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A printer that can fit in your pocket

Most of us have been there; struggling to finish that paper right before class just to realize that you have nowhere to print it. Fortunately, PocketPrinter can change all that. Designed by ZUtA Labs, based in Jerusalem, Isreal, the PocketPrinter can be plugged into any device (smartphone, tablet, or laptop), and can print on any-sized paper.

The PocketPrinter is essentially a print-head on a tiny set of wheels, whose design allows it to race across the page, making it truly the smallest a printer can be. The printer is also fitted for everyday use; it has a rechargeable battery with an on/off switch, and can connect directly to and charge from any device via USB. The printer can run for an hour straight on a full charge, and the inkjet lasts for over 1,000 printed pages.

Although this version of the printer does not yet have stabilizing sensors, it was designed in such a comprehensive manner so that the user can place the printer on the top of the page and guarantee an accurate outcome. The printer achieves this by using its omni-directional wheelbase.

Currently on Kickstarter, the PocketPrinter looks to roll out orders of the new device in January of 2015.


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Robots Create Ghosts?

Ok. The title might be a bit misleading. Recently, Olaf Blanke and his team of researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne identified the region of your brain involved in such hallucinating ghostly presences - the feeling of someone near you when there’s no one there.

Robot recreates the sensation of a ghostly presence.

The robot they used had two parts to it: the master and the slave. The volunteers maneuvered the arm of the master robot while the slave robot used those exact movements to feel around their backs. The master robot also applied a force back onto the volunteers’ hands while being moved around. The two robots were offset by 500 milliseconds (0.5 seconds). This made the brain, confounded by the mismatch between internal bodily signals (movements of their arms) and the out-of-sync sensation of the touch on their backs, attribute the touch to the presence of someone standing behind them.

The researchers then picked out the part of the brain stimulated and compared that to the scans of other tests done on epileptics and others with sensory-motor problems. And while the robot isn’t the main focus of this story, it’s pretty cool how robots are helping in the advancement of physiology and psychology, fields that they are not usually associated with helping.

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Underwater Sniffer Bot

Contraband smugglers beware: A new underwater robot can now sniff out your “goods” hidden “cleverly” aboard your ships.

Developed by researchers at MIT, the football-sized robot, equipped with ultrasound sensors, can ride along the underbelly of a cargo ship along its flat edge to scan the ship’s contents and discover fake hulls and propeller shafts, which are commonly used by smugglers to hide contraband. The robot’s propulsion system is also designed to minimize visible wake, and is ideal for stealth, underwater patrols…etc.

The propulsion system is made up of pumps at either end of the bot, which expel water through rubber tubes to move forwards and backwards. The robot can use these different pumps to push itself against the hull of the ship it wishes to inspect.

This bot is now on the military’s radar, who want to use it not only for detecting contraband, but also for finding stress fractures in the hulls of ships and other vessels.

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Desktop Arm

Need to reach that sneaky eraser just out of your reach across the table? Too lazy to get up and reach for that piece of paper for homework?

Well, here is the robot for you.

Built by a small company called UFactory, the uArm is a small version of the large industrial robot arms often seen in modern assembly lines. It’s about the size of a desk lamp and is controlled through an Arduino-compatible board. It also has a Windows program that lets you control the robot using a mouse or keyboard. The company is also working on smartphone apps as well.

uFactory plans to make its design files, hardware, and software open source at the end of its Kickstarter campaign, so we’ll be sure to see many Iron Man fans recreating this scene with their new robot arm pets.


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Samsung’s new robot vacuum

These days, robotic cleaners are very commonplace; no one is surprised anymore when they see an iRoomba or Neato robotic vacuums roaming around. Samsung then decided to hop into the already-established yet still growing family of robotic vacuums by unveiling the VR9000H. Of course, it has some tricks that separate it from the rest of the pack.

The most interesting feature in the robot is the feature called Point Cleaning, which allows the user to control the robot using a laser pointer, not unlike how a cat owner controls a cat.

Going on sale in European stores this September, the VR9000H will cost a staggering  €1,000 (~$1,330 USD).

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