After a misspent youth at law school, Noel began to dabble in tech research, writing and things with wheels that go fast. This bus dropped him at the door of a freshly sprouted Gizmag.com in 2002. He has been Gizmag's Editor-in-Chief since 2007.
The 110th National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Show wrapped up on Sunday at the Anaheim Convention Center in California. With upwards of 1400 exhibitors and a record breaking 95,709 registered attendees, the trade-only show delivered four days of the most mind-boggling array of musical hardware (and software) that you're likely to see anywhere. We've already reported on some of the outstanding innovations
we encountered - and there's more to come - but in the meantime we hope this photo journal
will give you a taste of the musical wonderland that is the NAMM show floor.
Guitarists don't like to be parted from their guitars. Even as a rank amateur, I get a nagging itch in my fingers after a couple of axeless weeks on the road. But guitars take up a lot of space and they are expensive to haul with you on a plane, so I often find myself seeking out music shops just so I can have a noodle. It's exactly this kind of affliction that PocketStrings is designed to address. It's not an instrument and it doesn't make a sound, but this portable mock-up of the first four frets of a guitar could help you satisfy the playing itch as well as giving beginners and more experienced players a take-anywhere tool on which to practice chords and build finger strength while keeping your calluses tough.
We cast a wide net over all types of new and emerging technologies here at Gizmag.com - some save us time, some keep us connected, some help us stay healthy and some are just plain fun, but at the core of what we cover are those discoveries and innovations which have the potential to impact the fortunes of the human race as a whole and make a difference to the future of our planet. So with the calender having rolled over into another year, it's an ideal time to take a look back at some of the most significant and far-reaching breakthroughs that we saw during 2011.
We were mightily impressed by BMW's S1000RR superbike the first time round
, now the German manufacturer has announced the S1000RR mark II. Power and maximum torque figures remain at 142 kW (193 hp) and 112 Nm on the revised superbike with the mostly subtle changes centered on improving response, power delivery and handling. The torque curve, throttle response and suspension have all been tweaked along with the (very effective
) ABS and Dynamic Traction Control systems. Externally, the 2012 SS1000RR gets an upgraded instrument cluster, revised rear-end, redesigned side panels with the addition of two winglets for improved aerodynamics and a new range of colors.
When we first took the Zero S electric motorcycle for a spin
our verdict was that while great fun to ride, impending advances in battery technology will mean that this - and other electric bikes - will only to get better from here ... and they are. Zero Motorcycles has announced a complete overhaul of every model in its 2012 range of electric two-wheelers with new powertrains and upgraded power packs that promise greater longevity, speeds of up to 88 mph (142 km/h) and a significantly improved range in excess of 100 miles (160 km) for the street-oriented models.
A vehicle that runs on air. It sounds like a fantastic idea, but energy is still needed to compress the air and the losses that go hand-in-hand with converting energy still have to be taken into account, just as in fossil fuel-based propulsion systems. Pros and cons aside, we still haven't seen air powered transport
make an impact in the race to find economic, environmentally-friendly ways to get from A to B. Industrial Design student Dean Benstead thinks that compressed air does have a role to play in the future transport mix, and he's designed a working air-powered motorcycle prototype with a view to exploring the viability of the platform.
Team Tokai has just reached the finish line in Adelaide, Australia, to become the winner of the 2011 World Solar Challenge. The victory makes it back-to-back wins for the Japanese team which took out the previous event in 2009
The F-35B Joint Strike Fighter (JSF
) has successfully made its first at-sea vertical landing. With Marine Corps test pilot Lt. Col. Fred Schenk at the controls, the short-take-off-vertical -landing (STOVL) variant of the F-35 touched-down on the deck of the USS Wasp on October 3 as part of an initial two week ship-trial period in which the aircraft's take-off and landing capabilities will be evaluated along with its ability to integrate with the ship's flight deck operations.
Advancing solar technology is a trade-off between the efficiency of the cells themselves and the cost of producing and installing them. Quantum dot solar cells
, which use nanoscale semiconductors to produce electricity, promise low-cost production and, because they can be sprayed or painted on, big benefits in terms of installation. In the efficiency stakes quantum cells don't score as well as silicon-based or CIGS solar cells
, but a new efficiency record for colloidal quantum dot solar cells represents a big step towards narrowing the gap. This breakthrough isn't about the quantum dots though, it's about the wrapping.
Practicality tends to take a back seat when you combine sci-fi cult status with custom chopper building - and there's no room for a pillion passenger on the Lightcycle. We first spied Parker Brothers Choppers Lightcycle project
last year when it surfaced in gas-powered form, now the company has released video of a fully-electric version of the neon-packing two-wheeler in action. The electric motor may be quieter, but this one's still guaranteed to turn heads.