technology: December 2010 Archives

Amazon patent could mean no more bad gifts

275x250.jpgThe chances are you received a Christmas present this year that you were less than thrilled with. Well it could be the last one.

Scientists working at Amazon have developed a new technology which they claim could mean the end of unwanted presents.

The online retail giant has been granted a patent for a "gift conversion" system which allows users to swap dodgy gifts before they even arrive.

It's said the system would allow users to 'blacklist' friends and family who frequently give bad gifts and set 'rules' for their presents.

This could be an automated exchange for another item, a different clothing size or gift vouchers… all without upsetting Auntie Samantha.

275x250.jpg What is it with nano-scientists and Christmas? Last year they created the world's smallest snowman - this time it's Christmas cards.

Engineers have produced the world's smallest Christmas card which measures just 200 micro-metres wide by 290 micro-metres tall.

In case you don't know exactly how small that is (a micro-metre is a millionth of a metre) the card is invisible to the naked eye and you could fit 8,276 of them on an area the size of a stamp.

Which means if you forgot to send anyone a card this year, you can always tell them you sent them one of these and they must have lost it.

275x250.jpgA designer who creates extravagant technology using rare materials has done it again -- making an iPhone 4 from 65-million year old dinosaur teeth and a meteor.

Stuart Hughes says only 10 of the 'HISTORY edition' phones will be made -- but given he's selling for £40,000 each that's probably enough.

The phone, dubbed the 'ultimate dog and bone', has a blinging 8.5ct IF flawless diamond bezel, platinum plates and a diamond Apple logo.

But this is nothing compared to the finish of the rear, it's carved from a  65-million-year-old prehistoric T-Rex tooth and meteoric stone.

If you don't think having a £40,00 dinosaur tooth and meteor iPhone is quite enough of a statement, remember there's always the £5 MILLION phone.

275x250.jpgThe sonic screwdriver, as wielded by Doctor Who since 1968, could become soon become a real-life tool, claim ultrasonic engineers.

Boffins at Bristol University say technology has already reached a point where a working sonic screwdriver could be produced.

By operating waves at frequencies beyond the realms of human hearing, they claim they could manipulate objects using ultrasonic force fields.

This would mean a sonic screwdriver could be used to dot things like open locks and undo screws.

So, while it might not be much good for fighting off the Daleks, researchers say it could tackle the other big enemy of mankind… furniture from Ikea.

A massive 16-floor hotel has been built in the Hunan province of China in a record time -- under six days.

The impressively speedy build, shown in time-lapse photography, saw the New Ark Hotel rise from an empty space in just 136 hours.

Developer Broad Sustainable Building, who worked until 10pm each night, say the five days and 16 hour construction time is thanks to the use of pre-fabricated parts.

The frame of the 50m building - which is built to withstand a magnitude nine earthquake - took just 46 hours to put together, with the building enclosure taking another 90.

Personally we'd love to see the face of someone who'd gone on holiday for the week and come home to discover the 16-floor hotel in front of their window.




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