Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Vacuum Tube

An innovative self-service sexual health clinic has opened in Soho, London, where anyone c...

An innovative self-service sexual health clinic has opened in Soho, London, where anyone can be screened free of charge six days a week, while only waiting six hours to get their results back. The NHS Dean Street Express clinic was designed by Penson architects and features a high-tech system that allows patients to log themselves in, before being given a self-test kit and shown to a screening room. The clinic is also home to the first on-site Infinity machine, which quickly tests all samples and allows for results to be sent back to the patients within six hours of testing.  Read More

Elon Musk has revealed the design and details of his proposed Hyperloop transit system

He may be the man behind PayPal, Tesla Motors and SpaceX, but Elon Musk has been garnering more attention lately for his proposed Hyperloop transit system. Although virtually no details had previously been announced, Musk has stated that it would serve as a much faster, more efficient alternative to traditional passenger rail transport – more specifically, it would allow passengers to travel the 350 miles (563 km) from Los Angeles to San Francisco in just 30 minutes. Well, this afternoon (as promised) he finally let everyone in on just what it would be, and how it would work.  Read More

Terraspan's giant, 4,000 mph (6,437 km/h) vacuum tube train, which also doubles as a super...

In the 1800s, when pneumatic tubes shot telegrams and small items all around buildings and sometimes small cities, the future of mass transit seemed clear: we'd be firing people around through these sealed tubes at high speeds. And it turns out we've got the technology to do that today – mag-lev rail lines remove all rolling friction from the energy equation for a train, and accelerating them through a vacuum tunnel can eliminate wind resistance to the point where it's theoretically possible to reach blistering speeds over 4,000 mph (6,437 km/h) using a fraction of the energy an airliner uses – and recapturing a lot of that energy upon deceleration. Ultra-fast, high efficiency ground transport is technologically within reach – so why isn't anybody building it?  Read More

Researchers are working on a vacuum channel transistor that can combines the best traits o...

Most people associate vacuum tubes with a time when a single computer took up several rooms and "debugging" meant removing the insects stuck in the valves, but this technology may be in for a resurgence with news that researchers at NASA and the National Nanofab Center in South Korea are working on a miniaturized "vacuum channel transistor" - a best-of-both-worlds device that could find application in space and high-radiation environments.  Read More

McIntosh Laboratory has launched a very limited 50th Anniversary edition of its iconic MC2...

While it's true that we've seen some gorgeous examples of modern amplification at Gizmag over the years, there's still something very pleasing to the eye about those that proudly display their tube circuit credentials, like the JoyVirtue TM-6 Tube-Amp AV Center. It's not just about looks, though. In spite of many, many advances in audio reproduction technology, enthusiasts still demand the warmth that vacuum tubes seem to give to an audio signal. One of the first tube amps I ever heard was an MC275 from McIntosh Laboratory way back in the mists of a misspent youth. The company is now celebrating the Golden Anniversary of its iconic amp with a very limited edition release.  Read More

The Block tube amplifier is currently a working prototype, but designer Mateusz Glowka tol...

Call me old fashioned if you will, but there's nothing more pleasing than the soft, natural and warm sound produced by a tube amplifier. The Block amplifier by industrial designer Mateusz Glówka is as much a visual treat as a sonic one. The somewhat harsh geometric lines are offset by the gratifying glow of the half dozen tubes on display outside the stainless steel and aluminum housing and, in a novel twist, the main sound board is attached with hinges so that it can be raised for dusting the electronics. The tube amplifier is a working prototype at the moment, but the designer told Gizmag that he expects production models to be available soon.  Read More

Connected to a Toshiba laptop at this year's Computex

Call me old fashioned but when I see the comforting glow of a vacuum tube I know that I'm in for some sonic pleasure. And that's precisely the thinking behind the aim AS301DTS USB audio tube headphone amplifier. OK, so the vacuum tube doesn't actually work, it's designed that way to trigger the very mental connection I opened with. That done, the tiny device then promises to deliver bass-enhanced surround sound to just about any pair of headphones attached to it. Sweet.  Read More

A mix of old and new ... the JoyVirtue TM-6 Tube-Amp AV Center - old style sound from new ...

JoyVirtue (JV) has created a vacuum tube amplifier and speaker set for iPods, complete with a dock, for the audiophile who finds the common iPod/iPhone dock and speaker systems a little, well … common. This set up brings out the best in any digital music collection by converting the often “two-dimensional” flat sound from a digital source into a high fidelity analogue one, giving your music more body and fullness. And the classy piece of equipment with its unique styling is also a sure to be a talking point at the next social gathering you host.  Read More

Vincent's C-60 CD player gives the user a choice of vacuum tube or solid-state output, eac...

German high-end audio specialist Vincent Audio has announced immediate availability of its new CD player. Benefiting from noise-reducing component isolation and offering the user the choice of rich vacuum or precise digital reproduction, the C-60 also offers premium XLR balanced output and a highly accurate Philips transport. But serious audio enjoyment does come at a price.  Read More

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter hitches a ride with an Atlas V/Centaur rocket from Cap...

How is it that my cell phone still loses connection in the city and my laptop barely gets the Internet in the mountains, yet NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) can keep in touch with Earth from 238,800 miles away, 24 hours a day? Additionally, LRO can transmit 461GB of data per day (the equivalent amount of information found in a huge library), sending this information at a rate of up to 100Mb/s, while my so-called high-speed Internet service struggles to provide about 1-3Mb/s. Obviously, it’s not what you know but who you know!  Read More

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