Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

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A sample of Upsalite

In an effort to create a more viable material for drug delivery, a team of researchers has accidentally created an entirely new material thought for more than 100 years to be impossible to make. Upsalite is a new form of non-toxic magnesium carbonate with an extremely porous surface area which allows it to absorb more moisture at low humidities than any other known material. "The total area of the pore walls of one gram of material would cover 800 square meters (8611 sq ft) if you would 'roll them out'", Maria Strømme, Professor of Nanotechnology at the Uppsala University, Sweden tells Gizmag. That's roughly equal to the sail area of a megayacht. Aside from using substantially less energy to create drier environments for producing electronics, batteries and pharmaceuticals, Upsalite could also be used to clean up oil spills, toxic waste and residues.  Read More

When hexapods become pentapods

What good is a robot if, when left to its own devices, it breaks down at the first sign of trouble? What if that robot has been sent off to some inhospitable place where rescue is impossible, much less repair. Robots on the cutting edge are expensive things, so the ability to self-repair could be extremely valuable. But if it can't self-repair, the ability to simply make do would be rather useful too. That's the thinking behind this hexapod robot which can work out how best to adjust its gait in the unfortunate event that it loses a leg.  Read More

Artist's concept of the LADEE spacecraft (Image: NASA)

Space communications have relied on radio since the first Sputnik in 1957. It’s a mature, reliable technology, but it’s reaching its limits. The amount of data sent has increased exponentially for decades and NASA expects the trend to continue. The current communications systems are reaching their limits, so NASA and ESA are going beyond radio as a solution. As part of this effort, ESA has finished tests of part of a new communications system, in preparations for a demonstration in October in which it will receive a laser data download from a NASA lunar orbiter.  Read More

The newly-updated C6 range was unveiled at this year's Dwell on Design event (Photo: Livin...

At this year's recent Dwell on Design event, LivingHomes unveiled its newly updated C6 series of prefabricated sustainable dwellings. Each of the three homes that comprise the C6 series are capable of achieving LEED Platinum certification, and can be outfitted with various optional extras to suit budget and needs.  Read More

The Bharathi Antarctic research station (Photo: bof artchitekten)

India's National Center For Antarctic And Ocean Research has commissioned a brand new research station, which has been installed in the Larsmann Hills section of northeast Antarctica. The 2,500 sq m (27,000 sq ft) Bharathi Indian Polar Station was constructed using shipping containers, and allows scientists to conduct their work in safety, despite the punishing local weather conditions.  Read More

The Sony headset provides surgeons with a 3D image of the inside of the patient

Having introduced its HMZ-T1 personal 3D viewer aimed at the home entertainment market in 2011, and updating it in 2012 with the HMZ-T2, Sony has ventured into the operating theater for its latest head-mounted display. Unveiled last week in Tokyo, the "head-mount image processing unit" gives surgeons virtual X-ray vision by means of an endoscope feeding images to a pair of head-mounted monitors. This setup allows surgeons to view high definition 3D images from inside the patient while carrying out laparoscopic surgery.  Read More

Chevy's 2013 2.2 liter dual blown IndyCar engine (Photo: Chevrolet)

INDYCAR has announced that all engines for the IZOD IndyCar Series from 2014 forward will be equipped with twin Borg-Warner turbochargers. In the 2012 season, returning engine manufacturer Chevrolet squared dual turbochargers against Honda's single, and dominated the circuit. (After a problem-filled season, Lotus has dropped out of competition.) Next year should show better performance and a level playing field.  Read More

A six-axes robotic arm allows the printer to follow 3D vector-based toolpaths

The additive layer process of conventional 3D printers means they are usually limited to bottom up fabrication on three axes. The Mataerial printer managed to defy gravity by using a quick-solidifying print material, but now the LA-based NSTRMNT team led by Brian Harms, a Masters student at the Southern California Institute of Architecture, has created a 3D printing process called suspended disposition that gets around gravity by printing objects within a gel. Not only does this allow freeform additive fabrication on six axes, it also enables an "undo" function.  Read More

Orsto claims the Plus+ is the first smartwatch to combine full smartphone functionality wi...

Whether or not giants like Apple, Google and Microsoft get into the game, the smartwatch market is heating up quickly. We looked at more than half a dozen smartwatches in May and June alone, and about double that so far in 2013. The Plus+ from UK-based Orsto is the latest to sprout its own crowd-funding campaign. Orsto claims the Plus+ is the first smartwatch to combine full smartphone functionality with smartphone tethering.  Read More

An AR-15 pistol equipped with an Auxetic muzzle break (Photo: Sintercore)

Michigan-based Sintercore is billing its Auxetik as the first commercial 3D printed firearm muzzle brake. Made of Inconel alloy using a laser additive manufacturing process, the Auxetik is designed to tame the recoil and muzzle rise of AR-15 pistols.  Read More

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