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— Health and Wellbeing

Discovery of natural antibody offers hope for a near-universal flu vaccine

Every year in the lead up to flu season, those at high risk of infection, such as the young, the elderly and those who are immune-compromised, head off to the doctor for a jab in the hopes it will protect them from the flu. However, influenza vaccines have a number of shortcomings that means even those who have been vaccinated may still get influenza. Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute and Dutch biopharmaceutical company Crucell have now found a broadly acting antibody that could lead to a single, near-universal flu vaccine to replace annually changing vaccines. Read More
— Holiday Destinations

Mexico's recycled concrete tube hotel

Though the idea of sleeping inside a concrete tube probably doesn't sound that appealing, architect firm T3arc have found a way to make sleeping inside a pipe not only comfortable but also a holiday experience. Mexico's Tubohotel, which opened in 2010, is a unique and affordable holiday destination created from recycled concrete tubes. Located approximately 45 minutes south of Mexico City in the village of Tepoztlan, Morelos, the rooms of the hotel are stacked in a pyramid shape, reflecting the Aztec pyramid of El Tepozteco that overlooks the town. Read More
— Good Thinking

Dairy-free ice cream alternative developed for allergy sufferers and vegans

While the researchers at Fraunhofer have been toiling away on all manner of important technologies, from electric vehicles and printable batteries to antibacterial film and water conservation technologies, it's good to see they've also turned some of their expertize towards the equally important task of bringing the joy of ice cream on a summer's day to those with a milk allergy or lactose intolerance. A new plant-based ice cream alternative developed by Fraunhofer researchers called Lupinesse has already hit store shelves in Germany and is apparently pretty close to the real thing. Read More
— Urban Transport

App designed to make travel by public transit easier

We know how it is ... you would use public transportation more often, but it’s such a hassle trying to figure out which bus, train or tram to take, where to transfer, and what to do if your plans are altered. In the future, however, that might not be a problem. Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems is working on SMART-WAY, a mobile phone app that would make using public transit as simple as following the directions on a vehicle navigation system – you would just indicate your destination, and it would show you how to get there using public services, updating its information in real time. Read More
— Pets

Supercollar features built-in retractable leash

The humble dog collar might seem like something that couldn't really be improved upon in any significant way, but ... what if you combined it with a leash? Well, what you'd end up with is the Supercollar. It's a polypropylene collar, with a three-foot (0.9-meter) retractable leash built into it. Perhaps not necessary in all situations, but there a few where it might come in handy. Read More
— Space

SBIRS GEO-1 Missile Warning Satellite Delivering Unprecedented Infrared Surveillance Capabilities

The first Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) geosynchronous (GEO-1) spacecraft launched a month ago, has begun delivering infrared imagery to the SBIRS ground station. The satellite includes highly sophisticated scanning and staring sensors that will provide wide area surveillance of missile launches and natural phenomena across the globe, while the staring sensor will be capable of observing much smaller areas of interest with vastly increased sensitivity. The system will massively enhance the U.S. military’s ability to detect missile launches around the globe, significantly improve technical intelligence gathering capability, and increase situational awareness on the battlefield. Read More
— Automotive

Aston Martin to produce 150 Zagato V12s at US$530,000 each

Aston Martin's new V12 Zagato had quite a spectacular and busy few weeks following its first public showing on May 21 on the shores of Lake Como (Italy) at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este where it won the award for Design in the Concepts and Prototypes class. A week later, two identical prototypes finished fifth and sixth in their class at the Nurburgring 24 Hour race, verifying that the gorgeous handcrafted aluminium and carbon fibre machines were indeed capable of holding their own in any company. So began a period of what Aston Martin termed “overwhelmingly encouraging interest from customers” which has finally resulted in a commitment to a limited production run of 150 examples of the Zagato. Read More
— Environment

Lab-in-a-briefcase designed to test for polluted soil, on the spot

In the same way that polluted water can be deceptively clear, polluted soil can just look like plain old dirt. Given the contaminants that can be left behind by gas plants, oil refineries and other industries, however, it's very important to check that the soil in an area isn't toxic, before building houses or growing crops there. Presently, soil samples have to be sent off to laboratories, where processing can take up to two weeks. British entrepreneur Ed Bell, however, has invented a briefcase-sized soil-testing unit that can be carried into the field, where it provides results within minutes. Read More
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