Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Darren Quick

The Bodyguard Blanket is designed to protect children in the event of school incursions an...

Security blankets generally only provide youngsters with psychological comfort, but the Bodyguard Blanket is intended to provide some more concrete security. Made from ballistic materials, it is designed to provide protection from bullets in the event of a school shooting, or from falling or flying debris in the event of a tornado.  Read More

Ford's Adaptive Steering system alters the steering ratio based on vehicle speed

While power steering has made it possible to drive around without giving yourself an exhausting upper body workout, the steering ratio of most vehicles – that is, the number of turns of the steering wheel required to turn the front wheels a certain amount – is fixed. Ford is shaking things up for non-luxury car buyers with its new Adaptive Steering system that will be available on select models from next year.  Read More

A flame is blown off its fuel source with a blast of air from explosives

Building on a technique commonly used to extinguish oil well fires, Dr Graham Doig from the University of New South Wales' School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering is examining whether explosives could be used to fight out-of-control forest and bushfires by blasting the flames out of treetops, slowing the fire and making it easier to fight on the ground.  Read More

The 3.2 gigapixel Global Selfie photomosaic that was made from 36,422 individual images (I...

NASA has created a "Global Selfie" photomosaic comprised of over 36,000 individual photographs taken on or around April 22, 2014, also known as Earth Day. After several weeks spent sorting through the more than 50,000 images submitted – some of them were presumably not suitable for a family audience – the end result is a 3.2-gigapixel image that users can scan and zoom to view the individual photos.  Read More

The WhistleGPS pet activity tracker adds GPS capabilities and is the first consumer device...

Billed as a Fitbit for dogs when it hit the market last year, Whistle's compact activity monitor uses a 3-axis accelerometer to monitor Fido's daily exercise. The company has now added GPS capabilities to allow the tracking of location to the device, as well as making it the first consumer product to tap into Sigfox's low-power Internet of Things (IoT) network.  Read More

A nanogel developed at IBN may be commercialized as a membrane patch for faster healing of...

Because second- and third-degree burns damage underlying layers of skin, they can take a long time to heal. Such extended healing periods are not only painful to the patient, but increase the risk of infection and scarring. While various medications are available to deal with pain and infection, there is currently no commercial treatment to speed up the rate of healing of burn wounds. Now researchers have developed a nanogel that could fill this hole.  Read More

The Vector Hawk has joined Lockheed Martin's small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) family

Lockheed Martin has expanded its small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) family with the introduction of the Vector Hawk. Coming in a number of variants, Lockheed says the aircraft is suitable for a wide variety of different missions thanks to its ability to be rapidly reconfigured in the field.  Read More

Army researchers envision a fan embedded within the mask's filtration system that uses les...

As well as protecting soldiers from impacts, modern helmets and masks are also designed to provide protection against chemical and biological agents. Such gear requires a powered air purifying respirator to supply air, but these traditionally rely on a separate battery pack and blower unit that is connected to the mask via a hose. The US Army is developing technology for a compact self-contained mask that is not only lighter and less cumbersome, but also helps keep soldiers cool.  Read More

The Rotary-Bat (R-Bat) unmanned helicopter system conducts a flight test from Yuma Proving...

Northrop Grumman and Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA, are teaming up to develop a small, unmanned autonomous helicopter system. The Rotary-Bat (R-Bat) is aimed at a range of applications in both urban and rural areas, including search and rescue, power line inspection, border patrol and forest fire observation.  Read More

Dr. Jake Shortt discovered a common industrial solvent called NMP has anti-cancer properti...

Researchers from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, Australia, have found that a N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP), a common solvent used in a wide array of industrial and medical products, has cancer-fighting properties. The discovery came about thanks to an observant researcher, and now the solvent is set to be put to the test in a world-first clinical trial on patients with advanced blood cancer.  Read More

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