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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

Stafier's PV roof tile system recesses into the roof

If aesthetic concerns are keeping you from buying some solar panels to stick on your roof, Stafier's expansion into photovoltaics may be of interest.  Read More

Drivetrain updates and weight loss program push Audi’s Lamborgated R8 further than ever in...

Honda had already proved you could build a so-called “everyday supercar” in the NSX. Fifteen years later, Audi set off down the same route with its efforts resulting in the introduction of the R8 in 2006. Leveraging its Lambo connection, the company dropped a retuned Gallardo V10 into the R8 bodyshell for model year 2009. MY13 brought a model overhaul with the arrival of the faster, lighter R8 V10 plus, which we had the pleasure of putting through its paces.  Read More

The Canon EOS 70D features Wi-Fi capabilities and a new Dual Pixel CMOS AF system

DSLRs can shoot amazing quality video. But their autofocus is primarily designed for shooting stills and can result in stuttering movie footage, which is why most filmmakers don't use it. However, Canon thinks this could change with the launch of the EOS 70D. The new AF system in the Wi-Fi-toting 20.2-megapixel DSLR is said to offer much faster focusing during Live View, to the point that it can shoot almost camcorder-rivaling video.  Read More

CAD model of the FluzCrawler robot inspecting a wire cable (Image: Fraunhofer IZFP)

The important task of inspecting cables on bridges, elevators, ski lifts and cable cars for signs of strain, wear and corrosion is commonly carried out by a device that clasps around the cable and exposes it to a magnetic field, looking for disruptions in the field. The problem is that the diameter of the cables and their jackets can vary considerably, limiting the use of such devices. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Nondestructive Testing have come up with a one-size-fits-all approach in the form of a robot they’ve dubbed the FluxCrawler.  Read More

Douglass Engelbart gives his revolutionary presentation in 1968 that saw the first public ...

Douglas Engelbart, the man who made point and click possible with his invention of the mouse, has died aged 88. When he first demonstrated his invention to a computer conference in San Francisco, California in 1968, it was basically a wooden shell with two metal wheels for registering movement along the X- and Y-axes. Ahead of its time, the mouse wasn’t popularized until the release of the Apple Macintosh in 1984.  Read More

Robugtix's T8 is an 8-legged robot that will scare the bejeezus out of unsuspecting victim...

Legged robot kits aren't anything new, but unlike its competition, the T8 octopod comes with a disturbingly realistic 3D-printed exoskeleton that is sure to make an unforgettable first impression. Robugtix (a robotics company based in Hong Kong) is living up to its name with the lifelike robot tarantula, and it can be yours later this year for an introductory price of US$1,350.  Read More

The prototype 'water chip'

Although various alternative technologies are being developed, the large-scale desalination of seawater typically involves forcing it through a membrane that allows the water to pass through, but that traps the salt. These membranes can be costly, they can get fouled, and powerful pumps are required to push the water through. Now, however, scientists from the University of Texas at Austin and Germany’s University of Marburg are taking another approach. They’ve developed a chip that separates salt from water.  Read More

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