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Features

— Architecture Feature

Gizmag goes inside the world's largest tunnel boring machine

On Saturday, a tunnel boring machine (TBM) so large that it looks like something out of Thunderbirds was dedicated in the city of Seattle. “Bertha,” as it’s known, is the world’s largest TBM and will spend the next 14 months boring a 1.7 mile (2.7 km) tunnel under the city as part of a US$3.1 billion project to replace a viaduct damaged in a 2001 earthquake. As part of a press tour, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) allowed Gizmag inside the giant machine. Read More
— Inventors and Remarkable People Feature

"For Special Services" – on James Bond's creator, his closeness to the CIA, and the real spy gadgets he inspired

It's one of the most memorable moments in perhaps the best James Bond film, From Russia with Love: SPECTRE agent Rosa Klebb, posing as a hotel maid, drops her gun, and appears to be at a disadvantage as she goes toe to toe with Sean Connery's imposing Bond. That is until she deploys her iconic poison-tipped dagger shoes, which have gone on to be copied in other notable action films … and Wild Wild West. But as kitsch as Klebb's cleaver clogs might seem, the CIA attempted to replicate them, and another classic Bond gadget, in real life, according to research by Dr. Christopher Moran of Warwick University. At the heart of the story is the close friendship of Bond author and Ian Fleming and former CIA Director Allen Dulles. Gizmag spoke to Moran about 20th century Intelligence, and its peculiar relationship with the fictional British spy … Read More
— Automotive Feature

Gizmag takes a ride in Volvo's most autonomous car yet

Gizmag took a trip to Gothenburg to see six pieces of autonomous driving technology demonstrated by Volvo on Tuesday. A self-parking car and a car that drives itself (albeit under certain conditions) were among the tech on display, rounded out by new detection systems for animals, pedestrians at night, road edges and barriers, as well as a behind-the-scenes car-to-car communication system. All are positioned as pieces of safety technology, Volvo's goal being that no one will die or be seriously injured in a new Volvo come 2020. But it's also clear that Volvo is deadly serious about full autonomy, and given that some of the tech Gizmag saw will be on the market next year, a driverless future feels closer today than it did when the week began. But it's a future that will take some getting used to … Read More
— Aircraft Feature

Beyond military drones – the future of unmanned flight

In April of this year, a BAE Systems Jetstream research aircraft flew from Preston in Lancashire, England, to Inverness, Scotland and back. This 500-mile (805 km) journey wouldn't be worth noting if it weren't for the small detail that its pilot was not on board, but sitting on the ground in Warton, Lancashire and that the plane did most of the flying itself. Even this alteration of a standard commercial prop plane into an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) seems a back page item until you realize that this may herald the biggest revolution in civil aviation since Wilbur Wright won the coin toss at Kitty Hawk in 1903. Read More
— Computers Feature

Google's gaming console: The latest sign that Apple's trailblazing days are over?

Apple's supposed "lack of innovation" has been a hot topic this year. Though the finger usually gets pointed at the loss of Steve Jobs, maybe that isn't the only force at play here. The recent report of an upcoming Google gaming console and smartwatch is just the latest example of a rival willing to gamble on beating Apple at its own game: seeing the future before anyone else does. Read More
— Motorcycles Feature

A day in pictures: Melbourne's motorcycle paramedics

Jason Learmonth is a paramedic with a difference. Instead of an ambulance, he gets around town on a motorcycle that's kitted out with almost every piece of clinical equipment an ambulance carries. It's part of a trial that's putting two of these machines on the road in Melbourne, Australia, for three years to discover whether the bike's ability to get into hard-to-reach places and move through congested traffic is useful enough to make it a permanent part of the Ambulance service. I followed Jason around for an afternoon to capture some of his extraordinary working day in pictures. Read More
— Space Feature

Mining the heavens: In conversation with Planetary Resources' Chief Engineer

It wasn't long ago that asteroid mining was only found in the pages of science fiction. Now, with increasing interest in the commercial exploitation of space, companies are springing up to turn asteroids from things that Bruce Willis blows up, into raw materials for future travellers and colonists. One such firm is Planetary Resources, which is currently winding up a KickStarter campaign aimed at raising public awareness about asteroid mining by offering the public access to a space telescope. Gizmag visits the company’s Bellevue, Washington headquarters and talks to the President and Chief Engineer, Chris Lewicki. Read More
— Games Feature

Top 10 most-wanted next-gen games for Xbox One and Playstation 4

E3 is always an exciting time for gamers, but this year's show proved particularly enticing with two new video game consoles mere months from release. The Xbox One and Playstation 4 have handed game developers a much more advanced piece of kit to deliver some truly groundbreaking experiences. Each company's presentation revealed titles both familiar and brand new, but these are the ones that have us most anxious for the upcoming generation of console gaming. Read More
— Environment Feature

Dodgy wind? Why "innovative" turbines are often anything but

Virtually every week there are articles about new and innovative methods for harvesting wind energy. And every week more megawatts of capacity from three-blade horizontal-axis wind turbines (HAWT) becomes operational, despite all of the contenders. Why aren't these innovative new products knocking the iconic HAWT off its perch? Is it possible to tell which are likely to be viable? These eight points are a useful way to assess which technology has potential, and which are likely just hot air. Read More
— Urban Transport Feature

How does Elon Musk's Hyperloop work?

Over the past year, Elon Musk, billionaire founder of PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX, has been floating the notion of a "Hyperloop" as a future replacement for bullet trains; one that would get commuters from San Francisco to Los Angeles in as little as 30 minutes. There has been much speculation over how the Hyperloop works, as Musk has revealed very few details. So what has Musk actually said and what might this translate to in the real world? Read More

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