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Hot topics - the most read stories of 2009

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December 30, 2009

Hot topics - The most read stories of 2009

Hot topics - The most read stories of 2009

It's been almost 525,600 minutes since we raised a glass to welcome the arrival of 2009 and in that time we've witnessed a daily avalanche of innovation which precipitated thousands of stories on Gizmag. Though popularity is rarely an accurate measure of quality (take Governments f'rinstance), we peered into the database to create the following list of the most read stories on Gizmag during the last 12 months, and ... the medal winners are, a gun that kills hidden people, a washing machine that doesn't use water, and cure for multiple sclerosis. May 2010 be a good one for you and yours!

Here's the list of the top 20 most read stories on Gizmag for 2009:

1. XM-25: The US Army's first smart shoulder-fired weapon

The XM25 Individual Air Burst Weapon is looking likely to be the shoulder-fired weapon of choice for the US military to kill or neutralize hidden targets. The lightweight XM-25 "smart weapon" uses High Explosive Air-Burst (HEAB) munitions that can be programmed to detonate at a precise point in the air without the need to impact, spelling trouble for elusive targets, be they behind a wall, inside a building or in a foxhole. Full story

2. ‘Waterless’ washing machine cleans using nylon beads

A washing machine that cuts water usage by 90% is due to hit American shores next year. The Xeros washing machine, which takes its name from the Greek word for “dry”, cleans clothes using reusable nylon polymer beads with an inherent polarity that attracts stains.Full story

3. Italian doctor may have found surprisingly simple cure for Multiple Sclerosis

An Italian doctor has been getting dramatic results with a new type of treatment for Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, which affects up to 2.5 million people worldwide. Full story

4. New ion engine could reach Mars in 39 days

As the world celebrated the first lunar landing, Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins both called for NASA to make Mars its next goal. But the chemical propulsion system that took them to the moon would take six months, at least, to get a man to Mars and cost hundreds of billions of dollars. However, a new ion plasma rocket being developed by another former astronaut, Franklin Chang-Diaz, could potentially reach Mars in just 39 days using a fraction of the fuel. Full story

5. Scarpar's 60kmh all-terrain twin-tracked Powerboard

It's rare that you see a whole new segment open up in personal mobility - and this one looks like an absolute cracker. The Scarpar Powerboard is an off-road powered skateboard capable of taking on pretty much any terrain other than water. Full story

6. Six weird and wonderful things people have built with Twitter

For the uninitiated, Twitter is a "microblogging" service that invites you to share what you're doing with the world in 140 characters or less - and it's currently taking the world by storm, with everyone from Scoble to Shaq on board. Full story

7. US$70,000 pedal-powered submarine for two

The new underwater vehicle (UV) from Marine Innovation Technologies (MIT) will not only be cheaper to buy and run than existing submersibles, it will be simpler to operate, requiring no special training or expertise. Full story

8. Teleavia type P111 - high definition TV circa 1958

Michael Bennett-Levy talks to Gizmag about outstanding items in his collection, starting with the much sought after Teleavia type P111, a rare 1958 console-stand television by Citroën DS designer Flaminio Bertroni that was not only a hallmark in style, but also one of the earliest examples of high-definition TV. Full story

9. Yamaha set to launch hybrid production motorcycle for 2010

Back in 2005, Yamaha showed the wacky 2005 Gen-Ryu hybrid concept bike at the Tokyo Motor Show amidst a raft of other very non-conventional two wheelers such as the aptly named FC-Me fuel cell bike, the ingenious Deinonychus elec tric reconfigurable motorcycle, the Chivicker, Passol and the Maxam two-wheeled limousine. Now it appears certain the bike will become a showroom model in 2010. Full story

10. C-string makes your average thong look like grannypants (NSFW)

Does this fit under our 'emerging technology' tagline? It's hard to say. It's certainly emerging from somewhere. Ladies, if you find a g-string too restrictive, or you're fond of wearing paper-thin dresses and waging an eternal war against the visible panty line, you now have the option of wearing the above device, which is called the CString. Full story

11. New class of UAVs look more like UFOs

UK-based company AESIR has developed a VTOL UAV that has no external rotating parts, instead relying on a phenomenon known as the Coanda effect to generate lift. Full story

12. IF MODE: the sleek folding bicycle with a clever twist

In a world in which we have come to expect our gadgets to be small and compact yet deliver the benefits of the full size model, Pacific Cycles' IF Mode fold-up bike is unlikely to disappoint. Full story

13. Formula One KERS explained

The introduction of the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) that will eventually make every future Formula One race car a hybrid. KERS is not mandatory in 2009 but will be in 2010 and as a result some teams who have no chance of challenging for the world championship have opted not to use KERS immediately. Full story

14. GlideCycle: giving back independence and mobility

The GlideCycle offers a whole new world of mobility, independence and exercise to people of almost any age with disabilities and injuries. It provides major cardio benefits with virtually zero impact, is easily mastered, comfortable and fun to use, quick to assemble – and it’s affordable. So what’s the catch? There isn’t one. Full story

15. The electric cannon delivers shells over 200 miles at Mach 5

Think of the electromagnetic railgun as an electric cannon which uses electrical energy instead of chemical propellant to launch projectiles at hypervelocities. First conceived nearly a century ago, the concept was investigated by Germany during WWII, but has really only stepped out of science fiction and into reality in the last 12 months. Full story

16. Honeywell wind turbine is a breeze to run

Has affordable, practical home wind power generation become a reality? The Honeywell Windgate wind turbine from EarthTronics looks like it could be a contender. Full story

17. VIDEO: Sony crash tests PS3 into Bravia LCD TV at 50mph

What’s more fun than watching a brand new out-of-the-box PS3 slim-line console slam into a fully-functional Sony Bravia 46-inch LCD TV at 80kmh (50mph)? Well, not a lot, really, unless you get to watch it happen three times. Full story

18. Philips leads the marital aid industry out of the Dark Ages

Sexual aids have been in use for thousands of years, coming in and out of official favor in different eras and jurisdictions, and indeed, many countries still outlaw them entirely. As our understanding of our sexuality has grown, sex aids have increased in their usage, with more than 40% of European couples already using them and another 35% interested and willing, but reluctant to enter what they perceive as a seedy sex store. Now Philips has created a range of sex toys specifically designed for couples, taking the genre mainstream for the first time. Bravo Philips! Full story

19. Western Digital lets loose mammoth 4TB external hard drive

It doesn’t seem so long ago we were oohing and ahhing that an external hard drive could hold a terabyte (TB) of data, then a couple... and the march continues unabated. Western Digital (WD) has followed on from its 2TB MyBook with the release of the 4TB dual-drive My Book Studio Edition II. Full story

20. 4MC: The 20 year making of the tilting 4-wheeler

This odd-looking creation could be the start of something massive – it's the first prototype of an entirely new design of leaning four-wheeled bike which not only offers a massive increase in safety but, should it reach production, will be legal for anyone holding a car driving licence to use without taking an extra test – all while keeping the cheap road tax, good fuel economy and exemption from congestion charging that goes hand in hand with bike ownership. Full story

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