2015 Detroit NAIAS Auto Show
Solara Field Tracker 2100 - handheld GPS with text messaging

The USD$880 Solara Field Tracker 2100 is a handheld GPS with text messaging – no voice, no video, no apps, just text. This may not seem a particularly enticing value proposition, particularly when you consider the USD$30 a month subscription fee, but wait … there's more! As it operates over the Iridium satellite network, which offers truly global coverage, it means you can stay in touch even if you're trekking the Himalayas, or the Silk road or Antarctica. Throw in extreme ruggedness, automatic position reporting and a two-way Emergency Alert notification system and it's a very compelling proposition if you're an adventurer who enjoys getting well off the beaten track.  Read More

Gizcast 7: Great inventions - the AK-47

This week, we take a look at the fascinating story of how Mikhail Kalashnikov's AK-47 assault rifle came to be the world's most popular firearm, with as many as 75 million units currently in service around the globe. Throw an AK-47 into a combat zone, and David suddenly starts beating Goliath - it's become a powerful political symbol of strength in the face of invasion or repression. It's the most successful killing machine in history, which is a horrifying achievement and obviously not something to be applauded, but with reference to its impact on humanity it is, sadly, among the greatest inventions of the 20th century. Also, Geoffrey Baird has been surfing away in his sound booth this week, and he's dug up 5 oddball gadgets for our weekly roundup.  Read More

IASUS 500K Series Special Ops Headset System for the iPhone and Blackberry

IASUS Concepts may not be well known to mobile phone consumers, as it has largely operated in the military marketplace until now, making specialist headsets, throat microphones and similar special operations paraphernalia. Its anonymity might soon be short lived thanks to its latest 500K Series Headset targeted at iPhone and Blackberry power users. Its Special Ops look is no accident as the 500K is adapted from standard issue FBI, CIA, and secret service earpieces, and is the first to introduce an acoustic coil earpiece to the mobile platform.  Read More

Enjoy a night in front of the Jelly Fish router

There are exceptions, but for the most part routers are decidedly unglamorous, which is why they are generally secreted away under a desk or otherwise hidden from view. With the Internet now so much a part of daily life they are almost invisible. So long as their lights keep flashing to provide us with our Internet fix we don’t even notice them. Now the UK’s largest broadband provider, TalkTalk, has asked Goldsmiths, University of London to give the humble router a face-lift with their vision of what the routers of the future might look like – and they’re probably not what you expected.  Read More

The Polaris Breeze

Polaris has announced a low emission electric powered Neighborhood Vehicle, the Polaris Breeze, the first product of its new On-Road Vehicle Division. The Breeze is designed for multiple consumer uses such as golfing, comfortably transporting up to four passengers, or easily carrying light cargo loads. The vehicle is targeted towards master planned communities, and will be available in limited quantities in September 2009. Perhaps more importantly, now that electric vehicle manufacture has been added to the company skills base, what other electric capability might be added to other Polaris products?  Read More

MoGo TALK Bluetooth Headset

Being on the road with a laptop has been a bit of a nightmare in the past. A nightmare of cords, chargers and fiddly bits of equipment. Newton Peripherals has previously attacked this problem with its tiny Bluetooth enabled mouse, but now the company has turned its attention to headsets, producing a tiny device that weighs 9 grams, is about a third the size of a credit-card, and so thin – at 5 mm - that it can be stored and charged inside a laptop’s express card slot.  Read More

The rough and tumble ready SimpleTOUGH USB drive

It seems ‘rugged’ is the new black when it comes to external hard drives. Following the acquisition of SimpleTech, Hitachi has released a rugged portable USB drive under that brand - the SimpleTOUGH. The new drives are designed to endure some serious punishment with a rubberized body that's engineered to withstand a 9.8 foot (3 m) drop and take the pressure of a one-ton truck. The units also include an integrated, flexible, foldaway USB cable so the forgetful among us won’t get caught short.  Read More

Ordinary plants struggle to grow in saline conditions while the modified plants thrive in ...

Salt might be great with popcorn and peanuts, but it’s not so good with soil. The U.N. estimates that the world loses at least three hectares of arable land every minute because of soil salinity. Most crops simply can’t cope with too much salt. Which is why a breakthrough by a team at the University of Adelaide in Australia could have a profound effect on the food supplies of our future: they’ve found a way to genetically modify plants to become more salt tolerant.  Read More

First-ever flexible ceramic heat shield material

Take note of the name ZircoFlex, because it will most likely, in our not-so-humble opinion, immediately become part of the lexicon and bag of tricks of every automotive, marine, aerospace and industrial manufacturer, fabricator, constructor, inventor and race engineer on the planet. We've previously written about Zircotec’s plasma sprayed ThermoHold coatings, which when applied to the surface of metallic and composite components can reduce surface temperatures by up to 33 percent. Until now, the process has had two major limitations being the need to treat parts directly using 14000ºK plasma sprays and the natural brittleness of ceramic coatings which has limited their use up to rigid substrates. Patent-pending ZircoFlex™ is a flexible ceramic heat shield material that will be available in a roll, offering a low-cost, easy-to-apply solution to the thermal protection of vital engine components. The product is set to revolutionise the use of ceramic materials for heat protection in a wide range of applications.  Read More

The ECCO keyring GPS locator

Thanks to personal navigation systems, the days of getting completely lost whilst out wandering are well and truly behind us. GPS navigation systems can now show you 3D representations of your surroundings, give you multiple routing options and can even let you know if there's a good restaurant nearby. You can buy units to mount in your car, on your bike or on your wrist and can now even get GPS capabilities in most modern mobile phones. But if all you want is to be able to find your way back to where you started from as quickly and easily as possible then the ECCO personal GPS navigator might be of interest.  Read More

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