Space & Innovation

Tasty Tech Eye Candy of the Week (June 5)

This week we look at a superfast hybrid muscle car, pyramids of light, a virtual reality rowing game and a robot that folds your laundry.

A two-mile stretch of elevated highway that runs through São Paulo, Brazil, is considered one of the most polluted parts of the city. But the architectural firm Triptyque, based in Brazil and France, wants to transform the highway named Minhocão, which means "Big Worm," into a gorgeous garden of smog-filtering plants. The architects propose cutting out sections of concrete between highway pillars to let in light and also filling the space underneath with art, food services, and shops.

Credit: Triptyque

Peugeot's concept car, the L500R, was designed to celebrate the handful of Indy 500 wins the car company captured back in 1913, 1916 and 1919. Although this car is a nod to the past, it's a thoroughly modern hybrid. It has a 270 hp gasoline engine as well as an electric motor on each axle that launches the car to a speed of 100 km/h in just 2.5 seconds.

Credit: Peugeot

Milan-based designer Maria Novozhilova created the LED-powered lamp All Around Lamp and first presented it at Milan Design Week 2016. Novozhilova etches the plastic panels of the lamp with the silhouettes or landmarks of major cities.

Credit: Maria Novozhilova

This streamlined machine claimed a world record. Eximus 1 was designed by students at Dalarna University, Sweden, as part of a competition to build a battery-operated railway vehicle that requires as little energy as possible. It took the vehicle 20 minutes to travel a little more than 2 miles. With an efficiency score of 0.84 Wh/person-km, the Eximus 1 took the prize.

Credit: Team Eximus 1

This belt, developed by German startup feelSpace, gently buzzes the wearer as a way to provide hands-free, sight-free navigational cues. In Routing mode, a user plugs in her destination in a corresponding phone app and then the belt directs her by buzzing at different points left or right. In Compass mode, the belt buzzes to let the user know which way north is.

Credit: feelSpace

A new 3-D printing system from Cornell researchers lets developers print components as they're being designed. The developer can pause the system to test or measure the component and even make changes before proceeding again.

Credit: Cornell University

New VR startup Holodia has a VR system to make your workouts more enjoyable and it's easy to use. Sit on the rower, put on the HTC Vive headset and earphones, chose a scene (oceans, rivers and beaches from around the world) and start burning those calories.

Credit: Holodia

This tiny robot was created by Ryan St. Pierre and Professor Sarah Bergbreiter, both from the University of Maryland. It weighs just 2 grams and is powered by external magnets. The curved legged kind of "swim" across bumpy terrain.

Credit: Pierre, Bergbreiter/University of Maryland

Finally! A robot that folds shirts and pants. The $850 gadget from the San Francisco startup, FoldiMate, was designed to sit on top of a washer or dryer. Users clip a clean shirt or pair of pants to the rack (left), push some buttons and the machine does the rest. It senses whether the shirt has long sleeves or short sleeves and adjusts the fold accordingly. The rack holds up to 20 garments.

Credit: FoldiMate

This week, helicopter film Sikorsky tested its autonomous helicopter, the S-76. At an airfield in Connecticut, the S-76 took off on its own, flew 30 miles autonomously, and then landed itself safely. The flight was monitored by an operator using a tablet device. The helicopter is not completely pilotless. Instead, the S-76 does most of the work to reduce the burden of crews and allow them to focus on other mission needs.

Credit: Sikorsky