By Lawrence UlrichPosted 09.11.2010 at 1:53 pm 4 Comments
Next year the number of electric cars and plug-in hybrids in America will increase by an order of magnitude, and all of those cars will be able to draw electricity from any 120-volt wall outlet. Just not very quickly. Charging from the wall can take longer than 16 hours. A faster fill-up involves installing a dedicated 240-volt "Level II" home charging dock, and to combat range anxiety—the fear of being stranded with no electrons and nowhere to plug in—automakers want to see these same charging docks installed for public use across the country. So far, the Department of Energy and state and local governments have announced plans to install more than 11,000 public chargers in 19 states. Here's what's coming.
How do you make video-games more lifelike? Get the players off the couch. Nintendo's Wii got families on their feet with a controller that senses swings and other motions. In November, Xbox 360 fans will rise for Microsoft's Kinect. And now Sony wants serious gamers to stand. Its Move is designed for even those who prefer precision shooter games.
By Max FischerPosted 09.11.2010 at 1:20 pm 0 Comments
First came rocks. Then hammers. After that came pneumatic nail guns, and then the pneumatic palm nailer, a hand-sized tool that can pound nails accurately in even tight spaces, such as between wall studs or ceiling joists. But it still requires an unwieldy hose and air compressor, and battery-powered alternatives have lacked the force that contractors need. The Milwaukee M12 Palm Nailer is the first battery-powered version that’s almost as fast and powerful as a pneumatic.
Each month we look beyond the shelves of your local big-box store to dig up the best new ideas in gear. This is the stuff that is better, faster, stronger, and does more than pretty much anything we've seen before it. Click the gallery thumbnails below to dive in:
By Lauren AaronsonPosted 09.02.2010 at 4:55 pm 46 Comments
Never mind that twisty compact fluorescent. The new energy-efficient way to light your home is with LEDs. An upcoming crop of bulbs draw 12 watts or less, edging out a typical fluorescent, and they have a more conventional shape, contain no mercury, and last at least 25,000 hours, three times as long.
By Suzanne LaBarrePosted 08.31.2010 at 11:07 am 9 Comments
Solar panels are a common sight on rooftops but rare on vertical walls, which, being more or less parallel to the noonday sun, get less solar energy. Hoping to take advantage of this unused space, design start-up SMIT looked at how ivy plants nonetheless thrive on the sides of buildings. The company’s upcoming solar-energy system takes inspiration from the way a vine’s many leaves individually maximize their sun exposure.
3-D printers, sometimes called rapid prototypers, already instantly manufacture products by squirting out material layer by layer. Now they're turning out items made of glass, sand and other substances beyond the usual plastic or resin.
By Wes SilerPosted 07.30.2010 at 11:35 am 0 Comments
By winning June's 37.7-mile Isle of Man TT Zero—the electric-vehicle class of the world's toughest motorcycle race—and setting an average speed record of 96 mph, the 2010 MotoCzysz E1pc officially became the fastest electric bike yet. Built by Portland, Oregon–based designer and engineer Michael Czysz, the E1pc has 10 times the battery capacity of a Toyota Prius and 2.5 times the torque of a Ducati 1198. Czysz wants the E1pc to be a testbed for technologies, such as oil-cooled motors and swappable batteries, that could make it into electric cars. He says he's talking to several companies about licensing or co-developing technologies and that he's working on a joint-development project with the Indian auto giant Bajaj.
By Don HollingerPosted 07.30.2010 at 10:14 am 1 Comment
Even a great camera won't take memorable shots if it's so big that you tend to leave it at home. So companies are creating models that aim for a happy medium between pocketable point-and-shoots and higher-quality SLRs. This new breed can change lenses to suit a shot, like an SLR does, but ditches the optical viewfinder and the bulky mirror that sends it light. That means compromise: Autofocus isn't SLR-fast, there are fewer lenses, and point-and-shoots are still smaller. We tested which interchangeable-lens compacts (ILCs) hit the sweet spot.