Utrecht, the fourth largest city in the Netherlands, is a cyclist’s dream. Unlike other urban areas that confine riders to tiny lanes, cyclists here get priority with dedicated “bicycle streets,” where cars are considered “guests,” as well as special bike tunnels and bridges. The city is also in the process of constructing the world’s biggest indoor parking lot for bikes at its central train station. However, the over 60 percent residents who use the two-wheelers as their primary mode of transportation are still frustrated because, like cyclists all over the world, they have to make constant stops at traffic lights.
To state that China has traffic issues is an understatement. A 2015 study conducted by navigation system maker TomTom revealed that the country is home to five of the top twenty most traffic congested cities in the world. Though Chinese authorities have tried to control the traffic flow with tactics that range from charging road tolls to building expressways with 50 lanes, nothing appears to be working. Now, some engineers are proposing an ingenious solution to ease the country’s traffic woes — An elevated bus that glides over cars!
Zebra crossings — the alternating dark and light stripes on the road surface — are meant to alert drivers that pedestrians may be trying to get across. Unfortunately, they are not very effective. A 1998 study done by the Department of Traffic Planning and Engineering at Sweden’s Lund University, revealed that three out of four drivers maintained the same speed or even accelerated as they were approaching a crossing. Even worse? Only 5% stopped even when they saw someone trying to get across. Now a mother-daughter team in Ahmedabad, India have devised a clever way to get drivers to pay more attention — A zebra crossing with an optical illusion.
Hundreds of thousands of hearing-impaired people in the United States and many parts of Canada rely solely on American Sign Language (ASL) for communication. But popular as the language is, there are millions of people with normal hearing that are unable to decipher the hand and finger gestures. That may change soon thanks to the ingenious “SignAloud” glove that converts sign language into speech.
Harry Potter’s favorite game Quidditch, has been a legitimate sport at high schools and colleges worldwide for over a decade. But no Muggle has ever played the game flying across the sky on a broomstick like the wizards did in J.K. Rowling’s popular book series.
To win a national award for handwriting, especially in this digital age, is an achievement in itself. But what makes Anaya Ellick’s accolade extra special is that the seven-year-old accomplished the feat despite having no hands. Even more amazing? The first-grader from Chesapeake, Virginia, who won the prestigious Nicholas Maxim Special Award for Excellence in Manuscript Penmanship, on April 11, does not use prosthetics. The young girl produces her perfect penmanship by standing close to her desk with her pencil firmly gripped between her forearms.
Mention the word "coding" and the first image that comes to mind is a complicated algorithm that has no relationship to the real world. It is, therefore, no wonder that most kids steer away from learning this skill that is becoming increasingly important in today's world. Now, thanks to a small robot created by researchers at Harvard's Wyss Institute even kids as young as five, will be clamoring to program.
Japan is famous for its state-of-the-art high-speed railway system. In 2015, its Magnetic Levitation or, Maglev train, which gets its name because it hovers 10 cm above the tracks, set a new speed world record of 375 mph (603km/hr). Now the innovative island nation wants to build a train that features a mirror-like exterior and blends in so well with the environment, that it will be practically "invisible."