Xbox Sensor Guards Korean Border
The new sensors have been in place along certain sections of the DMZ since August last year.
Don't get stuck out in the cold. Come inside where this week's awesome tech is heating things up. We have a toboggan run in Times Square, a bra that only unhooks for Mr. Right, digital LEGOs, an underground farm and more.
A new snorkeling mask promises to make breathing under the water feel more natural. Unlike conventional snorkels that force the swimmer to breathe through her mouth, the Easybreath from Tribord covers the whole face with one piece. A double airflow system lets the swimmer pull air in from the top tube and exhale through the bottom, preventing the mask from fogging up.
In London, the Blackfriars railway bridge, which crosses the River Thames in central London, was turned into the world's largest energy-harvesting bridge. The 4,400 photovoltaic panels that cover the bridge's roof are expected to produce 900,000 kWh of electricity every year, providing half of the energy for the station and saving more than 500 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. That's equal to 89,000 car journeys over the bridge.via BBC
Zero Carbon Food
With a solar-powered rail station-bridge above ground in London, it might not come as a surprise that underground, the city is working on other ways to stay green. In this case, the green is actual greenery. Entrepreneurs Richard Ballard and Steven Dring have launched a crowdfunding project to transform passageways under London’s Northern Line into a subterranean farm. If funded, the “Growing Underground,” could see 2.5 acres of fresh veggies sprouting up below the streets.via Inhabitat
The Super Bowl is taking place in New Jersey, but just over the Hudson river, New Yorkers and tourists celebrated like the game is being played in Time Square. From January 29th to February 1st, New York City’s Broadway Avenue was closed down and transformed into “Super Bowl Boulevard.” Among the many events featured, a 60-foot toboggan run was surely a favorite.via NFL.com
Chuang Dong, Zhen Qiu and Haowen Deng via Yanko Design
When you think of magnetic levitation, you might think of trains. But a team of Chinese designers submitted a concept for the 2014 Michelin Challenge that involves transparent pod-like personal vehicles propelled on maglev tracks. Their AKA24 concept calls for a cars able to drive on regular roads, but then when they approach special track, it pulls the vehicle up onto it in a vertical mode. A gyroscopic interior compartment rotates to keep the driver upright.via DNEWS
By using a mild acid bath, researchers we able to shock white blood cells in a way that transformed them into cells resembling embryonic stem cells. The major breakthrough not only produces embryonic-like stem cells faster and far cheaper than current methods, but it doesn't require the destruction of an embryo. When the cells were injected into mice embryos, they contributed to the overall tissue of the baby mice.via DNEWS
This A-frame style home designed by Konrad Wójcik for the D3 Natural Systems International Architectural Design Competition is mounted on a single pole, giving it the overall appearance of a pine tree. The home's shape is meant to blend in with the natural environment and it's intentionally small footprint allows it to fit into a forest without cutting it down.via Inhabitat
Ravijour (YouTube video)
A Japanese bra called the “True Love Tester” has sensors embedded that are connected wirelessly to a smartphone app. If the sensors detect a particular heart rate, the cups unsnap and free the girls.via DNEWS
Lego and Google have partnered to create an interactive website that allows Lego lovers to build objects with digital blocks. Once you've assembled your creation, you can plunk it down just about anywhere in the world.via Google Chrome blog
Lemur Studio created sensor-embedded boot inserts that can detect land mines up to 6.5 feet away and alert the wearer. The SaveOneLife inserts could save soldiers, farmers and others from the tens of thousands of land mines buried in war-torn countries around the world.via DNEWS
Microsoft's movement-recognition Kinect software has morphed from virtual shooter gaming to the real-life challenge of guarding the world's last Cold War border.
The sensor allowing hands-free play on the Xbox is the basis for a security device now deployed along the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that separates North and South Korea, after being adapted by a South Korean programmer.
Four kilometers (2.5 miles) wide and 248 km (155 miles) long, the DMZ is a depopulated no-man's land of heavily fortified fences that bristles with the landmines and listening posts of two nations that technically remain at war.
As a military buffer zone, it remains an area of profound Cold War hostility, but its man-made isolation has also created an accidental wildlife park recognized as one of the best-preserved habitats on Earth.
The Kinect-based software developed by Ko Jae-Kwan, founder-president of Saewan Co., has been taken up by the military because of its ability to differentiate between human and animal movement.
Ko, 39, told AFP on Thursday that his device could detect the sound, movement and direction of anybody attempting to cross the DMZ and immediately alert South Korean border guards.
"Existing sensors, which had been in place along the border, were highly efficient but could not tell the difference between humans and animals, sending wrong signals frequently," Ko said.
The new sensors have been in place along certain sections of the DMZ since August last year, he added.
"Such devices are established as part of our project to strengthen surveillance with scientific equipment, but we cannot provide details for security reasons," a defence ministry official said on condition of anonymity.
Despite all the security measures in place along the DMZ, there have been highly publicised incidents of undetected crossings.
Five South Korean generals and nine mid-level officers were removed from their posts or disciplined in 2012 after a defecting North Korean soldier simply walked undetected across the border and knocked on the door of a guard post.
The security lapse was all the more embarrassing as it came at a time of surging military tensions when the South Korean army was supposedly on high alert.
Ko said he planned to update the existing Kinect-based sensors to a version capable of detecting heart rates and reading body temperature, features that Microsoft added to the Xbox One version of the console released last year.
"For its price, the device is very accurate and effective in covering vulnerable areas," he said.