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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.

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— Good Thinking

Greaseless ball bearings: A revolutionary spin on a design that's been around for ages

By - May 26, 2015 3 Pictures

The humble ball bearing is a key component of nearly every device with moving parts, taking advantage of the vastly reduced friction you can achieve when rolling a ball between two surfaces as opposed to sliding them across one another. Now, a Japanese company has come up with a simple design that removes a key component from a typical bearing – the cage that keeps the balls separated as they roll around. Coo Space's Autonomous Decentralised Bearings don't need to be greased, and according to their inventor, this fact alone can reduce their friction by up to 90 percent compared with standard bearings.

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— Health and Wellbeing

TheraTryke combines upper and lower body exercise for paraplegics

By - May 25, 2015 3 Pictures

After taking a look at the Jet Blade hydroplaning watercraft last week, we were alerted to another senior design project from Calvin College, Michigan. A different group of students has designed and prototyped a device they're calling the TheraTryke. Aimed at those with MS, spinal cord injuries, or complete paraplegics, it lets riders use their hands, feet or a combination of both together to propel themselves forward.

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— Motorcycles Review

KTM's 1290 Super Duke R falls mercifully short of expectations

By - May 25, 2015 38 Pictures

KTM's marketing team scared us a bit with its buildup for the 1290 Super Duke R, nicknaming it "The Beast" and pointing at a truly frightening spec sheet: 1,301 cc, 180 raging horsepower, 144 throbbing Newton-meters of torque, in a low-geared streetbike with a nasty attitude. Everything about it screamed "widowmaker," the next in a long line of motorcycles that were too big, too bad and too damn much for a normal rider to handle. But a funny thing happened when I took it out to test it – it didn't kill me. In fact, despite its tarmac-ripping torque and insane power levels, it proved to be a friendly, even encouraging, bike to ride, even when you switch the traction control and ABS off. What kind of black magic is this?

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— Marine

Experimental Jet Blade personal watercraft features tilting front suspension

By - May 15, 2015 33 Pictures

A team from Calvin College, Michigan, is trying to put the "ski" back in "jet ski" with a unique kind of personal watercraft (PWC) that features three skis, a tilting front suspension system and a 650cc engine. Inspired by the dual-ski Wetbike of the 1970s and 80s, and perhaps a little by the bizarre Watercross racing movement, the Jet Blade team has completed prototyping and preliminary water testing.

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— Architecture

Urban Algae Canopy will generate a 4-hectare forest's worth of oxygen

By - May 12, 2015 14 Pictures

London's ecoLogicStudio has demonstrated a full-scale prototype of its urban algae canopy at the "Feeding the Planet" expo in Milan. This "bio-digital" structure sees fluid filled with microalgae organisms pumped around an otherwise transparent shelter to produce dynamic shade, energy in the form of biomass, and an impressive amount of oxygen, while responding to the presence of visitors to produce interesting visual effects.

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— Motorcycles Review

Video review: Royal Enfield's gorgeous Continental GT cafe racer

By - May 10, 2015 36 Pictures

Royal Enfield is going from strength to strength in 2015, overtaking Harley-Davidson in sales and growing at a remarkable rate both in India, where the brand is a revered and well-loved icon, and abroad, where Enfield's classic looks and simple, rootsy approach to motorcycling is finding favour with old-school riders and younger fashionistas alike. The Continental GT cafe racer is the fastest, lightest and most powerful Royal Enfield ever built, but it's definitely not fast, light or powerful. What it's got in spades is character. Enjoy our full review and a very tongue-in-cheek video below.

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— Architecture

Lionel Buckett's extraordinary treehouse hotel in Australia's Blue Mountains

By - May 8, 2015 33 Pictures

When we visited Australia's Blue Mountains earlier this year to feature this extraordinary clifftop cave, we had no idea that the cave itself might not be the most amazing piece of architecture on the property. Almost as an afterthought, Wollemi Cabins owner and master builder Lionel Buckett invited us down to yet another secluded pocket of the gigantic wilderness area to discover another gem: his treehouse cabin. Built around a turpentine tree and fireproofed against the harsh Australian bushfire season, it's a magical space with profoundly stunning views.

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— Motorcycles Review

Video road test: Benelli BN302 delivers the Italian experience at a budget price

By - May 6, 2015 23 Pictures

Benelli's new Chinese ownership group QianJiang knows a thing or two about manufacturing. It makes more than 1.5 million bikes a year and this production muscle has enabled Benelli to put together an entry-level machine that delivers impressive specs and great looks at a price that undercuts even the Japanese competition. A 300cc parallel twin with twin disc brakes and adjustable suspension, the Benelli BN302 should make a nice "exotic" alternative for new riders.

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