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Jump Shot: Panoramas Made Easy

As breathtaking as large, panoramic photos often are, the process of creating them is, to many photographers, a much less attractive prospect. While painstakingly stitching together images from a recent vacation, Technische Universität Berlin graduate Jonas Pfeil came up with a better idea: a spherical camera, called a camera-ball, that can take 360-degree panoramas in a single snap. Once the softball-sized sphere is tossed into the air, a built-in accelerometer tells when the ball has reached its zenith. Then a microcontroller triggers simultaneous action by 36 two-megapixel cellphone cameras, capturing a mosaic of images.

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Power Up on the Floor

Anyone who’s ever worked up a sweat running for the school bus knows it takes energy to move. Now, a young inventor in England has come up with a way to capture the ambient kinetic energy of footsteps–or dance moves–and use it to generate electricity.

Pavegen tiles are rubber, waterproof squares made from recycled tires, and 80 percent of their inner workings are made from recycled materials, too. When people step on them, the tiles harvest the energy and convert it to electricity.

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3D Body Scanners to Make Custom Jeans

Everyone loves to complain about the full body scanners that the Travel Security Administration implemented in 2010 to screen airport travelers. But now the same technology could be employed for a much more exciting purpose: fashion.

A new company called Fitted Fashion promises to bring 3D scanning technology to clothing stores and shopping malls in the near future (a similar body scanner is already in use at a mall in Philadelphia). Customers need only to step inside a scanning booth for about 30 seconds, where a white light captures over 400 distinct body measurements.

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