Tag: invention

8 Back To The Future II Gadgets That Actually Exist

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It’s 2015, the year Doc Brown and Marty McFly flew to in Back To The Future part II. But has it lived up to the hype?

There may not be any flying cars or time-travelling Deloreans yet – but Back To The Future was alarmingly spot on with many predictions.

So here’s what it got right, and what we’re only slightly bitter about that we haven’t yet received.

Anyone fancy a rehydrated pizza?

It predicted:

1. Hands-free gaming

Remember the line ‘you have to use your hands? That’s like a baby’s toy!’?  Hello to the birth of the Xbox Kinect.

2. Flying cars

The Transition, designed by Massachusetts-based Terrafugua Inc., the company’s prototype flying car, during its first flight. The vehicle has two seats, four wheels and wings that fold up so it can be driven like a car, and flew at 1,400 feet for eight minutes during the test. Commercial jets fly at 35,000 feet. This prototype flying car goes on display at the New York Auto Show this week. March 23, 2012 photo provided by Terrafugia Inc.

OK so they’re not in mainstream use and cost $200,000 from Terrafugia, but they are around and they do exist. They have folding wings for the road and can fly 500 miles on 20 gallons of fuel. Quick lunch in Berlin, anyone?

3. 3D movies

3D movies have been around for years, but were they predicted by this giant Jaws popping out of the top of the cinema?

4. The Hoverboard
THEY EXIST! And hopefully will be available by October 2015 *crosses fingers*.

5. Power laces

Possibly the laziest invention ever, the power laces sported by Marty McFly do exist in the Nike Air Mags, although you’ll need about £5,000 for the convenience of not having to bend down in the middle of the street to tie your shoe.

6. Video communication

Oh hi there, Skype.

7. Video glasses

And hi there to you, Google Glass.

8. The thumb plate

For now you may not be able to open your home without fumbling for your house keys – but this technology exists and is in use. Example: The iPhone with thumb print unlocking.

What Back To The Future II has not yet delivered:

1. Self-drying clothes

There are clothes that dry our sweat, self-iron and repel spills, but none that are quite as good as Marty McFly’s ‘life-preserver’ jacket that dries itself in about five seconds after he falls in a pond. Anyone who went to a uni by the sea will know the need for these after a night clubbing ends with an ill-advised fully-clothed dip.

2. Predicting weather to the exact moment

This ability is definitely necessary.

3. The food hydrator

An oven that turns something the size of a digestive biscuit into a pizza that feeds a family of six? Come on Black & Decker, we need this.

4. Notable mentions: The dog-walking drone, the voice-activated fruit basket, the TV waiters, the sleep-inducing alpha-rhythm generator, the floating thing for when you put your back out, face peels that make you younger.

Sort it out, science guys.

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23 Inch Mini Car || Worlds Smallest Car?

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World’s smallest car? Amazing 23-inch long micro-car cost just £155 – 23 Inch Mini Car || Worlds Smallest Car?

The tiny motor comes complete with petrol engine, brakes, gearbox, lights, horn and even a sound system

Xu Zhiyun weaves through traffic in his 23-inch long 14-inch wide home-made micro mini car.

The tiny motor comes complete with petrol engine, brakes, gearbox, lights, horn and even a sound system.

It took Xu, 60, two years to build in Shanghai, China and cost him just £155.

Looks like everybody will be wonton one soon.

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How To Feed Your Pet While Hungover Or On Holiday

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How To Feed Your Pet While Hungover Or On Holiday

An entrepreneur has found a solution to the problem of making sure your pet is fed while you’re away.

The PetPal, designed by California engineer Ken Powers, is an automatic food dispenser allows owners to provide meals for their animals via an app or programme it manually to dispense food at certain times of the day.

It also allows you to take videos and pictures of your animals and talk to them via a built-in microphone and speaker.

Powers had the idea when he struggled to find someone who could come to his house and feed his cats when he was on holiday.

‘I wanted to be able to interact with the cats while I was on vacation,’ he said.

The automatic feeder can feed animals up to five times a day manually, or can be remotely accessed via the app.

‘The PetPal feeder easily connets to your Wi-Fi network, and you connect to your PetPal via an Android or iOS app,’ he explained.

The feeder is not yet available for purchase.

A recent campaign on crowd-sourcing site Kickstarter failed to secure the necessary funding, but Powers is hopeful of raising enough cash to put the invention into manufacture.

Power estimates that it will cost $365 (£217) but will eventually go down to $299 (£178).

PetPal: Feed your pet via Wi-Fi while you’re on holiday (or in bed)

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Science to Grow Replacement Vagina’s

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(Reuters) – Four young women born with abnormal or missing vaginas were implanted with lab-grown versions made from their own cells, the latest success in creating replacement organs that have so far included tracheas, bladders and urethras.

Follow-up tests show the new vaginas are indistinguishable from the women’s own tissue and have grown in size as the young women, who got the implants as teens, matured.

All four of the women are now sexually active and report normal vaginal function. Two of the four, who were born with a working uterus but no vagina, now menstruate normally.

It is not yet clear whether these women can bear children, but because they are menstruating, it suggests their ovaries are working, so it may be possible, said Dr Anthony Atala, director of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine in North Carolina.

Atala said the pilot study is the first to show that vaginal organs custom-built in the lab using patients’ own cells can be successfully used in humans, offering a new option for women who need reconstructive surgeries.

All four of the women in the study were born with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome, a rare genetic condition in which the vagina and uterus are underdeveloped or absent. Conventional treatment generally involves the use of grafts made from intestinal tissue or from skin, but both tissues have drawbacks, says Atala, a pediatric urologic surgeon at Wake Forest.

Intestinal tissue produces an excess of mucus, which can cause problems with odor. Conventional skin, meanwhile, can collapse.

Atala said women with this condition usually seek treatment as teenagers. “They can’t menstruate, especially when they have a severe defect where they don’t have an opening,” he said. This can cause abdominal pain as menstrual blood collects in the abdomen. “It has nowhere else to go,” he added.

Girls in the study were aged 13 and 18 at the time of the surgeries, which were performed between June 2005 and October 2008.

The researchers started off by collecting a small amount of cells from genital tissue and grew two types of cells in the lab: muscle cells and epithelial cells, a type of cell that lines body cavities. About four weeks later, the team started applying layers of the cells onto a scaffold made of collagen, a material that can be absorbed by the body. They then shaped the organ to fit each patient’s anatomy, and placed it in an incubator.

A week later, the team created a cavity in the body and surgically attached the vaginal implants to existing reproductive organs. Once implanted, nerves and blood vessels formed to feed the new organ, and new cells eventually replaced the scaffolding as it was absorbed by the body.

“By the six-month time point, you couldn’t tell the difference between engineered organ and the normal organ,” Atala said.

The team continued to monitor the young women, taking tissue biopsies, MRI scans and internal exams, for up to eight years from the initial implants.

All of these tests showed the engineered vaginas “were similar in makeup and function to native tissue,” said Atlantida-Raya Rivera, director of the HIMFG Tissue Engineering Laboratory at the Metropolitan Autonomous University in Mexico City, where the surgeries were performed.

Professor Martin Birchall of UCL Ear Institute in London, who wrote a commentary in the same journal, said the findings address some important questions about tissue-engineering, including whether tissue will grow as patients grow and whether an organ as large as the vagina can develop blood vessels when implanted in the body.

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