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— Computers

Microsoft previews “touch-optimized” Windows 8 operating system

With Apple bringing a few user interface elements found in its iOS mobile operating system to its upcoming OS X Lion desktop operating system, Microsoft is taking a similar tack for its Windows 8 OS. Previewed last week at the D9 Conference, the next generation of the Windows operating system borrows heavily from Windows Phone 7 by replacing the traditional Windows Start menu with a tile-based Start screen that provides a customizable, scalable full-screen view of apps on the system. Read More
— Aircraft

Variable-wing prototype points to the future of UAVs

The role of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has expanded rapidly in both military and civilian circles over the past decade and although most designs to date are miniature versions of conventional aircraft, we can expect to see much more radical examples emerge in the near future. In developing this next-generation of UAVs engineers are looking to go beyond the limitations of fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft and to do it, they are turning to nature's ultimate flying machines - birds. We've already seen seen flapping-wing micro-aircraft, robotic seagulls and even a design based on a pterodactyl. Engineers at UC San Diego are furthering this approach with research into variable-wing techniques that could result in a bird-like UAV capable of spot landing. Read More
— Marine

Hot hulls might mean slipperier ships

Want to make a ship move faster through the water? Well, one thing that you can do is paint its hull with low-friction or anti-biofouling paint, to keep barnacles and other marine organisms from growing on it. According to Prof. Derek Chan, from the University of Melbourne's Department of Mathematics and Statistics, another approach that should work is to heat that hull up to a temperature of over 100C (212F). His proposed method is based on a 255 year-old principle known as the Leidenfrost effect. Read More
— Science

Detecting and controlling seizures with brain implants

In the future, people who are prone to seizures may get an array of electrodes implanted in their brains. These electrodes would be capable of detecting the onset of a seizure, and then releasing medication to prevent it from happening. While it might sound far-fetched, scientists at the University of Pittsburgh have already demonstrated the technology on lab rats. Read More
— Environment

Researchers halve machines' fuel consumption, by turning them into hybrids

Many hybrid cars feature regenerative braking – they harness the energy generated when they brake, and store it in the battery for later use. This helps maximize the amount of time that the car can run on one charge. One can’t help but wonder, then, how much energy could be harvested from heavy-duty construction, mining and agricultural machines, as they go about their business. A group of researchers from Finland’s Aalto University decided to find out, and reportedly ended up cutting those machines’ fuel consumption by 50 percent. Read More
— Automotive

F-CELL World Drive finishes in Stuttgart

After spending 70 days driving through 14 countries on four continents, three Mercedes-Benz hydrogen cell vehicles have successfully completed their 30,000-kilometer (18,641-mile) F-CELL World Drive. The trio of B-Class F-CELL automobiles left Stuttgart on January 30th, along with an entourage of support vehicles. After traversing a variety of highways, city streets and even some unpaved country roads, they crossed the finish line in front of Stuttgart’s Mercedes-Benz Museum this Wednesday (June 1st). Read More
— Mobile Technology

Turning the palm of your hand into a smartphone interface

Taking on the idea that daily smartphone use can create automatic touch recall, just like touch typing on a keyboard, students at the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany, have created the "imaginary phone" concept that turns the palm of a hand into a smartphone touch interface. Using spatial memory built up while operating the physical device to remember gestures and the relative position of icons on the phone, users can perform simple smartphone tasks without even taking it out of your pocket. Read More
— Automotive

US$150,000 Trident Iceni 70 mpg biodiesel supercar set for launch (again)

One of the most interesting supercars of recent years that has always bordered on the edge of vapourware, looks like finally becoming a reality. Fraught with on-again-off-again production arrangements, management-changes, restructuring, redesign and refinancing for almost a decade, the Trident Iceni is finally slated for launch at the UK’s Cholmondeley Pageant of Power on July 15. At the heart of the sleek Iceni is a modified 550 bhp GM 6.6 liter twin-turbo diesel V8 running bio-fuel, and according to previously released info, the Iceni will run to 230 mph, accelerate from 0-60 mph in under four seconds, and deliver 70 mpg at a constant 70 mph. It will also have 100,000 mile service intervals, and is expected to sell for around US$150,000. Read More
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