Monday March 6 2017 / Science & Technology - Art & Design

In the 1950s, a micro-car was launched in Europe by the Italian firm Rivolta. It was called the Iso Isetta and was the original bubble car. The Isetta became the largest selling, single cylinder car in the world, a record it still holds today.

Access to the Isetta for the driver and passenger was via the front door.

The steering wheel and dashboard attached to the door and swung out of the way when getting in and out. In case of an accident, or somebody parking too close in front to open the door, you could also get in and out via the canvas roof.

Thanks to Swiss company Micro Mobility Systems, the spirit of the Isetta lives on in the new Microlino EV. But the Microlino isn't a car, or even a micro-car: it's described as a "mobility system".

The Micolino EV is electric with a predicted range of 120 kilometres and top speed of 100 kilometres per hour. While that may seem short and slow, the average daily drive is less than 60 kilometres at an average speed of 50 kilometres per hour. The Micolino EV should be perfect for a commute or run to the shops and is sure to be easy to park: You can fit three Microlinos in a standard parking space.

Access to the Isetta for the driver and passenger was via the front door. The steering wheel and dashboard attached to the door and swung out of the way when getting in and out. In case of an accident, or somebody parking too close in front to open the door, you could also get in and out via the canvas roof.

And thanks to the high torque of electric motors from low revs, the Microlino EV is even said to be quicker than many petrol powered sports cars . . . quicker over the first 20 metres anyway.


 The Microlino EV was launched at the 2016 Geneva Moto Show and the company took thousands of orders. First deliveries are scheduled for 2018 with prices between $9,000 and $13,500.

 For more information, please visit www.microlino.ch/features.

Suggested by
Ian Skellern

Monday December 19 2016 / Science & Technology - Art & Design - A Little Levity

24-year-old Luca Iaconi-Stewart is a self-described aviation nut. In 2008 he was still in high school when Boeing launched their then-new 777 and was so impressed that he decided to make a 1/60-scale model using light card board cut from manila folders.

He had no access to engineering plans so studied photos and a maintenance manual to make plans of his own.

Thursday October 6 2016 / Science & Technology - Art & Design - A Little Levity

 Robb Higgs is a British artist who believes that the more effort people put into relating to his interactive art, the more enjoyment his art provides.

The Corkscrew by Robb Higgs

If his premise is true then the taste of the wine poured by his integrated corkscrew/wine pourer contraption must be absolutely sensational because its operation demands considerable effort.

Monday September 5 2016 / Science & Technology

In the past, understanding the world used to be so much easier: mail went by post not by wire; a drone was somebody who bored you, not somebody who bombed you; and robots were big, made of metal, and rusted in water – not small, soft and swimming.

Today email has largely replaced mail, and drones hunt targets from the sky. Luckily, we still know where are with robots, don't we?

Sorry, but no. Robocop has now been superseded by Octobot.

Monday August 1 2016 / Science & Technology

''The Six Million Dollar Man" is an American TV series that ran from 1974 to 1978. Steve Austin, the fictional hero of the series, became the world's first bionic man after having an eye, arm and both legs replaced by bionics offering more power and functionality than his lost flesh and blood limbs and organs.

But while computing power, sensors and technology have all evolved in leaps and bounds over the decades since the series aired, prosthetics − though they have certainly advanced − haven’t appeared to keep pace.

We have self-driving cars, but most robot arms still cannot hold a glass of water . . . or couldn't until the Luke.

Monday June 6 2016 / Art & Design

Nick Brandt has been photographing African wildlife since 2001 and during that time has observed that the animals' natural habitat was being destroyed at an ever-alarming rate.

To highlight this plight, Brandt conceived of a series of huge photographs called Inherit the Earth. To create them he erected larger-than-life-sized portraits of Africa's four-legged inhabitants in landscapes where they once may have roamed but no longer. Rubbish dumps, quarries and warehouses have replaced the wild plains.

Monday May 2 2016 / Science & Technology - A Little Levity

We've all been here, haven't we? Well, hopefully a few of you at least will have shared the following scenario with me in childhood: you have folded the perfect paper plane, which in your imagination soars effortlessly across the room to gasps of admiration (and a tinge of jealousy) from the rest of the room. But, in reality, when you release your plane (with just a little too much force) it flies straight down to the floor with a paper- and soul-crushing thwack, followed by a quickly rising volume of laughter and sniggers.

If only there was a better way.

Monday March 28 2016 / Science & Technology

Think about how we move in rough terrain for a movement: whether walking uphill, downhill, or across hills, we always try and stay vertical because that's how our bodies balance best.

However, we do tend to learn over when going around corners quickly because that keeps apparent forces vertical to our bodies. French company Swincar has now developed an off road buggy that operates in the same way on rough terrain and at speed as our bodies do.

Friday January 1 2016 / Art & Design

When the Eiffel Tower was erected for the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris, many outraged people averted their eyes from what they viewed as a hideous iron beast. But the construction that once turned away so many is now among the most recognisable monuments in the world.

In Seville, Spain, the challenge of convincing the public was no different but the materials and engineering were: try building the largest wooden structure on earth atop ancient ruins while creating an inviting space for everyone to enjoy . . . in addition to rehabilitating a dilapidated part of town. This was the Metropol Parasol project.

Monday November 2 2015 / Science & Technology

For its era, it was a racing machine of a different ilk, even its name – The Beast of Turin – evokes images of a forceful, grumbling animal terrorising the streets. But just as soon as the rocket-shaped Fiat racer won the 1911 world speed record, it disappeared. And then wasn't seen or heard again from for another 100 years.

That is until it fell into the hands of Duncan Pittaway.

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