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Sprig Toys Adventure Series

Sprig Toys earn an eco-friendly tick on two fronts. Firstly, they are made from a child-safe composite of recycled wood and reclaimed plastic with minimal packaging and no decorative paint and secondly, rather than contributing to the mountains of used batteries littering the planet they use a "kid-powered" system to operate lights and other electronics.  Read More

The US$55,000 Port-a-bach relocatable home (in a shipping container)

The appeal of regularly relocating where we live probably comes from our nomadic origins as a species, and over the years we’ve thrilled at the possibilities of some remarkable constructs designed to enable just that: the Icosa Pod, miniHome, Free Spirit Sphere, Nackros Villa, LoftCube, Trilobis, Kitahaus, and the relocatable sphere house. New Zealand is one of those countries where its near-to-no-one geographic location has created a hotbed of innovation through necessity and the Kiwi-produced Port-a-bach is particularly inventive because it is based around a remanufactured shipping container. As such, the NZD$100,000 (US$55,000) fold-out dwelling is not just rugged due to its natural steel exoskeleton, it’s as easy to transport internationally as it is to transport locally on a standard container truck. It has low environmental impact and can connect to local utilities or be entirely power, water and sewer independent.  Read More

The Agucadoura wave farm

The world’s first commercial wave farm in Portugal is now operational. Three 750kW Pelamis Wave Energy Converters (PWEC) have been installed in the first stage of a project which, when complete, will provide enough clean energy to meet the needs of 15,000 households.  Read More

Leon Theremin

After the close of WWII, Russian schoolchildren presented the U.S. ambassador with a “gesture of friendship” in the form of a two-foot wooden replica of the Seal of the United States. Behind the beak of the eagle was a miniscule listening device so ingeniously designed that it took eight years before a routine check unearthed it. The era of electronic bugs had begun, and it was largely thanks to the brilliant mind of Leon Theremin: musician, inventor, and prisoner in Stalin’s gulag.  Read More

Kia Borrego FCEV

Kia has rolled-out the latest chapter in its fuel-cell research vehicle development program at the Los Angeles International Auto Show. Continuing on from the Sportage Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) technology demonstrator which made its European debut in Paris this year, the new Kia Borrego FCEV boasts significant improvements in both range (now over 400 miles) and performance (154 horsepower with a top speed of 100 mph).  Read More

CT dose reduction technology uses military technology

The CereTom portable CT scanner is remarkable, but the latest improvement to the remarkable machine comes entirely through software – it’s a Noise/Dose Reduction solution for medical imaging. NeuroLogica’s CT post reconstruction filter is similar to military synthetic aperture radar systems which filter out “noise” while preserving signal quality to thus better “see” objects. These algorithms are computationally intensive but thanks to Moore’s Law and the advent of ever faster, inexpensive computers, we’ll inevitably see many new smarts being added to existing machines. The ingenious solution reduces image noise while preserving spatial resolution and noise texture. The advantage offered by the technology is in significantly reducing accumulated exposure of critical and pediatric patients to radiation without sacrificing image quality.  Read More

The g-speak system in action.

The second best thing about the film Minority Report has to be the glove-controlled, wall-sized computer display (first place goes to the jetpacks). Oblong Industries is working on a computer interface that operates in a similar way – and rather than a case of tech imitating art, the Minority Report computer was actually based off early Oblong designs.  Read More

The second incarnation of the MINI Convertible

The second iteration of the front-wheel-drive MINI Convertible broke cover last week and did so with a spectacular set of numbers behind it. Three convertible versions of the iconic vehicle will be available: a 90 bhp 109 mph MINI One, a 115 bhp 120 mph MINI Cooper and a 170 bhp 134 mph Cooper S derivative. With emissions and running costs now a key buying criteria, all three deliver frugality at the bowser compared to their performance – 40.4, 38.7 and 34.0 mpg respectively. All come with an alphabet soup (EPS, ABS, EBD, CBC and DSC, not to mention AIRCON) of standard technologies, but the showpiece is the fabric roof which operates in two stages – press the button once and the roof slides back 40 cm to create a unique ‘open sunroof’ effect. Press the button again and the roof retracts fully, folding itself behind the rear seats inside 15 seconds.  Read More

EDG multimedia business card hits the market

Three years ago we wrote rather optimistically about the coming of the rCard, a US$25 multimedia business card (and promotional give-away and gaming device and …). Now there's a similar product that comes in three versions, each with different capabilities. It’s called EDG (pronounced edge) and will be initially marketed as is a digital video card that enables pharmaceutical firms to build and maintain relationships with their key audiences, but are lots of very useful ways to use the card in almost any business where making a first impression and delivering a high value message to create an important relationship.  Read More

Lenovo ThinkPad gets anti-theft Remote Disable feature

Lenovo is introducing a new security feature for ThinkPad notebooks which allows users to remotely disable their PC via SMS. Developed in conjunction with Phoenix Technologies, the Constant Secure Remote Disable feature is effectively a kill switch that works by creating a mobile phone text command such as “lockdown now PC” or “PC shut off” and sending it to the computer's onboard broadband service. If the PC is turned off when the command is sent, it's automatically disabled the next time it registers on the network.  Read More

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