Sometimes, when I’m occupied or just don’t feel like answering it, I ignore my phone. Sorry, but I don’t always have time for a telemarketer or whatever. Now Nokia wants to make this physically impossible by patenting an electronic tattoo that would vibrate, on your body, whenever someone calls. It would work like a body-based caller ID system, vibrating in a specific pattern according to the caller or the type of message.
The rumbling you feel driving along a bridge may soon serve a purpose beyond just waking you up behind the wheel. Researchers at MIT have developed a tiny energy-harvester that is able to harness low-frequency vibrations like those made by a bridge or pipeline and converting them to electricity for wireless sensors.
Researchers at Georgia Tech have found that a little vibration goes a long way toward upping a person’s sense of touch. Using a glove of their own design, they’ve found that they can heighten tactile sensitivity by applying a small, high-frequency vibration to the side of the fingertip.
Soldiers already have plenty of nighttime tech to help them navigate battlefields, but goggles can be clunky and obtrusive, and backlit GPS displays can betray a lurking warfighter’s position. A new haptic interface developed by Army researchers will help soldiers feel their way through the darkness instead.
Finding large-scale sources of kinetic energy to turn turbines isn't easy. But while there are only so many roaring rivers and flat, windy plains from which to harvest nature's natural motions, there's no shortage of tiny, random vibrations all around us. Now researchers at the University of Michigan have developed mini-generators that harness these.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.