Photokina 2014 highlights

Affordable

Axon's 100mpg carbon-composite hatchback.

Britain's Axon claims that its newly patented mass-production techniques will make carbon composite car frames and bodywork even cheaper than their metal counterparts - and only 40% as heavy. What a revolutionary technology this could be - the power to weight ratio of any vehicle on the planet could be dramatically increased for no extra cost! The company plans to release a highly affordable 500cc passenger car making at least 100mpg from a basic petrol engine in 2010, and Axon is confident its simple, lightweight solution to the fuel economy challenge will be highly competitive against the big competition in the Progressive Automotive X-Prize contest.  Read More

Alan Prole, Managing Director of Live Smart @ Home in BoKlok display apartment

February 1, 2008 In the latest news from the IKEA affordable housing project in the UK, the first BoKlok display home has been unveiled in Gateshead. A two-bedroom apartment has been fitted out, along with a two-bedroom unit converted to an office/marketing complex that features a BoKlok exhibition area. The apartment and the unit are open now for the public to view.  Read More

Storch CL Amphibian

August 16, 2007 Due to improving airplane technology and increasing disposable income, ultra-light aircraft are now becoming accessible to a far wider proportion of the population. Joining the Ramphos in lending weight to this argument is the Storch Amphibian, a light weight amphibious sporting plane available in kit form for around AUD$57K, or ready to fly for under $93K.  Read More

From left to right Rod MacGillivray, Managing Director of Avebury, Alan Prole, Managing Di...

August 15, 2007 Work has now begun on the first BoKlok "flat-pack housing" development at St James Village in Gateshead, UK. Previewed in Gizmag in May this year, the project aimed at delivering fast, affordable, energy efficient and stylish housing has just moved into its construction phase.  Read More

The world’s first affordable recreational submarine

Yet another affordable and very compelling new water vessel has reached market. With a price in the region of an expensive sports car, the appropriately named Dutch company Uboatworx has begun producing the first affordable recreational submarine (U-Boat). Uboatworx currently builds a single seat version known as the C-Quester I with a two-seater due in June. Both C-Questers have a top speed of 3.5 mph, are safe to a depth of 50 metres and offer a dive time of 150 minutes. At just over 9 feet long, 6 feet tall and wide and weighing 1.1 tons, the submarine is small enough to trailer to the nearest boat ramp or launch from a yacht. Entry is jet fighter style through a canopy, steering is via a joystick and both the seating position and the experience are apparently quite similar to flight, though getting a license is much cheaper and less time-consuming than a pilot’s license - a three day course and an exam being the only obstacles, apart from the UKP65,000 price tag (more for the two-seater). The cabin is pressurized, a filtration system removes spent air, oxygen is added to maintain air quality and all the safety boxes appear ticked, so the C-Quester appears an out-of-the-box winner at such an affordable price. Motive force is supplied by three electric motors – so it’s a genuine plug-in electric boat which just happens to be able to operate below the surface too.  Read More

See’s Eye 2 Eye - an inexpensive Teleprompter plus an added level to webcam communications

January 18, 2007 Oregon-based Bodelin Technologies is best known for its ProScope HR handheld USB microscope and more recently, its ProPrompter teleprompters., but the company’s latest offering could see it become far more prominent in the future. Using its proprietary teleprompter knowledge and design experience, Bodelin has created a simple yet ingeniously designed product that is useful to any budding video podcaster and adds a new level to video chatting. The US$100 See Eye 2 Eye slides over any external webcam or built in laptop webcam and reflects the window of the person you are chatting with onto a two-way mirror (beam splitter) over your webcam. The result is that you look directly into the camera while looking at the person you are chatting with. Add a text document and your script is reflected in your See Eye 2 Eye and you have an inexpensive teleprompter. No software needed! As telecommunications of all flavours converge, it will become increasingly important to present a professional image via your computer presence - this is hence an important enabling tool for the coming era of ubiquitous telepresence.  Read More

The DScar - The Most Affordable Dream Car

December 14, 2006 Students from Cranfield University, one of Western Europe’s largest academic centres for strategic and applied research development and design, have been awarded the innovation prize at The Société des Ingénieurs de l'Automobile’s (SIA), Styling and Technical competition for designing ‘The Most Affordable Dream Car’. The Dscar has four wheels positioned in a diamond shape around the car’s chassis and apparently it handles like a go-kart. Designed primarily for extreme sports lovers and for weekend or track day use only, the car provides a very different ride – it’s very light, just 500kg, and powered by a Toyota 3 cylinder 68bhp engine. The DScar is made from mass produced car parts, so can be manufactured very easily and economically. A panel of international experts recognised DScar for its radically different diamond shaped design, unique style and unusual driving experience.  Read More

World’s first affordable diesel hybrid powertrain

December 14, 2006 Zytek has already proven its knowledge of powertrains and electric vehicle many times over, on and off the racetrack. Now, in collaboration with a UK Government initiative, the British engineering consultancy has developed a novel diesel hybrid powertrain that will be affordable in the most popular market segments. The new technology will allow vehicle owners to drive across London’s extended congestion charge zone for just four pence. The low-cost, high-efficiency hybrid-electric drivetrain offers a realistic alternative to expensive proprietary systems and can be quickly implemented within the packaging constraints of compact European passenger cars. A demonstration vehicle, built within the UK Government’s Ultra Low Carbon Car Challenge (ULCCC), has exceeded all targets set for the programme, delivering an exceptional 85g of CO2 per km compared with 121g/km for the already exceptionally efficient standard vehicle.  Read More

New affordable wristband device prevents drownings

June 21, 2006 A new wristband device could significantly reduce drownings and near-drownings in swimming pools. The device checks individual swimmers via a small worn wristband, monitoring depth, motion and time. If a bather approaches preset limits the wristband issues a wireless alert via radio and/or ultrasonic transmission. The wristband alarm sounds and the LED lights flash, prompting the swimmer to return to a safer location. If they fail to respond appropriately, the unit issues a full alert to supervisory staff - a feature which reduces 'false-positives', a major problem with many alarm systems. Pool supervisors are highly effective once they recognise that an 'event' is in progress but they are human, and the device gives them and distressed swimmers that vital second chance.  Read More

SOBERCHECK: an affordable personal breathalyser

May 23, 2006 Everyone has a different relationship with alcohol and that was never more obvious than during a year of trials with the Draeger SoberCheck - a compact, affordable handheld digital alcohol detector. By the time one reaches adulthood, almost everybody has had a number of experiences with alcohol and its ability to distort reality to a greater or lesser extent. The results of the trial changed everyone involved. The SoberCheck provided dozens of our associates with a reality check on just what their blood alcohol levels were in comparison to what they thought they were - almost invariably, everyone erred several points lower than they really were and we found that this errant judgement would often have been the difference between driving legally and illegally. Remarkably, the SoberCheck emerged as remarkable educational tool, not just in what you need to do to keep your obligation to society and ensure you are driving under the alcohol limit, but about alcohol and its effects in general. Education is about life preparedness – it is formally teaching us the things we need to know to contribute effectively and manage our lives effectively. The SoberCheck could be the enabling tool in the educational process.  Read More

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