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.
Motorcycles can be a fun, cheap and easy way to get around. They can also be bowel-loosening widowmakers with absurd levels of performance for family-car dollars. The KTM 1290 Super Duke R falls into the second category. It's a road-focused hooligan machine with a giant 1301cc engine, 180-odd horsepower and 144 Newton-metres of torque. Twist the throttle in fourth gear and it will hoist you up to well over double the national speed limit on the back wheel. On paper, this thing is gut-shrinkingly scary, so, for your entertainment, we tasked Loz Blain with riding it for two weeks.
High end cars are creeping towards full autonomy, unlocking new abilities every generation that allow them to drive themselves under certain conditions. Now, using the sensors and hardware that let the car park itself, Jaguar Land Rover has demonstrated a very nifty remote control app that lets you get out of your car, stand beside it and drive it using your smartphone. It's an incredibly handy way to get this huge thing in and out of tight parking spots, or negotiate particularly rough terrain while keeping an eye on what's happening. You can literally be your own spotter.
Priced at a truly scary US$4,250, the Leica Q looks very limited on paper. It seems like a travesty to take a gorgeous full-frame sensor and saddle it with a single, fixed 28mm lens. But the combination allows for a very compact and light design, with crazy-fast autofocus and a beautiful high-definition electronic viewfinder to go with its near-silent shutter and sumptuous optics. Yes, it costs an arm and a leg, but the Leica Q is a stellar run-and-gun street photographer's axe that delivers tack-sharp, rich and detailed images.
Australia is wasting billions of dollars of potential value by shipping its world-beating titanium reserves out of the country as raw ore. That's why CSIRO's Lab 22 is making millions of dollars' worth of 3D printing facilities available to Australian businesses in an effort to kick-start a local additive manufacturing revolution that could add billions of dollars' worth of value to the country's raw titanium exports.
BMW's crazy S1000R streetbike serves as the starting point for the latest in a string of Californian celebrity custom motorcycles. Following the release of Keanu Reeves' KRGT-1, meet Orlando Bloom's "4CYL." Designed in conjunction with Deus Ex Machina's Michael "Woolie" Woolaway, it's a retro-tracker take on a super high-tech nakedbike, but does this one hit the mark?
Trisak is a simple invention but a nice one – it's a little bum bag for your tripod that hangs off the tripod legs. Big enough to hold a lens, a second camera or a big coffee, it also collapses so you don't ever have to take it off your sticks.
BMW doesn't mess around with its concept bikes. If they make waves, the bikes tend to make it to production. People loved the Concept 90 in 2013, and it quickly became the very popular R NineT production bike. Likewise, the Concept Roadster provided a blueprint for the updated R 1200 R that was released this year. Both these concepts were debuted at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este in Como, Italy, and versions of both made it to production quick smart. So this year's effort, the Concept 101, should not be looked upon as a flight of fancy.
This simple device solves one of the iPhone's most annoying usability issues – the fact that you've got to reach all the way up to the top left corner to go back in most menus. The Halo Back is effectively a screen protector for your iPhone that adds a back button just beside your home button, and it's already been funded more than six times over on Kickstarter.
One hour of flight time, a top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph), a payload of 5 kg (11 lb) – these are big figures for a drone, and figures that are basically out of reach using today's LiPo battery technology. But German startup Yeair! believes it's possible using a hybrid system in which each rotor is driven by two motors – an electric, and a two-stroke 10cc gasoline engine. And the Yeair! team has its sights set on something even more impressive down the track – personal flight in a two-seater hybrid octocopter. The quadcopter of the future, according to German startup Yeair!, will eclipse the performance of current quads by using the fuel of the future… Gasoline. Wait, what?
For most of human history, we've lived in groups a lot larger than our family unit, and reaped considerable benefits from it. Modern urban life, on the other hand, has moved in a different direction; privacy, disconnection, self sufficiency. Eco-village communities are aiming to buck that trend, and to that end Smart Urban Villages is planning to create medium-density, sustainably designed housing communities with optional shared meals, mortgage-free long term leases and pools of shared vehicles to cut down on car ownership costs.