Decembers been a busy month for everyone. As people prepared themselves for all the festivities, the tech world announced deliveries by drone and printable batteries! Find out more below:
Every week there seems to be a new story about 3D printers, and every time you read it you’re immediately told how amazing they are and how they’re going to be the next big thing. Well I’m here to tell you the same thing again; 3D printers really are amazing, and it looks like they’re poised to be the next big thing.
This week’s 3D printer update comes straight out of Harvard, where a materials scientist has worked out a framework which allows 3D printers to produce lithium batteries – pretty impressive.
These wouldn’t just be batteries to power your digital camera, they could be applied to any number of incredible tasks – they could produce self-powered biomedical sensors that would transmit data to your smartphone for example, and it could of course revolutionise the goods manufacturing industry.
A good example is that of a hearing aid; at the moment the plastic mould is made with a 3D printer, but the electronics are made separately and inserted later. The new technology developed by Jennifer and her team could allow the two parts to be constructed together, streamlining the manufacturing process.
There have been a few robotic news stories that ruffled our tech-feathers this month (see number one on this list), but none quite as strange as this one. Scientists have been working on a flying robot that doesn’t move like a helicopter or plane, instead it swims through the air in the style of a jellyfish.
The boffins who were working on the design decided that replicating the movements of a fly would be too difficult to do in a tiny robot, as the wings would be too fragile moving at the speeds required to gain lift. The prototype Jellyboy is only 8cm wide, weighs just two grams and flaps its “wings” about 20 times a second.
The practical application of the bot is far off yet, but the scientists who developed the prototype are pleased with their blueprints, as it will no doubt later apply to much more sophisticated machinery.
Apple have teamed up with a Danish firm called GN Store Nord, one of the world’s top hearing aid providers, to help develop a listening product for the hard of hearing. The LiNX device will at first work only with iPhones and will allow people with hard of hearing to stream music and audio directly in to their ear.
Although the details are few and far between, Apple have noticeably taken out two patents – one for a device which recognises when a user is wearing a hearing aid, and another for a noise-cancelling hearing aid.
In very exciting news for video game lovers all over the world, two new consoles were released in November – the Xbox One and the PS4 arrived in the European and North American stores, with both reportedly doing very well in terms of sales figures.
Sony confirmed that the PS4 has become the fastest selling console to ever be released in the UK, selling 250 million units around the launch period – details of Xbox One sales are still being collated. One thing that has been confirmed is that the PS4 has outsold both the Wii U (which came out in the first quarter of 2013), and the Xbox One combined.
Both consoles received critical praise from the major gaming outlets, but they weren’t without criticism; the launch titles were described by some as lacklustre, and the tech did run in to some teething problems – looking back through the history of game launches, you can see that this is expected.
If, like me, you can’t wait for the world to operate exactly like your favourite sci-fi movies do, then you’ll probably be most excited to hear about the new drone delivery plan from Amazon.
The online shopping giant hopes that by 2015, you’ll be able to order your goods on their website, and an unmanned airborne robot will pick up your order and fly it over to your house in less than 30 minutes. The details are still being finalised, but it’s certainly a very exciting prospect.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.