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Caterpillar House is located on a hillside just outside Chile's capital city Santiago (Pho...

The use of shipping containers in residential builds is quite popular nowadays, and with good reason: there are untold numbers of the waterproof and durable metal boxes available, so why not put a few to good use? With this in mind, the latest such dwelling to grab our attention is Casa Oruga, or Caterpillar House, by Chilean architect Sebastián Irarrázaval, which also features passive cooling.  Read More

With a bubble-like urban design, the i3 includes copious amounts of glass and light-weight...

When the i3 concept was unveiled alongside the i8 coupe concept back in 2011, it was the i8 that hogged the spotlight in commercials and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. But BMW engineers were hard at work in Germany developing real world production plans for the i3 and BMW is now set to put its first fully electric vehicle into mass production by the end of 2013. But the wee urban EV plays only a small part in BMW’s overall sustainability program.  Read More

Rosphere uses a pendulum for locomotion and steering

If you see what looks like a hamster ball rolling around a cornfield, it doesn’t mean that someone’s pet is incredibly lost. It may be an experimental robot developed by the Robotics and Cybernetics Research Group at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) called Rosphere. The spherical robot can propel itself over uneven ground and may one day be rolling up for work in fields to monitor and tend crops.  Read More

Ford Freeform Fabrication Technology produces sheet metal prototypes in hours instead of d...

Stamping sheet metal is an efficient form of manufacturing, capable of cranking hundreds or thousands of items an hour. The annoying thing is that making new stamping dies is a long, costly process. This is bad enough when it comes to retooling a factory, but creating prototypes for new products can leave designers waiting weeks. The Ford Research and Innovation Center in Dearborn, Michigan has taken a page from the 3D printing handbook and is developing a new way of forming sheet metal that allows designers to create prototypes in hours instead of weeks.  Read More

The Altair 8800 Clone reproduces the functions and flaws of the original

Owning a piece of computer history can be expensive and not much fun. You can buy a vintage MITS Altair 8800, one of the world’s first successful desktop computers, on eBay, but a good one will cost you over US$4,000. That’s why computer enthusiast Mike Douglas developed the Altair 8800 Clone. It’s a modern, inexpensive, functional reproduction of the historic Altair 8800 computer that uses 21st century technology to recreate a bit of computer history for hobbyists and educators.  Read More

Two-photon photoactivator/photoinhibitor allows fabrication of polymer structures one hund...

Data storage and preservation are no longer restricted to the needs of individual users, or even of companies or governments large and small. Instead they are the only remaining approach to preserving the history associated with the evolution of the digital age, and possibly the post-human era to follow. A research team headed by Prof. Min Gu of Swinburne University of Technology has developed a new data storage method that may be of considerable use for such civilization-sized concerns by putting a petabyte of information on a DVD-sized polymer disk.  Read More

André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard celebrate the completion of the Solar Impulse's Miss...

Solar Impulse – the solar-powered airplane of Swiss pioneers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg – has successfully landed at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. In so doing, it begins a new era in the history of aviation: for the first time, a plane capable of flying day and night powered exclusively by solar energy has crossed the USA from the west to the east coasts, without using a single drop of fuel.  Read More

A closeup of the wood fibers used by the researchers in their sodium-ion battery (Image: U...

Li-ion batteries may be ok for your smartphone, but when it comes to large-scale energy storage, the priorities suddenly shift from compactness and cycling performance (at which Li-ion batteries excel) to low cost and environmental feasibility (in which Li-ion batteries still have much room for improvement). A new "wood battery" could allow the emerging sodium-ion battery technology to fit the bill as a long-lasting, efficient and environmentally friendly battery for large-scale energy storage.  Read More

VŪHL 05s top speed of 245 km/h (152 mph) isn't special compared to supercars but its handl...

With their enigmatic new VŪHL 05, brothers Iker and Guillermo Echeverria are threatening to stamp Mexico on the supercar map. Unveiled to a select audience at England’s Royal Automobile Club, the lightweight track-racer debuted a week earlier than predicted.  Read More

KIOST's Crabster, about the size and weight of a Smart car, will explore shallow seas desp...

The Japanese spider crab is about to lose its title as the world's largest crustacean thanks to a new robot developed in South Korea. For the past two years researchers at the Korean Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST) have been working on a giant robot crab that is about the size and weight of a Smart car. This summer it will help scientists explore wrecks below the sea, weathering harsh tidal currents rushing over one and a half meters per second.  Read More

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