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.
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.
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.
"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.
Australia is sitting on top of some of the world's most potent geothermal energy sources, according to government estimates. Just one percent of the hot rock energy less than 5 km under the surface would be enough to meet the whole country's entire power needs for 26,000 years if it was tapped. So why aren't we seeing more movement on it?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.