15 Feb

Rather than replace an entire speaker unit when it goes on the fritz, it might help matters all around to simply replace the parts that have failed -- especially if doing so provides a chance to upcycle: Reusing worn-out or used products in ways that create objects that are even more valuable than the originals. At the very least, upcycling speaker parts would prevent several boom box-type objects from finding their way to the landfills. But how to know which parts to replace?

One way would be to make the speaker box transparent so that any obvious flaws -- such as loose wires or ruptured speaker diaphragms -- could be viewed by the naked eye. In many cases, however, the snafu might prove totally invisible, leading consumers to potentially chuck the whole apparatus in spite or because of the unit's tantalizing transparency.

In that case, how about a smartphone app to help diagnose the problem?

13 Feb

The O Watch Base Kit retails for $85, but the lessons learned could prove far more valuable -- especially as the world of 3D printing continues to migrate from printing centers to machines that can be operated in one's home. In fact, a prototype of a 3D-print-at-home smartwatch recently cost as little as $25 to make, according to the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia.

The cost is anticipated to keep going down each year, according to Muhammad Mustafa Hussain, an electrical engineer at KAUST, who told IEEE Spectrum, “I really would like to disrupt the technology world by making technologies available to everyone specially those who cannot afford them. Therefore, my objective is to reduce the price [by] $5 per year in the next five years until it reaches to a point where literally everyone has one.”

11 Feb

For life to exist on other planets, certain conditions must be present. So when a new planet is discovered that meets at least some of those conditions, the scientific community gets excited. A newly-discovered exoplanet called Wolf 1061c has ignited that type of excitement due to its location.

Wolf 1061c is firmly situated in an area known as the “Goldilocks zone,” a term that refers to an area around a star that has the right conditions to host water. The exoplanet is located approximately 14 light years away from Earth.

09 Feb

Scientists have long searched for evidence that there might have once been life on Mars. The recent discovery of mud cracks on the planet has led to interest from the scientific community, as well as speculation that it could be a sign that life once existed on the Red Planet.

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover recently captured a closer look at a series of slabs of rock that has unexplained markings. Experts believe the markings are likely mud cracks, indicating that bodies of water may once have existed on the planet. The markings could be a sign that the water covering the rocks eventually dried up, leading to cracks in the dirt on their surface.

07 Feb

Last year, Volvo participated in an Uber experiment to launch a fleet of self-driving vehicles on the meandering streets of Pittsburgh.

On January 6, 2017, the Swedish carmaker (now owned by a Chinese holding company), announced that it would create a "shared mobility business unit" that would be part of the company's initiative to expand its mobility and car sharing services.

While self-driving cars and even car sharing services might seem like a relatively new idea, Volvo points out that it has been operating a car sharing service for nearly 20 years. Its Sunfleet service boasts about 50,000 subscribers who account for roughly a quarter-million transactions throughout 50 Swedish cities.

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