar watch but want some innovative technology, this could be the solution for you.

“Many of us have worn our watches for years, sometimes as a tradition and other times as a personal fashion choice,” Alexei Levene, co-founder of Gooseberry said. “We wanted to create a product that allows people to wear their favorite timepieces while also being able to have access to smartwatch capabilities, such as fitness tracking, making use of current technology trends.”

All you have to do to breathe new life into your existing watch is replace the buckle — from there, you can track how many calories you’ve burned, the distance you’ve traveled, your pace, and even your sleep habits.

Bondic Evo — liquid plastic welding

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Glue is incredibly useful, but it’s not exactly the most user-friendly stuff in the world. It’s messy, unwieldy, and difficult to apply with any degree of precision. But now, thanks to dentist-turned-inventor Dr. Thomas Offermann, there might a better alternative. Instead of haphazardly squeezing some adhesive out of a tube, Offerman’s Bondic system allows you to join two materials together with liquid plastic that hardens under UV light. You know those little UV glue guns that dentists use to fill minor cavities before they get too serious? It’s basically the exact same adhesive technology, just tweaked a little and redesigned for a different purpose.

To use Bondic — or more specifically, the new-and-improved Bondic Evo — you simply apply the desired amount of liquid plastic to whatever you’re hoping to repair. The goop can bond practically anything (plastic, metal, fiberglass, wood, fabric, etc.), and the high-precision extrusion tip allows you to apply exactly as much adhesive as you need.

This adhesive will remain in liquid form until you hit it with a blast of UV light, so you’re free to fiddle with it and make adjustments before you commit to hardening. After about four seconds of direct UV exposure, the plastic becomes hard as a rock but not so hard that it resists sanding and finishing. You can file it down and smooth it out when you’re done or add extra layers for additional strength.




9
Jul

Saturn’s largest moon has enough energy to run a colony


Saturn’s biggest moon, Titan, is one of the few viable places humans can explore first-hand beyond Mars. It’s relatively safe from radiation, it’s covered in liquid (though not water) and otherwise relatively safe. But could more than a handful of people even stay there for very long? Apparently, the answer is yes. Researchers have conducted a study showing that Titan should have enough energy to sustain a colony. The first arrivals might have to build a nuclear power plant and take advantage of radioactive decay, but colonists could use the abundance of hydrocarbon lakes to generate power by combining hydrogen with acetylene (which should also be plentiful). And since Saturn creates strong tides, you could use turbines to generate plenty of electricity.

Some generation methods would be more realistic than others. Wind power would only be truly effective in the upper atmosphere (albeit 10 times more effective than on Earth) and would require tethered turbines. Solar energy, meanwhile, would be the most daunting. Titan barely gets any sunlight, so you’d need a tremendous number of solar panels. A population roughly that of the US, about 300 million, would require enough panels that you could cover the US. Solar would clearly be more of an energy supplement than a primary source, then. Spaceship crews would love Titan, though, as the surplus of methane could turn the moon into a giant fuel depot.

A separate study notes that Titan’s lakes are calm enough that you could land probes without too much trouble, clearing a path for human visitors.

There’s no question that any landing on Titan is decades away and would still be fraught with challenges, such as the extreme cold (-291F), high gravity (1.5 times that of Earth) and inhospitable atmosphere. Manned trips to Mars aren’t expected to happen until the 2030s, and that planet is both closer and much, much warmer. Nevertheless, the findings could be helpful in the long run. Humanity has very few choices for visiting moons and planets that are even vaguely survivable. If the species is going to maintain any kind of significant footprint beyond Earth, it needs to know what its options are well before it starts building ships and habitats.

Via: New Scientist

Source: ArXiv.org

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