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Wednesday, May 18, 2016


​An Australian team has set a new record for squeezing as much electricity as possible out of direct, unfocused sunlight via a new solar cell configuration. The 34.5 percent sunlight-to-electricity conversion efficiency comes closer than ever to the theoretical limits of such a system. Read more
The charge toward a world of autonomous trucks is being led by major manufacturers like Daimler and Volvo. An embryonic startup called Otto, however, is developing technology that can be retrofitted to existing trucks so that they too can drive themselves. Read more
Perhaps the key to good long-haul aircraft cabin design is to make passengers forget that they're stuck in a long-haul aircraft cabin. Virgin Australia's new International Business Class cabin may help to do that, with queen-length beds, 18-in HD screens and and a bar at which to booze and schmooze. Read more
Portland-based Path Architecture's 359 is a tiny house that's set on a rotating base. This allows it to easily follow (or indeed face away from) the sun, warming the interior naturally and providing plenty of natural light. Read more
Vowel-hating, US-based vinyl record subscription service Vnyl has gone beyond merely creating digital/analog turntable hybrids with a trntbl that ditches physical output connections completely in favor of wireless audio streaming, while also catering for music-related social networking. Read more
It seems that no matter how a bike owner attempts to thwart theft, his or her bike is always at risk of disappearing at the hands of a determined thief. One man's solution is to strap a detonator to the frame and blow the thief off the bike.Read more
A technology called phase-change memory has emerged as a promising candidate for improved computer memory, and now IBM researchers have worked out how to triple the amount of data bits each cell can hold, edging the technology closer to a cost-effective, blistering fast storage solution. Read more
This autonomous shuttle bus is already on sale. Fully electric and capable of operating like a set-route bus or an on-demand taxi within geofenced areas, the Navya Arma carries 15 people at a top speed up to 45 km/h. Read more
A shape-shifting touchscreen prototype called the Cubimorph is being presented at a robotics forum this week in Stockholm, Sweden. The Cubimorph is made up of a chain of cubes with touchscreen faces, that lock together in various configurations. Read more
​BMW's halfway-house to M car ownership just got a little bit faster, thanks to a power boost for the M135i and M235i. They don't quite offer the full motorsports experience, but the new M140i and M240i could give AMG and Audi RS owners a few sleepless nights.Read more
Since 1985, the Shell Eco Marathon has pitched teams of students against each other, in an attempt to see who can travel the furthest using the energy from one liter of fuel.​ It's a simple premise which belies a complex mix of design and engineering challenges. Read more
Wood already has plenty to offer conventional construction methods, but it may soon have a new trick up its sleeve. Scientists have come up with a way to turn a block of linden wood transparent, winding up with a material that could find use in everything from cars to advanced electronics systems. Read more
Potential cancer treatments often come from unexpected sources. Now, tests have shown that a type of molecule originally derived from sea snail eggs has performed surprisingly well in destroying cancer cells, particularly those that have become resistant to other treatments.Read more
Last month, Facebook revealed its ideal virtual reality camera, a 17-lens video system that captures action in all directions. Now the Surround 360 is out strutting its stuff, being used to shoot a short film set in New York's Grand Central Terminal and showcase its immersive chops. Read more
Kawasaki introduced a full traction control system in last year's KX450F and now it's Husqvarna's turn to follow suit,​ debuting the tech on its four-stroke motocross models for 2017. There's also new WP front forks for the whole lineup and a brand new TC250 two-stroke. Read more
Seattle's Rad Power Bikes combines the electric folder, fat bike and cargo bike into a small, folding workhorse that can motor or pedal-assist groceries, tools and other cargo wherever you need to get to. It's one RadMini. Read more
Suppose that you had to build a tiny structure for use in a microelectronic device. Well, a new 3D printing technique would certainly make the process easier. It allows people to essentially draw minuscule metal items in mid-air. Read more
How do you see what's going on in a fruit fly's mind? Why you build a window to its brain, of course. While that might sound like a bad joke, it's exactly what scientists at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) have just done. Read more
In the five years since Google launched Art Project in early 2011, it captured around 200 ultra-high resolution images of artworks from around the world. Keen to kick things up a notch, the firm has captured five times that number this year alone, courtesy of a new gadget it calls the "Art Camera." Read more
Through the discovery of glass beads, researchers at Australian National University have found clues to a massive asteroid that impacted our planet about 3.5 billion years ago, when the Earth was less than a quarter as old as it is now.​Read more
A team has developed the first smart robot that provides players a programmable opponent to challenge. Trainerbot is designed to sit on a table and lob shots with complete spin, direction, and trajectory control. Read more
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have come up with a novel way of improving robots' inspection and manipulation skills. The team fitted a small camera to the hand of the machine, allowing it to quickly track its environment and the position of the hand in real time.Read more
The more circuits and connectors flex, the higher the likelihood they'll break. While we've seen self-healing chips, gels and microcapsules before, a new material out of Pennsylvania State University brings auto-repair to dielectrics – the materials that insulate electric currents.​ Read more
Earlier this year, Rolls Royce announced that the seventh generation Phantom is to make way for the eighth, with the Drophead Coupé and Coupé models to be retired. The luxury marque is rolling out one last special collection, though, to celebrate the two models. Read more
Wish your smartphone had the functionality of your DSLR? Well, our friends at Acesori want to help with this 3-in-1 LensKit designed to greatly increase your camera’s range. Easily connected to the magnetic ring around your phone’s camera, this kit allows you to take incredible photos and video through fish eye, wide angle, and macro lenses. Read more