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The Toyota Prado gets put through its paces on the 4WD test track

"Two-in-one" products generally mean there's a compromise. A desktop replacement laptop is great until you've lugged its weighty frame through five airports in two weeks, a road-trail motorcycle is fine until you hit a really snarly stretch of dirt, and a keyboard that becomes a mouse when you turn it upside down, well, lets not even go there. So when Toyota introduced its new Prado Landcruiser mid-size 4WD as a "best of both worlds" solution for both the highway and the rough stuff I was a little skeptical. But after taking on all types of terrain - including, open roads, tight forest trails and a formidable purpose built 4x4 track - I may just have been convinced otherwise. The vehicle's versatile performance owes particular thanks to a sophisticated new suspension system and electronics suite, and although there's no point pretending that it can be a sports coupe one minute and a monster truck the next, as a two-in-one auto solution the fourth-gen Prado comes very, very close.  Read More

Scientists at the University of Adelaide, Australia, have devised a way to squeeze light b...

Scientists at the University of Adelaide, Australia, have put the squeeze on light. By discovering that light within optical fibers can be squeezed into much tighter spaces than was previously believed possible, the researchers at the University's Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) have claimed a breakthrough that could change the world's thinking on light’s capabilities, especially when it comes to its use in telecommunications, such as fiber-to-the-home (FTTH), computing and other light sources.  Read More

Scientists at Monash University (Australia) have created dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC)...

In a world first, an international research team based in Melbourne, Australia, has developed a way to boost the output of the next generation of solar cells by creating a more efficient dye that makes dye-sensitive solar cells (DSSC) perform better than previous versions.  Read More

The Forest School features up-cycled, recycled and low-impact architecture and design

It's almost as good as going to school in a treehouse. The recently opened Elleray Preparatory School in the Lake District National Park has three class pods standing on stilts connected by a center platform made from recycled materials, such as plastic milk bottles and wood shavings. Nestled amongst the trees, the complex is built to have a low environmental impact and therefore makes excellent use of solar power, rainwater collection, and has an energy-efficient heat pump.  Read More

The conceptual 'Fluid - Amphibian Pavilion', a futuristic transportable building that can ...

A futuristic adaptable living building called “Fluid – Amphibian Pavilion” has been proposed by architects Peddle Thorp as an exhibition center for the World Expo 2012 to be held in Yeosu, Korea. Apart from its unique design, the building has a low impact on the environment because, when the Expo finishes, this floating exhibition space can be “unhooked” and sailed away to its next location.  Read More

Japan's Tokai Challenger solar vehicle has taken victory in the Global Green Challenge

Japan's Tokai Challenger solar vehicle has taken victory against a strong international field in the 2009 Global Green Challenge. After covering almost 1860 miles (3000km) in four days across Australia's baking red center, the entry from Japan's Tokai University crossed the finish line at 3.39pm local time. The team's run was nearly flawless, reporting only a single flat tire with just over 100 miles of the course to race and the win breaks a string of four consecutive victories by the Dutch Nuon team, which is currently battling it out for second place against University of Michigan Solar Car Team.  Read More

The 2009 Global Green Challenge will take teams of solar cars and alternative fuel vehicle...

This month dozens of competitors will gather in Darwin, Australia, for the start of the Global Green Challenge. This 1860 mile (3000km) showcase of state-of-the-art transport technologies pits environmentally friendly vehicles against the heart of the Outback as they race south towards the finish line in Adelaide. The event has evolved from the famous World Solar Challenge and now includes two classes: one for solar-powered vehicles and an "Eco Challenge" for other types of electric, hybrid and alternative fuel production and experimental vehicles.  Read More

The Finger Hinge is a unique door-hinge that stops fingers being caught in the side of the...

Children and adults can suffer painful injuries, or even risk amputation, from getting their fingers caught between a door and the door jamb. A unique door-hinge design from an Australian inventor could prevent these injuries from occurring. The Finger Hinge is a full-length door hinge that completely eliminates the gap between the door and the wall and therefore removes any possibility of getting crushed fingers when the door is closing.  Read More

The three all sky cameras on the Nullarbor Plain, Australia, took photographs of fireballs...

Not long ago, Gizmag featured an article about scientists capturing a rare image of upwards lightning. Now a different set of ‘men in white coats’ has taken shots of fireballs streaking across the night sky that then led to the discovery of a tiny and extremely rare meteorite in Australia’s vast Nullarbor Plain. Not only that, the group also traced the meteorite’s roots back to its orbit and the asteroid from where it came.  Read More

Antarctica is a prime location for a telescope - not so great for a holiday

When you’re planning your next holiday, a site known as Ridge A that sits 4,053m (2.5 miles) high up on the Antarctic Plateau, will probably be one of the first places to strike off the list. Although the research team that discovered it says it could be the calmest place on Earth, it is also thought to be the coldest and driest. A joint U.S.-Australian team pinpointed the site by combining data from satellites, ground stations and climate models in an attempt to find the best observatory site in the world by assessing the many factors that affect astronomy, such as cloud cover, temperature, sky-brightness, water vapor, wind speeds and atmospheric turbulence.  Read More

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