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Nick Lavars

Nick Lavars
Nick was born outside of Melbourne, Australia, with a general curiosity that has drawn him to some distant (and very cold) places. Somewhere between enduring a winter in the Canadian Rockies and trekking through Chilean Patagonia, he graduated from university and pursued a career in journalism. Having worked for publications such as The Santiago Times and The Conversation, he now writes for Gizmag from Melbourne, excited by tech and all forms of innovation, the city's bizarre weather and curried egg sandwiches.

There was more than a touch of irony about the University of Melbourne's old architecture building. As the breeding ground for generations of Australia's designers and builders, the plain brick building had come to be known as one of the campuses most drab and uninspiring structures. But a simmering discontent boiled over in 2009, when the university announced plans to knock it down and start again. Now standing in its place is a multi award-winning building that's as visually arresting as it is environmentally-friendly. The Melbourne School of Design places a premium on sustainability and collaborative education, and through an inventive architectural approach it has married the two to produce a truly unique learning environment.

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Quadcopters have shot to fame on the back of their remarkable agility and versatility, but not everybody is bowing at the altar of four-rotored supremacy. In a marked departure from popular drone design, US startup Ascent Aerosystems has developed a two-prop aerial vehicle with a HD-quality camera and cylindrical form that's designed to be conveniently slid into a backpack when you're headed outdoors.

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Micro-drones may be versatile in the air, but carry one in your pocket or bag and you run the risk of damaging its propellers. While carry cases are available for a number of models, some are catering to the micro-drone class with arms that fold away for safe storage. Two Swiss roboticists are the latest to take this approach, with a palm-sized quadcopter that spreads its wings and springs to life in less than a second.

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A team of big picture-thinking researchers has developed a novel way of creating stable time-lapse videos by sewing together millions of public photos taken from the internet. The resulting sequences document everything from retreating glaciers to the construction of Las Vegas skyscrapers, without the team even needing to leave the lab.

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As part of its ongoing effort to eschew animal testing of its products, L'Oréal has teamed up with bioprinting company Organovo to develop 3D-printed skin tissue for that very purpose.

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An injured sea turtle has become the unlikely beneficiary of 3D printing technology. After being seriously wounded in an encounter with a boat propellor, the turtle is now on the road to recovery thanks to an imaginative medical team.

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When it comes to trusted audio equipment names, few match the reputation of industry stalwart Bose. Since the company first dipped its toes into the tranquil waters of noise-cancelling gear in 2000, it's over-ear QuietComfort headphone line has evolved to become recognized as some of the best in the business. So how well will its latest offering, the QuietComfort 25's, live up to this legacy? Read on, as we try Bose's newest cans on for size.

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Despite its reputation as one of the safest countries in the world, Japan isn't immune to the problem of violence towards women. And is so often the case, alcohol is often involved. In an effort to raise awareness and force a shift in the attitudes of boozy bar hounds, the Yaocho Bar Group nightspot chain has designed a series of coasters with portraits of Japanese women that reveal facial injuries in reaction to having cold drinks placed on them.

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Keeping track of crop health is an overwhelmingly tough ask for farmers, and things are only likely to get tougher with predictions of huge yield drop-offs in the coming decades. With a freshly-inked US$100,000 cheque tucked under its arm courtesy of MIT, startup RaptorMaps plans to get crop-mapping drones into the air this summer to better track their health and give farmers' harvests a boost.

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As we count down the days to its historic flyby of Pluto, NASA's New Horizons probe has moved within sight of all members of the dwarf planet's system. This has enabled it to return the first images of its smallest moons Kerberos and Styx, and signals the beginning of the spacecraft's hunt for unknown moons and rings in the region.

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