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Mike Hanlon

Aircraft

Hirobo unveils HX-1 unmanned electric helicopter, and promises a manned model

The Hirobo stand at the International Robotics Exhibition in Tokyo this week was full of surprises. The first was the appearance of the HX-1 unmanned electric helicopter, due to go into production before the end of the year, but an even bigger surprise was in store when you opened the brochure – details of the company's planned personal (manned) BIT electric micro helicopter. Read More

Robotics

Asahi unveils robotic draft beer dispenser for high-volume bars

Japan's Asahi brewery looks set to steal a march on its competition by developing a robotic draft beer pouring machine for high-volume bars. Connecting to the keg, the machine pours six perfect beers, taking around 12 seconds per glass with zero wastage. The machine was shown for the first time at the International Robotics Expo in Tokyo yesterday, and is expected to be available within two years.Read More

Automotive Feature

Fangio's 1954 Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrow becomes world's most expensive car

The world record price for a car at auction was smashed this month when Juan Manuel Fangio's 1954 Mercedes W196 F1 Silver Arrow sold for US$30 million, doubling the previous auction record. The only W196 outside of Daimler Benz or an internationally-recognized museum, this car won its first two starts – the 1954 German GP at Nürburgring and the Swiss GP at the uber-frightening, tree-lined Bremgarten circuit – and sealed the 1954 World Drivers Title for Juan Manuel Fangio, statistically the best racing driver in history. The following year, it was released in roadgoing form to become the world's fastest road car: the legendary Mercedes 300 SLR (aka W196S).Read More

Motorcycles

MotoCzysz wins IOM TT Zero electric bike race demonstrating 4 decades of progress in just 4 years

MotoCzysz today won its fourth TT ZERO race in a row, demonstrating just how far the electric motorcycle has come in a short time. The first five runnings of the TT ZERO event at the 105 year-old Isle of Man motorcycle racing festival suggest electric bikes will catch up to the fastest gas-powered bikes in about five years. Every practice session has seen lap speeds increase. The inaugural 2009 electric lap record was run at the same speed as the circuit record in 1936 on the first Manx Norton. This week, electric motorcycles have surpassed the laps times of Hailwood's RC181 Honda 500, Duke's Gilera, Agostini's MV Agusta fire engines, and they're about to better the Kawasaki KR750, Suzuki RG500 and Yamaha TZ750 two-strokes of the mid-seventies. Four decades of progress in 48 months. Read onRead More

Health & Wellbeing

Honda begins leasing Walking Assist Exoskeleton

Practical exoskeletons have moved considerably closer to everyday use with the news that Honda has begun leasing 100 of its Walking Assist Devices to hospitals in Japan so that it can monitor and validate their usefulness in the real world. Honda's announcement means it has joined Panasonic's Activelink Powerloader, Cyberdyne's HAL, Argo Medical Technologies' Rewalk, Rex Bionics' REX, Ekso Bionics EKSO, Raytheon's XOS2, RB3D's Hercule and Lockheed Martin's HULC exoskeletons, which are all at or close to market.Read More

Motorcycles

Honda to release $1.2 million motorcycle in late 2013

Yes, that seems like a whole lot of money for a motorcycle, but Honda will unveil a whole new production model by the end of 2013. It's an over-the-counter MotoGP racer with a target price of €1 million, and a level of power that will make it competitive in the CRT class of MotoGP in 2014. Oh, and the bike is designed to save money.Read More

BMW shows Concept Ninety R90S tribute

With BMW Motorrad celebrating two significant birthdays this year (90 years since the founding of BMW Motorrad, and 40 years since the launch of the BMW R 90 S), it's understandable that it should produce a tribute motorcycle to the most famous Boxer Twin. Hence, BMW will show the BMW Concept 90 at the famous Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este on the banks of Lake Como later today. Read More

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