Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show
Magenn's MARS floating wind generator

Wind power is notoriously flighty, particularly at ground level. Most turbine-on-a-post wind powered generators operate at around 20-40% of their rated generation capacity, simply because wind is intermittent and changes direction. But a generator situated 500-1000 feet above ground level would enjoy much more consistent strong wind - which is why the Magenn MARS system makes so much sense. It's a helium-filled rotating airship that spins in the wind on the end of a variable-length tether that also acts as a power transmitter, and it's expected to operate at more like 50% of its rated capacity. Each MARS system will be cheap and portable, which will make them extremely useful in rural, camping and emergency situations. A prototype has successfully been flown in North Carolina. A great idea that makes economic sense.  Read More

Optical fiber - fast and pretty too

When it comes to the Internet there is no such thing as too fast, and while Fiber to the Home (FTTH) technology is becoming more and more popular internationally with stats showing more than 13 million FTTH-connected homes in Japan, six million in the US, a similar number in China and nearly two million FTTH subscribers in Europe, it's only just reaching countries with lower population densities like Australia.  Read More

A coal-fueled power plant

While we are constantly covering advances in alternative energies the hard fact is that we are heavily reliant on the burning of fossil fuels to meet our energy needs - and in the medium term, given that the political will and economic benefits of finding green solutions is only just starting to gather momentum, we are stuck with them. That means we have to clean them up. We recently covered the discovery by Indian scientists of naturally occurring bacteria that convert CO2 into calcium carbonate and could be used on existing fossil fuel fired power plants and now Colorado based company, ION Engineering, have developed technology that could be used in a similar way to economically remove CO2 and other contaminants from fossil fuel power plant emissions and raw natural gas.  Read More

Maybach Zeppelin

Maybach is bringing out a reincarnated Maybach Zeppelin to spearhead its luxury saloon model range. The new model, which is receiving its premiere at the Geneva Motor Show, will represent the brand in the high-end luxury saloon segment. It will be a successor to the legendary Maybach Zeppelin, which was revered worldwide as one of the ultimate in high-class automotive engineering in the 1930s. The 21st Century model is the most powerful Maybach ever (471 kW/640 hp and a peak torque of 1000 Newton metres) and two models are on offer, the Maybach 57 Zeppelin which costs €406,000 ($521,000 USD) and the Maybach 62 Zeppelin with a price tag of €473,200 ($607,000 USD). You even get a world first perfume atomizer!  Read More

Volvo P544 under lights

It's now been 50 years since the first automobile with standard 3-point-safety belts left the assembly lines: the Volvo P544. Patented in 1958 by Volvo engineer Nils Bohlin, the 3-Point safety belt has become the most important automotive restraint system worldwide, saving an estimated one million lives so far - so it's definitely an anniversary worth celebrating. Not much has happened visually to the belt since 1958 and ongoing developments have focused on the systems that complement the belt to do its job better.  Read More

The 'rounded shiny pebble' design

It definitely looks like solar was in at the recent Mobile World Congress as, following hot on the heels of the world’s first low-cost solar-powered mobile phone, comes the first solar-powered full-touch mobile phone from Samsung. Samsung are highlighting the eco-friendly credentials of the phone, which can be charged by the solar panel located on the back, calling it the "Blue Earth" and constructing it from recycled plastic.  Read More

IBM Innov8 drag and drop

Pilots, the military and emergency services have been using simulations for years to teach skills in a risk-free environment where otherwise lives might be lost. Video gaming isn’t new either - the CEOs of many of today’s big names such as Yahoo and Google grew up on a diet of avatars and role-playing. But it’s only recently that business simulators and advanced video gaming have merged to form ‘serious games’ like IBM's Innov8. IBM has announced v.2, a new version that helps students and professionals hone their business and technology skills in a compelling, familiar video game format.  Read More

EPIC 23E electric hybrid sports boat

The low-emissions, fuel-saving benefits of hybrid technology aren't limited to the freeway and systems incorporating electric propulsion are popping up in all areas of transport. On the water we've seen hybrid tugboats and solar hybrid motor-yachts, but this is the first time we've seen hybrid technology in a speedboat. Billed as a world's first electric hybrid sport boat, EPIC Wakeboats EPIC 23E relies entirely on a silent, emissions-free electric motor for propulsion and uses half the fuel and produces half the emissions of its combustion-powered equivalent.  Read More

Samsung TL320, 12MP compact digital camera, front view

Samsung Electronics seem to be busy beavers of late, with new products landing on the shelves all over the place. The latest releases, just in time for PMA09, are the TL320 and HZ15W, the former featuring a hi-tech, hi-res three-inch AMOLED screen and the latter, a class beating 10x optical zoom.  Read More

Cover Flow in Safari 4

Apple might have one of the coolest personal communications devices on the planet at the moment in the iPhone, but in the browser wars their Safari offering is struggling with statistics showing Firefox and Internet Explorer usage way out in front, and even Google’s recently released Chrome overtaking it. In a bid to rectify that Apple has released a public beta of Safari 4 for OS X and Windows with claims it runs JavaScript over four times faster than its predecessor, 30 times faster than Internet Explorer 7, six times faster than Internet Explorer 8 and up to four times faster than Firefox 3.1 thanks to its new Nitro engine.  Read More

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