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— Aircraft

Red Bull Stratos team gets closer to supersonic freefall attempt

By - July 2, 2010 3 Pictures
Later this year, Felix Baumgartner will put on a pressurized space suit and helmet, climb into a capsule suspended beneath a balloon, ride 120,000 feet into the earth’s upper atmosphere, then jump out and – before deploying his parachute – try to break the speed of sound while in freefall. That’s the plan, at least, for the insanely-dangerous Red Bull Stratos event. If successful, it will constitute the world’s highest manned balloon flight, highest parachute jump, and fastest and longest freefall. The team conducted three important tests in the last week of May, that they just released the details of this week. What those tests entailed would probably be hair-raising enough to last most of us a lifetime. Read More
— Marine

First-ever human-powered Canada-to-Hawaii crossing postponed for a year

By - July 2, 2010 4 Pictures
Canadian adventurer Greg Kolodziejzyk's planned attempt on the world’s first human-powered Canada-to-Hawaii crossing has been delayed. Kolodziejzyk, who has set previous records for human-powered land and water travel was to embark on the two-month trip this week in his custom-built fully-enclosed pedal-powered kayak named WiTHiN. Unfortunately, however, he encountered some difficulties with the boat that couldn’t be fixed in time to make this year’s departure window. Read More
— Mobile Technology

Apple admits error with iPhone 4's signal strength indicator

By - July 2, 2010 1 Picture
Apple has announced that for years, iPhones have been using a “totally wrong” formula to determine how many bars of signal strength they are receiving. The company recently made the discovery after receiving complaints about sudden drops in signal strength, from users of the new iPhone 4. As it turns out, the signal strength itself wasn’t dropping - instead, the phones had initially been displaying the signal as much stronger than it actually was. In a letter issued to iPhone owners, Apple stated, “Their big drop in bars is because their high bars were never real in the first place.” Read More
— Motorcycles

Finally: motorcycle headlights that look around the corners

By - July 2, 2010 3 Pictures
You can't accuse BMW motorcycles of lacking gadgets - with the latest and greatest Beemers packing quickshifters, traction control, integrated ABS and all sorts of other goodies, they're right at the pointy end of the pack. But as great as those features are, this one's so forehead-slappingly obvious and excellent that frankly it's a disgrace that nobody else has beaten the Bavarians to it. The Adaptive Headlight technology on the upcoming K1600GT finally solves one of the most annoying problems on pretty much every motorcycle - by tilting the headlight according to your lean angle, to light your way around a corner as you turn it, instead of having to ride into blackness. Bravo! Read More
— Electronics

Microsoft InstaLoad lets you insert batteries in any direction

By - July 1, 2010 1 Picture
For batteries to work, they need to go in the right way. It's one of those fundamental rules that we all pick up from an early age, but Microsoft has just announced an innovation that turns all that on its head – literally. Known as "InstaLoad" battery installation, the technology allows you to insert a battery without having to worry about positive and negative polarity. That's idiot-proofing of the highest order! Read More
— Aircraft

New eco-marathon for energy-efficient light aircraft

A new annual competition in Vichy, France will take place for the first time this July in order to develop and bring attention to sustainable energy-economy in the motorized ultralight aircraft (ULM) industry. Calling to mind the wacky inventiveness of the Red Bull Flugtag, the Eco Marathon ULM aims not to achieve furthest flight through human power, but by the least possible fuel, and the competitors will undoubtedly hope to amaze more than amuse. Read More
— Automotive

Just 12 teams remaining in Automotive X PRIZE

By - July 1, 2010 1 Picture
Things are heating up in the Automotive X PRIZE, as just 15 vehicles representing 12 teams from 6 countries are left in the competition. Nine teams were eliminated during the Knockout Qualifying Stage, which took place at the Michigan International Speedway from June 20th to 30th. Ultimately, vehicles in each of the three classes will have to exceed 100 MPGe (miles-per-gallon equivalent), meet emissions and performance requirements, and complete on-road challenges in the fastest time possible, if they want to win their share of the US$10 million prize. Read More
— Medical

Non-contact sensors monitor patient heartbeats from a meter away

By - July 1, 2010 1 Picture
When rest is important to a patient, being rigged up to a heart monitor or disrupted whilst they sleep and having a cold stethoscope placed on their chest isn’t ideal. To get around this problem, a team of scientists at the University of Sussex, UK have successfully developed sensors that are able to detect a heartbeat up to a meter away. The Electric Potential Sensors (EPS) are the world’s first electrical sensors able to monitor heartbeats accurately whilst patients relax in their bed, or rest at home. This breakthrough device gives medical teams and health workers the chance to administer patient-friendly monitoring with minimum impact on mobility or personal space. Read More
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