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World's First

Boeing subsidiary Spectrolab has announced it will mass-produce a 39.2 percent efficiency ...

When it comes to solar cells, everyone is chasing the highest conversion efficiency. Although we’ve seen conversion efficiencies of over 40 percent achieved with multi-junction solar cells in lab environments, Boeing subsidiary Spectrolab is bringing this kind of efficiency to mass production with the announcement of its C3MJ+ solar cells which boast an average conversion efficiency of 39.2 percent.  Read More

Gizmag's top technology firsts of 2010

Nanotechnology, electric vehicles, renewable energy, quantum computing and slicker, smarter consumer electronics – just some of the fields in which the rollercoaster of human technological development continues to gather pace each year ... and 2010 was no exception. As the calendar flips towards December, it's time for a look back at some of the key breakthroughs that have caught our attention over the past 12 months.  Read More

Researchers from the Nokia Research Center in Tampere, Finland have turned a wall of ice i...

Researchers from the Nokia Research Center in Tampere, Finland, have turned a wall of ice into a huge interactive touchscreen display. Using infrared emitters and detectors to determine hand location and movement, the team projected images onto the blocks of ice so that users could see flames behind their hands. Happily, users didn't need to worry about catching a chill from icy fingers as the setup managed to keep track of gloved as well as ungloved hands.  Read More

The Infiniti M35h hybrid will have an audible pedestrian warning system as standard.

Those looking forward to quieter city streets as a result of near-silent electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrids replacing internal combustion engine vehicles on our roads may have to think again. To ensure that cyclists and pedestrians, including the visually impaired, are aware of stealthy oncoming vehicles, researchers have been looking at different noises that can be applied to EVs. Toyota has also already announced plans to sell an onboard audio alert system for its Prius but it looks like such systems are set to become more widespread with the Infiniti M35h to be the world’s first hybrid to get an audible pedestrian warning system as standard.  Read More

The SMI RED500 remote eye tracking system for scientific, marketing, and design studies

SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI) of Germany has launched its latest gaze and eye tracking system called the RED500. Eye tracking is a key research technique for many types of scientific, marketing, and design studies. Billed as the world’s first high-performance and high-speed remote eye tracker, the RED500 features a “scientific grade” 500 Hz sampling rate, binocular tracking, and a portable all-in-one design.  Read More

Swiss 'Jetman' Yves Rossy has successfully performed two aerial loops, using his unique st...

Switzerland’s Yves Rossy, better known as Jetman or Fusionman, has achieved another aviation first by performing two aerial loops using his unique jet-powered strap-on wing. Rossy made headlines in 2004, when he first achieved horizontal flight with his original carbon fiber wing, flying 12 kilometers (7.46 miles) over the Alps. He created an even bigger fuss in 2008, when he used his wing to fly across the English Channel. Then, just last year, he got a bit wet when he unsuccessfully tried to fly from Morocco to Spain. Now, however, he can add another success to his growing list.  Read More

Scientists have for the first time created "super twisted" light which can be used for more effective disease and virus identification. The process involves polarizing a light beam to create a kind of light corkscrew, then reflecting it off a gold surface to twist the vortex even tighter. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease are two conditions now being examined using this new technique.  Read More

The Urbee's entire body was 3D printed (Image: Kor Logic)

In the early 20th century Henry Ford revolutionized automobile production with the introduction of the assembly line for the iconic Ford Model T. Now, almost a century later, a car has been produced using a process that could prove just as revolutionary – 3D printing. Code-named, Urbee, the streamlined vehicle is the first ever to have its entire body, including its glass panel prototypes, 3D printed with an additive manufacturing process.  Read More

Babbage's Difference Engine was completed from original designs in 1991... the task of bui...

Charles Babbage was the quintessential "man ahead of his time". In the mid 19th century the English mathematician and inventor developed the concept of a programmable computer and designed complex, steam-powered calculating engines that were never completed during his lifetime. One of these machines – the Difference Engine – was successfully constructed using Babbage's original plans in 1991 and now programmer John Graham-Cumming is on a mission to build a working replica of a second, more complex computing machine known as the Analytical Engine.  Read More

VSS Enterprise on its milestone first free flight (Image: Mark Greenberg)

Last July Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo (SS2), the VSS Enterprise, made its first manned flight. For the duration of that flight, the spacecraft remained attached to its jet-powered carrier aircraft. But over the weekend VSS Enterprise left the protective grip of its mothership, VMS Eve, to successfully achieve its first manned free flight. Released from VMS Eve at an altitude of 45,000 ft (13,700 meters), VSS Enterprise glided for 11 minutes before landing at Mojave Air and Spaceport, successfully completing the two main goals of the flight.  Read More

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