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Weapon Wednesday – Kosovo Changed the Air War Forever

F 16 Pilot From The 510th Fighter Squadron

USAFGETTY IMAGES

April 12, 1999. It’s 12:30 in the afternoon and Brigadier General Dan Leaf, flying in the cockpit of an F-16, is trying to stop a massacre unfolding thousands of feet below.

He’s the Commander of the 315th Air Expeditionary Wing, operating from Aviano Air Base in Italy during Operation Allied Force. The military campaign against Yugoslavia began on March 24, 1999, with British and U.S. using airstrikes attempting to curb an ethnic cleansing campaign by the Yugoslavian government. read more

Raspberry-Picking Robot

Data from the initial field trial of the raspberry-harvesting robot system will inform further design, ahead...
Data from the initial field trial of the raspberry-harvesting robot system will inform further design, ahead of commercialization of the technology in 2020(Credit: Fieldwork Robotics Ltd)

Fieldwork Robotics – a spinout company from the University of Plymouth in the UK – has announced the successful completion of early field trials of a raspberry-harvesting robot. If commercialized, the system could help make up for a shortage of human fruit pickers in the country. read more

BMW Recreates a Classic

The Garmisch is a recreation of a classic concept by Marcello Gandini for the Bertone design...
The Garmisch is a recreation of a classic concept by Marcello Gandini for the Bertone design house that was shown at the Geneva Motor Show in 1970(Credit: BMW)

BMW has resurrected an iconic and almost forgotten design at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. Alongside – and in contrast to – the forward-looking Concept R18 shown by BMW Motorrad, the Garmisch pays homage to one of the industry’s most influential automotive designers of the 1970s, Marcello Gandini. read more

Modular Smart-System for Kids

The Novus is billed as the "world's first modular smartphone for kids"
The Novus is billed as the “world’s first modular smartphone for kids”(Credit: Abardeen)

Smartphones and smartwatches for kids aren’t exactly new – even FitBit has a kids’ watch these days – but China-based Abardeen has done things a little differently. The company has taken a modular approach with its latest offering – launched this week on Kickstarter – in an effort to inject some extra flexibility to the kids phone/watch equation.

Designed to transform between smartphone, smartwatch and voice-enabled home assistant, the Novus system is made up of four components (one of which is optional). The first is the Novus Core, an Android-powered, 4G-enabled, Apple-Watch-looking module, housing the screen and all the phone/watch related technology. As the name suggests, this is the core of the setup – the brains of the operation if you will. The Novus Core is either inserted into the Watch Module (handy for kids prone to losing things like phones) or clicked into the Phone Module enclosure (which also adds two extra days of battery life). The Phone Module uses a touch-wheel – similar to classic iPods – to control the Novus and scroll through the onscreen menus.

Combining the Novus Core with the phone and watch modules is a simple click-and-go process

At home, the Novus Core + Phone Module can be slotted into the optional Home Module, which not only charges the Novus Core and Phone Module batteries, but transforms the ensemble into what Abardeen calls an “AI Speaker.” This is more than a charging station with a speaker. It’s a Google Assistant-enabled smart-speaker, a stand-alone alarm clock and a clever nightlight that turns on when it detects movement via its infrared sensor.

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Chinese Construction Horizontal Skyscraper

Developer CapitaLand says that Raffles City Chongqing's structure is now complete and work is ongoing fitting...
Developer CapitaLand says that Raffles City Chongqing’s structure is now complete and work is ongoing fitting the interior(Credit: CapitaLand)

Following six years of construction, the Moshe Safdie-designed Raffles City Chongqing is nearing completion in China. Representing a genuinely impressive engineering achievement, the so-called horizontal skyscraper consists of a cluster of eight towers and a huge connecting skybridge. Developer CapitaLand reports that it’s now structurally complete and work is ongoing finishing its interior. The official opening ceremony is expected to take place in the second half of 2019. read more

Electric Surfer

The Wheeebo is due for release in 2020
The Wheeebo is due for release in 2020(Credit: Yanmar)

Perhaps best-known for its diesel engines and robotic agricultural equipment, Japanese company Yanmar also makes personal watercraft. Its latest addition to the latter category is a little something known as the Wheeebo, which is kind of like an aquatic Segway. read more

The Old New Land Rover Defender

The prototype Land Rover Defender during trials in the Arctic
The prototype Land Rover Defender during trials in the Arctic(Credit: Jaguar Land Rover)

In 2016 we reported the end of the Defender line. Jaguar Land Rover even had a big, teary party to farewell the then 68 year old icon. Well, it seems you can’t keep a good marque down and the long-awaited replacement for the Defender is … the Defender. read more

Russia’s Belgorod Submarine

Belgorod nuclear submarine launched in Severodvinsk

Oleg KuleshovGetty Images

Russia launched the world’s longest submarine today, the special mission submarine Belgorod. Designed to support a variety of military missions, including the Poseidon long-range strategic nuclear torpedo, the sub is far larger than anything operated by any other naval force, including the U.S. Navy. The six hundred foot long submarine displaces more water than a World War I battleship and can dive to a depth of 1,700 feet. read more

New Aston has Seven on the Floor

A 7-speed manual transmission and carbon ceramic brakes are standard on the Vantage AMR
A 7-speed manual transmission and carbon ceramic brakes are standard on the Vantage AMR(Credit: Aston Martin)

America considers itself a great car loving nation and yet, according to a U.S. News and World Report study, only 18 percent of American drivers even know how to use a manual transmission, and only about 5 percent of vehicles sold in the US in 2016 had three pedals. To much of the rest of the Western world, knowing how to drive stick is a point of considerable pride, and many serious enthusiasts feel that driving automatics removes a key element of connection with the car. read more