Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Ben Coxworth

Circa Cycles' aluminum frames incorporate time- and labor-saving MABEL lugs

Like a lot of other American products, most US-brand bicycle frames are made overseas, in countries where manufacturing costs are lower. Portland, Oregon's Circa Cycles, however, wants to build its higher-end bikes stateside, yet still sell them at reasonable prices. It plans on doing so using a unique frame-construction process, known as MABEL.  Read More

Ling Zang with his prototype explosives sensor (Photo: Dan Hixon, University of Utah Colle...

Along with flame-retardant clothing, flexible supercapitors and a stronger alternative to carbon fiber, carbon nanotubes may soon have yet another application. Led by Prof. Ling Zang, a team of researchers at the University of Utah has integrated the tiny tubes of carbon atoms into a prototype explosives sensor. It can also detect illegal drugs and toxic chemicals such as nerve gas, reportedly doing so better than currently-used technologies.  Read More

Drive responds to the user's finger movements, but only if their hands are where they shou...

When it comes to safe driving tips, taking your hands off the steering wheel to make or receive calls doesn't rate way up there. Many people instead use hands-free voice prompt systems, although these can also be be distracting, as they require users to think of the correct prompts and then speak them very clearly. Drive offers an alternative – it's a device that's controlled using finger movements, and it won't work unless the user's hands are on the wheel.  Read More

The eXom, with its camera head visible at the left, and one of the visual/ultrasound sensi...

Swiss company senseFly is best known for its fixed-wing industrial drones, such as the eBee and swinglet CAM. Parrot, on the other hand, has made its name with its consumer quadcopters. So, now that Parrot has owned senseFly for a couple of years, what's the result? The new senseFly eXom quadcopter, which uses multiple visual and ultrasonic sensors to avoid obstacles and maintain precise autonomous flight.  Read More

A color-changing tree, printed with the new ink British scientists have already looked to principles employed by butterfly wings, as a means of thwarting currency counterfeiters. Now, researchers from China's Southeast University have developed another such technology, that's inspired by a different insect – a color-changing longhorn beetle known as Tmesisternus isabellae.  Read More

One of the mic-bearing NCSU biobots

If you're ever trapped in a collapsed building and are calling for help, you might want to think twice before squashing any cockroaches that wander your way – one of them might have been sent to find you. Researchers from North Carolina State University are currently laying the groundwork for such a scenario, by getting cyborg-like "biobot" cockroaches to move towards sounds. Down the road, such insects may be used to locate victims at disaster sites.  Read More

The MOM incubator, first-prize winner of the 2014 James Dyson Award

James Roberts, a 23 year-old design grad from Britain's Loughborough University, has won this year's international James Dyson Award for his portable inflatable incubator. Called MOM, the device is intended to be a low-cost alternative to traditional incubators, allowing premature babies in places such as refugee camps to survive when they might otherwise perish. Read on for more details on it, along with the three runners-up.  Read More

If this snake bit you, would you know that it was a great lakes bush viper? (Photo: Shutte... When a snake-bite victim shows up at a hospital, it's vitally important for caregivers to know what species of snake bit them. Without that knowledge, they won't know what sort of anti-venom – if any – is required. Making that ID could one day be much easier, thanks to a current study in which species were reliably identified via snake DNA obtained from fang marks in victims' bite wounds.  Read More

The prototype Automatic Ingestion Monitor with its motion sensor visible at the bottom, in...

There are already a number of devices that allow people to keep track of what and how much they eat, in order to help themselves lose weight or maintain a better-balanced diet. Most of these gadgets, however, rely on the user to manually enter the data regarding each meal. The University of Alabama's Dr. Edward Sazonov is working at taking user error/deceitfulness out of the equation, by developing a headset-style diet-tracking device that automatically monitors what its wearer eats.  Read More

The GaffGun straightens, centers and tapes down cords and cables

If you've ever worked in film/television production, special events setup, music production or any number of other similar industries, then you're probably familiar with a particularly unlikable task – taping cables down to the floor, so people don't trip over them. The GaffGun is designed to make that job considerably quicker and easier.  Read More

Looking for something? Search our 29,544 articles