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Bicycles

Bike mechanic pedals his workshop to clients' homes

For many people, commuting by bicycle is a fun, economical and healthy way of getting around. When their bike breaks down, they throw it in their car, drive it to the shop, then drive for several days until it’s fixed. Some bicycle commuters, however, don’t own cars. These people can’t drive their bike to the shop, and have no independent means of transportation as long as their two-wheeler is gone. It is for people like these – and others – that Wyse Cycles exists. As far as its owner Ben Wyse knows, it’s America’s only self-propelled mobile bicycle repair service.Read More

Motorcycles

Roper Steam Cycle set to become most expensive motorcycle ever sold at auction

One of the world's most valuable motorcycles will go under the hammer early next year. Built by Sylvester H. Roper, one of two people with legitimate claims of having invented the motorcycle. Though built in 1894, 27 years after the first Roper Steam Motorcycle, the machine is one of a very small number of motorcycles built by Roper (around nine), and was ridden by him regularly before his death in 1896. The Roper Steam Cycle hence has a provenance of massive historical importance, and is expected to establish a new world record for a motorcycle sold at auction in Las Vegas on January 12 – 14.Read More

Space

Complex organic matter discovered throughout the Universe

Researchers at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) claim to have solved the mystery of “Unidentified Infrared Emission features” that have been detected in stars, interstellar space, and galaxies. For over two decades, the most commonly accepted theory regarding this phenomenon was that these signatures come from polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) molecules - simple organic molecules made of carbon and hydrogen atoms. Now HKU researchers say the substances generating these signatures are actually complex organic compounds that are made naturally by stars and ejected into interstellar space.Read More

Automotive

Fuso unveils 'Super Great' heavy-duty hybrid truck concept

With the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show just a month away, commercial vehicle manufacturer Mitsubishi Fuso has provided a preview of its new heavy-duty hybrid truck concept that will be on display. With the recognizably Japanese moniker of the "Super Great HEV" (Hybrid Electric Vehicle), the truck features a conventional diesel engine, an electric motor/generator, lithium-ion battery and related control software that come together to provide what Fuso claims is an increase in fuel efficiency of as much as 10 percent over conventional diesel-only powered vehicles. Read More

Environment

Research unveils extensive U.S. geothermal resources

As a green energy source, geothermal heat is tough to beat, but until recently, it was believed to be economically feasible only in areas with shallow tectonic (volcanic) activity. Now, with a generous grant from Google.org, the search engine giant's philanthropic arm, two scientists from Southern Methodist University (SMU) have pooled together the results from more than 35,000 data sites to paint a very different, almost rosy, energy picture for the United States and, indeed, the world. Read More

Music

The US$10,000 WA-234 headphone amplifier

Actually it's two US$5,000 amps because these rather spectacular looking beasts are mono-blocks. They are two completely separate, but matched, mono amplifiers. Now it's no secret that the world of audiophile hi-fi sound systems can be a place of strange voodoo and esoterica - where the Law of Diminishing Returns becomes a way of life for deluded males of a certain age (never women it seems) but let's check our cynicism at the door for the moment. There is something interesting going on here and it may just turn out that at $10,000 for the pair, these amps are a (relative) bargain.Read More

Children

Crossbow Snow Launcher goes one up in 'cold war' arms race

With winter fast approaching in the northern hemisphere and snowbound hostilities due to recommence in neighborhoods across the globe it might be worth updating your arsenal with this Crossbow Snow Launcher from The Sharper Image. With the ability to shoot snowballs distances of up to 60 feet (18 m) the device is sure to give you the upper hand in any Hoth-like conflict without the risk of tearing a rotator cuff.Read More

Around The Home

Food Finish - edible food coloring in a spray can

German-based company The Deli Garage has introduced a new addition to its lineup of edible products. Perfect for when you're expecting a Bond villain for dinner or just want to give that roast chicken a truly golden finish, the company is now selling Food Finish coloring spray that lets you coat your meal in a varnish of gold, silver, red or blue.Read More

Robotics

Robotic system designed to perform delicate eye surgery

By now, many readers are probably familiar with the da Vinci robotic surgery system. It allows a seated surgeon, using a 3D display and hand controls, to operate on a patient using robotic arms equipped with surgical instruments. Not only does the system allow for more laparoscopic surgery (in which surgical instruments access the inside of the patient’s body through small incisions, instead of one large opening), but it even makes it possible for the surgeon and the patient to be in separate geographical locations. Now, a researcher at the Netherlands’ Eindhoven University of Technology has developed a similar system, designed specifically for operations on the eye.Read More

Mobile Technology

Touch typing for the iPad with the TouchFire screen-top keyboard

For touch-typists like myself, tablets such as the iPad present a bit of a problem. I still need a little more tactile feedback to my fingertips than the virtual keyboard can offer, if I'm going to speed through my messages without making errors. When veteran computer designer Steve Isaac was left similarly wanting, he decided to get creative. Along with Seattle product designer and mechanical engineer Brad Melmon, Isaac has designed a transparent, flexible faux keyboard that lays on top of the iPad's virtual keyboard to give users the familiar feel of notebook-like raised keys.Read More

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