2015 Detroit NAIAS Auto Show
An NCAR analysis of the storm that may have claimed Air France Flight 447. Its flight path...

Pilots routinely fly over remote stretches of ocean with almost no weather information, apart from a pre-flight briefing and updates every four hours. Yet this is where some of the worst turbulence and, as Air France Flight 447 tragically encountered on June 1, most intense weather occurs. The National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is developing a new system that combines satellite data, weather models and A.I. to identify and predict rapidly evolving storms, enabling pilots to avoid areas of potentially severe turbulence.  Read More

Cargine's camless combustion engine concept

A petrol powered Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) is approx 25-30% energy efficient at the flywheel and around 15% energy efficient at the wheels. There are many losses within the engine itself including friction and waste heat from the combustion process, but Sweden's Cargine Engineering thinks that eliminating the parasitic losses of the camshaft by building a camless engine may help improve energy efficiency. Using pneumatically driven actuators to shoot the valve open the camless engine concept can provide fully variable valve lift and fully variable lift duration without a camshaft in sight.  Read More

Pet's Eye View Camera keeps a record of all the mischief your pet gets up to when you're n...

Some people are so fond of their pets they want to know what they are up to every minute of the day. Maybe it’s because of those guilty looks you get when you arrive home unexpectedly… you know that wide-eyed, “I wasn’t doing anything wrong” look? The Pet’s Eye View Camera could help solve these little mysteries - it's a lightweight digital camera that attaches to your cat or dog’s collar and takes 640 x 480 photos at five, ten or 15 minute intervals.  Read More

Piaggio's stupidly named but very compelling MP3 Hybrid three-wheeler

The Piaggio Group's claim that its new MP3 Hybrid is “destined to revolutionize urban mobility” would normally be classified as a somewhat overreaching PR claim. Though a highly optimistic viewpoint in view of the machine's US$12,500 price tag, a 33% premium over the 250cc version, the MP3 Hybrid is a landmark vehicle in that it is the first hybrid motorcycle at the same time as offering a number of significant safety features that make the miserly 60 km/l (140+ mpg) three-wheeler a compelling choice for commuters. We've spent some time on the 250cc version of the MP3 and can vouch that it is just as manoeuvrable and enjoyable as a motorcycle yet much safer and surefooted. While the stupidly named MP3 doesn't actually play music, we believe it will make an impact when it goes on sale in Europe next month. Expect to see the hybrid on U.S. Roads next year.  Read More

The computer-controlled Climbstation vertical treadmill

Now here's one of those ideas that leaps out at you with its commercial potential. Climbing offers extreme exercise with a nuclear fun factor and teaches fundamental coordination skills but it can be dangerous and scary with the heights involved, and besides, a climbing wall requires a serious commitment to locate and build. The computer-controlled ClimbStation is like an intelligent vertical treadmill for climbers, so it provides real climbing without the need for a safety harness because you never got more than a metre off the ground. ClimbStation hydraulically tilts between +15 degrees and minus 39 degrees, the holds are interchangeable, and the most significant thing about the ClimbStation is that it can be transported with a normal car trailer, making it an ideal relocatable owner-operator or amusement attraction.  Read More

Jaguar's all-new XJ luxury four-door flagship

Jaguar has unveiled the company’s new four-door flagship model XJ in London and on first appearances it looks to be a winner, building on the design and technological platforms of the recent XK and XF models to deliver a beautiful and functional range of luxury family cars. The extensive range includes an economical diesel powerplant through to the 470 bhp Supersport supercharged V8 rangetopper, with several levels of cabin luxury and short and long wheelbase models. While the panoramic glass roof is the most obviously visible innovation, the car is a technological tour-de-force and cannot be left off the list for any potential purchaser in the category.  Read More

The LG GC990 ‘Louvre’ 12 megapixel camera phone (Photo: gsmarena.com)

Samsung might have claimed line honors with the first 12-megapixel camera phone in the form of the Pixon 12, but LG are snapping at their heels with the LG GC990 Louvre, a 12 megapixel camera phone that got its first public showing at the Korea Products Exhibition in Warsaw of all places.  Read More

Pull the detachable arm off these ck Calvin Klein sunglasses and you'll find a 4GB USB fla...

Given the increasingly-strange places USB Flash drives turn up these days – from Swiss Army knives to penguins – nothing should come as a surprise. But it still seems odd that ck Calvin Klein would decide that what the world wants right now is a 4GB USB data storage device built into a pair of designer sunglasses.  Read More

Google Chrome OS - coming soon to a netbook near you

After a gestation period of nine months, Google Chrome is about to have a baby. The father (Google) has announced that it is gearing up to launch a new open source, lightweight operating system. Aimed initially at the netbook sector, Google is working with the likes of Acer, Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo to bring the system to market in the second half of 2010.  Read More

The ‘robo-bat’ skeleton (Photo: Gheorghe Bunget, North Carolina State University)

Researchers are increasingly looking to nature for design inspiration in a wide range of mechanical devices. Doing so allows them to draw on the millions of years of evolution that have resulted in designs offering superior performance and efficiency. Micro Aerial Vehicles (MAVs) is one field that has recognized the maneuverability and performance virtue of nature’s small flyers, with various attempts being made to mimic these designs and produce vehicles that outperform traditional fixed-wing or rotary-wing craft. We’ve seen the development of a tiny a ‘nano air vehicle’ inspired by the hummingbird, a UAV based on a Pterodactyl and a six-inch long robotic spy plane that, like this new design from North Carolina University, draws on the physical characteristics of a bat.  Read More

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