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PixelOptics' emPower! electronic focusing glasses

We have previously reported on the development of prototype adaptive focus glasses at the University of Arizona (UA) that were able to switch focus electronically. Unlike manually adjustable focus glasses, such as TruFocals, that place a flexible liquid lens between two rigid lenses, the lenses of the prototype glasses consisted of a layer of liquid crystals sandwiched between two pieces of glass. By applying an electric charge, the orientation of the liquid crystals – and therefore the optical path length through the lens – was able to be changed, resulting in glasses that changed focus electronically. This technology is now on its way to consumers with PixelOptics showing its emPower! glasses at CES 2011.  Read More

The self-sufficient Ocean Empire LSV superyacht from Sauter Carbon Offset Design

Earlier this year Sauter Carbon Offset Design unveiled its Super Nova 60 megayacht – a design which harnesses energy from a variety of sustainable sources including solar, wind and waves to produce "the world’s first carbon neutral megayacht." Now the company has gone one step further with plans for its Ocean Empire Life Support Vessel (LSV). This 144-foot Catamaran design adds hydroponic farming to its array of sustainable technologies making it, according to the designers, the world’s first totally self-sufficient zero carbon LSV ... meaning it could theoretically stay at sea indefinitely.  Read More

Korea begins first commercial electric bus service

The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) has claimed a world first by deploying electric buses on a commercial route. Previous electric bus operations have all been trials, or in the case of Expo 2010 in Shanghai, free public services. The buses went into service on December 21 after an 18 month development project with Hyundai Heavy Industries and Hankuk Fiber.  Read More

In a world first, scientists from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center have creat...

In a world first, scientists from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center have created functioning fetal intestinal tissue from pluripotent stem cells. It is now hoped that such lab-grown tissue could be used to research treatments for gastro-intestinal diseases, or for transplantation.  Read More

World's first - the Mobile Solar Station powers the perimeter lights and chainsaws to trim...

San Diego residents can feel particularly warm and fuzzy this festive season as their Purdy Farm Christmas trees have been lovingly trimmed and lit up via solar power. In what is believed to be a world first, Stellar Solar's Mobile Solar Station has been contracted to power the Purdy Farm Christmas tree lots in Del Mar, Carlsbad, and San Diego. The Mobile Solar Station is being used to power the compact fluorescent lights (CFL) on the lot perimeter and the electric chain saws used to trim customer's trees.  Read More

Rendering of the New York Hornblower Hybrid (Image: Statue Cruises)

Hybrid vehicles are becoming more and more commonplace on our roads and now the world's first hydrogen powered hybrid ferry is set to take to the water off New York. Following on from the 2008 launch of the San Francisco Hornblower Hybrid that runs on a combination of solar, wind and diesel power, the new 1,400-hp New York Hornblower Hybrid adds another energy source to the mix with hydrogen fuel cells to complement its clean Tier 2 diesel engines, solar panels and wind turbines.  Read More

A Lufthansa Airbus A321 will be running partially on biofuel, as part of the six-month bur...

Starting next April, a Lufthansa Airbus A321 aircraft making the daily flight between Hamburg and Frankfurt will be running partially on biofuel. The airline will trial the biofuel blend, made of a 50/50 mixture of kerosene and hydrotreated vegetable oil, in one of the plane’s engines for six months. It’s part of the Lufthansa-led burnFAIR project, which is studying the long term effects of sustainable biofuels on aircraft performance. Although the Brazilian airline TAM performed a test flight of a biofuel-powered Airbus A320 last month, Lufthansa claims to be the first airline to conduct a long-term trial using biofuel during flight operations.  Read More

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

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