Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

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The Grasshopper returning to the launch pad, in yesterday's test flight

For those readers who haven’t been following its progress, SpaceX’s Grasshopper is a prototype reusable launch vehicle that’s designed to perform a vertical landing back on Earth after delivering its payload into space. While it’s already managed a few low-altitude test hops, yesterday (Aug. 13) it reached a new milestone by performing a “lateral divert test.”  Read More

IKEA makes virtual room design easier with augmented reality

Even when you're armed with precise measurements, trying to imagine exactly how that stunning new sofa will look in your living room is not an easy task. It will therefore come as no surprise that leading retailer IKEA has found that 14 percent of its customers end up taking home furniture which turns out to be the wrong size for its intended location. Thanks to augmented reality, customers of the Swedish home furnishings giant can now try out select products in their homes with the help of a printed catalog, a mobile app and a smartphone or tablet.  Read More

The Companion Bike Seat adds a second seat to an existing bicycle

Doubling another person on your bike isn’t always the easiest (or safest, or most legal) thing to do, particularly if you have them perching on the handlebars, or sitting on the saddle while you stand up and pedal. Things are somewhat easier if they sit on your rear rack, but that’s not what it’s designed for. The Companion Bike Seat, however, is designed for just that purpose.  Read More

The P-MOB prototype electric car

One of the criticisms made about electric vehicles is that they’re only as “green” as the source of the electricity used to charge their batteries. A Tesla Model S may not emit any carbon, for instance, but the coal-burning power plant that allows it to recharge certainly does. In order to be truly carbon-neutral, EVs need to be able to run completely on electricity derived from clean sources. Well, that’s just what the P-MOB prototype car does ... as long as you don’t need to take it too far.  Read More

The BLOODHOUND SSC hopes to reach speeds of more than 1,000 mph (1,610 km/h) in 2015 with ...

The Bloodhound Supersonic Car (SSC) team from the UK is continuing its journey towards claiming the world land speed record. After testing its rocket engine last year, the team has turned to 3D printing technology for another critical part of the high speed vehicle – a tip that, if all goes well, will be the first part of the car to break through the 1,000 mph (1,610 km/h) mark in 2015.  Read More

The Spiri quadrotor

You say quadcopter, I say quadrotor, let's just agree that under no circumstances is it quadrocopter. Whatever they're called, here's another one. It's called Spiri, it's designed to be rather more fun than your average drone, and is designed to be both programmable and capable of running downloaded apps. After 13 months of development Canadian quadcopticist Patrick Edwards-Daugherty has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help bring it to market.  Read More

Goal Zero/Eddie Bauer Katabatic 2

There are those for whom ditching the modern comforts of home and roughing it is one of the main attractions of camping. For such people, the traditional tent will likely do. But there is another breed of campers that can’t stand to be separated from their technology, be it digital music, videos, tablet computers, drink blenders, etc. For them, there's a new generation of high-tech tents wired to power all the latest portable gadgetry.  Read More

Simulated silk crepe de chine, linen plain, silk shot fabric, velvet and polyester satin c...

Computer scientists have come up with a new simple, accurate way to simulate the appearance of fabric that could change the way artists and animators in the film and computer game industries go about the business of rendering computer-generated clothing and other materials.  Read More

A still from the demonstration video, which shows how Sigmo could work in the real world

The internet and smartphones have made it much easier to converse with people who speak different languages to you, with services using these technologies providing both instant text-to-speech and speech-to-speech translation options. Sigmo, a simple Bluetooth device which uses existing online translation services to translate from one language to the other and back again in real-time, is designed to be the middleman in the equation, thus removing the need to constantly shove your smartphone in people's faces.  Read More

Elon Musk has announced that he will take the lead in developing a Hyperloop demonstrator ...

In a telephone press conference this morning, Elon Musk, the many-faceted founder of PayPal, Tesla Motors, and SpaceX, expanded his earlier Hyperloop reveal by announcing that he will develop and construct a Hyperloop demonstrator. He believes that a properly funded consortium would take about seven years to build a commercial Hyperloop.  Read More

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