Archive for September, 2012

A Chainless CERV Concept Bike

Think of a bike that’s fork less, chain-less and dynamically adjustable. It would change shape as you rode it to give you the best ergonomics possible. This is what Cannondale have come up with in conjunction with Priority Designs. The Continuously Ergonomic Race Vehicle or CERV concept Bike debuted at the Eurobike show in August.

The design of the bike is such that the rider remains in the most optimal and comfortable position all through the ride. The dynamically adjustable headset  moves both fore and aft and up and down while the cyclist rides it. This flexibility is unique to the bike.

The designing the team states on its website that “the headset translates forward and down for a clean, low-drag position when descending. When climbing, it moves up and back, creating a more upright position for maximum leverage on the crank. Doing all this with a traditional fork in place wasn’t going to cut it, so a single-sided swing arm was proposed. Designing a forkless front-end has its own challenges, integrating it into a multi-axis adjustable system is another degree of difficulty altogether.”

So if you think that cycling is not a very comfortable activity you need to give this cycle a try. Now I wonder when if they would come up with something even more unique. Given this science project its going to be hard to beat.

Leave a Comment

A fabric alarm?

When you think of security measures you would think of materials in terms of iron, steel, cement , concrete, and other strong materials that infuse confidence in security. You would not be thinking in terms of flimsy fabrics of any kind, and you would be missing out on the opportunity to use a revolutionary security  measure.

An almost invisible fabric based burglar alarm is the latest in security technology. This smart fabric is essentially a fine web of conductive threads which is connected to a micro controller. If it is cut the action triggers a warning alarm that includes the exact location of the breach.

The fabric can be used under wall tiles of a building,or laid over the floor under wall to wall carpeting, or laid on the rafters of a roof to provide an additional layer of invisible security for the building. It could even be used in the construction stage and integrated right into the concrete used to construct the building.

The revolutionary fabric was the product of an ongoing scientific  collaboration between the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM, Berlin, the Techische University Berlin, and ETTLIN Spinnerei und Weberei Production GmbH. The current flowing through the fabric is too weak to pose a threat to humans but is more than enough to trigger an alarm.

Leave a Comment

A computer that interprets emotions?

When you think of a computer you think of software and logical steps. You think of programmed tasks and rather mechanical behavior. What you do not think of is emotions. However there’s a group of researcher in Malaysia who are determined to make you think again. Here is what they have done.

The team of researchers at the Manipal International University of  Selangor have developed a computer which they claim can decode human emotions by reading lip patterns.  Led by Karthigayan Muthukaruppan the reseachers have come up with a system that uses a genetic algorithm that helps the computer identify the various emotions that a person may be expressing.

The algorithm improves with each iteration to match irregular ellipse fitting equations to the shape of the human mouth displaying various emotions. Essentially the more the person uses the system the better it becomes at reading their emotions.

This latest science project could change the way that people interact with computers. It would also provide a great opportunity for disabled people to use voice synthesizers with more ease and efficacy. Computer based communication devices will also see a total revolution if the system can be used in mass manufacturing processes. That is still some time away, but the computers that understand emotions are here.

Leave a Comment

How does the bionic eye work?

Now three patients in Melbourne, Australia have been implanted with the “bionic eye” which is a retinal implant that is expected to help blind people see. The device that was used in these surgeries was developed by a collaboration between Bionic Vision Australia, the Bionics Institute and the Centre for Eye Research Australia.

In case of the first patient the device was surgically implanted and then switched on one month later.  It is equipped with 24 electrodes with a small wire that extends from the back of the eye to a receptor attached behind the ear. The bionic eye is inserted into the choroidal space which is the space next to the retina within the eye.

Dr Penny Allen, the surgeon who implanted the bionic eye said that electrical impulses were passed through the device, which then stimulated the retina. Those impulses then pass back to the brain creating the image. The device electrically stimulates the retina, the next step in the science project was analyzing the visual information that they were getting from the stimulation she said.

The type of vision restored is likely to be more black and white than technicolor, says the doctor. However it is definitely going to give the patient far greater mobility than they had before.

Leave a Comment

Bionic Eye- Sight for the Blind

The miracles of science never cease to amaze us. The latest science project that will be a real blessing to the blind is the bionic eye. It is essentially a retinal implant which can allow the blind to see partially. It was implanted with success in a woman last month.

The light powered retinal implant which is being called a bionic eye was developed by scientists in Stanford University, California. The device uses specially made glasses to beam light in to the eye. This powers the implanted bionic eye allowing the patient who was blind to see something.

The doctors in Australia put the bionic eye to test on a human being last month with a great degree of success. Diana Ashworth had retinitis pigmentosa, which is an inherited cause of blindness. Dr Penny Allen led the team of surgeons at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital where the surgery was performed on Diana.

After the implant Diana mentioned that each time there was a stimulation of the electrodes she saw flashes of light. Every time she saw a different shape form before her. There is more scientific development required to restore full vision to a patient but the doctors are up beat and positive that it will work.

Leave a Comment