Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Ben Coxworth

Cigarette ash could now have another use besides ... well, nothing (Photo: Shutterstock)

In a perfect world, cigarette waste simply wouldn't exist. Given that it does, though, scientists have explored a number of methods of repurposing it – these have included using compounds from cigarette butts to store energy, make shipping pallets, and rust-proof steel. Now, researchers have shown that cigarette ash can be used as a low-cost means of filtering arsenic from water supplies. It's a little ironic, as cigarette smoke actually contains a dangerous amount of arsenic.  Read More

The prototype device utilizes paraffin contained within thin aluminum plates

Although solar panels are active while the sun is shining, they typically don't do much once the sun goes down. This is why some systems incorporate water tanks. The water is heated during the day via the panels, then that stored thermal energy (heat) is used to warm the home at night. While the tanks are effective, they also take up a lot of space, making them difficult to fit into peoples' homes. A newly-developed device, however, stores just as much heat in half the space – using paraffin instead of water.  Read More

You can tell a lot about a dolphin by its breath (Photo: Shutterstock)

If you want to get a picture of wild dolphin populations' health, it's typically necessary to capture some of the animals and then obtain blood samples or skin biopsies. Needless to say, it's hard work, and the dolphins tend not to like it. Soon, however, it may be possible to gather the same information using a device that samples their breath.  Read More

The Venus works with a user-supplied bucket, to wash up to 2.5 kg of clothing in one cycle...

We've certainly seen portable washing machines before here at Gizmag, although they've tended to be quite small and/or human-powered. There are higher-capacity electric models, which are more like their full-sized counterparts. The Venus, however, takes yet another approach. It's an electric agitator, that goes into a bucket supplied by the user.  Read More

There isn't much to the Crash Guard, yet it's claimed to offer considerable impact protect... While there are already iPhone cases that claim to protect against drops from up to 30 feet (9 m), most of those are actually more like housings that add considerable bulk to the phone. The Rhino Shield Crash Guard, however, takes a minimalist form, while reportedly still letting the phone withstand a 24-foot (7-m) drop.  Read More

It may look like a flying manta ray, but this is actually the University of Sheffield's la...

Back in April, we first heard about a 3D-printed UAV airframe that could be fabricated within 24 hours. Created by a Boeing-assisted team at the University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Center, it was a gliding prototype that would require the addition of a motor and an external propeller for powered flight. Its recently-announced successor, however, features integrated electric ducted fan motors.  Read More

The Veloloop mounts on the non-drive-side chain stay

If you're a regular bicycle commuter, then you've no doubt experienced the following scenario: you're the only vehicle going in your direction at a controlled intersection, and the light is red, but it won't change to green because the traffic sensors embedded in the asphalt can't register your presence. Well, that's where the Veloloop comes in. It's designed to make those sensors think that your bike is a car.  Read More

Zubits can reportedly be applied to pretty much any existing laced shoes The tying and untying of your shoelaces may not be way up there on your list of everyday hassles, but hey – if you can get around doing it, why not? That's the idea behind Zubits. They're magnetized shoe closures, that take the place of bows.  Read More

Ricoh's soon-to-be-released WG-30

Amateur underwater photographers – or simply anyone who thinks they might get their camera wet – will have a couple of new camera options to choose from in the coming months. That's when Ricoh will be releasing its new WG-30 and WG-30W cameras, both of which are submersible to a depth of 12 meters (39 ft).  Read More

The Paper Airplane Machine Gun, providing covering fire The ability to fold a reasonably functional paper airplane isn't something that everyone possesses. If you're one of those people, then perhaps this is what you need – a device that takes multiple flat pieces of ordinary paper, folds each one into an airplane, then shoots it into the air.  Read More

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