Man risks life for slow-mo walnut explosion photo

Plus: new biometric ID system using the knee and more

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An artist has managed to capture the precise moment a bullet fired from an air rifle hits its target – with explosive results. Alan Sailer used a home-made flash and exposed himself to potentially fatal levels of voltage, to record the amazing slow-motion images.

Despite moving at a velocity of around 500ft per second, Sailer's microsecond flash caught the .177 pellet ripping through an inspired selection of objects, including a strawberry, paintball and walnut. He created the kaleidoscopic shots using a laser to trigger the Nikon D40's shutter, adjusting the delay to control the amount of explosion visible.

Knee identification

Meanwhile, US researchers have suggested a bizarre new method of preventing fraudsters from fooling biometric ID systems with contact lenses and fake fingerprints – by using knee X-rays.

According to Lior Shamir of the US National Institutes of Health and computer engineer Salim Rahimi, it's far more difficult "to spoof the knees or other internal body part."

No matter that the 'wnd-charm' algorithm isn't as accurate as iris or fingerprint scans – the pair insist it's still "much better than random results".

Robots on the rise again

In other news, hayfever bots could soon be on hand to warn you about pollen levels – if you live in Japan, that is. A Japanese weather company has installed 500 robots across the country that change colour according to the amount of pollen in the air.

The allergy-aiding machines are not to be confused with Japan's 4.2 trillion yen-strong army of nurse robots, which officials plan to unleash on the elderly in five years time. Designed to provide day-care and nursing services, if the scheme proves popular, robots could one day be taking care of your Grandma.

Gadgetry mayhem

Scientists at Philips Electronics have designed a new jacket to let you really feel movies. Indented to help you engage more fully with films, the sensor-covered haptics jacket can induce anxiety and other emotions by sending a shiver down your spine, or simulating a rapid heartbeat.

If it's simulated pain you're after, however, the new Tasar X12 stun gun should do the trick. The world's first wireless stun gun, the X12 transmits electrical impulses that can cut through clothing to painlessly paralyse perpetrators.

And if you're in the market for a new apartment, why not add an En Suite Sky Garage to the package. A personal lift system, it recognises the car of each resident in an apartment block, transporting driver and vehicle to a private 300 square foot parking space up in the air, by the floor you live on.

And finally…

A British town has resorted to an unusual method to deter teenagers from loitering in its underpasses – by installing garish pink lighting, more commonly used by dermatologists to expose acne blemishes. If the skin-related shame doesn't get them, residents of Mansfield hope the "uncool" pink spotlights will prevent further loutish breakouts of drinking in the areas.