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Tasty Tech Eye Candy Of The Week (Jan 25)
By Tracy Staedter,
Discovery News, 25 January 2015.

Holographic goggles, phones that bend, bat-like robots and solar-powered LED lamps are just a few of the innovations that caught our eye this week.

1. HoloLens

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Take, for example, the HoloLens from Microsoft (above). These goggles project computer graphics and apps onto the surfaces around your home or office. Users can interact with the program using gestures to swipe, click and pinch information.

2. Atlas Robot

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The Google-owned robotics company, Boston Dynamics, showed off its new and improved humanoid robot, Atlas, this week. We saw it last fall when it competed in the DARPA Robotics Challenge. But this version, which will be participating in the Finals later this year, has been almost completely overhauled. Nearly all of the robot, save for its lower legs and feet, are new. The biggest change is that for the first time ever, it will go untethered from a power supply and carry its own battery pack.

3. Solar Puff

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A portable, solar-powered LED lantern from Solight brings low-cost illumination to the developing world or to zones knocked off the power grid. The Solar Puff was inspired by the 2010 earthquake that hit Haiti and designed to be flat-packed and lightweight in order to ship in bulk. The lantern, made from PET, a non toxic and recyclable material, is also great for camping or travel. [Video]

4. G Flex 2

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G Flex 2, LG's curved flagship smartphone, will be hitting retail shelves in Korea this month, selling for a mere US$737. It won a Best in Show from Engadget and should be showing up in the United States later this year. Although AT&T says it will carry the phone, it hasn't said when.

5. Bogányi Piano

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Hungarian pianist Gergely Bogányi wanted to fix something that wasn't broken. He redesigned the grand piano into a stunning, curvaceous dream instrument. His Bogányi Piano produces the highest possible sound quality. See a video here.

6. Solar Impulse 2

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This week, the Solar Impulse 2 team announced the route their solar-powered airplane will take when it attempts its round-the-world journey starting in March. It will launch from Abu Dhabi, fly to Muscat, Oman; Ahmedabad and Varanasi, India; Mandalay, Myanmar; and Chongqing and Nanjing, China.

From China, it will cross the Pacific Ocean, touchdown in Hawaii, and then Phoenix and New York City. After crossing the Atlantic, it will land in Southern Europe or North Africa before ending it journey where it started in Abu Dhabi. The flight will set yet another world record for this adventurous team.

7. Big U

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Thanks to US$4 billion of disaster-recovery money awarded to New York City to protect it from future Hurricane Sandys, Lower Manhattan is getting some flood protection. The first phase will come in the form of a berm/park to stretch from East 23rd Street to Montgomery Street. It was designed by the Bjarke Ingels Group, who were awarded the project via the Rebuild by Design competition, sponsored by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is just the first phase of the flood protection zone and the berm itself probably won't be finished until 2019.

8. Oak Tree Ring House

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Designer Michael Jantzen has some far-out and funky-fresh ideas for abodes. Among his latest is Oak Tree Ring House, an interactive, circular home centred on a Oak Tree. Four concentric rings radiate from the middle. Meant for temperate climates, the "interactive" part takes the form of movable panels that can be positioned to make the most - or least - of sunlight, wind, rain and temperature.

9. Metal Repels Water

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Using a high-powered laser, researchers from the University of Rochester etched micro-sized and nano-sized structures into metals to make the surfaces permanently repel water. The patterns were inspired by those in the lotus leaf, one of the most hydrophobic surfaces in nature. A surface that repels water this well stays ultra-clean and ice-free.

10. Vampire Bat Drone

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Vampire bats can fly and walk. Researchers at the Swiss institute EPFL took inspiration from that to make a drone that could potentially fly into an area not accessible to humans and walk around to inspect nooks and crannies. Such a drone could work best in disaster-area rubble.

Top image: The HoloLens. Credit: Microsoft.

[Source: Discovery News. Edited. Top image and some links added.]

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