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— Automotive

Volkswagen's compact Twincharger wins International Engine of the Year... again

By - June 24, 2010 2 Pictures
Volkswagen's 1.4-liter TSI Twincharger has taken out the International Engine of the Year Award for the second year running. The engine, which punches above its weight via the use of a combined turbocharger and supercharger, is only the third to take out the overall award in consecutive years (BMW in 05-06 with its 5-litre V10 and again in 07-08 with its 3-litre twin turbo). Other winners in the 2010 Awards included Fiat with its 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine (New Engine of the Year), Toyota with the 1.8-liter electric-motor-boosted hybrid from the Prius (Green Engine of the Year) and Mercedes-AMG with its 6.2-liter V8 engine (Best Performance Engine and Above 4-liter title). BMW also featured prominently picking up four gongs. Read More
— Environment

SunPower claims new solar cell efficiency record of 24.2 percent

By - June 24, 2010 1 Picture
Although we’ve seen sunlight to electricity conversion efficiencies of over 40 percent with multi-junction solar cells in lab environments, most mass-produced cells can only boast a conversion rate of around 15 percent. Now SunPower Corp., a Silicon Valley-based manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels and solar power systems, has claimed a new world record solar cell efficiency of 24.2 percent. Read More
— Medical

Researchers create 'living' lung on a chip

By - June 24, 2010 3 Pictures
Utilizing human lung and blood vessel cells, researchers have created a device mounted on a microchip that mimics a living, breathing human lung. About the size of a rubber eraser, the device was developed by a team from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital Boston. Because it’s translucent, researchers can watch the processes taking place inside of it – kind of difficult to do with an actual lung. It will be used for testing the respiratory effects of environmental toxins, aerosolized therapeutics and new drugs. Using conventional models, such tests can cost over US$2 million. Read More
— Good Thinking

New blast-proof curtain gets thicker when stretched

By - June 24, 2010 4 Pictures
OK, so first of all, how can a fabric possibly get thicker when stretched? Doesn’t that go against the laws of physics? Not, it turns out, when that material is auxetic. Cat skin and shin bones also apparently possess this quality. The University of Exteter, in collaboration with their spin-off company Auxetix Ltd, have developed an auxetic blast-proof curtain. If a bomb were to go off near such a curtain, the pressure wave would stretch the fabric outwards, thus thickening it and making it better able to hold back flying glass and other debris. The curtain is intended to be fitted over windows of buildings that are terrorist targets, or that are subject to events such as hurricanes. Read More
— Mobile Technology

Never forget that all important cord with the flipSYNC USB keychain

By - June 24, 2010 3 Pictures
One definition of the word frustrating is realizing you don’t have the right cord for the right job when you need it most - whether it be for an iPod, iPhone or one of the multitude of mobile devices that connect via USB. Presenting a simple yet effective solution to that particular problem is the Scosche flipSYNC, a keychain USB and sync cable about the size of a car alarm remote control. Read More
— Science

Human body louse genome sequenced

By - June 24, 2010 1 Picture
An international team of scientists has successfully sequenced the genome of that most majestic of creatures, the body louse. Like head lice, body lice attach themselves to human hosts and live off their blood. Unlike head lice, however, body lice can spread bacterial diseases. By understanding more about the creature, the team hopes to develop better methods of controlling it. Read More
— Computers

Anobit unites the best of two worlds for faster, cheaper SSDs

By - June 24, 2010 1 Picture
Solid state drives (SSD) have been around for some time. Unlike other data storage devices, however, their cost per GB seems reluctant to drop quickly enough to make sense economically not just to consumers, but to enterprises as well. Using a recently patented technology, the Israeli startup Anobit has announced an SSD series that makes a huge step toward making SSDs a tangibly faster and more affordable solution for the enterprise world. Read More
— Aircraft

Minix wing tip device promises 6% gain in fuel efficiency for airliners

By - June 24, 2010 9 Pictures
Fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions are huge priorities in the aviation industry – passenger airliners chew through amazing quantities of fuel. Take the Boeing 747, which guzzles somewhere around a gallon of jet fuel per second – it's clear that a percentile improvement in fuel consumption can make a huge difference to costs at the end of a long-haul flight. That's why the Minix wing tip deserves close scrutiny. It replaces the tilted winglets at the tip of an aircraft wing, can be retrofitted to any airplane, and smooths out the wing-tip vortex, reducing the aircraft's wing drag. Minix claims the design is five times more effective than a regular winglet and can save as much as 6% on an aircraft's energy costs. For a commercial Boeing 747, that equates to a saving of around 600,000 gallons of fuel per year, per aircraft. Food for thought. Read More
— Sports

ShadowBox captures all your extreme sporting moves in 3D

By - June 24, 2010 7 Pictures
No one believing your tales of gnarly moves pulled on some off-piste run? Can’t convince your friends you nailed a Spock 540 One Handed when no one was looking? Now you can prove it (or get a harsh dose of reality) with the ShadowBox – a "personal 3D sports recorder" that attaches to your extreme sporting implement of choice and uses GPS and G-Force data to record a "ride path" of all your extreme sporting moves. Ride data can be viewed immediately on the device or uploaded to a PC or Mac to analyze all your extreme sporting moves in 3D detail. Read More
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