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(Photo by andriussta on Flickr)
Do you wear a bicycle helmet? If yes, then you must know these facts. If no, still you need to know its importance. Wearing a bicycle helmet is always safer than not wearing one.

Bicycle accidents can sometimes be fatal. Wearing a helmet that can absorb impacts can protect your head and brain from absorbing those shocks.

Facts say nearly 75% of all fatal bicycle crashes are head injuries. According to an estimate, nearly 44,000 bicyclists have died in accidents since 1932 in United States only.

To cause a head injury, it does not always have to be a strong force. Cyclists can reach up to 40 km/h and any impact may lead to a severe injury.

Common bicycle accidents include hitting your head on the ground or hitting on a vehicle that goes in front of you. In both cases, which can be slow impacts, still they can cause a brain injury.

The science behind it
Expanded Polystyrene Foam (or EPS) is the material commonly used in helmets and in packaging materials. They are light weight and their main job is to absorb impacts.

An outer shell made of  PET ( Polyethylene terephthalate) or a similar plastic is used. It is usually glued onto the foam layer, then taped around the edge for appearance.

Without foam, a bicycle helmet isn't effective just with an outer shell. 

Bicycle helmets are designed for a single impact and then be replaced for a new one. Unlike cricket and football helmets which are designed for multiple impacts.

Bicycle helmets are light, you can even break them by using your hands. But when you are wearing a helmet, the head is providing a load to the foam. So it is more difficult to break a helmet that's being worn then an empty helmet.

When a cyclist faces an impact, shock wave passes through the helmet's foam. Some of the shock waves are reflected back as a rarefaction wave which reduces the amplitude of the forward moving compression wave reaching the human skull.

A well designed helmet have functionally graded layers which decreases the damage to your head. The breaking of helmets's shell and the irreversible compression of the foam can dissipate some of the shock waves. 

Also some of the impact shock is dissipated through the breaking of atomic bonds and undergoing pressure-volume work, respectively. 

Penetration of helmet's components can be avoided by deflection due to the hardness of the shell and low angle impact. The spherical shape of the helmet helps in effective distribution of load.

Any helmet, whether its a bicycle helmet or a motorcycle helmet, is likely to get damaged after an accident. Replacing it is necessary for it to protect you again.

In the case of bicycle helmet, it is recommended to replace it every 5 years even if it has not seen any impact. Bicycle helmet components can weaken overtime due to weather, UV and pollution.

How Strong is a Bicycle Helmet to Protect Your Head?

The super black material named Vantablack absorbs 99.96% of light that falls on it. It is manufactured by UK based Surrey Nanosystems through their low-temperature carbon nanotube synthesis process.

The process deposits vertically aligned nanotube arrays (VANTAs) repeatedly and accurately on various temperature sensitive and light weight materials like aluminium. The VANTA black coating is chemically inert, environmentally safe, resists shock and vibration.

For wide range of applications, Surrey NanoSystems patented process can also deposit these black coatings precisely on either flat or three dimensional (3D) structures.

Vantablack's ultra-low reflectance finds applications in space and terrestrial calibration instruments, infra-red detectors and stray light suppression in optical instruments. It can be coated on internal components such as apertures, baffles, cold shields and Micro Eelectro Mechanical Systems (MEMS).

The super-black material has been extensively tested and characterized by UK National Physics Laboratory (NPL) and EnerSys’ ABSL Space Products Division.

 “We are now scaling up production to meet the requirements of our first customers in the defence and space sectors, and have already delivered our first orders.”, says Surrey NanoSystems' CTO Ben Jensen.



Vantablack - The World's New Blackest Black Material

Welcome this winter with these beautiful windows themes on your device. From frozen gardens to snow covered mountains and glaciers, all to make you feel the every moment of winter.

Winter is the most exciting season for everyone who loves snow and it might not be very comforting for some. Since my childhood days, year after year I always waited for the winter to arrive. 

I never witnessed snow fall in my city were I grew but I felt winter days are beautiful. I could hardly wait for early mornings to witness birds singing, dews on plants, cold breeze and fresh air. Now its time for you to feel the icy weather on your windows device!

1. Winter theme - DOWNLOAD - Theme page
Includes amazing scenes of snowy landscapes.

2. Glaciers panoramic theme - DOWNLOAD - Theme page
Stunning icebergs and glaciers are featured in this panoramic theme.

3. Swedish Winter theme - DOWNLOAD - Theme page
This theme features winter landscapes and stunning beauty of winter in Sweden.

4. Snow Panoramic theme - DOWNLOAD - Theme page
This panoramic theme features the beauty of snow covered landscapes and also looks stunning on dual monitors.

5. Winter Garden theme DOWNLOAD - Theme page
This theme features frost covered leaves, berries and branches with great quality by photographer Hayley Elizabeth.

6. Majestic Mountains panoramic theme - DOWNLOAD - Theme page
This panoramic theme features magnificent snow covered mountain ranges and is also designed to span on dual monitors.

7. Frost Macros theme - DOWNLOAD - Theme page
Frost leaves, grass showing crystalline ice and make you feel the freshness of nature.

8. Frozen Formations theme - DOWNLOAD - Theme page
This theme features naturally formed ice patterns and frozen scenes displaying nature's artwork.

9. Snowy Night theme - DOWNLOAD - Theme page
This theme features warm lights, wooden cottages and snow covered towns welcoming winter on your device.

10. Ice Castles theme - DOWNLOAD - Theme page
This theme features ice sculptures, castles and ice walls taking you to wonderland.

To check out more windows themes for your device, visit windows personalization gallery.

Which one is your most favourite theme? Do you know a better theme? 
Please share with us below in comments.

10 Visually Appealing Windows Themes For You This Winter

Image source: AIRO Health

The AIRO wrist band from the startup AIRO Health automatically monitors your nutrition intake, stress patterns, daily exertion and sleep quality. What makes it stand out from other traditional health trackers is that combines sleep, exercise, stress tracking along with your calorie intake.

How does it track your nutrition?
The AIRO makes use of a special built in spectrometer that is embedded on it to track your calories consumed and quality of your meals. The information will be displayed on AIRO app installed in your device.

What is a spectrometer doing in a health tracker?
Nutrients have different light properties. When human body breaks down the food during and after meals, the spectrometer will detect the amount of light that passes through the bloodstream based on green, red and infra-red patterns. If you ate a candy, the wrist band will show an increase in sugar intake. Not just sugar intake, it also displays protein, fats, carbohydrates.
How does it track your stress?
AIRO monitors your stress levels based on your heart rate. If the band senses you are in a high stress level, it will vibrate to alert you. The AIRO app will suggest you to take breathing exercises or some sleep whenever required.

How does it monitors your exercise?
Like it monitors stress, it makes use of your heart rate along with calories burned and counting steps to monitor the intensity of your workout. If you worked out too much, the app will suggest you to take rest for you to get back on track.

How does it monitor your sleep?
AIRO tracks your circadian rhythm and can see distinct sleep cycles. The band will wake you up at the right time when required by vibration. The app shows the hours you slept along with related information.

The AIRO not only warns you but also provides recommendations to deal with it. Slowly AIRO gets smarter by learning your health patterns. AIRO will be available sometime in 2014. To know more about when it will be available, visit their website.

Source: AIRO Health

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Kepler planet candidates
Image credits: NASA, SETI

400 Scientists from 30 different countries gathered this week at the second Kepler Science Conference at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffet Field, California. Discussions were made on the results from analysis of Kepler Space Telescope data.

Findings include 833 new planet candidates in which ten of those are less than twice the size of Earth and orbit in their Sun's habitable zone (Goldilocks zone). They are at a distance from their star which allows liquid water to thrive on surface.

During the first Kepler Science Conference, Kepler team announced Kepler - 22b. It is the first planet to be discovered in a habitable zone. Later, four habitable planets have been discovered. Out of those, two planets were found to be in a single system.

Planets in habitable zone
Image credits: NASA, SETI

From the beginning to till now, 3538 planets have been discovered. Results show that most stars in our galaxy have at least one planet and smaller planets are more common.

Kepler data suggests that one in five starts like the sun is home to a planet up to twice the size of Earth orbiting in a temperate environment. This suggests that majority of stars in the night sky may be home to planetary systems like our own solar system.

Kepler data is also useful to asteroseismology. It is the study of internal structure of pulsating stars by interpreting their frequency spectra. Researchers examine sound waves generated by boiling motion beneath the surface of the star in a similar way geologists use seismic waves generated by earthquakes to probe the interior structure of Earth.

For more information about the Kepler mission, visit:

Credits: NASA, SETI

NASA Kepler Mission Finds 833 New Planets

Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency aims to develop a reusable hypersonic unmanned vehicle that can lower the operational costs and make the spacecraft more reliable.

With current satellite launch vehicles, it is expensive to operate them in each mission. They cost millions of dollars per flight and requires advanced planning and allocation of resources for each mission.

Experimental Spaceplane (XS-1) program
To counter those spaceflight challenges, DARPA has created this program which aims to develop a reusable unmanned space vehicle that can be operated like an aircraft to space. To make the operation clean and simple, there will only be a small ground crew to control the spacecraft.

DARPA XS-1 Experimental space plane
Image credits: DARPA

They will be able to do daily operations and flights from various locations in our planet. With this simplicity and low costs, small satellites can be deployed easily in space.

To achieve this, the aircraft would require better thermal protection systems, recovery systems and autonomous launch and flight systems.

As you could see from the above artist's conception, the reusable first stage will fly to hypersonic speeds at suborbital altitude. Then the expendable stage separates and deploy a satellite into Low Earth Orbit. Then the hypersonic vehicle will safely return to earth for the next flight.

The aircraft would be able to do daily flights and reach speeds above Mach 10 and deliver payloads into the orbit. The vehicle will enable delivery of payloads from 3,000 to 5,000 pounds. This will help reduce the cost of delivering small satellites into space.

Another DARPA program called Airborne Launch Assist Space Access (ALASA) that plans to propel 100-pound satellites into orbit for less that 1 million dollars per launch.

DARPA is seeking ideas and proposals for developing and implementing the XS-1 program. DARPA Special Notice about specific capabilities od the program is now available at

Source: DARPA

DARPA plans for Reusable Hypersonic Unmanned Space Plane

Unmanned vehicles have been employed in the air force and in the army. Now these unmanned autonomous vehicles have found its way to the navy. In few years from now, you will be seeing unmanned undersea vehicles in naval forces.

From Google's driverless cars to unmanned aerial vehicles patrolling the skies, autonomous technology have found its application in a variety of fields and still counting.

Building naval vessels always takes time and money. Keeping this in mind, DARPA's Hydra program was created to meet those challenges in navy. The name Hydra is taken from Greek Mythology where it is the name of a multi-headed creature.

(Image credits: DARPA)

DARPA plans to develop an undersea network of unmanned vehicles to assist and improve the capabilities of manned vessels. With the existing and emerging technologies, vehicles will be developed to perform missions above and under the ocean's surface.

“The climate of budget austerity runs up against an uncertain security environment that includes natural disasters, piracy, ungoverned states and the proliferation of sophisticated defense technologies,” said Scott Littlefield, DARPA program manager.

“An unmanned technology infrastructure staged below the oceans’ surface could relieve some of that resource strain and expand military capabilities in this increasingly challenging space.”

DARPA is currently seeking proposals to develop these technologies. There is a need for the development of payloads that are capable of providing Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) and Mine Counter-Measures (MCM).

The Hydra system would be designed in such a way ships, submarines and airplanes could be able to deliver the Hydra system to oceans. The system would be able to communicate with manned vessels and can be able to control remotely from a location.

DARPA also stated that the Hydra system is also capable of doing things that are not currently possible by manned vessels like airborne ISA (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) with expendable platforms or recharging hubs for ISR capable undersea vehicles.

Credits: DARPA

DARPA's Hydra program to develop unmanned undersea vehicles

World vegetaion map by NASA and NOAA

The image generated using the data from NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP satellite reveals differences in greenness among various contnents. The satellite data are collected based on difference between how much energy is absorbed by the land versus how much is reflected back into the space.

Plants absorb visible light for photosynthesis. When the vegetation is lush, nearly all visible light is absorbed by green leaves and near-infrared light is reflected back into space. So for deserts and snow covered regions where the vegetation is low will reflect more visible light and infrared light. 

The Visible and Infrared Imaging and Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) sensor on-board the satellite is capable of recording these different types of visible and near-infrared light. VIIRS sensor collects 330 megabytes of data every minute.

Vegetation image generated every week is about 13 gigabytes and 80,000 x 40,000 pixels. Take the below video tour of vegetation on our planet.

These data are collected during cloud free days over various regions of the planet and organized together to form a single cloud free image of the planet. These images are helpful in understanding environmental issues and impacts of urbanization on our forests.

For high resolution image, visit -

Credits: NASA and NOAA

World Vegetation Map by NASA and NOAA shows differences in Green

According to Google, two-thirds of the global population does not have access to the internet. New Project Loon by Google aims at providing internet accessibility to remote and disaster struck areas to get the people online.

Wind power - Moving with the wind
Project Loon uses specially designed balloons that float 20 km above the surface of Earth in the stratosphere to provide internet. 

Usually winds in the stratosphere has a speed of 5 to 20 mph and they vary in magnitude and direction.

By making use of these winds, Project Loon balloons can be made to travel in the desired direction by increasing or decreasing its altitude to align with the winds. These balloons are designed to withstand conditions of stratosphere.

The signal is transmitted from one balloon to another and then to the Earth. These balloons will form a global communication network to which people can connect using a specially designed internet antenna attached to their building.

Solar power - Charging with the Sun
The inflatable part of the balloon are made using sheets of polyethylene plastic with a dimension of 15 m wide and 12 m tall when inflated. They are manufactured to last long in the stratosphere.

A parachute fitted to the top of the balloon helps in controlling the descent and landing. All the electronics on-board are powered by solar panels that can  produce 100 watts in full sun.

A box containing circuit boards to control the system, radio antennas to connect with other balloons and ground Internet antennas and batteries for storing solar power to operate at night.

Watch the below video that explains how the Project Loon works.

Each balloon can be able to provide internet connectivity at 3G speeds to an area of about 40 km in diameter. At present, it uses ISM 2.4 and 5.8 Ghz bands which are available for everyone to use.

Project Loon is currently in testing phase. Thirty Project Loon balloons were launched from South Island, New Zealand. These balloons are controlled by Loon mission control and will provide internet to a team of pilot testers to understand its internet experience. 

What's your thought about the Google's new Project Loon? Share your comments below.

For more information about Project Loon, visit -

Credits: Google

Google Project Loon to provide Balloon Powered Internet

Samsung Galaxy S4 is the latest addition to the Galaxy series. Like other Galaxy models, S4 comes with new attractive features and specifications. It has a beautiful 5 inch full HD AMOLED display and powered by a superfast 1.9 GHz quad-core processor with 2GB RAM.

It runs on Android 4.2.2 (Jelly bean) OS with a 13 MP rear camera and a 2 MP front camera. Moreover it has a 2,600 mAh battery and IR LED for remote controlling of your home entertainment system.
Air Gesture is one of the unique feature about Samsung Galaxy S4. Answer all your calls by just waving your hand in front of the screen. So you don't have to actually touch the screen. This includes features like Quick glance, Air jump, Air browse, Air move and Air call accept.

Other camera features include Dual shot, Drama shot and Sound & shot. Dual shot feature allows you to take a dual photo using both the rear and front camera at the same time. 

Drama shot feature enables you to create a series of snaps in one single photo. With Sound & shot feature, you can give voice to all your photos as it captures sound with pictures.

Color Black, White
Display 5inch Full HD Super AMOLED (1920 x 1080) display, 441 ppi
Processor 1.9 GHz Quad-Core Processor / 1.6 GHz Octa-Core Processor
OS Android 4.2.2 (Jelly bean)
Camera Main(Rear): 13 Mega pixel Auto Focus camera with Flash & Zero Shutter Lag, BIS
Sub (Front): 2 Mega pixel camera, Full HD recording @30fps with Zero Shutter Lag, BIS
Memory16 / 32 / 64GB memory + microSD slot (up to 64GB), 2GB RAM
Accelerometer, RGB light, Geomagnetic, Proximity, Gyro, 
Temperature & Humidity, Gesture
Battery 2,600mAh
ConnectivityWiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (HT80)
NFC, Bluetooth® 4.0 (LE)
IR LED (Remote Control), MHL 2.0
Video Codec: MPEG4, H.264, H.263, DivX, DivX3.11, VC-1, VP8, WMV7/8, Sorenson Spark, HEVC
Recording & Playback: Full HD (1080p)
Audio Codec: MP3, AMR-NB/WB, AAC/AAC+/eAAC+, WMA, OGG, 
FLAC, AC-3, apt-X
Network 2.5G (GSM/ GPRS/ EDGE): 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
3G (HSPA+ 42Mbps): 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 MHz
4G (LTE Cat 3 100/50Mbps) : up to 6 different band sets (Dependent on market)
Camera features Dual Shot , Drama Shot, Sound & Shot, 360 Photo, Animated Photo, Eraser, Night, Best Photo, Best Face, Beauty Face, HDR (High Dynamic Range), Panorama, Sports
Other featuresGroup Play: Share Music, Share Picture, Share Document, 
Play Games
Story Album, S Translator, Optical Reader
Samsung Smart Scroll, Samsung Smart Pause, Air Gesture, 
Air View
Samsung Hub, ChatON (Voice/Video Call, Share screen, 
3-way calling) Samsung WatchON
S Travel (Trip Advisor), S Voice™ Drive, S Health
Samsung Adapt Display, Samsung Adapt Sound, Auto adjust touch sensitivity (Glove friendly)
Safety Assistance, Samsung Link, Screen Mirroring
Samsung KNOX (B2B only)
Dimension 136.6 x 69.8 x 7.9 mm, 130g

For more information about this product, visit Samsung Electronics.

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The image by National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Suomi National Polar orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite displays a stunning view of Korean Peninsula at night.

With the rising tensions between North and South Korea, the big energy difference between the neighboring countries shows their energy capabilities. With the rising tensions in Korean Peninsula, North Korea continues to threaten South Korea and United States.

Korean Peninsula

U.S reacts to North Korean nuclear threats says, "Will defend our nation and its allies, prepared for any eventuality". U.S promises to retaliate to strike. In the cloud free image, South Korea looks more brighter with its live cities whereas North Korea looks brighter only at its capital city Pyongyang.

The below image also displays night view over Japan and east China. 

Korean Peninsula
These cloud free images were were taken using Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) and was published by NASA on December 5, 2012.

Click here for High Resolution Image

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New waterproof pocket camcorder W300 from Samsung is a good choice for all your outdoor adventures. Whether you want to film underwater organisms or capture your every moment of trekking, W300 camcorder meets all your requirements.

It is a small handy camcorder with waterproof, dust proof and shock proof features. With its Auto Aqua mode, camcorder is suitable for filming up to 3 meters depth in water. Its dust proof feature repels dust and sand while providing a high definition picture.

It provides a 1920x1080/30p full HD movie recording with record/pause function. The function lets you to pause while recording a movie and still create a full continuous video file.

Once recorded, you can easily add background music to your video with Smart Background Music Feature.  When the device senses someone is speaking in the video, it automatically lowers the music volume to make the voice audible.

The pocket device also have a built-in editing software to edit and share files. Camcorder's memory slot accepts both SD, SDHC and SDXC cards. To transfer your files, plug into any device via USB port. To watch your pictures on other displays via a single HDMI cable.

To charge the battery, plug the camcorder into any USB port.

Color Black
Type Full HD Waterproof (16.5 ft), Shock proof (6.5 ft) and Dust proof 
Digital Zoom 3x
Image Stabilizer Yes
Image Sensor Type 1/3.2" BSI CMOS
Display2.3" LCD screen
Video Recording

Audio Format AAC
Recording FormatH.264
Auto Focus Yes
Auto Shutter Yes
Auto White Balance Yes
Built in microphone Yes
Recording ResolutionFull HD 1920x1080 30p/25p (17Mbps), HD 1280x720 30p/25p (8MBps)
Image Format JPEG
Resolution5.5MP (2720x2040) / 4:3, 3MP (2048x1536) / 4:3, 2MP (1920x1080) / 16:9, VGA (640x480) / 4:3
Card Slot MicroSD
Tripod Screw Yes
Dimensions 2.3" x 4.4" x .0.7"
Weight0.3 lb
Charging vis USB port

For more information about the product. Visit: Samsung

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Waterproof HD Pocket Camcorder W300 from Samsung