Give your ear teeth
Sonitus Medical (sonitusmedical.com) has developed a new device that uses the natural conduction of teeth and bone to transmit sound to the inner ear even when the outer and middle ear have been damaged. The SoundBite system consists of an ITM (in-the-mouth) hearing device that fits around either the upper left or right back teeth and a small microphone unit which is worn behind the ear. No modifications to the teeth are required.
Robot window washer
Dubai is a city of skyscrapers with a gazillion windows that need to be kept clean, a task that requires a veritable army of intrepid individuals willing to take it on. Swiss company Serbot AG claims that their two window-washing robots, Gekko and Clean Ant will prove to be more efficient than the human variety. In the first place they are faster, but their real advantage lies in their fearlessness: they are happy to venture out in a hurricane if necessary.
sOccket to me
Take a soccer ball and present it to any group of kids and the effect is instant; unless they are dyed-in-the-wool couch potatoes, they will start kicking it around. The idea behind sOccket, the brainchild of Harvard engineering students Jessica Lin, Jessica Matthews, Julia Silverman and Hamali Thakkar, is to harvest the energy kids generate while they play. Inside the sOccket ball is a simple inductive coil system, similar to the ones found inside self-charging shake torches. Just 15 minutes of kicking and bouncing the sOccket around will produce enough energy to power an LED light for about 3 hours. The ball is still in its prototype stage, but was recently piloted in Durban and Nairobi. The only possible downside to the project is that the ball is not regulation: its weight and feel is a little different from the standard football. For more information, visit the sOccket website at soccket.com.
A vigilant webcam viewer recently came to the rescue of a German tourist trapped on sea ice off the country's north coast. The man apparently wandered too far out and became disorientated because he could not tell the difference between sea and land and did not recognise any landmarks. A woman watching the sunset on a webcam pointed at the beach of St. Peter-Ording, on the North Sea, from hundreds of kilometres away, spotted the light from the man's torch and alerted police.
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