FLEXI SCREEN:

A team from Osaka University, Japan, have created a new type of touch screen that has a flex interface. Usually when you scroll on a computer screen parts of the document move outside the viewing area. With the flex screen though, the document 'stretches' and 'compresses' so the whole thing remains on screen, but only the central part is viewed normally. On a map, this could mean that you don't lose the context of the portion you're viewing. It sounds weird, but it looks interesting. More at

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SWARM OF BOTS:

The iMobot from UC Davis, USA, is a small reconfigurable modular robot prototype with four controllable degrees of freedom. Although it looks a bit like two bricks glommed together it can crawl, arch, flip itself up, and lift itself into a camera platform. It's designed for search and rescue operations. Individual robots can be clustered together into larger robots for particular tasks. Self-assembling, like Replicators? More at

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CHEAP PLASTIC CHIPS:

European researchers created a computer chip made of plastic and gold and containing 4,000 plastic transistors. It can run 16 hardcoded instructions at 6 hertz and can only process information in 8-bit chunks. Printing processes may soon allow the transistors to be printed rather than etched on. A cheap, flexible chip like this could be used for simple sensors monitoring pipes or packaging. And let's hope the plastic's made from biodegradable organic sources. More at

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CAN'T SLEEP? COUNT PHOTONS:

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A team at Columbia University, USA, has created single-photon avalanche diodes that detect individual photons. One application is specialised camera chips to measure fluorescence for medical purposes. Amazing. More at

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ELECTRIC FLIGHT:

PC-Aero's Elektra One plane is a one-seater, all-electric craft. It can fly 3 hours or more than 400 Km on a charge. On its First Flight it flew up to 500 metres in the air and used only half the charge. It's competing to win NASA's CAFE Green Flight Challenge. Don't plan on flying with a friend. More at

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- Miraz Jordan