Haptic Holograms, Self destructing drones and much more

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Its Sunday, a day where you get to chill, relax and take it easy. While you’re doing that, why not catch up with what’s happening around you?

Haptic Holograms are now becoming a reality

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We’ve all, well most of us have seen and/or heard of Star Trek and one thing that capture our imagination was the Holodeck. It gave us the illusion that we could interact with object in a virtual reality. It was only science fiction.

But, that’s all about to change. Initially emerging from the UK, UltraHaptics claims to use a system that projects sound waves to create a virtual 3D object that can be touched with your hands.

Using multiple speakers under a platform, the system gather the concentrated soundwaves and projects them so that when they bounce off your hand for example, the pressure created by the impact makes it feel like you’re touching the object. The system utilizes advanced motion tracking to track the exact location of your hand and the system then projects the sound wave towards it.

For now the system is limited to just basic shapes such as spheres, cubes and pyramids but with help from the University of Bristol, the company hopes to change it.

The future applications of this system include commercial VR entertainment systems, educational displays and even medical diagnostics.

Self Destructing Drone, dissolves into a pile of sugar when done

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A group of researchers taking part in the iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) competition have come up with a schematic and prototype of a drone that can be assembled by itself, carry out its objective and then self destruct via melting into a puddle of sugar if it gets lost

Captained by Raman Nelakanti who is a bio engineering student from Stanford University, the team consisted of several undergraduate students from Stanford, Brown University and Spelman College. Equipped with the exact same kit of biological parts that every team was given, they proceeded to use those parts in the the summer of 2014, along with some custom designed components to design their own biodegradable drone. With a hull made up of cellulose and mycelium which is the vegetative part of a mushroom they then proceeded to coat it with the protein that wasps use to make their nests waterproof.

“Mushroom materials are inherently lightweight, biodegradable and the strength to weight ratio of the material was preferable for this application,” says Melissa Jacobsen of Ecovative (who provided the iGem team with the mushroom-based components) in an interview with FastCoExist.

The brains of the operation as it were, was made up of natural silver. Even though most of the parts used are biodegradable,the team decided to add enzymes to the mix to speed up the self destruct process.

The applications of such a drone are endless. For example, a self-growing drone much like this could be taken into space via bacteria or a fungus and literally grow the drone in space

Old laptop batteries could be the solution to power issues in the Slums

A study conducted by IBM found out that around 70% of all discarded batteries in India had sufficient power to keep an LED light powered on for at least four hours a day for a whole year. Doing so would be much cheaper than existing power solutions and in addition also helps with managing the e-waste issues faced in India. Initially demo’ed in Bangalore this year, the redesigned power packs are expected to be quite popular with street vendors who go about their trade without relying on the power grid and also for poor families in slums. Although feedback from the trial came back positive, it was suggested by users was to use rat-resistant wires.

Called an UrJar, the device utilizes lithium-ion cells found in discarded batteries to power low-energy DC devices, such as a lights. As such a projected 400 million people in India will be helped because of this project. If all goes well, the UrJar, with a lifespan of around one year, could be priced around 600 Indian rupees or around £7.

“UrJar has the potential to channel e-waste towards the alleviation of energy poverty, thus simultaneously providing a sustainable solution for both problems.” they say.

 

 

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