Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Darren Quick

Dr Reece Clothier with a prototype of a bio-inspired unmanned aircraft, under development ...

Most people who have cast their eyes skyward – or seen a nature documentary or two – will have seen lazily circling birds soaring to greater heights without flapping their wings. These soaring birds are catching a ride on rising air currents to save energy, and now researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, are aiming to develop bio-inspired UAVs capable of doing the same thing.  Read More

The installation on Jaguar Land Rover's new plant in South Staffordshire is the largest ro...

The rooftops of automotive manufacturing plants have proven fertile ground for solar arrays with Audi, Ferrari and Renault installing extensive fields of solar panels at their respective facilities. Now Jaguar Land Rover has got on board with the largest rooftop solar panel array in the UK sprouting from its new Engine Manufacturing Centre in South Staffordshire.  Read More

Rearview camera systems will be mandatory on new vehicles in the US from May 2018  (Photo:...

Most of the safety features made mandatory by lawmakers, such as seat-belts and airbags, provide protection to those inside the vehicle. But in a move to protect those outside the vehicle, specifically, in the blind spot behind the vehicle, the US Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a proposed rule requiring rearview cameras to be installed in all new vehicles under 10,000 lb (4,536 kg) in the US from May, 2018.  Read More

DARPA's new Biological Technologies Office division aims to 'merge biology, engineering, a...

From robotics to optics and forgery prevention to solar cells, biomimicry has proven fertile ground for researchers. Recognizing nature's potential in the development of new technologies, DARPA has announced the establishment of the Biological Technologies Office (BTO), a new division that aims to "merge biology, engineering, and computer science to harness the power of natural systems for national security."  Read More

The High Roller observation wheel in Las Vegas is the world's tallest

Visitors to Las Vegas now have a new way to take in the famous Las Vegas Strip with the official opening of the world's tallest observation wheel on Monday. Standing 550 feet (167.6 m) tall, the aptly named High Roller is 9 ft (2.7 m) taller than the previous record holder, the 541-ft (164.8 m) tall Singapore Flyer.  Read More

The SmartMat is a Wi-Fi enabled device designed to fit under a regular doormat

We've got smart doorbells, smart locks and smart door handles, so why not a smart doormat? Dr. Andrew Clark has created just such a device called, surprisingly enough, the SmartMat. Designed to be placed under a regular doormat, the SmartMat acts as a pressure sensor and features Wi-Fi connectivity to allow actions to be triggered when someone steps on it.  Read More

Pyle Audio's Street Blaster boasts 1,000 W of power Pyle Audio is looking to update the ghetto blaster for the wireless age with its Street Blaster. Ditching the rectangular boombox styling of the '80s, the unit adopts a cylindrical form factor that makes it look like something Geordi La Forge pulled out of the USS Enterprise's warp core.  Read More

The ATHENA organ project combines heart, liver, kidney and lung features in a toxicity tes...

A five-year, US$19 million multi-institutional effort is working on developing a "desktop human" that could reduce the need for animal testing in the development of new drugs. The "homo minitus" is a drug and toxicity analysis system that would comprise four human organ constructs interconnected to mimic the response of human organs. The project has now reported success in the development of its first organ construct, a human liver construct that responds to exposure to a toxic chemical much like a real liver.  Read More

A new Perovskite solar cell has been found have light absorbing and light emitting propert...

When looking for the best materials with which to construct a solar cell, the obvious preference is for one that absorbs light, not emits it. But researchers from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have discovered a material that does both. Amongst a variety of potential applications, the researchers say the material, Perovskite, opens up the possibility of mobile devices with displays that double as solar cells.  Read More

The MQ-4C Triton test aircraft makes its approach for landing March 13 at Palmdale, Califo... The Triton UAV's initial flight test program, which kicked off with the unmanned aircraft's first flight last May, has been completed. Now cleared to fly at various altitudes, speeds and weights, the Triton is on track to be introduced into the US Navy fleet in 2017.  Read More

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