Issue: 20131201

Sunday, December 1, 2013
DECEMBER 2013
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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Articles
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POPULEAR SCIENCE
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Tour Glenfiddich... From Anywhere in the World
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Special Promotion At Popular Science we are all about innovation. While it's possible to find out about the newest gadgets and latest models from a host of wonderful sites that are everywhere online, we make it our mission to hunt down and report specifically on those companies and individuals who are breaking the boundaries, who are changing the game, who are shifting paradigms.
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WHISKY TOUR INSIDE THE APP
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Glenfiddich, "the valley of the dear," located in picturesque Dufftown, Scotland Download the free Whisky Tour app and experience it for yourself
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GLENFIDDICH
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GLENFIDDICH
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PopularScience_20131201_0283_006_0004.xml
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dyson
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dyson
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PopularScience_20131201_0283_006_0005.xml
tableOfContents
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Contents
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From the Editor
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Evolutionaries
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WHEN I’M ASKED what the standards are for our annual Best of What’s New Awards, I tend to rely on a catchphrase: “It should be revolutionary, not evolutionary.” But this year, I’m having to rethink that. Every 12 months, as we assemble the 100 greatest innovations of the year, revealing patterns emerge.
PopularScience_20131201_0283_006_0007.xml
masthead
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POPULAR SCIENCE
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PopularScience_20131201_0283_006_0008.xml
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BUICK REGAL GS
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BUICK REGAL GS
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PopularScience_20131201_0283_006_0009.xml
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Peer Review
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DRIVING FACTORS
POPSCI.TUMBLR.COM
FROM POPULARSCIENCE.COM
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For decades, I cringed at the idea of going to a dealership and buying a car [“Why You Can’t Sell Me a Car,” October 2013]. The offerings reflect more the ideas of Detroit than what is of interest to the consumer. As an economist, I find you are absolutely correct—the value is terrible, and, as you suggest, will be worse in the future.
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Lilly USA: Humalog KwikPen
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Lilly USA
Humalog KwikPen
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PopularScience_20131201_0283_006_0011.xml
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MEGAPIXEL
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WORM PROBLEM
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LINDSEY KRATOCHWILL
hundred fifty million people worldwide require treatment for schistosomiasis, also known as bilharzla, a disease that ravages internal organs. Schistosomiasis is caused by parasitic flatworms that cycle between two hosts: freshwater snails and humans. Seeking ways to stop the transmission, biologists at the University of Illinois are studying the worm’s reproduction.
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IEMLIIE:
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Spotless Minds
How scientists are learning to shape our memory
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VIRGINIA HUGHES
ROADSIDE BOMBS, childhood abuse, car accidents—they form memories that can shape (and damage) us for a lifetime. Now, a handful of studies have shown that we’re on the verge of erasing and even rewriting memories. The hope is that this research will lead to medical treatments, especially for addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
PopularScience_20131201_0283_006_0013.xml
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Advertisement
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HEADLINES
THE BIG FIX
Bridge in a Backpack
THE PROBLEM
THE SOLUTION
VISUAL DATA
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LILLIAN STEENBLIK HWANG
If U.S. Special Forces agents need to scale a wall, traverse a canal, or cross between rooftops, they typically use an everyday 40-pound aluminum ladder. That means one of them has to carry It in addition to the standard 150 pounds of gear and body armor.
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HEADLINES
TOOL KIT
A LIFE IN EARWAX
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AMBER WILLIAMS
Baleen whales have no need for Q-tips. Water blocks off the ear canal, which has a unique anatomy, so over time wax builds up into what researchers call an earplug. Previously, scientists counted the layers of wax, like counting tree rings, to help determine a whale's age, but a team at Baylor University in Texas recently discovered that the gunk contains even more Information.
PopularScience_20131201_0283_006_0016.xml
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Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.: TUNDRAA
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Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.
TUNDRAA
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PopularScience_20131201_0283_006_0017.xml
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HEADLINES
SUBJECTIVE MEASURES
From Chimp to Chip
How to get rid of animal testing
Ninety percent of drugs that pass animal testing then fail in human trials.
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ERIN BIBA
LAST SUMMER, the National Institutes of Health announced that it’s phasing out experiments on chimpanzees. All but 50 of its 451 chimps will go to sanctuaries, and it won’t breed the remainder. The change is based on its 2011 study that determined that advancements have rendered human trials, computer-based research, and genetically modified mice more scientifically useful than chimps.
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CANON
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HEADLINES
BLUEPRINT
Power Suit
THE SCALE
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FLORA LICHTMAN
WHAT IS IT? A BATTERY-POWERED EXOSKELETON ARM THAT MAKES YOU STRONGER Our Titan Arm exoskeleton uses a motorized elbow joint to increase someone’s weightlifting capacity by 40 pounds. When people see it, they always jump to thinking about Iron Man, but the idea is to give injured patients strength and to assist with their physical therapy.
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VIAGRA
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VIAGRA
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VIAGRA
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VIAGRA
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HEADLINES
TIMELINE
How to ship a 17-ton superconducting magnet across the country
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AMBER WILLIAMS
Physicists at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois needed a superconducting magnet to study muons, fleeting subatomic particles. Thirty million dollars for a new experimental setup was out of the question, but they found a used one at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island.
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HEADLINES
TIMELINE
TRAVEL ADVISORIES
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The magnet wouldn't fit through tollbooths, so an all-highway route wouldn't work. And if it fell from a helicopter through power lines, it could cause a blackout. Waterways were the only option. The journey began in June: few hurricanes, no frozen rivers.
PopularScience_20131201_0283_006_0024.xml
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BASF The Chemical Company
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BASF The Chemical Company
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PopularScience_20131201_0283_006_0025.xml
review
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26TH ANNUAL BEST OF WHAT'S NEW
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100 INNOVATIONS THAT WILL SHAPE THE FUTURE
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Reporting by: Michael Berk, Rebecca Boyle, Berne Broudy, Elbert Chu, Daniel Dumas, Nicole Dyer, Emily Gertz, Alan Henry, Pavithra S. Mohan, Matt Safford, Harry Sawyers, Lawrence Ulrich, and the editors of POPULAR SCIENCE
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HEALTH
BEST OF WHAT'S NEW 2013
THE BIONIC EYE
Smartphone Breathalyzer
A SAFER TOILET
CANCER DETECTOR
AUTO DRUG DOSER
ROBOT DOC
Foldable Wheelchair Wheels
HEADACHE ERASER
FOOLPROOF IV
PRO SPORTS PROSTHETIC
AUTONOMIC TECHNOLOGIES! ATI NEUROSTIMULATION SYSTEM I
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AUTONOMIC TECHNOLOGIES! ATI NEUROSTIMULATION SYSTEM I
BACTRACK MOBILE
$150
Roughly the size of a box of Tic Tacs, the BACtrack Mobile connects to an iPhone via Bluetooth to help people monitor their blood alcohol levels. The drinker breathes into the device, which senses booze the same way a police breathalyzer does: A catalyst breaks down the alcohol, releasing electricity that the BACtrack then measures. Such data could help bargoers decide when to stop drinking—or when to stay off the road. $150
AUTONOMIC TECHNOLOGIES! ATI NEUROSTIMULATION SYSTEM I
AMERICAN STANDARD SATO
$1.50
Pit latrines—used by 1.8 billion people—let flying Insects in, which can spread diseases such as cholera. The SaTo is a simple piece of plastic that, with some concrete, retrofits latrines so they close themselves off between uses. When someone pours in water, a trapdoor snaps shut before all of it flows through, sealing the edges to block bugs. $1.50
AUTONOMIC TECHNOLOGIES! ATI NEUROSTIMULATION SYSTEM I
DUNE MEDICAL DEVICES MARGINPROBE
After about 40 percent of breast cancer lumpectomies, patients require follow-up surgery. The MarginProbe is the first tool doctors can use during an operation to check whether the borders of a tumor they’ve cut out are cancerous (a sign they need to remove more). The device bounces radio waves at the cells, distinguishing healthy tissue from bad. In trials, the MarginProbe decreased second surgeries by 56 percent.
AUTONOMIC TECHNOLOGIES! ATI NEUROSTIMULATION SYSTEM I
MADDAk MORPH WHEELS
$950
Traveling with wheelchairs can be tough. Even when all folded up, they're too big to stow easily in a small trunk or overhead compartment, in large part because of the wheels. Maddak’s Morph Wheels are a standard two feet tall, but jointed rims and solid tires let them fold into half that height. $950 Twenty-two percent of patients with cluster headache—one of the most excruciating ailments known—say they don’t have a treatment that works. The ATI Neurostimulation System uses six electrodes to stimulate the SPG nerve bundle behind the nose, killing pain signals. The least invasive pain neuromodulator, the system has a jellybean-size power box implanted beneath the cheekbone. The company is testing a similar version to treat migraines.
AUTONOMIC TECHNOLOGIES! ATI NEUROSTIMULATION SYSTEM I
VASCULAR PATHWAYS ACCUCATHTT IV CATHETER
Forty-eight percent of IV attempts end with complications, such as puncturing a vein’s far side. The AccuCath reduces that number. Once a needle is inserted, the medical practitioner pushes a flexible guide wire out of it. As he slides the catheter over the guide wire, the wire’s coiled tip acts as a bumper to prevent the catheter from poking through the vein.
AUTONOMIC TECHNOLOGIES! ATI NEUROSTIMULATION SYSTEM I
BIODAPT VERSA FOOT
$2,245
The Versa Foot is designed for extreme sports, such as snowmobiling. It has an adjustable air-compression shock absorber and a 28-degree range of motion (versus 5 to 10 degrees in other prosthetics) that allows standing on the toes or squatting with the heels planted. People can use it with or without a shoe. $2,245
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The Argus II does something once thought impossible—it gives sight to the blind. The device is the first FDA-approved artificial retina. It consists of a miniature video camera mounted on a pair of glasses that sends footage to a microprocessor worn on a person’s belt.
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amazona
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amazona
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ENTERTAINMENT
BEST OF WHAT'S NEW
A NEW GAMING STANDARD
Real-Life Videogame
FASTEST HOMETHEATER CONNECTOR
3-D THAT DAZZLES
THE CLEAREST EARPHONES
THE BEST TV SET, PERIOD
THE EASIEST SYNC
CONVINCING VIRTUAL REALITY
Long-Ranae Wireless speaker
PRECISION BODY MAPPING
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ANKI DRIVE
$199
The Anki R/C cars are the first toy racers that interact as they would in a videogame. An iPhone app constantly tracks each car’s location and calculates its most likely path around the loop. That data allows racers to deploy virtual weapons (think blasters and tractor beams) to get ahead. Each car also has a memory, so the more a user plays with it, the faster and deadlier it becomes. $199 (two cars and track)
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JH AUDIO JH13 WITH FREQPHASE
$1,099
Audio sounds best when each frequency reaches the eardrum at the same time. The JH13 is the first earphone pair to provide that level of accuracy. Engineers at JH Audio alter the length and shape of the tubes that extend from the drivers so that each signal arrives at the listener’s eardrum within 1/100th of a millisecond—almost simultaneously by human perception. From $1,099
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SAMSUNG S9 SERIES OLED TV I
$9,000
Big-screen OLEDs promise the best picture—fast refresh rates, off-the-charts contrast levels. But you couldn’t get one, until now. The S9 Series is the first big-screen OLED on the market in the U.S. The 55-incher delivers all an OLED should, with a bonus. Curved glass further immerses the viewer—a feature that will be more important as screen sizes increase. $9,000
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GOOGLE CHROMECAST
$35
Chromecast frees Web videos from tiny device screens. The dongle plugs into a TV’s HDMI jack and connects wirelessly with a phone, tablet, or PC. Within a video app, such as YouTube, users tap the “Cast” icon. The app relays the source URL to the dongle to stream to the TV. $35
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OCULUS VR OCULUS RIFT
$300
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SOL REPUBLIC DECK
$200
Most Bluetooth speakers claim a range of 30 to 50 feet—on a good day. The DECK sextuples that distance. Engineers modified the speaker’s Bluetooth transmitter to pull more power from the onboard battery, which helps transmit the signal up to 300 feet. $200
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MICROSOFT KINECT FOR XBOX
$499
The new Kinect is 10 times as accurate as its predecessor. A high-def camera and an infrared sensor capture a body’s movements—right down to the fingertips—in any light. Algorithms interpret the data to map skeletal and muscular movement, estimate heart rate, and track emotions. Developers will be able to use that data to code games that play off a gamer’s every tick, blink, or gasp. $499 (with Xbox One)
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Building a mobile device that can satisfy a hardcore gamer is a seemingly insurmountable task. Screens are too small, graphics processors too underpowered, touchscreen controls too clunky. But the Shield is the first mobile console that anyone can get behind.
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Advertisement: BAD COMBO
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BAD COMBO
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ENTERTAINMENT
BEST OF WHAT'S NEW 2013
SO LONG, DEAR CONSOLE. WE KNEW YOU WELL.
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COLIN LECHER
Forty-one years ago, Magnavox introduced the first cartridge-based console, the Odyssey. Seven generations later, the boxes have become fixtures in our entertainment centers. What’s not to love? Consoles represent the pinnacle of electronic engineering (the PlayStation 4’s graphics processor, for example, can perform 1.8 trillion operations per second).
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Bristol-Myers Squibb Company: Eliquis
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Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
Eliquis
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BEST OF WHAT'S NEW 2013
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SWAP BITS LIKE BULLETS
HOME
Small Saw, Big Bite
LIGHTBULBS WITH BRAINS
ROLLOUT GARDEN
RAIN CHECK
MOWING MADE SIMPLE
TRIM WHILE YOU CHARGE
NEVER WASTE WINE AGAIN
Fastest Floor Cleaner
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ROCKWELL COMPACT CIRCULAR SAW
$99
Most small circular saws are too wimpy to cut a two-by-four, so Rockwell squeezed contractorgrade gearing into a handyman-friendly tool. A parallel gearset helps an ultra-thin 4.5-inch blade plunge deep into lumber without sacrificing any of the power provided by a five-amp motor. $99
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PHILIPS HUE
$200
How many electricians does it take to install a smart lighting system? Zero—it it’s the Hue. Homeowners just need to screw in the multicolor LED bulbs, connect a wireless hub to their router, and download an app. They can control a network of up to 50 bulbs from a smartphone or other device. $200 (hub and three bulbs)
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URBNEARTH URBMAT
$55
The reusable UrbMat is an all-in-one system that helps prevent woes for new gardeners. It comes with built-in tubing to irrigate plants directly and significantly reduce water waste. Thick landscaping fabric, meanwhile, helps block weeds and keeps plants spaced for optimum growth. Pre-fertilized “seedballs” come in 23 varieties, including carrots, chard, spinach, and herbs. $55
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NETATMO PERSONAL WEATHER STATION
$180
Wi-Fi-enabled Netatmo modules let users generate and share hyper-local weather reports online. Eventually, Netatmo plans to combine the data into maps that could put the National Weather Service to shame. $180 (one indoor and one outdoor module)
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JOHN DEERE X700 SIGNATURE SERIES TRACTORS
$10,500
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RYOBI HYBRID TRIMMER
$119
When a batterypowered tool runs out of juice, users typically have to wait through the recharge cycle before they can start work again. The Ryobi hybrid trimmer can run corded in the meantime, a first for yard tools. Engineers included circuitry for both AC and DC power in the trimmer’s motor. That flexibility also means users can default to corded power or just use the battery when they need a longer reach. $119
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CORAVIN WINE ACCESS SYSTEM
$299
Uncorking a bottle of wine immediately begins degrading the vintage’s flavor. The Coravin lets a user pour without pulling the cork, keeping the beverage fresh to enjoy another day. The system’s hollow needle plunges through the cork, and a canister pressurizes the bottle with inert argon gas. The pressure lets wine pour without introducing oxygen. When the needle is removed, the cork reseals. $299
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DYSON HARD DC56
$330
Sweeping, mopping, and waiting for wood or linoleum floors to dry is a drag, so Dyson invented the DC56 to get the job done in a swipe. Its 104,000rpm motor generates enough suction to pull crumbs, dust, and hair into the cordless vacuum’s cylindrical bin. Meanwhile, a disposable wet wipe soaks up stuck-on grime. Users can swap the 4.86-pound device’s mopping attachment for two other tools to vacuum high-up or otherwise hard-to-reach places. $330
SAM KAPLAN
Gone are the days of dropping screwdriver bits into bottomless household voids. The SD SemiAutomatic is an entirely new take on the cordless driver. Engineers developed a magnetic mechanism that holds an array of bits at the ready, allowing users to swap from Phillips to flathead to hex—and back—in seconds.
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HARDWARE
BEST OF WHAT'S NEW 2013
YOUR OFFICE AVATAR
Most Comfortable Mouse
ALL-DAY LAPTOP LIFE
A HYBRID DONE RIGHT
DATA VAULT
SHARPER 3-D PRINTING
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TT ESPORTS LEVEL 10 M GAMING MOUSE
To give gamers an edge, BMW teamed up with PC accessories maker Thermaltake to design a mouse that’s both fast and well fitted, so marathon sessions remain comfortable. The palm piece is adjustable by height and tilt; it also floats up to 1.5 inches above the single-piece aluminum base, letting air circulate around the hand to keep gamers cool. An 8,200-DPI laser sensor allows the quickest reaction time possible.
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INTEL 4TH-GENERATION CORE PROCESSORS (HASWELL)
The Haswell is the most efficient and powerful computer chip in the world: It gives laptops the performance of a PC with the battery life of a smartphone. Intel engineers reduced energy-wasting data redundancies between the processor and the graphics processing unit. They also improved low-power-state tasks, such as streaming music, among other tweaks. The result is an up to 50 percent increase in battery life over the previous generation—the largest gain in Intel’s history.
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HP OFFICEJET PRO X576DW
$799
At 70 pages per minute, the Officejet Pro X576dw is the fastest desktop printer. HP scrapped the traditional inkjet head, which races back and forth across a page, for a stationary head that uses 42,000 nozzles at once to apply ink to the entire width of a page. The method produces better quality photos and graphics at a lower cost per page than a laser printer, formerly the go-to for speed. $799
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LENOVO THINKPAD HELIX
$1,499
Since Microsoft launched Windows 8 last year, computer makers have released dozens of hybrid PCs that promise both the power of a laptop and the portability of a tablet. The Helix is the first convertible to make good on that promise. Thanks to a unique hinge, users can view the screen three ways: facing forward, backward, or detached. From $1,499
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IOSAFE N2
$599
Considering the extent of government surveillance, more people may want to take their online data out of the cloud. The N2 hard drive is the safest way to secure digital assets at home. Three nested layers protect 8 terabytes of storage. A sealed case blocks water up to 10 feet deep; an inch of insulation shields against high temperatures; and a steel shell prevents external damage. From $599
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FORMLABS FORM 1
$3,299
Up close, most 3-D-printed items have rough surfaces, a result of the typical printer, which stacks 100-micrometer-thick layers of melted plastic. The Form 1 uses the technique stereolithography instead. A laser runs under liquid resin, hardening one 25-micrometer layer at a time. The products are the smoothest, most intricate of all consumer desktop 3-D printers. $3,299
SPEEDIEST PRINTER
At least 3.3 million people in the United States work remotely. But no number of phone calls, e-mails, or videoconferences with colleagues will change the fact that the person just isn’t there. A handful of companies are now attempting to fill that physical void with telepresence robots, but many of them are awkward—and creepy—humanoid devices that make co-workers focus more on the bot than the person driving it.
PopularScience_20131201_0283_006_0034.xml
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Canon: EOS 70D
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Canon
EOS 70D
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General Motors: SIERRA\
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General Motors
SIERRA\
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PopularScience_20131201_0283_006_0036.xml
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Progressive Casualty Ins. Co.
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Progressive Casualty Ins. Co.
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PopularScience_20131201_0283_006_0037.xml
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ENGINEERING
BEST OF WHAT'S NEW 2013
WORLD'S LARGEST HIGHSPEED LAN
HIGHEST, FASTEST LOOPING COASTER
STRONG BRICKS, DIRT CHEAP
Born-Again Submersible
LIFE-SIZE EARTHQUAKE SIMULATOR
SIDEWAYS ICEBREAKER
CHINA'S TALLEST STRUCTURE
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PREMIER RIDES FULL THROTTLE
Visitors to Valencia, California’s Six Flags Magic Mountain can now subject themselves to a world-record 160-foot vertical loop, blistering 0 to 70 mph acceleration, and weightlessness on the same insane ride. The dual magnetic-pulse propulsion system is similar to those that throw jets off aircraft carriers.
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VERMEER BP714
Concrete-brick construction is cheap in the United States, but in developing nations, it’s often an unaffordable luxury. Traditional tired-earth bricks, meanwhile, disintegrate over time. The Vermeer uses 55,000 pounds of pressure to make compressed earth blocks 20 to 30 percent stronger than U.S. cement-code requires. It can slam one out every 15 seconds using dirt and a small amount of cement.
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U.S. NAVY/WOODS HOLE OCEANOGRAPHIC INSTITUTE ALVIN
Since 1964, Alvin has made more than 4,600 career dives in pursuit of bombs, hydrothermal vents, and the wreck of the Titanic. Now, engineers at Woods Hole are filling the iconic submersible with 21st-century technology. The reborn Alvin will dive 1.2 miles deeper (to four miles), haul twice the scientific payload, and carry new sensors and instrumentation. It will open nearly the entire ocean to exploration and research.
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NEES @ UCSD LHPOST
Seismic tests usually involve either a scale simulation of an earthquake or a computer-generated one, neither of which can fully replicate the kind of shaking a real tremor dishes out. When engineers want to test a new joint, a connector, or a foundation piling against the violence of seismic activity, they can now plop the real thing onto UC San Diego’s Large High Performance Outdoor Shake Table. The biggest in the country, it can subject a 400-ton payload to 1.2 Gs, the high end of recorded seismic movement.
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AKER ARCTICH AND ARCTECH NB 508
The NB 508, called Baltika, clears a wider path than any other ship. The hull is asymmetric, and when thrusters turn it sideways, it’s a massive knife, clearing a 160-foot-wide path through three feet of ice. Built for the Russian Ministry of Transport, Baltika is a rescue and oil-cleanup vessel, but it portends a new era of high-volume shipping traffic across the frozen top of the world.
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GENSLER SHANGHAI TOWER
The 2,073-foot Shanghai Tower, the third-tallest in the world, uses an interlocking system of columns and trusses to soar without a massive footprint. Amenities and the world’s fastest elevators, complete with airplane-style pressurization, make it a vertical city of its own.
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When a national lab that supports research into nuclear weapons and national security decides that it’s not happy with its download speeds, it doesn’t call Xfinity to complain. It builds the largest fiber-optic LAN on the planet, connecting 265 buildings and 13,000 network ports at speeds that rival the world’s best.
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ENGINEERING
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THE ARCTIC OPENS UP
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AMBER WILLIAMS
Trans-Arctic voyages currently depend on ice-breaking vessels like the Baltika [facing page] to clear a path for cargo ships. It won’t be long, though, before those ships travel unescorted during the summer, which scientists say may be routinely ice-free as early as 2020.
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AUTO
BEST OF WHAT'S NEW 2013
DRIVING TOWARD AUTONOMY
THE SMARTEST RIDE
KICK-BUTT DIESELHYBRID RACER
CarbonFiber City Car
A TINY TURBO
THE NOCOMPROMISE DIESEL
The Fastest Car You Can Afford
DOUBLE-DUTY SHOCK ABSORBERS
A PLUGIN THAT RESTORES RANGE
FAST, FLEXIBLE CHARGING
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$93,825
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class combines some of the most significant advances in safety and autonomy on the market today. A 360-degree sensing system integrates onboard technology—including cameras, radar, sonar, stability controls, throttle, and steering—so that the car can automatically negotiate traffic and curving highways at speeds of up to 124 mph. A night-vision system can spot animals on the road from up to 500 feet away. And the world’s first camera-based suspension braces for bumps before they arrive. $93,825
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$17,500
With three cylinders and less than one liter of displacement, Ford’s EcoBoost is smaller than many motorcycle engines. Yet it still produces 123 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. Direct injection, variable-valve timing, and a turbocharger that spins at a lofty 248,000 rpm allow higher engine pressures and more complete combustion, which squeezes more energy from each drop of fuel. As a result, the new EcoBoost is even more powerful than the larger engine It’s replacing: the 1.6-liter fourcylinder in the Ford Fiesta hatchback. Fuel consumption should improve to 41 mpg or more on the highway. $17,500 (est.)
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$27,000
The Mazda6 sedan features two fuelsaving firsts. The i-ELoop captures braking energy in a capacitor, which charges and discharges faster than a battery and is lighter, cheaper, and longer lasting. The capacitor powers the car’s electrical components, boosting the gas engine’s efficiency to a bestin-class 40mpg highway. The optional Skyactiv-D engine is the first modern clean diesel in a Japanese car. With diesel, the Mazda6 should top 45 mpg in real-world driving. $27,000 (est.)
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$99,975
The Panamera S E-Hybrid can fully charge its lithium-ion battery while in motion—one of the first plug-in vehicles to do so. By diverting some engine power, it recharges its 9.4-kilowatt-hour battery in under an hour, restoring all-electric range to 22 to 33 miles at speeds of up to 83 mph. The 416-horsepower hybrid can race from 0 to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds and to a top speed of 167 mph. $99,975
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$19,185
Until now, electric cars that charged at varying speeds required separate and bulky onboard outlets. But the Spark debuts a new plug standard that many automakers are set to adopt. The threeway “combo plug,” created by auto engineering group SAE, puts household, 240-volt, or DC fast charging on the same lightweight, higher-capacity plug. The Spark is also the most efficient electric car in America, with an EPArated 119mpg equivalent. $19,185
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HEALTH HARDWARE ENGINEERING AUTO AEROSPACE SECURITY GADGETS SOFTWARE RECREATION STATS System controllers Price $37,605 (2014 Infiniti Q50) NISSAN DIRECT ADAPTIVES STEERING Autonomous cars have many hurdles to clear before reaching consumers, but they’re coming. Nissan and Mercedes-Benz have pledged to bring selfdriving cars to showrooms by 2020.
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Olympus OM-D E-M1
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Olympus OM-D E-M1
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OLYMPUS
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OLYMPUS
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AEROSPACE
BEST OF WHAT'S NEW 2013
THE EYES OF THE UNIVERSE
Launch Vehicle
SUPERSONIC DRONE
SPACE ON EARTH
STAR SALVAGE
MACH 5, SUCKERS
HEAVY-DUTY AIRSHIP
Personal Flight
MICRO UAV
DRONE KILLER
LOWCOST RECON
Bullet Proof Helmet
SECURE HOME IN A CINCH
HIGHWIRE SNOOP
BOOM BUSTER
MOST AGILE BIPED
BETTER BLENDER
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$1,000
First responders can toss the baseball-size Explorer Into a building or enclosed space for a quick snapshot of any hazards. Sporting six cameras with wide-angle lenses, it can take 360degree panoramic images of its surroundings and send them to a cellphone or tablet in less than three seconds. Bounce Imaging strove to make the Explorer affordable, so it built the device using off-the-shelf parts. Future Iterations could have swappable sensors to detect carbon monoxide, radiation, or hydrogen cyanide Lessthan. $1,000
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$199
The Canary home security system is the first that can adapt to one’s daily habits. It Integrates data from a wide-angle HD camera, infrared motion sensor, temperature and humidity sensors, and microphone to distinguish an Intruder from your excitable dog. The whole thing packs into a sleek shell the size of a Morton salt container. $199
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Skysweeper inches along live power lines scouting for bad splices, frays, tangled branches, and other trouble spots. Developed by engineers at the University of California at San Diego, it will be the most affordable and versatile power-line monitoring tool. Production versions of this will have induction coils to grab power from the lines and cameras and sensors to beam information to an inspection crew.
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SAMSUNG ROBORAY
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CABELA S COLORPHASE CAMOUFLAGE
$20
Cabela’s new ColorPhase Camouflage gives hunters chameleonlike powers. Depending on the ambient conditions, the dyes In the fabric’s foliage pattern will change colors—becoming greener during the early fall, when temperatures are above approximately 65°F, and dull browns in late fall and winter. The camo could also be valuable on the battlefield, reducing the number of fatigue variations needed to conceal troops in different terrains. From $20
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EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY GAIA Aerospace innovations tend to be notable for a terrestrial accomplishment. Perhaps it’s a simple benchmark like speed (see: X-51 Waverider). Or perhaps it’s the fulfillment of a maniacal desire to be personally rid of gravity (see: Martin P12 Jetpack).
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AEROSPACE
BEST OF WHAT'S NEW 2013
THE PROBLEM OF SPACE JUNK
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KATE BAGGALEY
More than 100 million objects orbit our planet, experts estimate, but only 1,134 of them are operational satellites. The rest is space junk: moribund satellites, discarded rockets, and millions of smaller pieces of debris, the result of in-orbit collisions.
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sleepnumber: DualTemp
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DualTemp
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SECURITY
BEST OF WHAT'S NEW 2013
X-RAY RYWHERE
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The MiniMAX is the world’s smallest, most portable x-ray machine. Unlike its predecessors, which are a couple of feet wide and quite heavy, MiniMAX weighs five pounds. It can be whisked to accidents, crime scenes, battlefields, airports, sidelines, and any other place that could benefit from on-the-spot x-ray vision.
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GADGETS
BEST OF WHAT'S NEW 2013
TOTAL VISION
A PHONE THAT KNOWS YOU
THE SMARTEST VIDEO AUTOFOCUS
Portable Power Station
THE FIRST MOBILE 3-D SCANNER
EASY-READ SMARTWATCH
ONE-STEP TIME LAPSE
A NEW TAKE ON PHONE PHOTOGRAPHY
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MOTOROLA MOTO X
$200
You can ask your smartphones to do a lot of things—remind you to pick up the dry cleaning, check for traffic on your commute home. But with the Moto X, you don’t have to ask. The handset uses your preferences and Google Now to learn your patterns and cater to them. It may mute notifications when you don’t need to see them or respond to text messages while you’re driving. The more you use It, the better it gets. $200 (with twoyear contract)
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CANON EOS 70D
$1,199
Autofocus on most consumer D-SLRs isn’t quick enough to keep up with moving subjects. Canon engineers combined the autofocus and image sensors on the EOS 70D to shorten focus time. Each of the 20-million-plus pixels has two photodiodes—typically there’s only one—each of which records light. The design allows the sensor to quickly determine how the lens needs to adjust to match up the diodes’ signals, which snaps the subject Into focus. $1,199 (body only)
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OCCIPITAL STRUCTURE SENSOR
$350
The Structure is the easiest way to digitize the world. The iPad-mountable 3-D scanner uses diffracted laser light to create a depth map, which it can merge with an image from the tablet’s camera to create 3-D renderings of objects. Three apps currently work with the Structure—one scans objects, one maps rooms, and one is an augmented-reality game—but Occipital also released an SDK to developers, so they can make even more applications. $350
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QUALCOMM TOQ
Amid a flurry of text and e-mail alerts, designers tend to forget something critical about smartwatches: They still need to show the time. LCDs wash out in the sunlight, and e-ink is blank in the dark. The Toq’s Mirasol display is the only full-color one that’s always visible. Each pixel is a tiny glass pane; as charge moves through the screen, the pane moves to reflect different ambient light wavelengths—red, blue, or green—to the viewer. An LED provides the necessary light when It’s dark. Price not set
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BRINNO TLC200 PRO
$300
Creating a time-lapse video usually involves a D-SLR and pricey image-processing software. The TLC200 camera is so simple that anyone can plop it down and end up with a high-quality time-lapse. The image sensor has larger-than-normal 4.2-mlcron pixels, so images are bright—even at night. The camera takes up to five images per second for a day, and onboard software stitches them into a 720p video. $300
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SONY CYBER-SHOT DSC-QX100
$500
No matter how much smartphone engineers manage to shrink image sensors, they haven’t found a good way to downsize a quality lens, so images suffer. The QX100 is an entirely new approach to the cameraphone. The f/1.8 Carl Zeiss lens contains all the components of a high-end polnt-and-shoot—a full-frame 20-megapixel image sensor, a shutter, and an image processor—and attaches onto a smartphone, which serves as its viewfinder and memory. $500
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When the Google Glass concept debuted in June 2012, it became one of the most anticipated gadget launches ever—rivaling the first iPhone. For all intents and purposes, Project Glass, as it was then called, promised Terminator vision, a hovering overlay of information as crisp as a 25-inch FDTV.
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SIGMA
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SIGMA
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GADGETS
BEST OF WHAT'S NEW 2013
THE INTERNET OF YOU
THERE’S A TRACKER FOR THAT
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CORINNE IOZZIO
hen people describe the Internet of Things, they’re referring to a network of Webenabled devices that speak to one another. In the home, that could mean a phone that talks to a garage-door opener or a thermostat that talks to motion detectors.
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TAMRON
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TAMRON
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SOFTWARE
BEST OF WHAT'S NEW 2013
NEW LIFE FOR OLD COMPUTERS
Character Creator
THE MOST DETAILED MAPS
THE SOCIAL-VIDEO TIPPING POINT
STUDIO SOUND ANYWHERE
ONE-STEP WEB SECURITY
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TOYTALK PULLSTRING
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TWITTER VINE
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AUDYSSEY MEDIA PLAYER
$0.99
Headphones have quirks that prevent listeners from hearing music as artists intended. Apple earbuds, for one, produce loud highs that block vocals. The Media Player app corrects those flaws. When users select a pair of headphones, the app skews the frequency response to match a studio model. Next year, the company will expand to TVs, sound bars, and Bluetooth speakers. $0.99
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By federal mandate, public schools in the U.S. must administer standardized tests digitally in the 2014-15 school year. But less than 50 percent of those schools have the hardware necessary to do so, and the cost of purchasing and maintaining even 25 new PCs over their five-year life span is more than $70,000.
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gravity defyer: NEXTA
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gravity defyer
NEXTA
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THE GREAT COURSES: The World’s Greatest Geological Wonders
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THE GREAT COURSES
The World’s Greatest Geological Wonders
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RECR
BEST OF WHAT'S NEW 2013
SHOES FOR A NEW ERA
The Five-Minute Folding Kayak
ROBOT GUITAR TUNER
A PACKABLE BREW
THE CAN'T-MISS HUNTING RIFLE
AN INDESTRUCTIBLE TENT POLE
The Most Balanced Racquet
SAFEST AVALANCHE PACK
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TRONICAL TUNE
$329
Automatic guitar tuners are expensive, hard to install, and overly complex. Or at least they used to be. The Tronical Tune uses an off-the-shelf microprocessor, custom algorithms, and six small motors to create the first affordable self-tuner. The device can retrofit onto almost any guitar without drilling, soldering, or wiring—and once installed, it can tune a guitar in about five seconds. $329
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Much to the lament of most hikers, beer is too heavy to schlep into the backcountry. Pat’s beer concentrate solves this problem adeptly. Instead of evaporating a finished beer’s water, the company quadruple brews its concentrate, preserving the hops and other aromatics that impart flavor. When paired with seltzer (the company sells a $30 C02 bottle that carbonates any potable water), a 1.7-ounce packet makes a pint of refreshing pale ale. $9.95 for four packets
$9.95
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TRACKINGPOINT XACTSYSTEM
$22,500
Becoming a skilled marksman can take years. Or hunters could just use a TrackingPoint precision-guided rifle. Once a user gets a bead on a target, the rifle’s built-in ballistics computer combines readings from a laser range finder, three gyroscopes and accelerometers, and temperature and air pressure sensors to fine-tune the shot. The gun has a range of up to 1,000 yards and comes with built in Wi-Fi and in-scope video capture, so hunters can stream their exploits to a tablet or phone. From $22,500
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$299
Mountaineering is an unpredictable endeavor. Storms, high winds, and human clumsiness can bend or break tent poles, stranding hikers without shelter. Easton Syclone poles, made from an aerospace-grade S-glass composite, are 80 percent less likely to fall than aluminum ones. They can also bend farther than carbon-fiber poles while still returning to form. $299, sold with tent
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$225
By the gram, graphene is the world’s strongest material, but its commercial applications have remained few. Head is the first sporting goods company to integrate it into a product. By reinforcing the Speed Pro racquet with graphene, Head stiffened the frame without adding weight, so players get more power without sacrificing control. $225
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BLACK DIAMOND HALO 28 JETFORCE PACK
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Since the dawn of the mechanical age, there’s been a tension between standardization, which keeps costs low, and customization, which offers better quality at a higher price. For the last 150 years, uniformity has, by and large, prevailed.
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SIGMA
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SIGMA
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GREEN
BEST OF WHAT'S NEW 2013
NO HARM, NO FOWL
NETWORKED WIND
A SOUNDER SMARTPHONE
UNDERWATER TURBINE
FAIL-SAFE LAMP
Natural Buffer
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FAIRPHONE
$440
Amsterdam-based Fairphone engineered its device to have a clean start and a long afterlife. The phone is assembled using conflict-free metals and fair labor practices, and it ships unlocked, with replaceable parts and open-source Android OS. It also has 16 GB of memory, 8-megapixel cameras, and a quad-core CPU. Fairphone currently ships only to Europe, but it’s working on U.S. distribution for next year. $440
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$10
By taking advantage of an immutable force, the GravityLight may be the most reliable electric light source of all. A person simply lifts a 22-pound bag of ballast up to the base of the device; the weight falls over a period of 30 minutes, pulling a strap that spins gears and drives a motor, which continuously powers an LED. Peripheral LEDs can be attached to focus light on certain spots. DeciWatt is field-testing units to replace kerosene lamps in developing countries and plans to sell them there for $10 next year.
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$0.25
Ecovative makes its Mushroom Insulation by fusing fungal mycelium with com stalks. The resultant material has the upsides of foam board insulation—an R-value of 3.8, Class-A fire rating, and competitive price—but none of the petrochemicals, VOCs, or fire retardants. Upon demolition, it can simply be composted. $0.25 per board foot
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The chicken egg is a culinary powerhouse. In one tidy package, it contains more than 20 essential functions for cooking, such as the ability to bind and leaven foods and give them a satisfying mouthfeel. But the egg has a downside. Industrial chicken farming is tremendously energy intensive and polluting, and poultry can spread avian flu.
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HOW 2.0
YOU BUILT WHAT?!
Mini Mars Rover
A museum-quality robot built by a family of tinkerers
HOW IT WORKS
TWO MORE BEATTY BUILDS
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DAVE MOSHER
When Camille Beatty was 10 years old, she dismantled a TV remote and handed the parts to her surprised father, Robert. Next came a string of questions about the circuitry. “I got to a point in my life where electronics seemed magical, but I knew they weren’t,” says Camille, now 13.
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EdgeCraft Corp
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EdgeCraft Corp
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K&N Engineering, Inc.
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K&N Engineering, Inc.
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HOW 2.0
DIY EVOLUTION
Planned Obsolescence
What a,3-D–printed mechanical computer can teach us about modern machines
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SARAH JACOBY
When the hackerspace NYC Resistor hosted a “digital archaeology” interactive show last spring, electrical engineer Chris Fenton built a throwback computer using modern technology. Fenton works with supercomputers all day but wanted to slow things down, so he designed the Turbo Entabulator.
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HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS
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HOW 2.0
THEME BUILDING
Crowdfunded Creations
Hits from the POPULAR SCIENCE #CrowdGrant Challenge
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This summer, we asked readers to submit their best project ideas for a shot at crowdfunding through RocketHub.com. Hundreds vied for the chance to make their dreams a reality, and by the end of the POPULAR SCIENCE #CrowdGrant Challenge, two dozen finalists had raised a total of more than $50,000.
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WeatherTech
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WeatherTech
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HOW 2.0
PROJECT OF THE MONTH
Biometric Toy Box
A kid’s fingerprint is the only way in
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MAC IRVINE
Four-year-old Ewan Gibson loves toy cars. His dad, Grant, a Scottish Web developer, prefers electronics. Hoping to find common ground— and inspired by Apple’s new finger-scanning iPhone—Grant built a biometric lockbox for his son’s cars. He installed a sensor that scans fingers in the lid of the toy box. The data is sent to an Ardulno microcontroller, which, when it recognizes one of Ewan’s prints, unlocks the lid.
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Central Boiler
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Central Boiler
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HOW 2.0
CHEAP TRICKS
Penny Power
Turn spare change into a bright idea
INSTRUCTIONS
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KATE BAGGALEY
Skip the tangled strings of holiday lights this year and go wireless using a few coppercoated cents. U.S. pennies minted since 1982 conceal a zinc core. If exposed to acid, the zinc dissolves and frees electrons for use in a circuit. The battery will run until the liquid dries up or the chemical reaction dies.
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GIFT GUIDE
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FYI
SHORT ANSWER
COULD A VIRGIN EVER HAPPEN?
LONC ANSWER
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DANIEL ENGBER
Virgin birth, known to scientists as parthenogenesis, appears to be rather common in the animal kingdom. Many insects and other invertebrates are capable of switching between sexual and clonal reproduction. Among the vertebrates, virgin births have been documented in at least 80 taxonomic groups, including fish, amphibians, and reptiles.
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FYI
QUESTION
WHAT’S THE MOSTDURABLE WAY TO STORE INFORMATION?
LONG ANSWER
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Despite claims to the contrary, the storage media in wide use today—CD-ROMS, spinning hard drives, flash memory, etc—aren’t very durable. “You’re talking years, not decades,” says Howard Besser, a professor and archivist at New York University who was named a pioneer of digital preservation by the Library of Congress.
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EPILOG LASER
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EPILOG LASER
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PopularScience_20131201_0283_006_0083.xml
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97
97
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PopularScience_20131201_0283_006_0084.xml
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98
98,99,100,101,102,103
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psshowcase
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PopularScience_20131201_0283_006_0085.xml
article
104
104
From the Archives
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Launch Plan
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With help from scientists on the U.S. National Committee for the International Geophysical Year, POPULAR SCIENCE profiled probable designs for the first satellites and featured one on the January 1956 cover. The scientists, who worked on the satellite program, hypothesized that the orbiters would fit inside the nose of a rocket and be spherically shaped for data consistency and constructed from lightweight plastic.
PopularScience_20131201_0283_006_0086.xml
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105
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PopularScience_20131201_0283_006_0087.xml
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106
106
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Apple Inc.: iPhone 5s
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Apple Inc.
iPhone 5s
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PopularScience_20131201_0283_006_0088.xml