How to power an FM radio using moss

If you love listening to music as much as you love this green Earth, then you’re going to be head over heels for this project.

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A British biochemist and a product designer worked together to build an FM radio powered by biological solar panels that incorporate moss.

In layman’s terms—it’s a radio powered by a plant.

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University of Cambridge biochemist Paolo Bombelli collaborated with London-based product designer Fabienne Felder to develop Moss FM. They say that in addition to their technology being the first plant-powered radio, it’s also the first functional moss-powered device that requires more electricity than an LCD screen.

“Moss FM is a biological solar panel,” said Bombelli in an interview with BBC Radio 4. “In the same way that the solar panels harnesses the energy of light and delivers electrical power, Moss FM it does it by using biological material.”

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While it might look like an elementary school science project, the device is actually a bit complicated. A frame holds 10 moss pots which are all connected to form, more or less, a “photo microbial fuel cell”. The biochemical process that takes place in this fuel cell harnesses the electrons and protons produced by the photosynthesizing plants, and turns them into electrical current.

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At the moment, the moss plants generate a potential of more than 4.5 volts The first time the radio powered up, it was able to play for a full 80 seconds. While moss was chosen because it’s cheap and easy on the eyes, the bio-radio duo said that other plants and algae can be used. They plan on exploring this, and also seeing if they can increase the amount of power generated.

See the radio in action below:

Hipsters rejoice! Turn table cuts vinyl as song plays, so you can now own your very own custom-cut record

New technology from German engineer debuts at this year’s SXSW festival

Many baby boomers have spent countless hours converting their vinyl records to MP3 files so that they can listen to their favorite songs on the go, whether it’s by headphones or Bluetooth portable speaker.

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A German engineer by the name of Souri Automaten has done just the opposite. His technology is called “Vinyl Recorder” and it’s an effortless way to cut a new record in the time it takes for a song to play all the way through.

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To use it, the user connects the record lathe to a music player and hits play (hard, I know). Once everything’s in motion, a diamond stylus will cut the vinyl record in real-time based on the sound vibrations produced from the playing music.

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Vinyl Recorder made its debut on the trade floor at this year’s SXSW. One thing to definitely note about this is that it ain’t cheap—at $4,000, it’s not for your average hipster. What it could be cool for is bands who want to create limited-edition vinyls of new releases without having to meet the minimum quota larger facilities impose on them.

Check out Automaten’s Vinyl Recorder in action below:

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Samsung’s new music streaming service is totally free, comes completely chock full of songs

Technology manufacturer enters online music streaming competition

Hey iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, and Songza — watch out, here comes Milk Music.

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The oddly named new music streaming service comes from technology giant Samsung. At present it’s only available on Galaxy phones in the US, but for those rocking the company’s flagship device, users have free access to over 200 radio stations and some 13 million songs that they can stream right into their ears or over their Bluetooth portable speakers.

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As mentioned in the first line of the story, the play area for music streaming services is already crazy crowded with some really big names. What’s more, these services can be streamed on any smartphone device on the market.

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Despite this competitive advantage, the South Korean-based company is confident their particular product will attract users.

“We feel that while the music space is very competitive there is room for improvement,” said Daren Tsui, vice president of music at Samsung Media Solutions.

Worth noting is the fact that this is not Samsung’s first venture in to music streaming—the company launched a service called Music Hub back in 2012.

Also worth noting – it was recently shut down.

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Umbrella immerses user in a veil of sound

Artist experiments with the design of the personal sound system

Gotta love artists – always taking what we thought we once knew and blowing it up and creating something entirely new and different. Take for instance, the personal sound system. You think you know what it is:

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Then BAM – an artist like Dmitry Morozov comes around and creates something completely new. Called “Anywhere”, what you see below is an ordinary umbrella, stripped of its cloth, and outfitted with an Arduino Uno microcontroller, optical relays, and a micro SD wav player to create a system that literally immerses the user into a veil of sound.

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Some surprising numbers about online shopping and mobile commerce

While most people still prefer to shop from home, m-commerce has seen slow adoption

Now that Thanksgiving and Black Friday have passed, it’s official: we’re in the holiday shopping season.

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What’s cool about Holiday Shopping in 2013 is how many companies have taken to the web to promote amazing offers for savings on everything from Bluetooth portable speakers to ridonkulously large television sets.

I mean, shopping online isn’t an entirely new concept; this trend has been growing over the years. It just seems like 2013 a lot of companies are all about working the web sale.

What’s interesting to note, though, is that while there a lot of people out there ready and willing to make the online purchase, not a lot are comfortable doing it from their mobile device.

According to a Consumer Insights survey, security and privacy concerns are still at the top of everyone’s concerns when it comes to online shopping. As such, m-commerce, or shopping via mobile device, hasn’t really taken off this year yet.

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