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— Electronics

Steeper project hopes to make electronic devices more energy efficient

It has been estimated that in the European Union, about ten percent of the electricity used in homes and offices goes to power computers and other electronic devices that are in standby mode. By 2020, that amount could constitute 49 terawatt hours per year, which is almost equivalent to the combined annual electrical consumption of Austria, the Czech Republic and Portugal. The European Union’s just-announced Steeper research initiative squarely addresses such concerns. Its aim is to develop electronics that operate on less than half a volt when in standby, and that are up to ten times more energy-efficient when active. Read More
— Automotive

Cobra's 7750 Platinum 7-inch nav unit for truck drivers

If you drive a truck for living, a sat/nav can be a handy business tool. With most of these units designed for car users, the market for dedicated trucking units has expanded in recent times. The latest offering from Cobra Electronics – the 7750 Platinum – includes a 7-inch screen, 3D maps and 33,000 points of interest targeted at truck drivers and according to Cobra the industry’s best last-mile routing. Read More
— Science

Adobe previews its Edge HTML5 animation tool

Pretty much since it was announced HTML5 has been touted by many pundits as signaling the death of Adobe’s Flash. Whether or not that eventuates, only time will tell but a tool being developed by Adobe codenamed Edge is only likely to fan the flames for those predicting Flash’s demise. Still only in prototype form, Edge is an HTML5 animation tool that makes it easy for web developers and designers to create animations and transitions without having to slug through line after line of HTML5 code. Read More
— Mobile Technology

Barnes & Noble unveils NOOKcolor e-reader

Barnes & Noble has injected a little color into its NOOK e-reader – 16 million colors that is. The new NOOKcolor ereader sits somewhere between the familiar e-ink offerings and a full-blown tablet with its 7-inch, 1024 x 600 color touchscreen, Wi-Fi connectivity, a slimline design which measures 0.48-inches thick and weighs at under a pound and a price point which will challenge competitors on both sides of the fence – US$249. Read More
— Environment

New solar thermal tower power plant being built that requires only sun and air

Although electrical devices have evolved rapidly over the last few decades, the plants used to generate the electricity that power these devices are still dominated by the use of steam turbines that convert thermal energy, usually from the burning of fossil fuels, into mechanical energy. Even newer solar thermal power plants concentrate the sun’s rays to heat water into high-pressure steam to drive a turbine. But with water not always readily available in locations suited to harnessing solar energy, such as deserts, a new type of solar thermal field, tower and research facility is being built in Australia that requires only air and the sun, making it ideal for parts of the world that receive minimal rainfall. Read More
— Automotive

Kapow! The home-built Dark Knight Batmobile

RM Auctions recently declared James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 to be “the world’s most famous car,” but there's no doubt another contender for that title – the Batmobile. One thing that muddies the waters a bit is the fact that the term “Batmobile” actually describes at least three different vehicles: the modified Lincoln Futura concept car from the 60s TV series, the vaguely Corvette-shaped 1989-and-beyond movie cars and now the car from the most recent two movies, the military-spec Tumbler. Michigan-based movie props artist Bob Dullam really likes the Tumbler, so he did what any of us would do in his position – he built one of his own from scratch. Read More
— Automotive

BMW pilots online car rental scheme

In a move with major ramifications for the global automotive industry, BMW has begun a pilot scheme renting its vehicles on an hourly basis over the internet. Research shows the average car is parked more than 90% of the time, indicating a terrible waste of our personal resources to buy and maintain such an underutilized capital investment. So BMW’s decision to begin renting its entire model range of premium segment cars (e.g. M and 7 series at EUR32 - US$ 44.60 per hour including insurance, cleaning and servicing through to 1 Series cars at half that rate) could accelerate big changes in the way we access and pay for our personal mobility. The 12 month 'BMW on Demand' pilot project will begin from BMW Welt Munich, with a second phase seeing the scheme extended to other locations. Read More
— Music

The Rock Lock helps protect your guitar from thieving hands

For a good number of years now my trusty Kensington lock has helped give me peace of mind when out and about with the laptop. Now Chris Goulet has created a similar safety mechanism for a guitar – the Rock Lock. Any musician worried about a prized 1959 Fender Strat walking off at a gig or party can loop the heavy duty steel wire around any fixed structure or heavy equipment and lock the other end around the neck of the guitar and then go enjoy the after show party. Read More