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Loz Blain

Loz Blain

Loz has been one of Gizmag's most versatile contributors since 2007. Joining the team as a motorcycle specialist, he has since covered everything from medical and military technology to aeronautics, music gear and historical artefacts. Since 2010 he's branched out into photography, video and audio production, and he remains the only Gizmag contributor willing to put his name to a sex toy review. A singer by night, he's often on the road with his a cappella band Suade.

Follow Loz:

— Motorcycles

Honda files patents for brand new, fuel injected two-stroke engine

Two-strokes are far simpler machines than four-stroke engines. They’re also lighter, easier to work on, and downright angrier, pumping out a lot more power per cubic centimeter of displacement, which has won them a lot of fans. But they’ve had a reputation for belching out a fair bit of smoke and unburned fuel, a situation that just couldn’t fly alongside tightening emissions regulations around the world, so they’ve fallen out of favour. But now there’s a glimmer of hope. Earlier this month, Honda submitted a patent application for a brand new two stroke motor that uses direct fuel injection for a cleaner burn and better piston cooling. We may yet see a resurrection of the ring-dingers.

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— Space Feature

State of the Game: Deep Space Exploration

New Horizons is making headlines today with its historic flyby of Pluto – and if that's caught your imagination, welcome to the tip of the iceberg! Deep space exploration represents some of humanity's most astonishing achievements, so we've decided to feature five active space missions that absolutely blow our minds. Meet the Mars Orbiter, New Horizons, Rosetta and the intrepid Voyager spacecraft in our second State of the Game video presentation.

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— Computers

Ziosk e-menus: Improving the restaurant experience for owners, diners… AND waiters

At first glance, it's easy to come to the conclusion that the Ziosk tablet heralds the end of table service jobs. After all, these faceless waiters can take your food and drink orders at any time you like, they can offer you today's specials and upsell you, they can take your payment and tips – heck, they can even entertain your kids or post a group photo to Facebook for you. So what's left for your friendly, fleshy, human wait staff to do? More of what they're best at, as it turns out.

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— Bicycles

Video: Stealth Bomber electric bike packs a serious punch

Australian company Stealth makes the kind of electric bicycles everyone would love to make if there were no government-imposed 200-watt power restrictions pooping the party. Packing 4.8 kW of peak power and with a top speed in excess of 80 km/h (~50 mph), the original Stealth Bomber is a far cry from your urban commuter – it's one wild ride. Watch Gizmag's Editor Noel McKeegan and a couple of slightly unhinged buddies put this electric powerhouse through its paces in our video review.

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— Robotics

June 2016: America and Japan to face off in giant robot combat

"You have a giant robot, we have a giant robot – we have a duty to the science fiction lovers of this world to fight them to the death." America laid down the challenge; Japan has accepted. In one year's time, the two countries will face off on neutral soil for the world's first international giant robot dual. Two 15-foot-tall steel gundam suits with one or two pilots inside, facing each other in battle. There will be guns, there will be giant swinging steel fists, and the fight won't be over until one has pounded the other into scrap. Can you hear that sound? It's the gentle foaming of a million anime fans.

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— Automotive

Ford's new split-view camera helps drivers see around corners

One frustrating thing about living in any neighbourhood that gets an influx of SUVs is that it gets hard to see past rows of tall cars to work out when it's safe to nose out or back out of your driveway. Ford is tackling this kind of problem with a new split-view camera mounted on the front and rear bumpers that gives drivers a 180-degree view from the bits of the car that poke into traffic first, effectively giving them the ability to see around corners.

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— Motorcycles

Intelligent Cranium's iC-R – the most ambitious smart motorcycle helmet yet

The Intelligent Cranium iC-R motorcycle helmet is a design concept stuffed to the gills with futuristic functionality. We're talking twin full-colour LED heads-up displays, twin rear-facing cameras, built-in Bluetooth communications, phone connectivity, voice controls, LiDAR rear-ender collision warnings, an electronically controlled LCD visor that tints itself dark at the touch of a button and a solar panel built into the top. All this for a projected expected retail price of US$1600. Can it be done?

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— Architecture Feature

State of the Game: The world's tallest buildings, now and in 2020

Like so many of humanity's greatest accomplishments, there's very little practicality behind the world's tallest buildings. They tower over their surrounding cities as gigantic monuments to human engineering brilliance, their mind-bending heights seemingly in blatant defiance of physics. Of course, they're also the ultimate status symbol for those that go beyond mega-rich – all of these buildings could be viewed as billion-dollar phallic vanity projects, and in that regard it's interesting to note that by 2020, all the top five tallest buildings in the world will be located in status-hungry China and the ostentatious, oil-rich Middle East. Enjoy our short video presentation after the jump.

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— Marine

Wärtsilä's new 31 becomes the most efficient 4-stroke diesel engine in the world

Finnish engine manufacturer Wärtsilä must be a fascinating place to visit. The company manufactures some of the most mind-bendingly enormous marine diesel engines in the world, like the record-breaking, 89-foot high, 44-foot long, 110,000 horsepower RTA96-C we wrote about more than 10 years ago. Now, Wärtsilä has another entry in the Guinness Book of Records ... for the world's most efficient 4-stroke diesel engine.

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