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Five finalists have been selected for the Google Lunar XPrize competition (Photo: NASA/JPL...

Five international teams are moving forward from a field of 33 proposals with the goal of performing a robotic landing on the moon, followed by a short drive and high-quality video mooncast, all as part of the Google Lunar XPrize competition to incentivize a new novel, low-cost era of lunar exploration.  Read More

Iota was designed as a final-year project at the UK's University of Huddersfield

It took thousands of years for the humble toilet to evolve into the model we use today, but there's always room for improvement. With this in mind, Gareth Humphreys and Elliott Whiteley produced the Iota: a folding toilet concept that's smaller and more efficient than the typical loo.  Read More

The healthy homes theme of this year's competition is divided into three focus areas: Culi...

Electrolux Design Lab will open for entries this Saturday. The theme for the 2014 competition centers on optimizing the future home for healthy lifestyles, while minimizing impact on the environment.  Read More

The DIG-T-R weighs 40 kg (88 lb), yet puts out 400 bhp

It’s a common problem: You’re off to Le Mans with your new 400 bhp engine and you discover that it won’t fit in the airplane's overhead compartment. This week, Nissan showed off the answer to this traveler’s nightmare with its ultralight DIG-T R 1.5 liter, three-cylinder petrol engine that is small enough to fit in carry-on luggage and boasts a power-to-weight ratio better than the engine of a Formula 1 racer.  Read More

Schaft scored 27 points

Leave it to DARPA to turn disaster relief into a competitive sport for robots, and for Google to walk away with the prize. On Saturday, 16 robotics teams from around the world competed in the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials for 2013, as part of DARPA’s project for developing robots capable of autonomously navigating disaster areas and doing useful work using tools and materials at hand. The two-day event was streamed live on December 20 and 21 from Florida’s Homestead Miami Speedway. Google’s Schaft humanoid robot scored 27 points and won first place as it navigated an obstacle course which was made to simulate a disaster area, while carrying out a series of tasks.  Read More

Maria Leijerstam is in the midst of attempting a trip to the South Pole on a custom-built ...

Last winter, polar explorer Eric Larsen attempted to become the first person to cycle to the South Pole. Continually stymied by deep, unrideable snow, Larsen fell behind schedule and was forced to abandon the attempt. This year, several others are taking up the challenge. Thirty-five year-old British adventurer Maria Leijerstam is hoping the ticket to success is a fat-tired recumbent trike built to task.  Read More

Boston Dynamics' Atlas humanoid robot is the focus for the second phase of DARPA's Robotic...

The goal of DARPA's multi-year Robotics Challenge is to develop robots capable of reducing the danger of rescue and relief to victims and first responders alike. Next month DARPA will pit rescue robots against a series of tasks that represent disaster scenarios.  Read More

The fireball of the Chelyabinsk meteor (Image: NASA/M. Ahmetvaleev)

We are continually being surprised by new discoveries of near-Earth asteroids and comets, often noticing them only after they have completed a close approach. Only one asteroid has ever been found and projected to impact prior to its actually doing so. With that in mind, NASA, Planetary Resources, and Zooniverse have formed a collaboration to use citizen scientists to detect members of the vast swarm of near-Earth objects not yet recognized or mapped.  Read More

The winner of the 2013 Dyson Award competition, the Titan Arm

A US team from the University of Pennsylvania has taken out the 2013 James Dyson Award with the Titan Arm, an upper body exoskeleton that augments human strength. The team will receive the £30,000 (US$48,260) first prize, with an additional £10,000 (US$16,100) going to the University Of Pennsylvania Engineering department. Competing against 650 international entries, which were whittled down to 20 finalists, the Titan Arm shared the limelight with two runners up, who will each take home £10,000.  Read More

The winner of the 2013 James Dyson Award will be selected from the following 20 finalists

James Dyson will announce the winner of the international student design award that carries his name in a little over a week, so it's an opportune time to take a closer look at the finalists. This year, Dyson has 20 finalists from which to make his selection, and like previous years, it looks like being no easy task. Here are the entries still in the running for the first place prize that has been upped to £30,000 (US$48,500) for 2013.  Read More

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