A stretchy stick-on patch can take blood pressure readings from deep inside your body


The flexible stamp can collect data that usually requires bulky, invasive equipment.

The last time you had your blood pressure checked, it was probably at a doctor’s office with a bulky cuff wrapped around your arm. One day soon, perhaps, you will just need a simple stick-on patch on your neck, no bigger than a postage stamp.

That’s the goal of Sheng Xu and his team at the University of California, San Diego, who are working on a patch that can continuously measure someone’s central blood pressure—the pressure of blood coursing beyond your aorta, the artery in your heart that delivers blood to all the different parts of the body. It could make it a lot easier to monitor heart conditions and keep an eye on other vital organs like the liver, lungs, and brain.

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This water gun can cut through concrete


How do firefighters put out a blaze when they can’t reach the flames?

That’s the challenge firefighters confronted in 2008, when a B-2 Stealth Bomber crashed on the runway at an American airbase in Guam.

The crew successfully ejected, but the hugely expensive aircraft was completely destroyed by a fire that burned deep within its wreckage.

“The firefighters had difficulty getting through the composite layers of the aircraft skin to fight the fire,” U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Scott Knupp told CNNMoney.

The loss of the aircraft prompted the Air Force to search for a solution.

“We were looking for some type of technology out there that would help us penetrate through [to] hard-to-reach spaces to get water onto the fire,” said Knupp.

Air Force firefighters now use a system called PyroLance — a firefighting “gun” that can blast through steel, brick or concrete walls, and even bullet-resistant glass.

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The newest industrial revolution: How a tech unicorn’s 3-d metal printers could remake manufacturing


Ric Fulop, the 43-year-old cofounder and chief executive of Desktop Metal, is eager to show off the skunkworks for the company’s giant 3-D metal printers, which can produce stainless steel, aluminum and other metal alloy parts at assembly-line speeds and in large quantities. It’s the first time he’s taken an outsider to the facility in Nashua, New Hampshire, just across the state line from Desktop Metal’s headquarters in Burlington, Massachusetts. The four machines—which are 16 feet long, 6 feet tall and weigh about as much as an SUV—are in various states of production. They’ll be able to 3-D print 100 times faster than existing high-end 3-D printing systems used for aerospace, and at one-twentieth the cost, without the tooling required for traditional manufacturing processes. “It’s the first metal printing press,” says Fulop, an exuberant, heavyset man with a slight accent from his native Venezuela.

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This “Robotic Skin” can turn pretty much anything into a robot


Inanimate objects coming to life — the stuff of nightmares? Not so when you can control the objects thanks to “robotic skin.” Then it’s just really, really cool.

You don’t have to take our word for it, either. Yale researchers have actually created this robotic skin, and they posted a video of it in action on Wednesday— the same day they published their research on the tech in the journal Science Robotics.

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This super-reflective coating keeps buildings cool so we don’t need as much AC


Buildings are already being painted white to help keep them cool. As temperatures increase, this new addition to the paint could help lower our massive air conditioning energy use.

One of the ironies of climate change is that as heat waves become more common, people use more air conditioning–and those air conditioners help drive more climate change, and make things hotter. By the middle of the century, as more people around the world can afford air conditioners, the number of units could more than triple and end up using as much electricity as China uses today for its entire economy.

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Breakthrough opens door to $100 ultrasound machine


UBC researcher Carlos Gerardo shows new ultrasound transducer Credit: Clare Kiernan, University of British Columbia

Engineers at the University of British Columbia have developed a new ultrasound transducer, or probe, that could dramatically lower the cost of ultrasound scanners to as little as $100. Their patent-pending innovation—no bigger than a Band-Aid—is portable, wearable and can be powered by a smartphone.

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Lex folding wearable chair lets you take a seat anywhere


Imagine if anytime, anywhere you felt a little fatigued in the legs you could simply lean back and take a load off? The developers of Lex are working towards such a future with a folding exoskeleton that turns into an ergonomic chair in just a few seconds.

Lex is much like Chairless Chair we looked at back in March, in that it is essentially a seat that you wear and carry around with you. Where the Chairless Chair is aimed at factory workers in need of respite, Lex seems to be designed with all day, everyday use in mind.

Adhering to its owner with just a waist strap and two leg straps, Lex is made from aircraft-grade aluminum and weighs just over a kilogram (2.2 lb). When the user is on the go, it folds up into a neat, slimline package that allows full freedom of movement.

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HP’s new 3-D printers build items not of plastic but of steel



HP is hoping its new Metal Jet 3-D printers will provide inroads into manufacturing sectors such as automobiles and medical devices.HP

WHEN YOU THINK about 3-D printing, chances are you think of little plastic doodads created by desktop devices like those made by MakerBot. Computing and printer giant HP wants you to think about metal.

Today the company announced the Metal Jet printer, an industrial-scale 3-D printer that builds items not of plastic but of steel.

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Who needs ink cartridges? Harvard’s acoustic printer can spit out honey or cells

We’re all about innovative printing methods here at Digital Trends and, boy, have the folks at Harvard not disappointed with their latest piece of research. It involves using sound waves to make it possible to print with virtually any liquid imaginable. That includes everything from human cells and liquid metal to optical resins and even honey. Needless to say, these aren’t the usual water-like printing materials found in ordinary inkjet printers. The results could prove useful in fields including pharmaceutical development, cosmetics, or even the food industry.

“We have developed a new drop-on-demand printing method that is conducive to printing liquids with low to very high viscosity,” Jennifer Lewis, the Hansjorg Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, told Digital Trends. “It’s exciting, because it can be applied to a very broad range of liquids.”

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Easy-to-make videos can show you dancing like the stars

Want to dance like a professional ballerina or strut like a rapper? A new machine-learning technique can transfer one person’s motion to another in a simple process.

Mapping one person’s motion onto the movement of another has changed the way filmmakers, animators, and game designers create action. With this technique, one person can appear to dance, run, or shoot like somebody else.

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World’s first floating dairy farm could be wave of the future


Floating farm project leader Mink van Wingerden beside the floating dairy farm plaform being built at Merwehaven in the Dutch city of Rotterdam.

“It’s a logical step to produce fresh food on the water.”

You’ve heard of offshore drilling platforms and offshore wind farms. Now a Dutch company is developing what’s being called the world’s first offshore dairy farm. Plans call for the high-tech, multilevel facility to open this fall in Rotterdam, a port city about 50 miles southwest of Amsterdam.

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Cracked smartphone screens are about to become a thing of the past


Changes in design and materials are good news for those of us with slippery fingers.

One of the biggest problems with smartphones is that they break. Screens are the most common culprit—smashed and cracked displays make up roughly 50 percent of all smartphone repairs. Water damage, malfunctioning charging ports or connectors, or nonfunctioning buttons are also popular reasons smartphone owners head to the repair shop. While talk of planned obsolescence—the idea that smartphone-makers purposefully design their products to eventually fail, forcing you to upgrade to a newer model—often comes up, these issues just happen with use over time. Over the past few years, smartphone companies have been taking small steps to make their phones more durable. Now, it seems we may be commencing an era of nearly unbreakable phones as hardware-makers develop less fragile display and body materials and continue to shore up devices against threats like dust and water.

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