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Fuji’s new eco-friendly, long-lasting, guilt-free  EnviroMAX batteries

Despite promises of portable alternative power sources, batteries still rule the roost and apart from being a costly form of energy, we all know that we’re contributing a little bit more to the planet’s indigestible waste with each one we purchase – until now! Fuji is announcing a new line of eco-friendly, high performance consumer batteries at CES. EnviroMAX batteries do not contain cadmium or mercury or any ingredients harmful to the environment, are packaged with recycled paper and fully recyclable PET plastic and can be disposed of through normal waste systems or in landfills as they degrade. Fuji is claiming equal or better performance/longevity to the major equivalent brands, and an affordable price. They’re due in stores in April. Stay tuned for more info when we get our hands on a set.  Read More

 The Magpul FMG9 Netbook-sized Folding Machine Gun

You can’t always judge a book by its cover and the Netbook-sized Magpul FMG9 is about as deceptive as they come. It looks like an industrial torch or a portable radio, and will fit in a girl’s handbag or the back pocket of a pair of jeans. One click later, the spring-assisted deployment mechanism snaps and you have a sub machine gun ready to fire. The innocuous FMG acronym stands for Folding Machine Gun and its small size and lightweight polymer casing belie its firepower - folded it holds 31 9x19 mm NATO rounds in a Glock magazine and although the prototype was only semi-automatic, a fully automatic version will almost certainly be available if production goes ahead. What’s the bet Q hands one of these to 007 in the next movie?  Read More

Audience response app for iPhone/iPod Touch

The Apple iPod/iPhone/iTunes App Store ecosystem is producing some remarkably useful tools for life, work, play, and now education. A free app for the iPhone or iPod Touch from ResponseWare transforms them into wireless, interactive audience response tools that could transform the way people learn and collaborate in many environments. The app allows alphanumeric entry for single response, multiple response, fill-in-the-blank and essay questions and the diversity of response types it offers enhances a presenter’s communication options. It displays the question and answer choices on the iPod/phone during polling and participants logged into an interactive session can review previous polls as well as instant message the leader/ with questions and feedback. Beyond education, we also see the platform getting a serious workout in any collaborative environment as a way of exploring and responding to the needs/views of an audience in any forum. This idea has legs!  Read More

Image copyright Steb Fisher photography

Australia’s Macquarie Speed Sailing Team is seeking ratification of a new World Sailing Speed Record set on December 19, thereby claiming the title of the world’s fastest sailing boat. Macquarie Innovation was timed over the 500m qualifying course at 48.57 knots and recorded speeds in excess of 51 knots during the 20 second run on December 19, 2008. It is expected that the final ratified speed will be reduced to 48.15 knots due to tidal influences experienced on the course – albeit still the fastest speed ever recorded by a sailing boat. What makes the attempt so significant is the boat’s remarkably efficient use of wind energy – the speeds were recorded in just 17 kt winds, and when the team gets the 20 knot winds it has been waiting for, the outright record of 50.57 kts set by French kite-boarder Alexandre Caizergues in Namibia on October 4, 2008 will almost certainly be bettered.  Read More

Honda's Hybrid Billboards

Primary among Honda’s brand values are its role as a leader in creating low emission, fuel efficient vehicles, and its most recent promotional efforts have taken Hybrid technology to new heights, quite literally. The massive billboards featuring the new Honda Accord Euro are illuminated by green solar power; with green energy electric backup. Just like a Hybrid. Outdoor advertising specialists, APN Outdoor have installed solar panels on several of the billboards being used in the Australian launch.  Read More


 Image courtesy of Allard Owner Club

Fear of the unknown often prevents us from fulfilling ambitions, and one aspiration common to many males is to lovingly restore an automobile. Coming up in Coventry in March is a rare opportunity to see how it’s done from go-to-whoa when a team of experts will restore a mid-1940s Allard L Type to its former glory on the Race Retro 2009 show floor in just three days. Sheet metal experts Contour Autocraft will demonstrate how to repair and recreate steel panels for the body, Jonspeed Racing will be rebuilding engines and restoration experts David A.C. Royle and Co will offer a unique insight into the craft of Ash Frame making. For those who appreciate craftsmanship, it’s an absolutely unique opportunity to time-lapse a process normally undertaken over years into a three-day tertiary course in rare craftsmanship, not to mention a weekend of auto nostalgia for the lads.  Read More

Lunacy Robot Game could inspire a generation

January Lunacy is an international seat-of-the-pants learning game with the promise to inspire a generation. At yesterday’s Kick Off, 1700 international teams were given the rules and a kit of parts - motors, batteries, a control system, and a mix of automation components – but no instructions. The students have six weeks to design, build and program their robotic athlete ready for play on the low-friction playing surface. In each 135 second match, the robots score points by picking up 9" balls and dropping them in trailers hitched to their opponents. Lunacy ticks all the boxes for building important life skills – collaborative learning and adapting on the fly under deadline conditions with measurable results. With 42,000 high-school students from as far afield as Brazil, Germany, Israel, Turkey and the Philippines, the FIRST Robotics Competition is an evolving engineering talent showcase with the potential to become a TV sport with the international appeal to rival F1 one day. FIRST also runs the FIRST LEGO League for 9-14 year-olds, and the Junior FIRST LEGO League for 6 to 9 year-olds. The aim of this life-changing program is to inspire young people to become individual economic stimulus packages and pursue opportunities in science and technology.  Read More

Audi R8 V10 becomes first all-LED car

The order books have opened for the 196mph Audi R8 making it the first car in the world with all-LED (light emitting diode) headlamps, daytime running lights and turn indicators. LEDs are the headlight of the future due to their power, homogenous light distribution and the agreeable, daylight-esque colour and Audi can rightfully boast a technological edge with headlights four times more energy efficient than halogen headlights in addition to having a practically indefinite service life. LEDs can be made more or less bright electronically and hence able to be precisely adapted to conditions. In the future, headlights will react to variables such as weather conditions, speed and the distance between vehicles. Audi already has a pre-production headlight which offers exceptional visibility at night without irritating oncoming drivers, by measuring the distance of the approaching vehicle and adapting the shape of the beam continuously.  Read More

Load video and MP3s while charging your Electric Car

Panasonic plans to unveil a networking system that can exchange data between an electric car and home devices via electrical wiring at January's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The electric car networking prototype allows people and devices inside the home to check on an electric vehicle while it is being recharged. It will be one of several research developments on show at the HD-PLC Alliance stand in the Las Vegas Convention Center's South Hall, Panasonic says. Other prototypes will include an HD-PLC adapter for a security camera and an electrical monitoring system.  Read More

A nine inch iPod Touch?

Rumours surrounding Apple’s plans are in abundance right now, but what awaits us at the last Apple MacWorld keynote address next Tuesday is still no certainty. There’s a lot of speculation about the possibility of an iPhone Nano being announced, and a more recent rumour has been kickstarted by TechCrunch (which it reports to have substantiated from three sources), suggests there’s a much larger iPod Touch in the works, with a seven inch or even a nine inch screen (up from the current 3.5 inches). Ironically, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who recently joined the board of Axiotron, producers of the only existing Mac tablet, the 13.3-inch Modbook, will be presenting new hardware for the company at Macworld too. Could a nine inch upspecced iPod Touch with its multitouch interface become the weapon with which Apple finally goes to battle in the low priced netbook market?  Read More

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