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— Robotics

For the home that apparently doesn't have everything - an interactive Triceratops

"You know what your living room needs? A giant animatronic Triceratops." Should an interior designer ever offer you this advice, well, now you know where to find such a beast. Fancy goods-seller Hammacher Schlemmer is now offering a 20 foot (6 meter)-long, 1,345-pound (610 kg) model of everyone's favorite three-horned dinosaur, that moves and growls when human gawkers trigger its motion sensors. Its price tag might scare more people than its fearsome countenance, although at US$350,000, it's probably still cheaper than cloning your own real Triceratops from amber-encased dinosaur-blood-filled mosquitoes. Read More
— Automotive

Shelby Supercar Tuatara aims for Bugatti Veyron 268 mph speed record for production cars

Shelby Super Cars has finally pulled the wraps off the car it has had under development for several years which is aiming for 280 mph. The aluminum and carbon fiber SSC Tuatara was styled by talented American designer Jason Castriota, and will run a mid-rear mounted, seven-litre, twin-turbo, Quad camshaft V8 producing 1,350 bhp. Shelby previously held the title of the world's fastest production car with the 1183 bhp, twin-turbo V8 Ultimate Aero TT which ran 412.68 km/h (256.18 mph). It bested the previous fastest, the original 1001 bhp Bugatti Veyron's 408 km/h (254 mph) but lost the title back to the French marque last year when a 1200 bhp Bugatti Veyron Super Sport ran 431 km/h (268 mph). Great image gallery on this one. Read More
— Robotics

EMYS the emotional robot

Humanoid robots are set to become a common sight in coming decades, but how can we improve the way we interact with our future robotic companions? Developing robots that - unlike the expressionless mask worn by the famous ASIMO - can convey "emotion" holds one of the answers this question. That's why Polish researchers from the Wroclaw University of Technology have developed EMYS (EMotive headY System) - a turtle-like robotic head that attempts to mimic human emotions using an array of basic facial expressions. Read More
— Electronics

Graphene coating harvests energy from flowing water

Hydroelectricity is the most widely used form of renewable energy, supplying around 20 percent of the world’s electricity in 2006, which accounted for about 88 percent of electricity from renewable sources. Now researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a new method to harvest energy from flowing water using a nanoengineered graphene coating. The new technology only produces small amounts of electricity so isn’t aimed at large scale electricity production, but rather at self-powered microsensors to be used in oil exploration. Read More
— Automotive

Upgraded 2012 model Nissan LEAF sees popular options standardized

Nissan has announced it will expand the U.S. availability of its all-electric LEAF to the Southeastern U.S. and Illinois markets. The 2012 model year (MY12) LEAF will also see a number of features previously available as optional extras now become standard, including a DC fast charge port and cold weather features such as a battery warmer, heated steering wheel and front and rear heated seats. Read More
— Science

Hydrogen found to be essential to creating better graphene

Graphene, the "wonder material" composed of single-atom-thick carbon sheets, is currently finding its way into a variety of electronic devices including computer chips, capacitors, transistors and batteries, just to name a few. It is typically created using a chemical vapor deposition process, in which carbon-containing gases are made to decompose on a copper foil substrate. The performance of the material may be limited, however, due to the fact that the individual graphene grains in one sheet are not of a consistent size or shape, and usually are larger than a single crystal. That could be about to change, though, as a new production method that utilizes hydrogen gas is promising higher-performance graphene with uniform, single-crystal grains. Read More
— Electronics

Victorinox Slim Flash bladeless Swiss Army tool is now available

A quality Swiss Army multi-tool with a knife used to be in every boy's wishlist in the past, but with the modern day road warrior's kit now taking a decidedly digital bent Victorinox Swiss Army is now offering tools that don't feature any kind of blade at all. Some tools offer just a USB flash drive instead. Victorinox has recently announced the availability of Victorinox Slim and Slim Duo USB Flash devices in a variety of color and storage capacity options. Having no blades results in being totally flight-friendly. Read More
— Music

HipDisk - bending over backwards for music

We've seen a number of weird and wonderful musical creations here at Gizmag but we have to agree with the creator of the hipDisk when she describes it as possibly the most undignified musical instrument ever. This strange interactive sonic system is made up of a pancake tutu-like disk at the hip and another above the waist which cause a sound to be generated when the two disks meet at specific points around the edge. In order to get to those points and create simple monophonic tunes or melodies, the wearer has to twist, turn, bend or stretch so that the two conductive contact points meet. Read More
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