Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Inventors and Remarkable People

The first computer mouse was made of wood and featured two wheels to control X and Y movem...

Dr. Douglas Engelbart is perhaps best known as the inventor of the computer mouse, but when he unveiled that device at a computer conference in 1968 he also introduced additional technology that would profoundly affect computer-human interaction as much as the mouse has. During the "mother of all demos" at the Fall Joint Computer Conference held at the Convention Center in San Francisco, Engelbart and his team of researchers from the Augmentation Research Center at Stanford Research Institute gave a live demonstration of hyperlinks, remote collaboration software, on-screen windows, and even video conferencing.  Read More

Gas turbine model train looks (and sounds) incredible

Developed by Hidepon Works, this train is about as bad-ass as model trains can possibly get. It's powered by a gas turbine engine, thus giving it a very noisy and very sexy jet-like sound as it prepares to "take off" on its run. We took a closer look at Make Fair in Tokyo.  Read More

Haidar Taleb and his solar-powered wheelchair

United Arab Emirates (UAE) inventor Haidar Taleb has today set out from Fujairah on a journey that will take him across all seven of the emirates that make up the UAE. The journey is expected to finish in Abu Dhabi in 11 days time on the UAE National Day, but its not the route or the timing that is attracting attention, it's the means of transport. Taleb won’t be making the trip by train, car or even camel – he’ll be riding a solar-powered wheelchair.  Read More

The ingenious Anthony Emergency Housing System

The seeming increase in natural disasters such as tsunamis, earthquakes floods and wildfires around the world has continued to highlight mankind’s need for emergency housing. Gizmag has reported many clever designs for emergency housing over the last decade, but Peter Anthony’s collapsible, lightweight mobile platform is the most viable we've yet seen for airdropping and rapidly-deploying housing for large numbers of people. Each self-contained 8' x 8' x 8' living space is constructed of composite material, and hence weighs less than 200 pounds, folds flat and can be assembled with a single spanner by two people in less than 30 minutes.  Read More

Two thirds of the world's population now carries a mobile phone but this was state-of-the-...

In his book The Artificial Ape, Dr Timothy Taylor convincingly argues that humans are biologically a product of technology. If Taylor is correct, then the ground edge stone tool pictured is of enormous significance. Stone tool-use among our earliest hominid ancestors dates to 3.4 million years ago, but the use of grinding to sharpen stone tool edges is very recent. This is the oldest ground-edge stone tool ever found and represents bleeding edge technology 35,000 years ago.  Read More

Babbage's Difference Engine was completed from original designs in 1991... the task of bui...

Charles Babbage was the quintessential "man ahead of his time". In the mid 19th century the English mathematician and inventor developed the concept of a programmable computer and designed complex, steam-powered calculating engines that were never completed during his lifetime. One of these machines – the Difference Engine – was successfully constructed using Babbage's original plans in 1991 and now programmer John Graham-Cumming is on a mission to build a working replica of a second, more complex computing machine known as the Analytical Engine.  Read More

The remarkable progress of the record in the last 16 months.

Scottish brewery BrewDog has reclaimed the world record for the strongest beer in history with a 55% alcohol beer which it has named “The End of History.” Only 11 bottles will be available, and each bottle will come inside a stuffed animal – seven Stoats will be available at GBP500 and four grey squirrels at GBP700, making it also the most expensive beer in history. That's USD$1000 a bottle!  Read More

Extreme beer - man's favourite drink suddenly gets much stronger

Alcohol is the oldest and most commonly used of all recreational drugs, with annual sales exceeding one trillion U.S. dollars. Beer has been the world's most popular alcohol since before the invention of the wheel with annual sales now exceeding US$500 billion. Most of the world’s beer has between 4% and 6% alcohol by volume, and the strength of beer achieved by natural fermentation brewing methods has limits, but a well crafted beer that is repeatedly “freeze distilled” can achieve exquisite qualities and much higher alcohol concentrations. An escalation in the use of this new methodology over the last 12 months has seen man's favorite beverage suddenly become stronger than spirits such as whisky and vodka, and more expensive too. The world's strongest beer is getting much stronger, very quickly, and this week we spoke to the brewers at the centre of an informal but escalating competition to brew the world's strongest beer. New contestants are gathering, and the race is now on to break 50% alcohol by volume.  Read More

Prof. Dr. Fritz Sennheiser (9 May 1912 to 17 May 2010) in front of Laboratory W where he f...

To any who work in audio or communications, the name Sennheiser is synonymous with the absolute top quality in sound; indeed there are many who wouldn't dream of using anything less. So it is with regret that this year the industry loses the founding father of the brand, Fritz Sennheiser, who died on May 17th a few days after his 98th birthday.  Read More

The D-Drive: it could be a gearbox revolution, if only people could understand the thing!

Ready for a bit of a mental mechanical challenge? Try your hand at understanding how the D-Drive works. Steve Durnin's ingenious new gearbox design is infinitely variable - that is, with your motor running at a constant speed, the D-Drive transmission can smoothly transition from top gear all the way through neutral and into reverse. It doesn't need a clutch, it doesn't use any friction drive components, and the power is always transmitted through strong, reliable gear teeth. In fact, it's a potential revolution in transmission technology - it could be pretty much the holy grail of gearboxes... If only it wasn't so diabolically hard to explain. We flew to Australia's Gold Coast to take a close look at the D-Drive - and it looks to us like Durnin has pulled a rabbit out of his hat. Check out the video after the jump and see if you can work out if there's a catch.  Read More

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