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Living in a greenhouse: One family’s experiment in sustainable living

People in glass houses ... Helly Scholten and family will live in the home for a ...

Dutch stylist Helly Scholten is interested in living sustainably, so when the chance came to move herself and her family into an experimental sustainable house designed by Rotterdam University students and researchers, she jumped at it. Essentially an oversized greenhouse, the house was built to explore sustainable methods of living and will serve as the family's full-time home for three years.

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Category: Architecture

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Clip-on attachment extends student workspace

Desk Buddy is aimed at making life more comfortable for college students

There was a time not so long ago that attending a college lecture required nothing more than a notepad and a pen. The laptops, mobile devices and takeaway coffees that students take to class today, though, take up a little more space than lecture chair arms can typically accommodate. Desk Buddy provides a little more real estate to work on.

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Category: Good Thinking

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Mouthy sea urchin inspires engineers to take a bite out of other planets

Researchers tested the claw-like device on a Mars soil simulant

The sea urchin may be a restaurant delicacy, but it's also well equipped to satisfy its own appetite. The spiny invertebrate has a rock-crushing mouth so powerful that a herd of them can destroy a kelp forest or devastate a coral reef. Now its dinner manglers have inspired a team of engineers and marine biologists at the University of California, San Diego, to create a claw-like manipulator for robotic rovers tasked with collecting soil samples on other planets.

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Category: Space

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Shimano gives mountain bikers a boost with STePS MTB

The STePS MTB delivers 70 Nm of torque

eBikes might be good for commuters who don't want to arrive at work trailing a river of sweat, but the technology can also provide a helping hand – or foot – to cyclists who want to get down and dirty. Shimano has recognized this with the new STePS MTB, a rugged eBike motor designed for off-road performance.

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Category: Bicycles

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ResetPlug handles power switch hitting for you when your Wi-Fi goes down

SmartPlug cuts power to keep you online

When your Wi-Fi stops working, you can usually plan on spending the next five minutes cycling the power to your broadband modem, router and/or access point off and back on again and hoping that does the trick. ResetPlug is designed to prevent this irritating procedure by automatically hitting the power reset button for you.

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Category: Electronics

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Google to put self-driving car tech in Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan

The Chrysler Pacifica will be used as a base for Google's self-driving car technology

After a long gestation period in innocuous bubbles, Google has decided it's time to expand its self-driving project and integrate sensors and software into passenger cars. As it turns out, those cars will be hybrid Chrysler Pacificas specially built to house the hardware required for safe autonomous driving.

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Category: Automotive

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3D-printed surfboard fins shape the future of customized rides

With further development, the researchers hope to bring their customized fin service to market

Fins to the surfer are like footwear to the footballer. Sure they mightn't matter much to those just starting out but for the more experienced, different designs can deliver the added stability and control that is vital to improving performance. With a view to bringing bespoke rides to more surfers, Australian researchers are 3D-printing fins that can be tailored to individuals and their local waves.

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Category: Outdoors

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HoloGrid: Monster Battle isn’t Star Wars: HoloChess, but it’s close and on Kickstarter

It takes less than five minutes into my meeting with Mike Levine, president of developer HappyGiant, before he smiles behind his beard and drops his first goodnatured f-bomb.

"It's really a giant fuck you to the free-to-play model," Levine tells me standing among tens of thousands of attendees at PAX East, in front of an iPad showing a pre-release version of his unreleased game, HoloGrid: Monster Battle. He's explaining his plan for the game, and it's nothing if not bold.

I have no idea if it'll work. Sometimes, there'a a fine line between bold and unrealistic. Either way, I can't stop thinking about it.

HoloGrid: Monster Battle, he tells me, takes the world's most popular app distribution ecosystem but rejects the most lucrative way...

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VW Golf GTi Clubsport S topples front-wheel-drive Nordschleife record

VW has stolen the Nordschleife front-drive production lap record from Honda

Volkswagen has swept past Renault, Seat and Honda in the race for Nürburgring bragging rights, having lopped 1.42 seconds off the existing front-drive production Nordschleife record in a Golf GTI Clubsport S. With no rear seats, insulation or floor mats, the Clubsport S is a limited edition GTI designed with laptimes, not the daily commute, in mind.

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Category: Automotive

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Drones light up Mt Fuji in spellbinding audiovisual display

The Sky Magic project was demonstrated at the foot of Mt Fuji

Drawing in visitors from all around the world, Japan's Mt Fuji is an eye-catching enough sight on its own. Add a fleet of LED-equipped drones dancing to traditional Japanese music in the foreground, and you've got yourself an enchanting blend of the old and the new.

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Category: Drones

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65-mph recumbent e-trike claims record 300 mile range

Odyssey Trikes have updated their Mark 5 Super so that it now achieves a claimed 300 ...

They may look ungainly, but the aerodynamic advantages of recumbent bikes and trikes give them an edge – especially if you throw a 4 kW wheel hub motor into the mix. Case in point is the Mark 5 Super from Odyssey Trikes, which boasts a top speed of 60 mph (96 km/h) and a range of 300 miles (480 km) on a single charge.

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Category: Bicycles

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Vikenze II solo camper offers simple but surprisingly well-equipped overnighting

The pop-top of the Vikenze II does not offer a bed, but it opens up headroom ...

One of the greatest parts of camping is leaving the hustle and bustle of daily life behind for the quiet solitude of a simpler world. But how much quiet solitude can you really get when driving a bus-sized RV filled with people, especially if those people don't share your vision of what camping is all about? The all-new Wheelhome Vikenze II strips camping down to its most singular form, offering seriously space-efficient accommodations for you, and you alone.

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Category: Automotive

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