Photokina 2014 highlights

Inventors and Remarkable People

The ingenious Cargoshell - let's hope it is adopted

It’s just over 50 years since the shipping container took its first trip. Though it has changed little in the subsequent half century, standardised containerisation has dramatically reduced global transportation costs and supercharged international trade. Containerisation remains a beacon of efficiency only because it exists within the obscenely inefficient, environmentally irresponsible and otherwise resistant-to-change shipping industry. Now a new collapsible composite container is being trialled which is ingeniously more efficient, lighter, cheaper, more easily trackable, more accountable in terms of its contents and more environmentally-friendly. Despite a raft of advantages, it might not go into service because ...  Read More

Pi decimal place computing record broken by a humble PC

If there was ever a magical number, it is pi, the mathematical constant whose value is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Pi appears in countless formulae in mathematics and engineering and is roughly 3.14159 though because it is an irrational number (meaning it will continue infinitely without repeating), it is forever the subject of efforts to calculate it to the most number of decimal places. Since 1995, the record has been held by supercomputers, which have progressed the record to 2577 billion decimal places. Now the record has been broken again, but this time by a desktop PC with a humble Core i7 CPU running at 2.93 GHz, with 6 GB RAM and 7.5 TB of disk storage.  Read More

Bletchley Park Mansion (source: BP)

At first glance, even second glance, Bletchley Park could easily be just another beautiful British building deserving of some loving care and attention. But for many years its walls guarded one of the best kept secrets of the 20th Century. During the Second World War it was the top secret home to the cryptanalysts, mathematicians and military personnel later credited with shortening the war by at least two years and saving millions of lives by breaking the secret ciphers used in Nazi communications. Seventy years after war was declared on Germany, Gizmag's Paul Ridden takes a closer look at what went on at HMS Pembroke V, the people who worked there and talks to some of the those now dedicated to ensuring that its legacy lives on.  Read More

Inventor Ruth Amos demonstrates StairSteady

We’ve seen some innovative free-standing personal mobility aids designed to tackle stairs in recent times, but this offering from a young UK inventor takes a fresh approach to a solution that's been around for years - the mechanical stair-lift. Conceived by Ruth Amos when she was just 16 years old, the StairSteady is a handrail with a unique steadying handle and locking device that supports the user whilst on the staircase while allowing them to remain active and independent.  Read More

The auction includes 758 examples of almost all forms of early technology including many f...

The freight train progress of technology during the last century has masked the true value of landmark specimens of mankind’s technological triumphs. First-of-a-kind devices were quickly superseded and hence soon regarded as useless in comparison to newer, better equipment. Accordingly, we believe an auction to be held in London this week represents some of the finest medium-term investments we have ever seen, with a likelihood of their value increasing dramatically once historical perspective is restored. The auction includes 758 examples of almost all forms of early technology including many firsts – and the largest privately held collection of early televisions in the world.  Read More

Les Paul Live @ Iridium Jazz Club / NYC (Photo: Thomas Faivre-Duboz, Creative Commons)

Genuis. Pioneer. Innovator. Words that don't even come close to describing the revolutionary thinking of one Lester William Polsfus. Better known as Les Paul, he had such a huge influence on the world of modern music that it's difficult to sum up his achievements in such a short piece. I use the past tense because sadly the Wizard of Waukesha died in a New York Hospital on August 13th.  Read More

Logbook from the famous 1872-1876 journey of HMS Challenger goes to auction

A logbook from the famous 1872-1876 journey of HMS Challenger, described at the time as "the greatest advance in the knowledge of our planet since the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries" will go under the hammer in a September auction of exploration, travel and topographical items. Conducted just 13 years after Darwin’s Origin of the Species, Challenger was tasked with constructing a fossil record that would test the new theory of evolution and became inextricably intertwined within the God vs. Science debate.  Read More

The Eyeborg Project: the prosthetic eye and camera

After years of wearing a patch to hide his disfigured right eye, damaged as a child in a shooting accident, Canadian filmmaker Rob Spence was forced eventually to replace the eye with a prosthetic one. The camera on Spence’s cell phone, though, gave him a rather novel idea. What if he could build a miniature, wireless video camera into his prosthetic eye? What followed has become the Eyeborg Project, the progress of which can be now followed online.  Read More

Anton Grimes' Link scooter system

With an ever increasing load on the public transport system we need to look for smarter and more environmentally friendly ways of getting from A to B in built up areas. The public bike systems that have been successful in several European cities (Paris, Barcelona, Stockholm and soon London) are one way of achieving this, but the Link scooter system, designed by Anton Grimes of University of New South Wales in Australia, may provide an alternative to bikes that is a little easier for the less energetic. The Link is basically a modular transport solution concept, which allows users to hire an electric lightweight scooter from a hub. When the user has reached their destination, they simply return the scooter to another hub for recharging.  Read More

Emily spent five months living in Namibia during her Gap Year
 Image: www.emilycummins.co....

Solar powered devices aren’t new, but English student Emily Cummins has developed a way of using the sun’s power to help impoverished communities in Africa. Her eco-friendly, sustainable fridge is based on a simple principle: it uses the sun’s rays to evaporate water, which in turn keeps the contents cool.  Read More

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