Photokina 2014 highlights

Loz Blain

The University of Illionois has demonstrated a bio-robot built from a flexibly hydrogel sp...

If you're going to deploy robots in biological settings – for example, inside the body – it makes a lot of sense to build those robots out of actual biological body parts. Muscle, for example, is a very effective, biodegradable replacement for an electric actuator that can run in a nutrient-rich fluid without the need for any other power source. Bio-robotics experts in Illinois have demonstrated a walking bio-bot built from 3-D printed hydrogel and spinal muscle tissue that can "walk" in response to an electrical signal. Their next step will be trying to incorporate neurons that can get the bot walking in different directions when faced with different stimuli.  Read More

The Bizmo II, from Terra Motors, with large delivery box on the back and a smaller box on ...

The Bizmo II from Terra Motors is a small, light, electric commercial scooter with generous carrying capacity that gets a 150-km (93 mi) range out of its 3.17 kWh battery. Set to launch in Japan, the company hopes the Bizmo II will be a game changer in the urban delivery market.  Read More

Roger Linn's Linnstrument - part of a wave of new instrument controllers designed to bring...

Roger Linn's wildly successful LinnDrum drum machine was a big part of the computer-pop revolution that sucked the soul and humanity out of pop music in the 1980s. Now, he's part of a group of innovators desperately trying to get soul, expression and instrumental virtuosity back into pop music with a suite of next-generation instruments. The Linnstrument has been many years in the making, and it's now about to hit the market – a MIDI controller designed to give as much feel and expression as an acoustic instrument, but with the wild sonic possibilities available through today's synthesizers.  Read More

Ariel's Ace platform, here shown as a black bobber-style cruiser with girder-style front s...

Ariel, maker of the wild Atom sportscar, has just announced the Ace, a fully configurable motorcycle system based around a gorgeous billet frame and the Honda VFR1200 engine. It looks absolutely stunning, and it can be specified as anything from a cruiser, to a nakedbike, to a fully faired supersports machine – and altered endlessly after purchase. A fascinating concept, and the execution looks peerless.  Read More

The Sangenic Nappy disposal system: when you're tired of dealing with other people's crap

Life can be cruel, folks. Just a few weeks ago I was road testing electric motorcycles, wind in my chest hair, livin' the dream. Then, in an instant, I became a dad – well, it was an instant for me, the missus might feel differently about it. Either way, here I am, reduced to writing a road test for a diaper bin. But a fine diaper bin it is, and I have resolved to attack this new topic with vigor and passion. Ladies and gentlemen, the nappy sausage machine.  Read More

Ford's 2014 Fiesta ST: excellent fun, if a bit rude.

We recently spent two weeks with the Ford Fiesta ST – a driver's car that's all about involvement, connection and fun. It needs to learn some manners, though, as you'll see in our road test video.  Read More

Ford's Fiesta ST - one of the most involving and fun driver's cars of 2014 (Photo: Gizmag....

Ford's Fiesta ST takes a no-nonsense approach to hard-driving, hot hatch fun. Its 197-peak horsepower, 1.6-litre turbocharged EcoBoost engine is flexible and torquey, its chassis and running gear work beautifully together to connect you to the road and its stereo will read you vulgar text messages from your friends in a classy British accent. It's a winner. Gizmag spends two weeks with one of the real standout driver's cars of 2014.  Read More

Ducati's gorgeous Monster 821 looks set to displace the last of the air-cooled Monsters fr...

Ducati's iconic Monster nakedbikes are as popular as ever in 2014 – gorgeous looking Italian street bikes built for road-riding fun, comfort and simplicity. But it looks like the days of the air-cooled Monster might be numbered. Ducati today revealed photos and specs for its upcoming 821 middleweight, which seems ready to come in and replace the air-cooled 796. With 112 horses, 65.9 lb-ft and weighing just 395.7 lbs dry, the 821 looks like a great streetbike for those who believe maximum fun is found at the throttle stop.  Read More

Second Livestock: 'Cockulus Rift' project aims to improve the lives of battery hens using ... Battery hens live pretty grim lives – but what if their lot could be improved with the use of virtual reality? Second Livestock is a project that envisions caged hens being fitted with VR goggles, microphones and movement sensors to give them the impression that they're out in the barnyard doing ... whatever it is chickens prefer to do all day. If the chickens themselves believe they're free and happy, does that mean they should get the free range stamp, even though they're cooped up?  Read More

The BMW i8 - a high-performance, high-efficiency stepping stone between the oil age and th...

BMW's "sportscar of the future" is about to begin customer deliveries. The i8 is a plug-in hybrid with a short fully electric range, 112 miles per gallon hybrid efficiency and a very feisty, 357 horsepower, all wheel drive sports mode that fires it to 60 mph in four and a half seconds. It's a very clever piece of engineering and a beautiful piece of futurist auto art – a stepping stone between the oil age and the electric future. Take a closer look in our huge photo gallery and video overview.  Read More

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