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Noel McKeegan

Architecture

Not your average Hobbit hole: Make Architects' zero carbon underground house

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

Automotive

Tesla Roadster owner clocks-up 100,000 km

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

Electronics

Metamaterials could significantly boost wireless power transmission

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

Automotive

All-electric Porsche on the horizon (NEW PICS)

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

Outdoors

Tactical Sammich - the snack with 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

Robotics

Teaching robots to copy human movement

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

Aircraft

Solar plane's first international flight a success

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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