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Noel McKeegan

Engineers at UC San Diego are mimicking the movement of bird wings to help improve the man...

The role of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has expanded rapidly in both military and civilian circles over the past decade and although most designs to date are miniature versions of conventional aircraft, we can expect to see much more radical examples emerge in the near future. In developing this next-generation of UAVs engineers are looking to go beyond the limitations of fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft and to do it, they are turning to nature's ultimate flying machines - birds. We've already seen seen flapping-wing micro-aircraft, robotic seagulls and even a design based on a pterodactyl. Engineers at UC San Diego are furthering this approach with research into variable-wing techniques that could result in a bird-like UAV capable of spot landing.  Read More

First sketches of new Husqvarna 900 streetbike

Husqvarna has released sketches of what is to be the dirtbike manufacturers' first ever street machine. The naked streetfighter will use the recently announced 900cc parallel twin-cylinder engine developed by Husqvarna in conjunction with its owner BMW ... and if you like your streetfighter with strong lines and sharp angles, it looks like you're in for a treat.  Read More

Planning has been granted for a unique zero-carbon underground house in the U.K.

There's more to environmentally-friendly architecture than solar-panels and thermal mass, it's also about designing buildings that are not at-odds with their surroundings - particularly if the building is in the middle of a picturesque landscape. This example form Make Architects ticks both boxes - it uses on-site renewable energy to achieve a zero-carbon design and blends almost seamlessly into the landscape by ignoring convention and, like the residents of The Shire, going underground.  Read More

Hansjörg von Gemmingen has just clocked past 100,000 kilometers (62,000 miles) to become ...

While we had all of last century to work out the niggles of internal combustion engine powered automobiles, there's still a question or two hanging over electric vehicles - such as how long will they last? Tesla Motors is the early mover in the EV arena having commenced production of its Roadster model in early 2008 and with 1,600-odd of the all-electric sportscars now in the wild, the company has a growing pool of real-world research to draw on in that will help it answer this question and improve the long-term durability of its future models. At the head of the pack is European customer number 83, Hansjörg von Gemmingen, who has just clocked past 100,000 kilometers (62,000 miles) to become the most traveled Tesla Roadster owner to date.  Read More

Duke University scientists have outlined a theory for the use of metamaterials in facilita...

The weird properties of artificially engineered metamaterials are at the core of research into invisibility cloaking, but engineers from Duke University in North Carolina suggest that these materials could also provide a boost to another of technology's quests - wireless power transmission. In this latest hard-to-get-your-head-around metamaterial scenario, it's not the cloaked object that "disappears" - it's the space between the charger and the chargee.  Read More

Porsche Boxter E prototype

Having already made the leap into hybrid drive-trains with the GT3 R Hybrid and 918 Spyder, Porsche has now delivered a taste of possible future all-electric models by showcasing two Boxster E prototype variants at the Michelin Challenge Bibendum in Berlin last week. Designed to retain the driving dynamics of their ICE driven brethren, the 4WD and 2WD prototypes are being used to investigate the integration of EVs into the company's infrastructure as well as "explore the everyday practicality of all-electric vehicles."  Read More

The Tactical Sammich has a two-year shelf life

The world's failure to end as predicted last weekend may have left many survival shelters overstocked, but if there's still a little space on the bunker shelf you might want to consider expanding your rations smorgasbord with the Tactical Sammich. Available in Pepperoni or BBQ Beef, the Tactical Sammiches have a claimed shelf life of over two years if maintained at 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26.7 degrees Celsius) or less.  Read More

Researchers in Beirut are working to improve upon past attempts at linking password authen...

There are good passwords and bad passwords, but none of them are totally secure. Researchers at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, are working on strengthening an approach to password security that's not just about what you type, but how you type it.  Read More

Fraunhofer researchers have developed a robot input device that uses inertial sensors to d...

Having two arms doesn't make you a juggler. The same principle applies in robotics where even the most dextrous of bots must be programmed to move according to a particular task. Input systems based on laser tracking are used in industrial robotics to achieve this, but Fraunhofer researchers are looking to streamline the process significantly with a device that uses inertial sensors to detect movements in free space. In other words, you can teach a robot new tricks just by showing it the required action.  Read More

Solar Impulse has successfully completed its first international flight (Solar Impulse dur...

Solar Impulse has successfully completed its first international flight. After spending most of last week on standby waiting for favorable weather conditions, the Swiss solar powered aircraft made the run from Payerne to Brussels on Friday 13 May in a flight that lasted 12 hours 59 minutes. Hats-off to the Solar Impulse team!  Read More

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