Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Karen Sprey

Rural students in their computer lab, using the Userful Multiplier software

In what's billed as world’s largest virtual desktop deployment, 356,800 desktops will be supplied to schools across Brazil using Userful Multiplier software, a system which effectively turns one computer into up to 10 independent PC workstations, reducing CO2 emissions by up to an estimate 15 tons per year per system and electronic waste by up to 80%.  Read More

Morris Architects Rig Resort design

Think "oil rig" and what comes to mind? Deafening noise, pounding seas, people covered in black muck and ugly metal structures? Perhaps even explosions and Red Adair, but it’s unlikely "luxury resort" popped into your head. However, thousands of decommissioned platforms in the Gulf of Mexico could in future be given a new lease of life as exclusive, self-sufficient eco-resorts that make use of renewable energy and cater for those looking for a new and unique holiday experience. The idea is catching on, with Morris Architects' program to turn a disused rig into a high-end resort experience winning it the firm a $10,000 Grand Prize in the Radical Innovation in Hospitality awards.  Read More

Designer Travis Baldwin's impression of the On-Orbit cup

Astronauts may have the very cool job of floating around in space, but when it comes to grabbing a caffeine fix, they are faced with the decidedly uncool prospect of drinking out of aluminum bags with straws. Donald Pettit was on Space Shuttle mission STS-126 when he decided enough was enough and came up with the idea of an "On-Orbit Coffee Cup" designed to hold liquid in zero gravity situations.  Read More

CLUE: Secret & Spies edition uses real-time text messages to send clues

Hasbro’s classic murder mystery game has been brought into the present day with the introduction of real-time clues via text in the new CLUE: Secrets & Spies edition.  Read More

China to get solar and wind powered skyscraper

Traditional architecture has been swept away and replaced by skyscrapers in China’s bid to modernize its cities and house its huge population and thriving business interests. Shenzhen in southern China’s Guangdong province has grown from a fishing village in the 1970s to a vibrant economic and financial centre - one of China’s most successful special economic zones. Now its skyline will be graced with a 49-storey solar-and-wind-powered tower designed by Austrian architecture firm Coop Himmelblau. The second skin of the building will be lined with photovoltaic cells and feature mechanisms to provide natural ventilation, reduce wind pressure, shade the interior from sun and display multimedia banners.  Read More

IBM Innov8 drag and drop

Pilots, the military and emergency services have been using simulations for years to teach skills in a risk-free environment where otherwise lives might be lost. Video gaming isn’t new either - the CEOs of many of today’s big names such as Yahoo and Google grew up on a diet of avatars and role-playing. But it’s only recently that business simulators and advanced video gaming have merged to form ‘serious games’ like IBM's Innov8. IBM has announced v.2, a new version that helps students and professionals hone their business and technology skills in a compelling, familiar video game format.  Read More

Febot wind charging concept

We're always on the lookout for new, ‘greener’ ways of saving or renewing energy. South Korean designers Ji-yun Kim, Soon-young Yang and Hwan-ju Jeon have developed the Febot, a small, easily-assembled portable battery charger concept that harnesses the power of the wind rather than using electricity. Place a rechargeable battery inside the Febot and stick it on the outside of a window or wall, or any other outdoor surface, using the suction cap at the base of the unit.  Read More

The Touchless Car Cover

Keeping your just-washed-and-polished car looking good longer and protecting it from the elements is a problem faced by motoring enthusiasts the world over. Enter the Touchless Car Cover: a ‘drive in, drive out’ cover that takes less than a minute to set-up and helps protect your car from rain, sun, dirt and mildew without, as the name suggests, sitting directly on your paintwork like standard covers which tend to trap moisture.  Read More

Digital Foci Photo Book

Digital Foci has released the Photo Book, a portable digital photo album in a leather-like case that lets you show off your photos and videos in a more elegant and versatile way compared with using a fiddly device like a mobile phone. The Photo Book has an 8-inch 800 x 600 LCD screen, 4GB internal memory, 2.5 hours of battery life and supports RAW format.  Read More

Smart Lite CFL

Compact fluorescent lights (CFL) are a smaller version of their long established big brothers which, despite some drawbacks such as a small amount of mercury content, have gained serious ground in recent years as an energy-efficient alternative to conventional incandescent globes. CFLs reduce carbon emissions because they convert electricity into light more efficiently and also last up to ten times longer, but the globe still reaches its used by date long before the base (ballast) section that connects it to the power socket. 3E Technologies has identified this as another wasteful aspect of the process that could be eliminated and its solution is the Smart Lite - a two-piece CFL which allows the bulb to be removed from the ballast and replaced with a simple ‘insert and twist’ operation.  Read More

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