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The featherweight foam-reinforced Tegris composite monocoque gives the emcycle the kerb we...

The potential for electric-assisted, human-powered vehicles to play a substantial role in the transport systems of the future is immense, and there has never been a better example of this potential than the Emcycle concept. The Emcycle is a tilting, three-wheeled pedelec (electric pedal assist), with a foam-reinforced, Tegris composite monocoque body, full suspension and a kerb weight of just 36 kg (80 lb). The Emcycle is initially planned as a 500 W electric assist but could easily be built in 1000 W (1 kW) and greater versions. Importantly, the Emcycle offers many of the amenities of a car (instrumentation, wipers, entertainment etc), plus weather and crash protection, and a huge lockable carrying capacity. In terms of weight, the Emcycle can safely carry 320 pounds (144 kg), including the weight of the rider, making it ideal for the citybike rental and inner urban delivery markets. A target price of US$4000 to US$5000 is envisaged.  Read More

Gizmag speaks at length to David Alden, inventor of the Recoil Winder, to learn more about...

The near concurrent rise of Kickstarter and semi-affordable 3D printing means we live in a time when it is easier than ever to be an inventor of physical things. Gizmag spoke at length to David Alden, whose spring-loaded Recoil Winder cable management device clearly struck a chord raising more than 14 times the original US$10,000 investment target. Both Kickstarter and 3D printing may have been essential to the development of the Recoil Winder, but Alden's story also demonstrates the need for good old-fashioned perseverance.  Read More

Future generations will no doubt wonder at the  carnage we have allowed to develop on our ...

It is a great irony that alcohol has been almost universally legislated into becoming man's most commonly used recreational drug, as it's also the ONLY drug that causes more harm to others than to the user. This is most evident on our roads, where even in supposedly civilized first world countries with low road tolls, alcohol still accounts for between a third and a half of all road deaths and injuries. Now France is attempting a bold solution - from July of this year, it will become law in France to have a working breathalyzer in every car on the road. Don't laugh! The world is fast running out of tolerance for the road toll and tougher laws everywhere are inevitable.  Read More

Gizmag takes an in-depth look at small modular nuclear reactors and wonders if they hold t...

This year is an historic one for nuclear power, with the first reactors winning U.S. government approval for construction since 1978. Some have seen the green lighting of two Westinghouse AP1000 reactors to be built in Georgia as the start of a revival of nuclear power in the West, but this may be a false dawn because of the problems besetting conventional reactors. It may be that when a new boom in nuclear power comes, it won't be led by giant gigawatt installations, but by batteries of small modular reactors (SMRs) with very different principles from those of previous generations. But though a technology of great diversity and potential, many obstacles stand in its path. Gizmag takes an in-depth look at the many forms of SMRs, their advantages, and the challenges they must overcome.  Read More

Kansas City mechanical engineer Don A Gilmore has developed a self-tuning piano system, wh...

A few years ago Gibson began introducing some clever new technology to a select few guitars which automatically tuned the instrument and kept it there (seen most recently in the gorgeous Firebird X). I think that it's fair to say that robot tuning has not quite been a phenomenal success, perhaps due to the fact that tuning six strings only takes a few seconds and doesn't require any specialist training. That's certainly not true of the piano, which has more than 200 strings divided between 88 keys and its tuning is, for the most part, gratefully handed over to the experienced ear of a professional technician. In the 1990s, Kansas City mechanical engineer and classically-trained pianist Don A Gilmore created a mechanical self-tuning device for the piano. From there he went on to develop a thermal system that can bring the whole instrument to tune within a minute.  Read More

The goal is to make all parts of the Dragon reusable and capable of returning to Earth und...

The private spaceflight company SpaceX declared that 2012 would be the "Year of the Dragon" - a play on the current cycle of the Chinese calendar and the upcoming tests of SpaceX's Dragon space capsule. For a time, it seemed as if SpaceX was regretting that slogan. Dragon was chosen as one of five competitors for NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) contest to develop a cargo/passenger craft to service the International Space Station. The Dragon program had enjoyed considerable success and was scheduled to be the first private spacecraft to visit and, if all went well, dock with the International Space Station (ISS). Unfortunately, with the need for more testing of the Dragon capsule delaying the launch from its original February 7, 2012 date to late March or even into April, it looked as though the Year of the Dragon was starting a bit late.  Read More

The top five biggest lemons in history - to this point.

When the likes of Jaguar, Porsche, Ford, GM, BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Volkswagen, Renault and Chrysler introduce a new model series, it is equally or more reliable than the model it replaces. Right? Wrong! New information has been released this week which indicates all of the above companies have replaced major models with less reliable models in the last decade - the worst three examples were 60%, 54% and 40% more likely to break down than their predecessor.  Read More

Gizmag examines a painless approach to password management using encrypted text files sync...

Change your password day falls February 1 (tomorrow, in other words), and it's a day as good as any other to add some beefy heft to your online security regimen. One thing to strongly consider, if you haven't done so already, is to apply unique passwords across all your log-ins. That might sound daunting, but tools now exist that make it unnecessary to remember a password again. Unfortunately, a lot of the password management software out there isn't as painless as it might be, with cluttered interfaces full of empty text fields asking for a wealth of unnecessary information. And often, they don't come cheap. But there is another, simpler way - one that involves encrypted text files and painless data-syncing.  Read More

2011 - a year in technology

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.  Read More

MT Tempera, one of the new class of double acting reversible ships, going backwards to act...

The Arctic North end of Russia is believed to hold as much as a quarter of all the world's oil deposits - an utterly monstrous economic prize, hidden in one of the toughest and least hospitable environments on the planet. Getting to this prize, and then transporting it back to refineries, is a monolithic task that requires one of the most awe-inspiring pieces of machinery man has ever built - the nuclear icebreaker. Purpose-built to the point of being almost unseaworthy on the open waves, these goliaths smash their way through 10-foot thick ice crusts to create viable pathways for other vessels - but fascinating new technologies could mean the days of the dedicated icebreaker are numbered.  Read More

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