Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Paul Ridden

Bang & Olufsen's new 55-inch UHD BeoVision Avant television

When the first Ultra HD televisions first started to trickle into the consumer space, early adopters paid quite a premium to be the first in the neighborhood to enjoy all that eye-popping visual goodness at four times the resolution of bog standard High Definition. Thankfully, prices soon began to drop and viewers today can get hold of a good-sized 4K TV for under a grand ... unless it carries the mark of Bang & Olufsen. The Danish luxury consumer tech manufacturer today released its new 55-inch UHD BeoVision Avant television for a cool US$8,000.  Read More

Google and Intel have announced that the number of devices running Chrome OS is about to s...

The number of devices running Google's Chrome OS is about to significantly increase. At a press event in San Francisco yesterday, Intel and Google upped Chrome system designs to 20 by introducing a bunch of new computers and notebooks from OEM partners like Acer, LG, Asus, Dell and Lenovo, including a few powered by the latest generation Core i3 processors.  Read More

The Chromebook N20p can be used in laptop mode, or Stand Mode

Lenovo has followed the recent release of student-only rugged 11e laptops running Google's Chrome OS with its first pair aimed squarely at consumers. Both the N20 and N20p sport an 11.6-in HD display, but only the latter boasts a hinge that allows its keyboard to be swiveled so far back that it becomes the base of a touch-enabled screen angled for movie viewing comfort.  Read More

Snapshot from aerial footage of the aircraft in hover filmed by a quadcopter drone Advanced Tactics Inc. has now received permission from the US government to release video footage showing the first test flight of its Black Knight Transformer prototype demonstrator.  Read More

The new Life Pure XL from Blu Products

Miami-based Blu Products has unleashed a new 5.5-inch display smartphone that's reported to include market-leading processing, memory, display and camera tech. The Life Pure XL is built around Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 mobile processor, which gets support from up to 3 GB of RAM, and features a 16 MP rear-facing camera with a compact camera-like image sensor and an AF selfie snapper to the front.  Read More

The FretPen one-stringed guitar and pen

As fans of old delta blues will already know, even two or three strings on a guitar can be too many when belting out soulful music on a guitar-like instrument. Rather than changing the pitch of a long piece of tuned wire with a glass bottle or steel blade though, the FretPen uses technology to offer players three full octaves from just three frets on a real wood neck and a companion iPhone app. Oh, and it's also a pen.  Read More

The PiPhone from software engineer and photographer Dave Hunt

Since its launch and slightly delayed shipping in 2012, we've seen Raspberry Pi computers used for everything from a bartender to robots to a bizarre musical instrument. Now dedicated tinkerer Dave Hunt has used a Model B to create a touchscreen smartphone called the PiPhone, though he readily admits that it would be easier and cheaper to pick up an (arguably much better looking) budget cellphone from a shop in the mall, "but hey, where’s the fun in that."  Read More

The Drumstooled combines a kick drum, reversed pedal and height-adjustable stool

France's Patrice Bardin has come up with a stylish and eye-catching twist on self-accompaniment. Rather than stomp out a backbeat on a kick drum, home-made rhythm board or even an empty suitcase out front while thumping the strings of a battered acoustic guitar and throwing out soulful vocals, the Drumstooled is a mash up of a stool and an acoustic kick drum, with some colorful LED lighting thrown in for good measure.  Read More

Naim has unveiled the aluminum-clad Muso wireless music system

Streaming digital music around the home can be a lesson in compromise, offering convenience at the expense of fidelity. British high end audio specialist Naim says that its Muso system is different, claiming it delivers "a carefully engineered step up in sound quality and concentrates on creating the best possible experience for the listener whilst still being simple to set up and use." Taking design cues from its £125,000 (US$210,000) Statement home amplification system, but thankfully not costing quite as much, the aluminum-clad Muso treats each of its six speakers to its own digital amp for 450 W of combined power and supports the playback of high resolution WAV, FLAC and AIFF audio files.  Read More

Scott and Julie Brusaw relax on the new parking lot

About 8 years ago, an electrical engineer and his counselor wife started throwing around an idea to replace asphalt on highways and byways throughout the US with electricity-producing solar panels that were tough enough to be driven upon. The idea blossomed into a project, where the panels featured built-in LEDs that could "paint the road" with markings and warnings, and could be heated to prevent snow and ice build up. The US Federal Highway Administration paid for the couple to produce a working prototype, which they did, and then again to expand the concept into an operational parking lot setup. As the latter contract comes to an end, the Solar Roadways project has released photos of the (almost) completed installation at its Idaho electronics lab. Now the team is dipping into crowd-funding waters with a campaign to raise funds for the move into commercial production.  Read More

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