2015 Detroit NAIAS Auto Show

Ben Coxworth

A sample of the high-entropy alloy (Photo: North Carolina State University)

When it comes to metal that's being used in the automotive or aerospace industries, the higher its strength-to-weight ratio, the better. With that in mind, researchers from North Carolina State University and Qatar University have developed a new alloy that reportedly has a low density similar to that of aluminum, but that's stronger than titanium.  Read More

Inulin-propionate ester (IPE) could be added to foods, causing them to suppress the consum...

When we get the feeling of "being full," it's because our gut has released hormones that tell our brain to stop being hungry. It would seem to follow, therefore, that people who overeat might benefit from producing greater amounts of those hormones. Well, that's just what an experimental new food additive is claimed to cause the body to do.  Read More

Mazda's 2016 MX-5 Miata

The sporty Mazda Miata may not be at the top of many "green car" lists, but the 2016 model will nonetheless be the first vehicle to incorporate parts made from a new bioplastic developed by the automaker. The plastic is based on plant-derived materials instead of petroleum, and doesn't need to be painted.  Read More

The Ulock is locked and unlocked via the user's smartphone

Over the past couple of years, we've heard about two different bicycle U-locks – the Skylock and the BitLock – that can be unlocked via the user's smartphone. Both were the subject of successful crowd-funding campaigns, and both are now available for pre-order. When it comes to a product that's actually being shipped to buyers now, however, the imaginatively-named Ulock has just beaten them both to it.  Read More

The pot-stirring Stirio, Version 2

There are plenty of cooking tasks that require the skill and finesse only a human can provide, but the simple stirring of sauces is generally not one of them. That's why Norwegian company Unikia launched its Stirio motorized pot-stirrer a year ago. Now, a new-and-improved model has been announced – it's stirring news indeed.  Read More

SINTEF researchers Elling Ruud Øye, Ekrem Misimi and Aleksander Eilertsen (left to right) ...

Pulling chicken breasts off the bone can be a fiddly process, and often results in flesh being wasted by getting left behind. In a factory setting, that means slower processing times, and less meat to sell. That's why the Norwegian CYCLE project is developing an industrial robot to do the job.  Read More

A microscope image of CNF fibers made via the new process (Image: Edinburgh Napier Univers...

While we hear a lot about the wonders of materials like graphene and carbon nanotubes, nanofibrillated cellulose (aka: Cellulose NanoFibrils, or CNF) also shows a lot of promise. A type of "nanocellulose", it can be used to produce composite materials that are strong, light, electrically-conductive and oxygen-impervious. Additionally, it uses an existing waste product as its feedstock. Unfortunately its production process is fairly energy-intensive, limiting its widespread use. Thanks to a new technique, however, that may soon no longer be the case.  Read More

Adorama's camera-packin' Aries Blackbird X10

One of the world's largest photographic retailers is now getting into the camera-equipped drone market, with Adorama announcing its Aries Blackbird X10 quadcopter. Among other things, the little copter shoots 1080p/30fps video, captures 16-megapixel stills, and has a flight time of 25 minutes per charge of its 5,300-mAh lithium-polymer battery.  Read More

The gantry-mounted prototype device is moved over a pool, to simulate being flown over the...

When an organization sets out to map the sea floor, it will typically use a device known as a bathymetric lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) unit. These are large and can weigh almost 600 lb (272 kg), so they're mounted on crewed aircraft that fly over the area to be mapped. Led by Dr. Grady Tuell, a team at Georgia Tech has now developed a cost-effective new system that they claim could lead to much smaller, more efficient bathymetric lidars, capable of being carried by a UAV.  Read More

The COBI system combines the user's smartphone with sensors and peripheral devices

There are already non-electric bicycles and motor-assisted e-bikes, although lately we've also been seeing the emergence of a third category – "smart bikes." These are (usually) human-powered bikes with built-in electronic systems that perform functions such as navigation, theft deterrence and directional lighting. While there are purpose-built models such as the Valour and Rogue C6, German start-up iCradle is taking another approach. Its COBI system is designed to convert a traditional bike into a smart bike.  Read More

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