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Tasty Tech Eye Candy Of The Week (April 26)
By Tracy Staedter,
Discovery News, 26 April 2015.

This week on Tasty Tech, we have a cappuccino-brewing robot, clear clay and the fastest train in the world.

1. Super-Maglev Train

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On a test track this week, Japan's magnetically levitating train set a new world record of 375 mph. The country wants to export the train to the United States, building a track between D.C. to NYC that can transport commuters in less than an hour. The Japanese government has offered several billion dollars toward the cost of constructing the first part of the line between D.C. and Baltimore.

2. Underground Fridge

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The Groundfridge is a modern twist on the old-fashioned root cellar. Made by Weltevree, a Dutch design company created by Floris Schoonderbeek, this underground refrigerator does not require any energy - except that needed to dig the hole to bury it. It maintains a year-round temperature between 50 degrees F and 54 degrees F, perfect for storing fruits, vegetables, wine and cheese.

3. Robobarista

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The Robobarista at Cornell University not only makes your coffee but is also part of a project to explore the best ways machines can learn to to perform different tasks. In this case, the robot learns how to make coffee by consulting an online manual for the appliance as well as a database of how interact with certain controls.

4. The WHILL

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A sleek new wheelchair, designed by automotive engineers in Japan, could revolutionize mobility. The WHILL rides on just about any terrain and its omnidirectional front wheels make tight turns easily. The company plans to sell the stylish chair for around US$9,500, a price that could lower as the number of people 65 and older is expected to rise and reach 1.5 billion by 2050. [WHILL at Kickstarter]

5. Solar Puff

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The recently launched Kickstarter for this solar-powered lantern has already surpassed its goal with 25 days yet to go. The 2.5-ounce light is made from a high-performance fabric that's durable, floatable, flexible and recyclable. Inexpensive as well, this light could offer much-needed illumination for the 1.6 billion people around the world who don't have access to electricity.

6. Yellow Submarine

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It obviously evokes a famous song by the Beatles, but the Yellow Submarine is no acid trip. This mini-sub from Y.Co is designed to carry five passengers to a depth of 525 feet. Let the underwater adventures begin.

7. Clear Clay

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A special ceramic called spinel being developed by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory is tougher, stronger, and harder than glass - bulletproof, in fact. The NRL is sharing its new and improved manufacturing process for making this "clear clay" with industry so they can scale it up to make transparent armour for a range of applications, including windows and camera shields.

8. Chevy’s FNR Concept

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This week, Chevy unveiled its FNR Concept, a futuristic, self-driving electric car, at the Shanghai Auto Show. The car features a capsule design with dragonfly doors that swing up from both front and back. The car rolls on magnetic hubless wheels and has a battery that's re-energized via wireless charging.

9. City Sand Tower

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French firm OXO Architectes have conceived of a building for the desert that is essentially a vertical city. Although still only a concept, the City Sand Tower has merit. It stands 1,400 feet and is designed to accommodate residential housing, business offices, hotels, shops, restaurants, a museum and sports and recreation centres. Powered by the sun and geothermal energy, the tower is also sustainable.

10. Augmented Specs for Drivers

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The retro-styled goggles from BMW, called Mini Augmented Vision, not only deliver heads-up information to drivers but provide them with a kind of X-ray vision. Each lens is a display that uses data from a camera located on the bridge of the goggles to offer a view that removes obstructions such as doors and A-pillars from the line of sight.

Top image: City Sand Tower. Credit: OXO Architectes.

[Source: Discovery News. Edited. Some links added.]

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