Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Nick Lavars

The Martin Jetpack will be used to advance technologies used in first responder services

Last year's redesign of the long-awaited Martin Jetpack was accompanied by plans to begin commercial sales in 2014, starting with emergency response services and individual sales to follow thereafter. The release date for the first responder Jetpack has since been revised to 2016, a prediction bolstered by the fresh announcement of a partnership between Martin Aircraft Company and US company Avwatch to develop air-based, first responder solutions for the US Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense.  Read More

The experimental Shinkansen maglev train topped 500 km/h (311 mph) with passengers onboard...

The Central Japan Railway Company has whisked passengers along a section of track at up to 500 km/h (311 mph) during testing of the Shinkansen maglev train. The BBC reports that one hundred wide-eyed train enthusiasts were onboard the train's first manned voyage, with trials to continue over eight days.  Read More

The Skynet concept offers a solution to the problems posed by drone delivery

With drone technology progressing so quickly, it may not be too long before they start dropping packages at our doorsteps. But proposals for how the vehicles can safely navigate fences, pets and small children haven't been entirely convincing so far. A pair of Australians believe they have the answer, with a system that sees drones zero in to drop deliveries into a purpose-built net, guided by LEDs to ensure centimeter-perfect accuracy.  Read More

New research demonstrates that action video games can result in improved learning capabili...

You're moving ever so cautiously through the abandoned village, with one eye on the radar and the other trained on the vacant window ahead. Then in an instant the enemy appears, causing you to spray your weapon in the general vicinity, guided partly by your action hero instincts but mostly by pure hope. Thinking through these video game situations may take less than a second, but new research shows it can also enhance real-world learning capabilities, enabling the brain to better anticipate sequences of events.  Read More

Skype for Web will allow users to converse with far off friends and family through a web b...

In welcome news for anybody who has fumbled around on an unfamiliar computer to download and install Skype for an important call, Microsoft has announced a beta version of the popular telecommunications application for web browsers. Skype for Web will at first be available on an invitation-only basis and for select browsers, with plans to roll out globally in the following months.  Read More

An Ebola vaccine delivered through the nose and into the airways could help reduce the spr...

Scientists have produced a single dose Ebola vaccine shown to provide primates with long-term protection from the deadly disease. What is most promising about the development is the delivery method, with the vaccine administered through the nose and lungs, mitigating the associated risk of spreading the disease through infected needles.  Read More

Virtual items collected in a game of Future Hunter-Gatherer are later delivered to the doo...

The six finalists in the 2014 Electrolux Design Lab certainly threw up some eye-catching ideas. This year's competition called on designers from around the world to conceive appliances in line with the theme of "Creating Healthy Homes." Electrolux has now revealed the winner, the Future Hunter-Gatherer concept aimed at reconnecting us with our food sources by gamifying the task of grocery shopping.  Read More

Tailio slots right in under the litter box to track weight and activity, leaving kitty non...

Persik the cat was seven years old when his owner picked him up one day to discover that his pet had shed around a quarter of his body weight. Within five days, Persik passed away, falling victim to cancer. Owner and engineer Alex Treiner began to wonder how cats' health and happiness could be monitored more closely and came up with the Tailio, a monitor placed underneath a litter box, where it keeps tabs on your feline's behavior and lets you know if something is not quite right.  Read More

The MEG greenhouse allows the user to create the perfect growing environment from their sm...

Between potting parsley, curating coriander and tending to tomatoes, a vegetable patch requires a fair amount of work and even more know how. But what if you could call on an online community to keep everything in in working order when you hit the limits of your gardening prowess? The MEG Open Source Greenhouse is an internet-connected indoor microclimate designed to tap into the collective knowledge of green-thumbs around the world.  Read More

BitBite is worn discreetly behind the ear and keeps tabs on your chewing habits

Even with the growing number of calorie-counting gadgets on the market, keeping track of how healthily we are eating requires a certain amount of discipline. We are seeing devices emerge that are aimed at automating this even further, such as the Bite Counter and the Automatic Ingestion Monitor. The BitBite is the latest take on the eating monitor, relying an a discreet ear-clip to keep tabs on every little nibble.  Read More

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