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Australia

The Wind Explorer under kite power

A television host and an engineer from Germany have completed an almost 5,000 km (3,107 mile) journey across Australia in their Wind Explorer, a lightweight electric vehicle powered by the wind – not only through electricity-generating wind turbines but also using kites. The pioneering 18-day trip by Dirk Gion and Stefan Simmerer set three world records – the first time a continent has been crossed be a wind-powered vehicle, the longest overall distance covered by an exclusively wind-powered land vehicle, and the longest distance covered by such a vehicle in 36 hours.  Read More

Elephant seal with CTD tag. Photo credit: Chris Oosthuizen

Australian climate and ocean scientists are studying some of the planet's most remote areas using a multi-million dollar array of high-tech underwater equipment that provides data vital for the monitoring of almost one-third of the world's oceans. The kit of technology includes sensor floats and autonomous underwater vehicles, which combine with sensor tagged animals, moored scientific stations and satellite remote sensing to form the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS). All data collected is made available online, which represents a big step forward in climate science. Gizmag's Grant Banks takes a closer look at what makes IMOS tick.  Read More

The tractor beam suspends a small particle over an optics table (Image: Australian Nationa...

In a move that is sure to warm the hearts of those in the upper echelon of the Galactic Empire, researchers have taken tractor beams from the realm of science fiction to the realm of science fact. The researchers from the Australian National University (ANU) have developed a laser beam that can move very small particles up to distances of a meter and a half using only the power of light. Unfortunately this means it won’t be able to reel in anything the size of the Millennium Falcon, and the fact it won’t work in the vacuum of space probably won’t help matters either, but it’s a remarkable breakthrough nonetheless.  Read More

The Macarthur Wind Farm will comprise 140 Vestas 3.0 MW V112 turbines

The largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere will be built in Australia at Macarthur near Hamilton, 260km west of Melbourne, Victoria. Comprising 140 Vestas V112-3.0 MW wind turbine generators, the 420 MW Macarthur Wind Farm will have the capacity to power more than 220,000 average Victorian homes and abate more than 1.7 million tons of greenhouse gases every year – the equivalent of taking more than 420,000 cars off the road each year.  Read More

Kogan 6-inch e-book reader

Kogan Technologies has launched a 6-inch eBook reader into the Australian market at a price of just AUD$189 (less than US$170). Around one third of an inch thick and weighing 228.8 g, the eBook Reader boasts good readability in bright sunlight via an 800 x 600 E Ink screen along with simple navigation system and long battery life.  Read More

Trev the Two-seater Renewable Energy Vehicle that is the Australian entry in the Zero Race

When last we looked at an entry in the upcoming Zero Race it was the Swiss team’s Zerotracer electric motorcycle. Today we shift our attention to the Australian entry, which sees the number of wheels upped to three and the vehicle, in typically Australian fashion, given the moniker of “Trev.” And if you’ve got a little spare cash laying about then you can join Team Trev and drive the vehicle for a day during the race – you’ll even get a Team Trev polo shirt!  Read More

The Matrix Key System lets you change your locks simply by inserting the next key in a ser...

Most of us at one time or another has lost our keys and know the stress that it causes. Compounding things is the cost that comes with calling out a locksmith to replace all the locks on the windows and doors of your house. But what if you could change your locks simply by inserting another key? That’s just what the Matrix Key System designed by Australian locksmith, Stuart Webb, does. Inserting a new key into the lock effectively changes the lock, rendering the old key useless and saving the hassle and expense of calling a locksmith.  Read More

Australian researchers have developed software that creates a mesh network using Wi-Fi ena...

Unsurprisingly, the Australian outback doesn’t exactly boast the greatest mobile phone coverage in the world. But researchers down under have managed to make mobile phone calls in this remote landscape without the use of towers or satellites. Instead of relying on expensive infrastructure, the researchers created a mesh-based phone network between Wi-Fi enabled mobile phones that allowed them to communicate with each other.  Read More

Microsoft joins with Foxtel to provide pay TV over Xbox LIVE

Microsoft has signed an agreement with Australia’s dominant pay TV provider, Foxtel, to stream over 30 channels to Xbox 360 consoles through Xbox LIVE. The Foxtel by Xbox LIVE service will allow Xbox 360 owners in Australia to access Foxtel channels without the expense of a Foxtel installation and set-top box. Instead, to access the subscription service users will need an Xbox 360 console, Xbox LIVE Gold subscription, broadband connection and a Foxtel by Xbox LIVE subscription.  Read More

Rukus - Toyota's odd-ball urban fashionomobile

Hand a crayon to a three year old, ask them to draw a car and you are likely to end up with something that looks like the Rukus. This is how Toyota describes the new Scion xB derivative that's just been launched into the Australian market. With the footprint of a Corolla hatch, the engine of a RAV4, loads of interior space and plenty of scope for customization, the Rukus is designed as an alternative to sports utility vehicles and compact wagons that will appeal to "urban trendsetters" and young families who want a combination of small footprint and space, but don't need to go offroad. The boxy shape is sure to polarize opinions on the street, but even if you think it's downright ugly - and apparently some of the company's senior executives agree - there's still a few surprises underneath the skin of this unconventional fashionomobile.  Read More

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