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Bicycles

If Batman rode a recumbent trike, it would probably look something like "Silk"

If you're a cyclist who wants to turn a few heads on the road, you should ride a recumbent tricycle ... people can't help but notice something that appears to be a low-riding lawn chair on wheels. If you want to get noticed by other recumbent trike riders, you might look into getting a Catrike 700. With its 700C wheels and relatively light weight of just 33 pounds (15 kg), it's said to be one of the fastest production trikes that money can buy. However, how do you get noticed by other Catrike riders? Well, you could try equipping your trike with just about every accessory imaginable, all of them in black. That's what Fayetteville, North Carolina native Jim Artis did with his. The result - which he named "Silk" - looks like something designed for dispatching evil-doers by dark of night, before tearing off in a swirl of dry ice vapor.Read More

Space

Virgin Galactic opens new spaceport

Space travel just got another step closer for the masses (at least the well-heeled ones) with the dedication of Virgin Galactic's new "Gateway to Space" facility at Spaceport America, the world's first purpose-built spaceliner terminal. Situated in the southern New Mexico desert, numerous luminaries were on hand to dedicate the innovative 120,000 square foot terminal/hangar facility (THF), including moon-walking astronaut, Buzz Aldrin and New Mexico governor Susana Martinez.Read More

Medical

App turns smartphone into a medical monitor

Users of the Pulse Phone app may be justifiably impressed at the way in which it lets them measure their heart rate, simply by placing their finger over their iPhone's camera lens. Well, a biomedical engineer at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachusetts has taken that concept several steps farther. Inspired by Pulse Phone, Prof. Ki Chon developed an Android app that measures not only heart rate, but also heart rhythm, respiration rate and blood oxygen saturation - all through a finger against the lens. Measurements made by the app are said to be as accurate as those obtained using standard medical monitors.Read More

Science

New process "electroports" gene therapy agents into living cells

One of the key processes in gene therapy involves taking cells from the patient, injecting a therapeutic genetic material into them, then reintroducing them to the patient’s body and letting them go to work. Unfortunately, getting that material into the cells can be tricky. While larger cells can actually be punctured with a fine needle, most human cells are too small for that approach to be possible. There are also methods of inserting random amounts of material into bulk quantities of cells, but these are inexact. Now, however, scientists at Ohio State University are reporting success with a process known as “nanochannel electroporation” (NEP), in which therapeutic biomolecules are electrically shot into cells. Read More

Science

"Gloria" will allow internet astronomers to access worldwide robotic telescope network

Amateur astronomers wanting to observe celestial bodies soon won’t be limited to just their own personal telescopes, or visits to the local public observatory. Starting next year, the first in a worldwide network of robotic telescopes will be going online, which users from any location on the planet will be able to operate for free via the internet. Known as Gloria (GLObal Robotic telescopes Intelligent Array for e-Science), the three-year European project will ultimately include 17 telescopes on four continents, run by 13 partner groups from Russia, Chile, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Czech Republic, Poland and Spain. Not only will users be able to control the telescopes from their computers, but they will also have access to the astronomical databases of Gloria and other organizations.Read More

Architecture

Bosco Verticale: the world's first vertical forest

Italian architecture firm Boeri Studio hopes to merge vegetation and urban architecture, with its Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest) project. The Italian firm has designed a model that could see the "reforestation and naturalization" of metropolitan cities, by growing forests sky-ways. "Bosco Verticale [is a] device for the environmental survival of contemporary European cities," says Stefano Boeri, who worked with Gianandrea Barreca and Giovanni La Varra on the project.Read More

Digital Cameras

Canon's new US$6,800 EOS-1D X pro DSLR

Canon is to upgrade its flagship EOS 1-series digital SLR camera from March 2012 when the weatherproof US$6,800 Canon EOS-1D X will supersede the EOS-1D Mark IV and EOS-1Ds Mark III. Among the many new features of the EOS-1D X is a new 61-Point High Density Reticular AF system, AF continuous shooting at 12 fps (14 fps with mirror lock-up), a full-frame 18.1MP CMOS sensor, an ISO range of 100-51200, the world's fastest shutter release lag (as short as just 36 milliseconds), and full high definition movie recording.Read More

Automotive

Volvo V60 diesel plug-in hybrid to launch next year

At its unveiling at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, Volvo said its V60 plug-in hybrid was "virtually production-ready." This was an accurate statement as it turns out, with the Swedish automaker announcing that from next year it will begin selling what is likely to be the world's first diesel plug-in hybrid production car. The V60 plug-in hybrid has a range of up to 50 km (31 miles) when driven purely by the electric motor, with the car's total operating range extending up to 1,200 km (745.6 miles) when combined with the ICE. Read More

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