2014 Paris Motor Show highlights

Michael Mulcahy

Ordinary plants struggle to grow in saline conditions while the modified plants thrive in ...

Salt might be great with popcorn and peanuts, but it’s not so good with soil. The U.N. estimates that the world loses at least three hectares of arable land every minute because of soil salinity. Most crops simply can’t cope with too much salt. Which is why a breakthrough by a team at the University of Adelaide in Australia could have a profound effect on the food supplies of our future: they’ve found a way to genetically modify plants to become more salt tolerant.  Read More

The Flux foldable chair folds flat when not in use but, in just ten seconds, transforms in...

For purity of design and construction, the Flux chair is hard to beat. Fashioned out of a single piece of completely recyclable polypropylene, the Flux turns itself into a flat, self-contained “envelope” for ease of transport or storage. But then, in ten seconds, it can be folded out to transform into a beautiful piece of designer furniture.  Read More

The new Honda CR-Z combines futuristic styling, sporty handling and hybrid-powered perform...

Honda has announced that the CR-Z sports hybrid will be available for sale in Japan from January of next year. First unveiled as a concept at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2007, the two-door sports hybrid is powered by Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system, which combines a small gasoline engine with supplementary power from a built-in electric motor.  Read More

A forest of nanopillars are grown on aluminum foil to produce an inexpensive and efficient...

The quest for alternative fuels has become one of science’s major pre-occupations and finding ways to cheaply produce energy from the sun is a key battlefront. Researchers at Berkeley, California, have found a way to make cheaper, better solar cells using tiny nanopillar semiconductors measuring just billionths of a meter wide. The underlying theory is that a 3-D solar cell has more surface – and, therefore, will be a much more efficient light-collector – than the usual 2-D solar cell.  Read More

Watch flowers bloom (or grass grow) with the Brinno GardenWatchCam's time-lapse photograph...

Budding David Attenboroughs now have a means of creating home-made documentaries of their own gardens with the Brinno GardenWatchCam. A sturdy little time-lapse digital camera, the GardenWatchCam allows you to literally watch grass grow, taking 1.3 megapixel macro images at intervals ranging from one picture a minute to one a day.  Read More

The Hyundai Elantra LPI Hybrid combines an LPG engine and electric motor to deliver fuel e...

Hyundai has entered the burgeoning hybrid market with a world first – an LPG-electric hybrid vehicle. The Elantra LPI Hybrid combines a four cylinder 1.6 LPI “Gamma” engine and 15kW electric motor to deliver fuel economy of 42mpg and CO2 emissions of just 99grams/km. Hyundai believes the combination of hybrid power and low-cost fuel will enable the Elantra LPI to pay its way faster than any other hybrid on the market.  Read More

An NCAR analysis of the storm that may have claimed Air France Flight 447. Its flight path...

Pilots routinely fly over remote stretches of ocean with almost no weather information, apart from a pre-flight briefing and updates every four hours. Yet this is where some of the worst turbulence and, as Air France Flight 447 tragically encountered on June 1, most intense weather occurs. The National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is developing a new system that combines satellite data, weather models and A.I. to identify and predict rapidly evolving storms, enabling pilots to avoid areas of potentially severe turbulence.  Read More

Pull the detachable arm off these ck Calvin Klein sunglasses and you'll find a 4GB USB fla...

Given the increasingly-strange places USB Flash drives turn up these days – from Swiss Army knives to penguins – nothing should come as a surprise. But it still seems odd that ck Calvin Klein would decide that what the world wants right now is a 4GB USB data storage device built into a pair of designer sunglasses.  Read More

The new Volvo B5L hybrid bus makes London's iconic double-decker very green on the inside

There’s no better way to test the realities of hybrid technology than with public transport, where significant reductions in fuel consumption and emissions are not just desirable, but a commercial necessity. London got a little greener this week with the delivery of six new Volvo B5L hybrid double-decker buses to Arriva London. The new buses are powered by Volvo’s parallel hybrid I-SAM technology which, used on bus routes in Gothenburg, Sweden, has delivered fuel savings of 30%.  Read More

Orange has announced the world's first touchscreen watch phone will be available from Augu...

Come on, be honest - wouldn’t you love to make some of those childish dreams of secret agent covert ops finally come true? Because Orange has just announced that, from next month, they’re making available the ultimate gadget: the world’s first touch-screen watch phone. The LG GD910 is 3G and video-calling capable, with in-built speaker, Bluetooth headset and full touch-screen interface.  Read More

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