Highlights from the 2015 Geneva Motor Show

David Szondy

The Meccano Meccanoid G15 KS is compatible with standard Meccano parts

Meccano is one of those toys with a very strong nostalgia element, involving memories of hours spent bolting together a toy wheelbarrow or a coffee table-size Forth Bridge. But 21st century kids relate more to smartphones than traveling cranes, so Meccano has come up with its Meccanoid G15 KS – a kit robot that can be programmed using motion capture.  Read More

The hull of the cargo ship Vindskip acts as a large wing sail (Image: Lade AS)

In 2013, Norway's Lade AS unveiled designs for Vindskip, a "hybrid" merchant ship which aims to harness the wind courtesy of a specially-shaped hull, in the process taking the burden off of its natural-gas powered engines and saving fuel. Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute's Center for Maritime Logistics and Services (CML) have been working to help realize this goal by developing an algorithm that will allow the Vindskip's navigation system to use the combination of power and sail at its most economical.  Read More

The Dolfi is designed to wash delicate clothes using ultrasonic waves

Delicate clothing are the here-there-be-dragons of the laundry world. Unlike jeans and socks, one mistake can result in a favorite garment shrinking to doll size or ending up a gray, shredded mess. To help avoid this sort of wash day tragedy, Swiss engineering lab MPI Ultrasonics has come up with Dolfi, a pocket-sized device that makes laundering hand-washables a hands-free job.  Read More

The Integrated Structural Assembly of Advanced Composites (ISAAC) robot that will be commi...

The robot revolution continues at NASA this month as its Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia prepares to bring its Integrated Structural Assembly of Advanced Composites (ISAAC) robot online. One of only three robots like it in the world, it will be formally commissioned on January 26 before being put to work making lighter, stronger composite components for aerospace vehicles.  Read More

Cluster quartet (Image: ESA)

Space maneuvers have often been described as an orbital ballet, but the European Space Agency's (ESA) Cluster II satellites are currently in a ballet where the dancers are moving blindfolded at hypersonic speeds as they pass within a cosmic hairsbreadth of one another. That's because two of the Cluster satellites are flying within "touching distance" of one another as scientists try to learn more about the effects of solar wind on the Earth's magnetic field.  Read More

Artist's concept of the IXV re-entering the atmosphere (Image: ESA)

The European Space Agency has given the green light for the launch of its unmanned spaceplane, Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV). The original plan for a launch atop a Vega rocket from the ESA space center in French Guiana last November was put on hold due to safety concerns about its trajectory. With these issues now resolved, lift off is rescheduled for February 11.  Read More

Falcon 9 crashing on the deck of the barge (Photo: SpaceX)

Elon Musk has revealed video and details of the crash of the Falcon 9 booster as it attempted to make an historic powered landing after the launch of the CRS-5 mission. In a series of brief statements on Twitter, the SpaceX founder and CEO explained the cause of the crash and future plans for the company's ambitions to produce a fully reusable space launch system.  Read More

The Mercedes-Maybach S-class revives the Maybach marque

In November, Mercedes Benz took the wraps off its latest go at reviving the Maybach marque and now it's handing out more details about the luxury sub-brand's S 500 and S 600. Less a car for driving than being driven in by your chauffeur, the new S-class features understated lines and is intentionally designed as a status symbol for the upper automotive crust.  Read More

The Shelby Cobra replica 3D-printed by ORNL is designed as a rolling automotive laboratory...

It stands to reason that if you had a big enough 3D printer, one of the first things you would do is print a replica of a vintage 1965 Shelby Cobra sportscar, and that's what the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) did for the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. The result of a project that took only six weeks from conception to finished product, the vehicle not only celebrates the Shelby Cobra's 50th anniversary, but also acts as a demonstration of modern additive manufacturing and rapid prototyping technology.  Read More

The pact will produce a zero-emissions vehicle (Image: Nissan)

It may seem akin to an alliance between a railway and a submarine manufacturer, but Japanese automaker Nissan has signed a pact with US space agency NASA to develop self-driving cars. The five-year agreement announced last week covers a partnership on research and development of autonomous vehicle systems and their commercial applications.  Read More

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