Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Colin Jeffrey

Colin Jeffrey
Colin discovered technology at an early age, pulling apart clocks, radios, and the family TV. Despite his father's remonstrations that he never put anything back together, Colin went on to become an electronics engineer. Later he decided to get a degree in anthropology, and used that to do all manner of interesting things masquerading as work. Even later he took up sculpting, moved to the coast, and never learned to surf.
Top Articles by Colin Jeffrey
The Faradair BEHA concept is intended to be one of the world’s quietest, most efficient an...

Touted as the world's first true hybrid aircraft, the Faradair BEHA (Bio-Electric-Hybrid-Aircraft) is a triple box-wing design concept that combines electric motors and a bio-diesel engine. Fitted with a range of energy conservation and recovery technologies, including solar panels on all flight surfaces and high-lift, low-speed flight capabilities, the BEHA is intended to be one of the world’s most environmentally friendly aircraft.  Read More

According to researchers, Blu-ray disc patterns markedly improve the efficiency of solar c...

Blu-ray discs have proven themselves superior to DVDs as storage media in light of their high capacity, high definition, and higher transfer rate. Now researchers claim that Blu-ray discs have one more advantage over DVDs: they also have the ability to help markedly improve the efficiency of solar cells, when their etched information patterns are repurposed for use as light concentrators.  Read More

Researchers have developed coated magnetic nanoparticles that can be used to help regenera...

When a bone is severely broken in the human body, or a bone-fused prosthesis is implanted, a bone graft is also often required to ensure a solid mechanical repair. However, a graft that removes bone from another area of the body can be a painful and invasive procedure, and the mechanical stimulation required for continued bone regeneration in post-operative therapy becomes problematic if a patient is severely immobilized. To address these problems, researchers have discovered that coating magnetic nanoparticles with proteins and then directing them magnetically to the site of the injury can help stimulate stem cells to regenerate bone.  Read More

New York city has reimagined its pay phone network as free gigabit Wi-Fi hub complete with...

Very few New Yorkers (other than the occasional superhero) use pay phone booths anymore due to the ubiquity of the personal cellphone. As a result, the city of New York has been left with many thousands of largely obsolete phones and phone booths along its streets. In an effort to find a use for this aging infrastructure, the city has re-imagined them as a new type of asset that will provide free 24-hour a day gigabit Wi-Fi, free phone calls to anywhere in the United States, touch-screen monitors that access city services and maps, along with a handy charging port for your cellphone.  Read More

Artist Jonty Hurwitz has created sculptures so tiny that they can only be seen using an el...

A sculpture so tiny that it cannot be seen by the naked eye is claimed to be the smallest sculpture of the human form ever created. Measuring a picayune 20 x 80 x 100 microns, artist Jonty Hurwitz’s tiny human statue is part of a new series of equally diminutive new sculptures that are at a scale so infinitesimally miniscule that each of the figures is approximately equal in size to the amount your fingernails grow in around about 6 hours, and can only be viewed using a scanning electron microscope.  Read More

The orbiting GPS network could be used to detect waves of dark matter that pass between th...

Dark matter is hypothesized to account for the large amounts of "missing" invisible matter in the universe where visible objects such as stars, gas, and dust are insufficient to explain the total gravitational effects observed. Despite repeated and verifiable observational evidence supporting this hypothesis, the existence of dark matter remains unproven. However, recent research has suggested that the hunt for this elusive substance may be aided by detecting any changes in the synchronization between the individual atomic clocks on-board satellites in the orbiting GPS network and receivers on the ground as waves of dark matter pass between them and the surface of the Earth.  Read More

Jupiter's Great Red Spot may be caused by the sun and not some internal phenomenon as prev...

The Great Red Spot is the distinguishing feature that makes Jupiter one of the most easily recognizable planets in our solar system. Until recently, it was widely believed that this blemish was formed as a result of reddish-colored chemicals rising up from within the planet itself. However, using information obtained by analysis of data from the Cassini fly-by mission of Jupiter, researchers working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have discerned that the planet's Great Red Spot may have more to do with the external action of the sun than some internal mechanism.  Read More

Researchers have been experimenting with real micro-sized robots that literally swim throu...

In the 1960s science fiction film Fantastic Voyage, audiences thrilled to the idea of shrinking a submarine and the people inside it to microscopic dimensions and injecting it into a person’s bloodstream. At the time it was just fantasy and as fantastic an idea as its title suggested. Today, however, micro-miniature travelers in your body have come one step closer to reality. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute have been experimenting with real micro-sized robots that literally swim through your bodily fluids and could be used to deliver drugs or other medical relief in a highly-targeted way.  Read More

The new RF circulator could revolutionize microminiature communications devices (Photo: Co...

In the world of electronic components, there are many devices out there that do their job well and reliably, but are almost never heard of – even though they may be vital to equipment that plays a role in our technology-driven lives. The radio frequency (RF) circulator is just such a device: it has simply done its job as a nondescript box of gubbins buried in radio communications systems, quietly directing radio frequency signals to the places they should go. Now researchers at the University of Texas have given the RF circulator a makeover. Not only is the new prototype smaller, lighter, and cheaper, it's also claimed to be easily adapted to different frequencies on the fly, which is something the old style circulator cannot do.  Read More

A subject's hand was moved remotely by having one subject thinking about moving their hand...

Direct brain-to-brain communication has been a long-held ambition of scientists and science fiction fans alike. Recently, University of Washington (UW) researchers brought that ambition a step closer to reality by successfully conducting a direct brain-to-brain connection between pairs of volunteers over the internet by transmitting signals from one person’s brain to another to directly govern the motions of the receiving person’s hand.  Read More

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