Light Friday: Why the World Won’t End Next Week
Credit: NASA
Credit: NASA

Plus: LCD Screen for Your Eye, Boosting Productivity with Science and the Self-Balancing Gyro Vehicle of the Future.


The Eyeball Computer Screen

We may soon be able to blink away text messages or project information onto the objects we see if new technology developed by Belgian engineers comes to fruition. University of Ghent researchers have built a small, curved LCD display on a contact lens. The device will receive wireless digital messages and display short messages while worn directly on the eye.

That’s the theory, at least. For now, the contact lens is only capable of displaying a cartoon-like dollar sign, but scientists say they are only five years away from marketing a more advanced product based on the technology.

The curved LCD was designed using thin, conductive polymer films that allowed it to be placed on a delicate contact lens, according to Discovery News. The screen receives transmissions that that can be displayed as symbols similar to those seen on old graphing calculators.

Lead researcher Jelle De Smet hopes that the system will eventually be synched with cell phone text technology, enabling users to have messages float across their eyes. “This is not science fiction,” she told the Telegraph.

Except, in some ways, it is. In a paper about computerized contact lens development, University of Washington researcher Babak Amir Parviz notes that human eyes have difficulty seeing pixels close up. With the technology as it stands, the Belgian team says it may be used to assist in treatment for people with iris damage or in designing less cumbersome sunglasses.

Watch a video demonstration of the LCD contact lenses below:

NASA Explains Why the World Isn’t Ending

A surprising number of people believe the world is going to end next Friday due to a common misinterpretation of the ancient Mayan calendar, which cuts off on Dec. 21, 2012. The various explanations for how this will occur include a rogue planet colliding with the Earth, a cosmic “alignment” that creates a worldwide blackout, solar storms and meteor strikes.

Fortunately, none of these things will happen. In fact, NASA is so confident that the Mayan calendar predictions are wrong that they’ve prepared a video set for release the day after the apocalypse is expected to occur. Here’s an early look at the video, which (yet again) debunks the most common doomsday theories one by one:

Is This the “Car” of the Future?

A first glance, the C-1 might seem confusing: is it a car or a motorcycle? How does it stay upright? The two-wheel, fully electric hybrid machine is the first vehicle in the world to function on board gyroscopes – the secret to its stability.

According to vehicle developer Lit Motors, the C-1 is the best blend of cars and bikes – it has the efficiency and feel of a motorcycle, with the safety features of an automobile. Even though it may appear too top heavy to function on two wheels, the company assures drivers that a system of high-speed processors and sensors can monitor motion and adjust the gyroscopes when necessary. These gyros prevent the 800-pound C-1 from tipping over, as demonstrated in the video below.

“The C-1 is basically like a rolling helmet,” Lit Motors founder Daniel Kim told Reuters. “You have a motorcycle that’s fully enclosed and the gyros put out 1,300 pounds of torque. It takes a baby elephant to knock it over. It really is untippable and you have all the best parts of a car integrated with a motorcycle.”

The vehicle was envisioned as a solution to commuter transportation problems. The smart-energy C-1, currently in prototype phase, is efficient at parking in tight spaces and ideal for traveling alone.

Its maximum speed is 120 mph, with a travel range of 200 miles on an 8-kilowatt battery pack. The C-1’s sticker price is $24,000, but drops to $19,000 after tax credits, according to Motoramic. Interested buyers won’t have to wait long to purchase the C-1, which is expected to hit the road by 2014.

Be More Productive…through Science!

Life and work can sometimes seem overwhelming, so finding quicker and more efficient ways to complete tasks can be hugely helpful. Although there are many gimmicks and tricks promising to improve your productivity, truly effective methods are supported by scientific research. So what can science teach us about being productive?

A new video from AsapSCIENCE, made in collaboration with behavioral psychology blog Sparring Mind, showcases how scientific principles can boost your productivity:

Have a great weekend, folks.

 

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