Highlights from the 2015 Geneva Motor Show

Lightweight

The Litelok weighs less than a U-lock, yet is claimed to be as secure

It's kind of ironic that while many cyclists ride lightweight bikes, they still carry heavy-duty U-locks that weigh several pounds. In most cases, however, lighter cable locks can easily be defeated with a set of bolt cutters. That's why Prof. Neil Barron, a former aeronautical engineer, has created the Litelok. It's light and flexible like a cable lock, but reportedly stands up to over five minutes of attack from tools such as bolt cutters, jacks and hack saws.  Read More

A new smart weapon being developed for the Canadian Armed Forces bristles with technology ...

Looking every bit like a weapon from a science fiction movie, the latest integrated assault rifle prototype being developed for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is packed with some very smart weapons technology. Along with the ability to fire new lightweight telescoped ammunition, and a secondary effects module that adds either a three-round 40 mm grenade launcher or a 12-gauge shotgun, there is also a NATO-standard power and data bus to allow the attachment of smart accessories, such as electro-optical sights and position sensors that connect to command and control networks.  Read More

The GIFT development could lead to the new steel alloy replacing aluminum in lightweight, ...

By altering metal alloy at a nanoscale level, researchers at the Graduate Institute of Ferrous Technology (GIFT) at Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea have created a new material that has the strength of steel and the lightness of titanium alloy. Made from an amalgam of steel, aluminum, carbon, manganese, and nickel, the new alloy promises to be low-cost and readily available due to its mix of common minerals.  Read More

3D-printed scales introduced onto a soft substrate cause the material to become tougher  (...

We've seen scientists examine everything from the structure of sea sponges to the clubbing ability of mantis shrimps in the search for next generation lightweight armor systems. Researchers at Northeastern University’s College of Engineering believe that fish scales could hold the key to creating armor that's both impervious and lightweight. They eventually aim to combine the properties of fish, snake and butterfly scales into a single protective armor system.  Read More

Version.3 by Leaf House (Photo: Laird Herbert)

Back in 2012, we reported on Version.2 by Canadian small living firm Leaf House, which is headed by Laird Herbert. Now Herbert is back with a new and improved tiny home that he intends to use as a case study for small living in cold climates. Version.3 is designed to take temperatures of -50 °C (-58 °F) in its stride, and also packs a number of other benefits over its predecessor, including increased interior space and decreased weight.  Read More

Double- and triple-delta robots are light and flexible, but take up little volume (Photo: ...

The design of a standard robot arm is, more or less, a mechanized representation of an idealized human arm, replete with elbow and wrist joints. Such designs tend to be unwieldy in confined spaces, and unsuitable for many industrial production line processes. As a result, delta arms – a series of interconnected parallelograms which restrict movement to the X, Y or Z directions and do not rotate – have become popular for use in tight workspaces. But, when faced with a requirement for both flexibility and compactness, a design that incorporates the best of both types is required. That's where the double-delta robot comes in.  Read More

The Nutshell, by designer Eden Lew

If you spend your workday in a busy office, you'll know how difficult it can be to switch off and take a proper break. With this in mind, designer Eden Lew has conceived a wearable isolation pod called the Nutshell that aims to improve the quality of break times.  Read More

Empa ceramics specialist Jakob Kübler, with some of the materials used in the brake rotor ...

When it comes to making cars more energy-efficient – whether they're battery- or gas-powered – getting their weight down is one of the best things you can do. Unfortunately, the cast iron brake rotors currently used in most vehicles are quite heavy. Lighter ceramic rotors certainly do exist, although their high price mostly limits their application to expensive sports cars. Soon, however, ceramic-coated aluminum rotors may be a cost-effective lightweight alternative for economy cars.  Read More

Only six of the Lightweight E-Type watches will be built – one for each car

Over at the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance this week, Jaguar unveiled its continuation Lightweight E-Type sports car, and to keep it company, British watchmaker Bremont chose the same venue for the début of its Lightweight E-Type wristwatch. No prizes for guessing, but the bespoke watch with a limited run of six is a commemoration timepiece on offer to the buyers of the Jaguar replica racers.  Read More

The Compact Shelter designed by Alastair Pryor pops up and down in less than two minutes

Young Australian humanitarian and social entrepreneur, Alastair Pryor has created a foldable crisis relief shelter for disaster victims and the housing displaced. Dubbed Compact Shelter, the portable dwelling boasts an innovative design that is simple to use, collapsible and lightweight. What's more it pops up and down in less than two minutes  Read More

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