Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Darren Quick

The nicotiana tobacco plant

Smokers don’t get excited - science hasn’t found a way to genetically engineer tobacco for smoking to be good for you. What science has done however is to genetically engineer tobacco plants to produce medicines that could assist in the treatment of several autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, including diabetes.  Read More

The seawater vertical farm would make another stunning addition to the Dubai skyline
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The saying used to go, ‘only in America’, but in recent years it might be truer to say, ‘only in Dubai’, especially when it comes to architectural wonders. Buildings that would be unfeasible just about anywhere else seem to regularly spring from the ground in the oil rich emirate. The next eye-popping construction to grace the skyline could be a seawater vertical farm that uses seawater to cool and humidify greenhouses and to convert sufficient humidity back in to fresh water to irrigate the crops.  Read More

The Shuttle X50 all-in-one PC

Shuttle’s new X50 is an all-in-one PC that features a 15.6-inch touch-enabled display with 1366 x 768 resolution and is designed to be versatile enough to suit a variety of settings including digital signage and kiosks. The unit also features a convertible stand that can be flipped upward to reveal a carry handle, or it can be removed completely for VESA mounting.  Read More

Loz's head about to explode from exertion

What kid hasn’t lain in bed at night and tried to transport some object to them using just the power of their mind, just to see if maybe that Force thing was actually real? I’ll admit I did. Of course nothing happened, but a new toy is designed to give players the feeling that they do have the Force flowing through them by harnessing brainwaves to "levitate" a ball. Gizmag’s resident Jedi Master Loz Blain got a first hand look at the Force Trainer.  Read More

Presumably the UV lamp would be slightly more hidden in real world applications

Besides letting in light and providing pleasant views, windows unfortunately also provide a convenient entrance for burglars. Security systems have long employed contacts that, when broken, activate an alarm, but what if the simple act of moving around outside a window were enough to raise the alert. That’s the concept behind a system developed by scientists in Berlin that sensitizes windows and doors to detect suspicious movements.  Read More

The presumably 'knife friendly' Inlet Outlet
 Pic credit: core77

It wasn’t surprising to see that power conservation was a prevalent theme for entries in this year’s core77 Greener Gadgets Design Competition – the first two places were taken by variations on household power meters. One of the entries that made it to the semi final stage that we thought warranted some kudos was the Inlet ‘Outlet’ - a concept that would see household electrical outlets accompanied by an electrical ‘inlet’ that would make it easy for householders to feed power back into the power grid.  Read More

A graphic representation of the overall device structure with the diameter roughly that of...

Researchers at the University of Miami and at the Universities of Tokyo and Tohoku, Japan, have been able to prove the existence of a "spin battery" that could have significant benefits over chemical battery systems including being much faster, less expensive and using less energy.  Read More

Harry Potter and his cloak of invisibility - which you can't see obviously

Invisibility has been a staple of science fiction, (and my own personal fantasies), for decades and in recent years we’ve watched as fiction edges ever closer to reality through the use of metamaterials. The problem with most of the devices currently being researched however, is that since they totally encompass the object being rendered invisible, they are also rendered blind as well, which kind of defeats the purpose. But a team from Hong Kong’s University of Science and Technology believes they have come up with an answer to this problem and that it is indeed possible to create a cloaking device that would be able to render an object invisible without encompassing it.  Read More

The Adamo in Onyx

And the world’s thinnest laptop for this month is…. the new Dell Adamo! Yes folks we have a new claimant to the world’s thinnest laptop title with dimensions of 13.03 x 9.5 x 0.65-inches and Dell pointing out that, at its thickest point, the new Adamo is thinner than any other laptop. Taking a leaf out of Apple’s book, the new laptops are chassis milled from a single piece of aluminum featuring precision detailing and a scalloped backlit keyboard and feature a high definition edge-to-edge glass display. Of course when thin is in, traditional platter HDD’s are out, so the Adamo laptops sport a 128GB Solid State Drive (SSD) as standard, as well as Draft-Wireless N, Bluetooth 2.1m 2 USB ports, a USB/eSATA combo port, Display Port, RJ-45 port and up to 5+ hours of battery life based on preliminary lab testing. The units also feature a 13.4-inch 16:9 HD display and come with Windows Vista Home Premium Edition SP1, 64-bit.  Read More

Bullseye!
 Pic credit: Intellectual Ventures

Mosquitoes have plagued mankind since time immemorial. For many they’re just annoying pests that leave an itchy reminder of their bloodsucking ways, but for much of the world’s population they’re carriers of deadly disease – malaria in particular. So far man’s efforts to combat mosquitoes have so far proved fruitless but the Wall Street Journal is reporting that researchers in the US are looking to take the battle into the space age by using lasers to kill the nasty little buggers.  Read More

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