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Review: Meet Ditto – A cool & smart wearable bluetooth device

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Technology

When I received a sample of Ditto to test it for a day from my editor at GadgTecs, I must say that I was only looking at its popularity, and did not realize that the small device would offer me much more than what I expected of it. I knew the idea of the gadget was a very simple one, and wonder why no one else thought of it before. I knew that the concept of this device was to offer a life that was free from the constant nagging of having to check your cellphone screen every few minutes so as to see what message, email or call has come in. Unfortunately many people are literally glued to their smartphones, and this is something that also has so many drawbacks. With Ditto this can be avoided very simply.

Ditto in 3 colors
Ditto is available in 3 colors, transparent, black and white. Source: Simplematters.com

So what exactly is Ditto?

Basically Ditto is a beautiful small and cute ovalish device that will alert you by vibrating only when truly important calls or messages come through. It comes in a variety of colors including a transparent one! I got to try the black one and I loved it. It is as small as two coins put together and can be worn like a watch (a strap is also included in the package) or around your neck like a locket, or using the built in clip, can be attached anywhere you find convenient. If you want to keep it discreet, you can keep it in your pocket. It is also water proof, so you don’t have to take it off while showering or swimming. It is a convenient way to stay connected without being constantly checking your cellphone’s screen.

The best part? It does not require daily recharging! Unlike our battery hungry smart phones, Ditto runs on a tiny watch battery which can last a couple of years and is easily replaceable. How we wish all our gadgets were like that!

What can Ditto do

It can also be used as an alarm clock. The nice ‘buzzz’ is difficult to miss, even if you are a heavy sleeper. Though this is not its main purpose. Ditto will vibrate when there are emails, text messages, or phone calls on your cell phone, and it has the ability to filter the emails, messages, or phone calls according to the specific preferences or selection of the person. Therefore, you can set it up so that you are only alerted when you get an email from office or work etc The device would only vibrate when the condition is met, and will ignore other emails. You can set the number of times it will vibrate to notify you of each event individually, for e.g. for calls, 3 times and for emails, once. It will also warn you if your cellphone is left behind somewhere. For a careless person like me, this is a very convenient feature, as I have the habit of leaving my phone behind.

Ditto on our team members hand
A Ditto with the included strap on our reviewer’s wrist

Ever since smartphones have arrived, people including me have constantly kept one of their palms engaged in holding the phone, or at least kept it in your pockets. But such advanced technology has actually increased anxiety as we have come to expect communication to be at a much faster level. Waiting for a call can be very distracting, stressful, and prevent a person from doing anything positive at all, within that waiting period. This is because cellphones not only use palms but also keep the eyes and brain engaged. Ditto can help you to overcome those anxious moments and allow you to enjoy life and socialize much more – something which cellphones have taken away from most of us. Have you heard of the bet at the restaurant, when you are with your friends and the first one to look at their screen loses and has to pay? Thanks to Ditto, yesterday night was the first time I actually won, because I knew no one had messaged me. That is good, right?

Win Ditto

We at GadgTecs review many samples that we get, and select the best ones we think our readers will like. After the review, we give out the sample as a gift to one of our lucky readers. But recently, we got not 1, but 2 samples of Ditto from Simple Matters so that we could give our readers a brand new unopened case! Our editor decided that instead of giving one, we will give out both the samples! One (the transparent one) is completely packed and unopened, and the other one (the black one) has been opened and used for a day for the purpose of this review. It has been repacked and will be given away so that 2 lucky readers can enjoy! There are many ways in how you can increase your chances of winning. Check out the Gleam’s app below.

GadgTecs: Smart Wearable – Dotti – Giveaway – 2 prizes
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Pogojet: A new compact & lightweight non-lethal weapon better than the rest

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Technology

A brand new compact, light-weight weapon will cease a target in their tracks from a 100 meters away with out lethally harming them. Nicknamed the Pogojet, it is a radical less-than-lethal design from a senior research scientist, Jeffrey Widder,  from Battelle Memorial Institute in Ohio.

The Pogojet — whose official title is the Caseless Telescoping Less-lethal System — is unique in that the propellant burns inside the round, pushing on a piston that propels it ahead. The motion resembles a pogo stick, therefore the name. As soon as the piston reaches its full extent, the exhaust gases could be vented sideways, so the round continues ahead at the same pace, or directed via holes in the base of the round like a rocket exhaust to provide as much extra boost as required. That is the ‘jet’ aspect of the Pogojet, which Widder compares to the old 1960s Gyrojet rocket pistol.

Smart Bullets

Pogojet 2
The Pogojet’s base

It is an intelligent design meant to get around an annoying problem. Conventional wisdom says that the non-deadly rounds used to stun suspects have to be big, soft, and sluggish. Consider the bean bag rounds fired from police shotguns, the 40mm sponge grenades utilized by the military, and conventional “rubber bullets.” Their low speed gives them a much shorter range than a rock which is thrown by a strong hand—a critical drawback when dealing with rioters.

The other problem with less-lethal impact weapons is balancing effectiveness with safety. A round that travels slowly enough to be safe at point-blank range will be ineffective at greater distance. Enhance the muzzle velocity to knock down a threat further away and the weapon turns into a potentially lethal one when used from a closer range.

Widder’s challenge was to discover a method of varying the muzzle velocity depending on the distance to the threat so that the bullet always hits at the sweet spot of between 77 and 87 meters per second. His ultimate design uses a small .50 caliber weapon firing a hard projectile that utilizes that gas venting technique to hit the goal at optimum velocity. This variable velocity makes the Pogojet safe at short distances and efficient at longer distances. Widder says it is going to be effective at 100 meters, much more than any existing kinetic round.

“When the gas comes out, it can be throttled,” says Widder. “The technical issue turned out to be remarkably simple. Once I figured it out I did not know why I thought it so tough.”

The Pogojet will use a laser rangefinder—technology that already exists for small arms, however is principally used with military grenade launchers. The Pogojet will interface with a rangefinder to make sure that the proper muzzle velocity is automatically chosen with out any manual control. Constructing the interface is one of the next steps in the challenge. However the key aspect, the variable velocity system, has already proven extremely dependable.

The bullet before being fired
The bullet before being fired
The bullet after being fired
The bullet after being fired

 

 

 

 

 

Widder’s design has another benefit in that it produces sufficient pressure to work as a semi-automatic, in contrast to the pump-action bean-bag shotguns. In contrast to other less-lethals, the Pogojet may be fired as rapidly as wanted, so the shooter can get off another shot if they miss the threat the first time.

Pogojet on a rifle
Pogojet pistol on a rifle

The piston arrangement also means even a really short barrel is sufficient for high velocity and accuracy, making the Pogojet compacter than the alternate options.  Widder imagines the weapon fitted as an under-barrel extra to an M4 carbine, giving troopers an easy, long-range, multi-shot alternative to deadly bullets. The Pogojet may also be used individually as a pistol, with out the rangefinder and set to the lowest velocity. It may still be efficient up to 50 meters, in comparison with 20 meters maximum for a bean bag gun and even less for a Taser, giving cops an easily transportable alternative.

PogoJet Stings

Most non-deadly kinetic rounds are designed to flatten on impact and spread the blow over a big area. This improves safety by minimizing the danger of a penetrating injury. This also explains why such rounds tend to be large caliber: small caliber ones can go through an eye socket with serious consequences.

Widder takes a special approach. His round is spin-stabilized and has a flat trajectory so it can be aimed precisely.  Shooters are trained to aim the deadly rounds on the target’s center of mass, and the Pogojet is fired in the identical manner. Other non-deadly rounds are supposed to be aimed on the thighs or buttocks. The Pogojet bullet doesn’t deform on impact but delivers all its power over a small area.  Widder says that it produces a high degree of pain with less kinetic energy than the standard method.

“It is like a bee’s sting. It is only over a small area, however it’s intense enough to be effective.”

pogoget in action
In action

The small rounds may appear dangerous compared to more conventional, bigger-diameter non-deadly weapons, however Widder argues that a high degree of fire self-discipline is always wanted. And unlike different kinetic weapons, the accuracy of the Pogojet means it will hit the place it’s aimed.

“The greatest threat of severe injury or death happens from impacts to the face, the head or neck of the supposed target or a bystander, ” Widder says. “The usage of more accurate weapons with disciplined fire can considerably scale back the probability of this unintended consequence.”

The next stage of Pogojet’s development will be to build the semi-automatic mechanism and the rangefinder interface, in addition to replacing most of the metallic components with plastic. So it will be ready for Human Effects Testing to ensure the Pogojet actually is effective and safe. If it is as great as Widder says, then the weapon may someday provide a new option for police and members of the military faced with situations where regular firearms would constitute excessive force.

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Control Star Wars’ BB-8 with The Force – Latest Gadgets

Sphero’s BB-8 (available at Amazon) has been probably the most fascinating tie-ins to Star Wars: The Force Awakens (after the light saber of course, which, given the sheer amount of Star Wars merchandise this past year, isn’t any small feat). The firm this week is showing off its next trick, a wearable wristband that can allow you to use gestures to commandeer and puppeteer the droid. The Force Band will not come out till later this year, however we got to check out an early prototype earlier at the CES. Here is how the Force Band works, at least in its current state. Resting your hand to your side enters driving mode. With your palm down, Sphero seems to look away from you; with your palm up it appears to be looking towards you. Spin in place, and BB-8 spins with you. The direction additionally dictates where it drives, and the rolling pace is at least somewhat affected by your hand’s elevation. Waving your hand in place will enter a gesture mode — the only one which worked for us at the moment was a nod “yes” after we did a fast right jab — and then putting your hand back down re-engages driving mode. Driving the BB-8 with your hand takes some practice, and admittedly we never quite got the grasp of turning. We are also, it seems, susceptible to moving our arms a lot while speaking — something the BB-8 responded to erratically. The Force Band is still ways off, though — fall of 2016 to be more precise, with no pricing details yet — and Sphero stressed that this is very much a prototype. All the things could change within the interim. However even in its present state, the Force Band is an intriguing step for Sphero, and one which felt decidedly more fascinating than the present touchscreen controls interface. Special Jakku version BB-8 with Force Band prototype Sphero says it’s going to have more particulars next month at Toy Fair. A variant BB-8 that includes post-Jakku wear and tear will also be going on sale later next year.

Source: Control Star Wars’ BB-8 with The Force – Latest Gadgets

‘Bone Foam’ Could Help Treat Osteoporosis And Other Bone Diseases

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Technology

French scientists have developed a self-setting injectable macroporous foam for repairing bones and aiding its development. It may assist regenerate bone quicker than other materials whereas providing a fast and minimally invasive method for surgeons to carry out bone repair procedures, and possibly treat osteoporosis.

The new study is published in Acta Biomaterialia. Before, scientists had difficulty making calcium phosphate cements (CPCs) macroporous, or having pores larger than 50 micrometers. While studies have found conflicting evidence regarding how porous bones should be to facilitate regrowth, the range seems to be between 100 and 300 micrometers — in people with osteoporosis, bones are far more porous.

bone foam
The low-density paste floats on top of a saline solution (left) and is visibly porous in the SEM picture (right) © Elsevier

With 70% of bone consisting of a calcium phosphate mineral known as hydroxyapatite,  CPCs are extensively utilized in surgical procedures as bone substitutes. CPCs have wonderful properties for the job – they’re injectable, self-setting, biocompatible and microporous permitting nutrients to flow through the implant site, which assists bone regeneration.

Nonetheless, it’s been a problem introducing macroporosity into such injectable CPCs, which is desirable to facilitate faster bone regeneration and reinforce cancellous bone; the flexible and spongy tissue that degenerates with osteoporosis. Macroporous CPCs do exist however those which are injectable have poor mechanical properties.

Now Pierre Weiss and colleagues at the University of Nantes have created a macroporous self-setting CPC in the type of an injectable foam by utilizing a silanised-hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (Si-HPMC) hydrogel as a foaming agent. ‘Our method is straightforward and offers us really good outcomes in terms of mechanical properties and macroporous structures,’ says Weiss.

Advantages of bubbles

Previously, the researchers had tried to enhance the mechanical properties of CPC by including a Si-HPMC hydrogel. However in the course of the process of preparing the Si-HPMC hydrogel with an acidic buffer utilizing syringes – which lowers the pH of the solution causing it to self-cross link and gel – air bubbles appeared within the mixture and they had been laborious to remove. However Weiss’ postdocs Jingtao Zhang and Weizhen Liu wondered if this downside may be useful for giving macroporosity to CPC and so they set out to develop a CPC foam.

The group made the foam by placing Si-HPMC and CPC solutions in separate syringes, and then pumping air into the CPC syringe. Both syringes were then joined by a connector and plunged to quickly combine the solutions and air, which formed a homogenous foam.

‘We knew that both biomaterials are biocompatible individually however we did not understand how the body would react with a mixture of both,’ explains Weiss. To seek out an answer, and also to check the biofunctionality of the foam, they carried out preliminary in vivo tests by making tiny defects within the thigh bones of two live rabbits and injected the foam into the cavities.

After about a week, the researchers found the foamed CPC had completely filled the defect as well as maintained the macroporous structure they were looking for. After 6 weeks, they found it had acted as a scaffold to facilitate new bone growth; there were newly formed bones within the CPC itself, fitting together uniformly. Analyses revealed no toxic effects, suggesting that the CPC foam might be a feasible and efficient material for treating certain bone defects and ailments. ‘We think this might be an excellent biomaterial, perhaps with active molecules, to act against osteoporosis locally. We have to determine the proof of concept in animal models,’ said Weiss.

‘There are quite a number of teams working on this problem and different solutions proposed. This may very well be one, the preliminary outcomes are very fascinating.’ says Eduardo Saiz, who investigates biomaterials for bone repair at Imperial College, London, UK. ‘If the research progresses well it might give surgeons a simple to use material for minimally invasive procedures, which can benefit clinical practice.’
More research is needed to show just how effective this paste can be, but the team believes it will one day help to prevent some 8 million osteoporosis-related fractures each year across the globe.

 

Source: J Zhang et al, Acta Biomater., 2015, DOI: 10.1016/j.actbio.2015.11.055

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New alloy is as strong as titanium but as light as aluminum

Researchers from the Qatar University and North Carolina State University have developed a new “high-entropy” metallic alloy that has a much higher strength-to-weight ratio than any other present metallic material known to man. High-entropy alloys are materials that consist of 5 or more metals in roughly equal quantities. These alloys are at present the focus of

Source: New alloy is as strong as titanium but as light as aluminum

New alloy is as strong as titanium but as light as aluminum

My favorite technology news blog has posted another post!

Technology

Researchers from the Qatar University and North Carolina State University have developed a new “high-entropy” metallic alloy that has a much higher strength-to-weight ratio than any other present metallic material known to man.

High-entropy alloys are materials that consist of 5 or more metals in roughly equal quantities. These alloys are at present the focus of serious consideration in materials science and engineering because they can have fascinating properties.

The NC State research team mixed magnesium, lithium, aluminum, titanium and scandium to make a nano-crystalline high-entropy alloy that has lower density, but it is very strong.

“The density is similar to aluminum, however it’s stronger than titanium alloys,” said Dr. Carl Koch, Kobe Steel Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at NC State and lead author of a paper on the work. “It has a mix of high strength and low density that’s, so far as we can tell, unmatched by any other metallic material. The strength-to-weight ratio is akin to some ceramics, however we think it is tougher – and much less brittle – than ceramics.”

There are a variety of uses for light weight and robust materials, such as in prosthetics, aircraft or in automobiles.

“We still have a lot of analysis to do to completely characterize this material and discover the best processing strategies for it,” Koch told us.

Info about the high entropy alloy
(a) Bright field TEM image and diffraction pattern, (b) dark field image, and (c) grain size distribution of as-milled uncontaminated material.

At this point, the first downside with the alloy is that it’s manufactured from 20% scandium, which is very costly.

“One thing we will be looking at is whether or not scandium might be replaceable or eliminated from the alloy,” Koch said.

For more info: See the paper “A Novel Low Density, High Hardness, High-Entropy Alloy with Close-packed Single-phase Nanocrystalline Structures,” which is published on-line in the open-access journal Materials Research Letters. DOI: 10.1080/21663831.2014.985855

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