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The Gut-Brain Connection in Autism

The new research suggests fundamental links between our gut microbiome, our brain, and our behavior
The new research suggests fundamental links between our gut microbiome, our brain, and our behavior (Credit: Caltech)

Two fascinating new studies are shedding light on the association between the gut, the brain, and autism. The new research reveals how gastrointestinal problems can be triggered by the same gene mutations associated with autism, and a striking mouse study has demonstrated how a fecal transplant from humans with autism can promote autism-like behaviors in the animals. read more

Raspberry-Picking Robot

Data from the initial field trial of the raspberry-harvesting robot system will inform further design, ahead...
Data from the initial field trial of the raspberry-harvesting robot system will inform further design, ahead of commercialization of the technology in 2020(Credit: Fieldwork Robotics Ltd)

Fieldwork Robotics – a spinout company from the University of Plymouth in the UK – has announced the successful completion of early field trials of a raspberry-harvesting robot. If commercialized, the system could help make up for a shortage of human fruit pickers in the country. read more

The Fight Against Drug-Resistant Bacteria and Fungi

Existing drugs have been used to starve fungal infections of Candida albicans of nutrients
Existing drugs have been used to starve fungal infections of Candida albicans of nutrients(Credit: iLexx/Depositphotos)

Microorganisms like bacteria and fungi are increasingly becoming resistant to our best drugs, which is hurtling us towards a terrifying future where once-easily-treated infections become potentially life-threatening again. In a new approach to this problem, researchers from the University at Buffalo and Temple University have tested an alternative to antibiotics that uses existing drugs to starve a fungal infection of vital nutrients. read more

BMW Recreates a Classic

The Garmisch is a recreation of a classic concept by Marcello Gandini for the Bertone design...
The Garmisch is a recreation of a classic concept by Marcello Gandini for the Bertone design house that was shown at the Geneva Motor Show in 1970(Credit: BMW)

BMW has resurrected an iconic and almost forgotten design at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. Alongside – and in contrast to – the forward-looking Concept R18 shown by BMW Motorrad, the Garmisch pays homage to one of the industry’s most influential automotive designers of the 1970s, Marcello Gandini. read more

Weapon Wednesday – BriteCloud Missile Decoy System

The BriteCloud missile decoy system is being tested on RAF Typhoons
The BriteCloud missile decoy system is being tested on RAF Typhoons(Credit: Leonardo Aerospace)

The Royal Air Force (RAF) has begun testing the latest version of the BriteCloud missile decoy on its Typhoon fighter aircraft. At the Typhoon Ministerial Meeting in Germany, British Defence minister Stuart Andrew revealed that the disposable soda-can-sized anti-radar electronics packages began testing in April by the RAF’s 41 Test and Evaluation Squadron based at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire. read more

Modular Smart-System for Kids

The Novus is billed as the "world's first modular smartphone for kids"
The Novus is billed as the “world’s first modular smartphone for kids”(Credit: Abardeen)

Smartphones and smartwatches for kids aren’t exactly new – even FitBit has a kids’ watch these days – but China-based Abardeen has done things a little differently. The company has taken a modular approach with its latest offering – launched this week on Kickstarter – in an effort to inject some extra flexibility to the kids phone/watch equation.

Designed to transform between smartphone, smartwatch and voice-enabled home assistant, the Novus system is made up of four components (one of which is optional). The first is the Novus Core, an Android-powered, 4G-enabled, Apple-Watch-looking module, housing the screen and all the phone/watch related technology. As the name suggests, this is the core of the setup – the brains of the operation if you will. The Novus Core is either inserted into the Watch Module (handy for kids prone to losing things like phones) or clicked into the Phone Module enclosure (which also adds two extra days of battery life). The Phone Module uses a touch-wheel – similar to classic iPods – to control the Novus and scroll through the onscreen menus.

Combining the Novus Core with the phone and watch modules is a simple click-and-go process

At home, the Novus Core + Phone Module can be slotted into the optional Home Module, which not only charges the Novus Core and Phone Module batteries, but transforms the ensemble into what Abardeen calls an “AI Speaker.” This is more than a charging station with a speaker. It’s a Google Assistant-enabled smart-speaker, a stand-alone alarm clock and a clever nightlight that turns on when it detects movement via its infrared sensor.

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URGOnight Will Help You Sleep

The device uses neurofeedback to train the user into entering a brainwave state claimed to improve...
The device uses neurofeedback to train the user into entering a brainwave state claimed to improve sleep(Credit: URGOnight)

With a good night’s sleep being so important to our health, it’s not surprising to see so many gadgets designed to deliver us into the Land of Nod. URGOnight is a novel sleep training device designed to improve your ability to get to sleep, and stay asleep, through the use of neurofeedback and brain training. The system, comprising an EEG headset and accompanying mobile app, is currently crowdfunding on Indiegogo. read more

Micro-Scale Drones

The Bee+ in flight-test mode, showing all four wings operating
The Bee+ in flight-test mode, showing all four wings operating(Credit: University of Southern California (USC)

Tiny robot insects might seem little more than fun, geeky gadgets to some, but the potential for these cyber-critters in areas like search and rescue, agriculture and hazard detection is massive – and so are the hurdles. Power-supplies, onboard-sensors, control and stability are all problematic at the micro-scale. It’s this last issue – stability – that researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) have been working on with their Bee+, drawing inspiration – yet again – from the insect world. read more

Rubicon Hitch Tent

Built sturdy for overland expedition use, the Rubicon Hitch Tent puts your two- or three-person roof...
Built sturdy for overland expedition use, the Rubicon Hitch Tent puts your two- or three-person roof tent on the hitch(Credit: Rubicon Expedition Products)

If you were looking over an SUV or truck trying to find the roof-top tent (RTT), the most logical place to look would be … the roof. But California startup Rubicon Expedition Products wants people to expand their idea of what a roof-top tent is and where it belongs on the vehicle. Its Hitch Tent system drops the roof tent down to hitch level, making it easier to load and unload and freeing up the vehicle for day trips. The integrated frame stands the tent above the cold, rocky ground below. read more

Chinese Construction Horizontal Skyscraper

Developer CapitaLand says that Raffles City Chongqing's structure is now complete and work is ongoing fitting...
Developer CapitaLand says that Raffles City Chongqing’s structure is now complete and work is ongoing fitting the interior(Credit: CapitaLand)

Following six years of construction, the Moshe Safdie-designed Raffles City Chongqing is nearing completion in China. Representing a genuinely impressive engineering achievement, the so-called horizontal skyscraper consists of a cluster of eight towers and a huge connecting skybridge. Developer CapitaLand reports that it’s now structurally complete and work is ongoing finishing its interior. The official opening ceremony is expected to take place in the second half of 2019. read more