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Toyota’s premium ultra-compact  iQ concept becomes a reality

Toyota showed its iQ Concept at last year’s motorshows, creating a new class of premium ultra-compact vehicle, capable of carrying three adults plus a child in comfort. Now, in a move that foretells a coming era of much smaller cars, the iQ is set for production in 2008 and availability in 2009. The iQ was a sensation, proving emphatically that small does not mean basic, and drawing huge crowds – the message sunk in quickly, and now the production version (pictured) offers a completely new proposition for urban motoring that is stylish, sophisticated, technically advanced and kinder to the environment.  Read More

This piece of 35mm film shows two different 2D barcodes used in film: Dolby Digital (betwe...

Barcoding is little more than half a century old, yet it has permeated every corner of civilisation. Barcodes enabled machines to recognise objects, and was the first viable technology for enabling computers to track vast systems. Barcodes saved money and time in every area of logistics, but more importantly brought order so that we could measure and analyse very large and complex systems. Now, in an ambitious initiative scientists want to apply this concept to life by using DNA - nature's unique barcode of every species of animal, plant and microbe - to create a vast library of every living organism on the planet. Such a global DNA barcode database would prove invaluable in numerous ways, from identifying new species of organism and monitoring biodiversity to detecting fraud.  Read More

 Holy Cow – the Batcycle becomes the Batpod

Comic book hero Batman has been with us for 70 years next year, becoming one of the most popular fictional characters of all time. Along the way, Batman became more technologically savvy, using wondrous gadgets such as the bat-car, bat-computer, bat-cave, bat-signal, bat-radar, bat-camera and bat-cycle to fight an array of adversaries such as the Joker, Catwoman, the Penguin, Two-Face, the Riddler, and Scarecrow. With the latest celluloid interpretation of the Batman character set for global release next week (The Dark Knight), we’re about to see another interpretation of the Bat-cycle – the Batpod.  Read More

The Anaconda device could be used in groups of 20 or more

A giant rubber tube known as the “Anaconda” may present an viable solution to the challenge of generating electricity from the power of ocean waves. Under development in the UK, the simple design means it would be cheap to manufacture and maintain, resulting in clean electricity at a lower cost than other types of wave based energy production.  Read More

Banana Guard – protecting your banana

Bananas have been one of the world’s staple foods for at least 7000 years and remain popular due to their nutritional value and instant energy boost. Sadly, for all their virtues, bananas don’t travel well and just aren’t as appetizing when they’re squashed. Now you can carry and store your banana safely in a backpack, pocket, school bag or sports bag.  Read More

Fusion Motion Capture set to revolutionise biomechanical analysis

The development of Fusion Motion Capture (FMC) by Massey University PhD student Matthew Brodie has some broad implications for sport. Though initially focussed on enabling biomechanical analysis of ski racing, Brodie’s FMC system is worn by the athlete and promises much for the understanding of many sports. Unlike traditional biomechanical analysis which uses video cameras, FMC, using a range of inertial sensors, pressure pads and GPS attached to the athlete’s limbs, helmet and feet to generate raw data from the athlete’s movement. The numbers are then crunched by a computer to produce accurate estimates of the position, velocity and acceleration of the limb segments. Indeed, FMC can be reasonably expected to eventually offer a much deeper understanding of biomechanics for any sport, with particular benefits for sports such as long distance running, cycling, rowing, mountain biking, yachting, skating and even to analyse movements that are normally hidden from view, such as behaviour inside a rugby scrum. FMC almost certainly has other applications, such as postural and gait analysis, an interface for computer games, motion capture for the film and games industry and to provide a visual biomechanical analysis of an athlete playing any sport to enhance the experience of the television audience. Click here for a simple video explanation of FMC.  Read More

Nike Swift 'System of Dress'

Shaving milliseconds of personal best times could mean the difference between gold and silver at the forthcoming Beijing Olympics - and once again high-tech clothing is seen as one way of finding that extra yard. Speedo's LZR Racer swimsuit has already had a record run since its release in February and now it's Nike's turn to bask in the Olympic spotlight with the unveiling of its new ultra-lightweight uniforms for the USA’s 2008 Track and Field team (USATF).  Read More

The Serial In-Vivo Transducer (SIT)
 Photo: Fauzan Baharudin

A researcher at the University of Southampton in the UK has developed a new self-powered sensor that would allow surgeons to monitor progress during knee operations. The Serial In-vivo Transducer (SIT) uses thick film technology and could measure tendon force during Anterior Cruciate Ligament reconstruction; a common procedure among athletes.  Read More

The Grab-it Pack

With the plethora of digital cameras, PDS, phones, digital media players adding to the physical burden we carry every day, sometimes it gets to be a real problem just dealing with the load. Fanny packs and back packs are potential answers to the problem, as was the Quickdraw Clip System we covered earlier this week, but now there’s another player in the mix that is worthy of consideration – the GRABIT PACK. It’s a simple but ingenious invention and the work of former stuntman Louis Kiss who recognised the need for carrying capacity that offers “fast access while not getting in the way”. It’s more accessible than a sling bag and ideal for the user Louis envisaged - photographers, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, Police Officers, Paramedics, messengers, landscapers, and Film Industry “grips” and makeup artists.  Read More

Tesla to build new all-electric car in California

Tesla Motors will build the follow up vehicle to the Tesla Roadster in California. The plan to manufacture the 4-door, 5-passenger sedan was announced earlier this week by Ze’ev Drori, CEO of Tesla Motors, and California Governor Schwarzenegger  Read More

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