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Liu Fulong's homebuilt

If you think the coffee table you've been building in your spare time is pretty sweet, just wait until you get a load of what Liu Fulong has been making. The Shengyang, China resident recently finished his own electric armored car after four months of work, despite having no formal training in automotive design. As you might guess from the photo above, the "armored" label is based more on appearance than functionality. That wooden body probably wouldn't stop many bullets, and the missiles are purely cosmetic. But hey, the car underneath works -- Liu can get around at a respectable 30MPH (faster than his previous 20MPH project), and he factored in crucial elements like lights, mirrors and spare tires. Is this safe? Probably not, but it's proof that you don't need to be a wealthy entrepreneur to build your own eco-friendly ride.

[Image credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images]


A sample from UCLA's lens-free digital microscope

High-powered microscopes are useful for spotting cancer and other diseases in cells, but they're expensive and complicated. Your local physicians probably won't have a microscope on hand, and you'll probably need at least some skill to use one. However, UCLA scientists have developed a lens-free microscope that could put this tissue scanning power in the hands of many more people. The device creates a holograph-like image of your sample using a CCD or CMOS sensor (like that from your camera) to detect shadow patterns cast by a light source, and reconstructs them in software to present what you'd actually see. The result is a microscope that's just as effective as its conventional optical brethren, but should also be much cheaper and simpler.

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The National University of Singapore's quantum physics imagery
Wrapping your head around quantum physics is tricky, no matter how well-educated you are -- if it were easy, there wouldn't be problems making quantum computers. However, researchers at the National University of Singapore believe they've found a way to make things simpler. They've determined that wave-particle duality (where quantum objects behave like waves) is really a manifestation of the uncertainty principle, which limits your ability to know two related properties of a quantum particle. As it turns out, you can rework the math for wave-particle duality to apply to certain uncertainty relations. They're just two sides of the same coin.

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How would you change Acer's Iconia W3 tablet?

If you want to judge a gadget on its true strengths, stick several in a room full of Engadget editors and see which one they swarm around. For that alone, Acer's Iconia W3 was a winner as soon as the eight-inch full-Windows tablet arrived in the office. When Dana Wollman was able to wrestle it away for a review, she found that there was much to love, including the reasonable price, free copy of Office and the long battery life. The only demerits were due to a slightly cheap build quality and imperfect keyboard - but you have to expect a few compromises when a product costs $380. What we want to know, dear friends, is what did you like, what did you hate, and what, if anything, would you change?


Monitoring the brain of a teen suffering from game addiction

Online game addiction is a real problem, and some countries are willing to take drastic measures to get these players living a healthier lifestyle. Need proof? Just look up. Photographer Fernando Moleres recently visited an internet gaming rehab camp in Beijing, and saw the facility monitoring the brain activity of addicts using the elaborate device you see above -- the camp wants to see that your mind is changing. The facility also relies on a mixture of medicine, military social structure and psychotherapy to set patients straight. It's hard to know if these "tough love" measures are truly effective, but their very existence reveals just how widespread compulsive gaming has become.


Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel

Snapchat warned that it was clamping down on third-party apps to prevent sketchier examples from compromising your security, and it appears to be making good on its word -- much to the chagrin of Windows Phone users, who haven't had an official Snapchat option so far. Windows Central notes that 6snap and other titles that replicated the disappearing message service have abruptly vanished from the Windows Phone Store. Moreover, some users say that Snapchat is following through on warnings that it would permanently lock the accounts of those who kept using unofficial software. If you're in that boat, you now have to start fresh if you want to chat with friends.

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Hector the stick bug robot takes its first steps

They grow up so fast, don't they? It was just a few years ago that HECTOR the stick bug robot was little more than a twinkle in Bielefeld University's eye, and it's already taking its first steps. Okay, so this isn't quite a tear-jerking moment, but it's still an important achievement in robotics. As you'll see in the video below, all of HECTOR's six insect-like legs move independently while reacting to unexpected changes in terrain. They shift to maintain balance on slippery ground, and raise themselves above small obstacles the moment they sense resistance.

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Samsung's super-wide curved LCD

If both ultra-widescreen and curved computer monitors are all the rage these days, then Samsung's new SE790C display is supremely fashionable. The 34-inch, 3,440 x 1,440 LCD has both a super-wide 21:9 aspect ratio and a gentle arc, combining two trends (fads?) in one. Supposedly, this all-encompassing design produces a "3D-like" effect that brings you into the action -- that's a little difficult to believe, but the screen will at least look futuristic sitting on your desk. Just don't expect it to make your photos pop. Although the SE790C covers all of the sRGB color range, it's using a middle-of-the-road VA (vertical alignment) panel rather than something particularly vivid, like IPS (in-plane switching). There's also no mention of US availability or pricing, so it's hard to know if this represents a good deal. So long as the price isn't too outlandish, though, it could be a good way to immerse yourself in games and movies.


President Barack Obama

If you were worried that the US government would see the Sony Pictures hack as grievous enough to prompt a larger conflict with North Korea, you can relax. President Obama tells CNN that he doesn't see the digital assault as an "act of war" -- it was a serious instance of "cybervandalism," but that's it. He still isn't giving any clues as to what the previously mentioned proportional response will be, but the remarks suggest that it won't involve an especially damaging retaliatory hack or any real-world weaponry. If leaks are correct, the White House may be more interested in stopping future attacks by North Korea than launching one of its own.

[Image credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images]


Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week's most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us -- it's the Week in Green.

In a big win for the environment, New York just became the first state in the country to ban hydraulic fracturing, the controversial natural gas drilling technique also known as fracking. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the decision this week following the release of a report that raised concerns about the health effects of fracking. In other green energy news, Australian households are beefing up their use of solar energy at an impressive rate -- one in five Australian homes is now powered by the sun. (By comparison, just 0.4 percent of homes in the US have solar panels.)

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