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Tasty Tech Eye Candy Of The Week (May 10)
By Tracy Staedter,
Discovery News, 10 May 2015.

If a virtual reality theme park doesn't get your blood flowing, a Ferrari-designed UFO, or a pair of truth-telling goggles or a collective of mini swarming submarine bots just might.

1. Kaleidom

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Kaleidom is a colourful mirrored art installation that is bringing some sparkle to a tired and empty plaza in Hong Kong’s Shatin Park. Park goers are encouraged to sit inside and view the world through the 262 polyhedral cells that reflect the surrounding environment into ever-changing patterns.

2. Truth Goggles

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These goggles, created by students from Keio University in Japan, are called "Truth?" and are designed to project the "true emotions" of the wearer onto the outward facing screen. The goggles determine the person's emotion by monitoring a heartbeat sensor. Truth? was on display this week during a design competition showcase of wearable technology at the Augmented Human International Conference in Singapore.

3. Greased Lightning

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At this week’s Unmanned Systems 2015 show in Atlanta, NASA Langley showed off its helicopter-plane hybrid drone, Greased Lightning, or GL-10. The 10-engine electric vehicle can take off like a helicopter but fly a plane. The drone is a testbed version for a larger vehicle that will eventually be built for humans.

4. Manzoni UFO

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Ferrari design director Flavio Manzoni couldn't help himself. What started as a sketch turned into a series, he told Form Trends, and suddenly he had a sleek and streamlined UFO that would make any Italian proud. See more of his work here.

5. Swarm Submarine Robots

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These mini submarine robots work as a team. They're part of the European project called Collective Cognitive Robotics, or CoCoRo. Each underwater vehicle is autonomous, making decisions on its own, but it shares the info with a larger subgroup that's ultimately part of a collective. The entire swarm bases its movement on all of the information it gathers from individuals to complete a task. That's teamwork.

6. VR Theme Park

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If you're craving some virtual realty fun, you don't have to wait until 2016 when the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset will finally be available. You just have to get to Salt Lake City, Utah, to experience The Void, a Virtual Entertainment Centre. There, you'll get a VR headset and a custom outfit with built-in haptic tech that immerses you in adventures. See the trailer and then book your flight.

7. Dancing Robots

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This week in China, young entrepreneurs showed off their inventions, like these dancing robots, at the 2015 China Harbin Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fair. The government is encouraging people, especially college graduates, to innovate and start their own business.

8. Freightliner

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German carmaker Daimler unveiled the world's first self-driving truck this week in Nevada at the Hoover Dam. The Freightliner Inspiration is authorized for use on public roads, although a driver is required to be at the helm in the event of an emergency. Besides increased safety compared to human drivers, the truck is expected to save up to 5 percent in fuel usage - that's good for the bottom line and the environment.

9. Solar Oven

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A Kickstarter project for a solar-powered oven is gaining ground. The GoSun Grill harnesses sunlight to charge a thermal battery that in turn heats up an airtight chamber to between 300 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Pledge US$349 plus US$100 for the battery and you can have your GoSun Grill by September.

10. 3 Atoms Thick

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In this week's journal Nature, scientists from the Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscale Science reported making a semiconducting film just three atoms thick. Or should we say thin? This is no small feat. Until now, no one could figure out how to create the right conditions for semiconducting materials to "grow" flat and fuse together to form a continuous film.

Postdoctoral associate Kibum Kang and graduate student Saien Xie tuned the growth conditions using a technique called metal organic chemical vapour deposition and were able to make a film of molybdenum disulfide three atoms thick. That could lead to thinner and smaller electronics for everyone.

Top image: The Collective Cognitive Robotics (CoCoRo). Credit: CoCoRo-University of Graz.

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

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