CUTE SCOOT:

The BMW Concept e is a design for an electric scooter. One feature is that instead of rear-view mirrors it includes cameras in the tail light array that feed images to 2 LCD monitors in the cockpit. A completely flat battery can charge from a household supply in 3 hours and then power the scooter for 100 Km of regular use. And the scooter looks good too. BMW Blog has all the info

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SAIL BY WIRE: Out in space the solar wind can push against a huge sail to propel a spacecraft. A Finnish project takes away the sail itself and replaces it with wires. Long conductive wires only 25 mm in diameter are charged up to 20,000 volts. That creates an electric field that extends out 100 metres from the wire. Photons from the solar wind push against the field to drive the spacecraft. This is a low energy propulsion, but the acceleration of 1 mm per second per second adds up to a good speed fairly quickly. The electric solar sail will be tested on a European satellite in 2012. Shields out. More at Dvice.

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ROCKET SCIENCE: NASA's new Space Launch System, or SLS, will lift the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle into orbit and beyond. A liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propulsion system and solid rocket boosters will initially lift 70 metric tons. Eventually though that will increase to 130 metric tons. A modular architecture will allow the SLS to be carefully configured according to specific needs for each launch. Will 'SLS' capture the imagination the way the name Saturn did? Details at Nasa's site.

BALL OF FIRE: If an industrial building is burning it presents firefighters with the huge problem of finding out what gases, chemicals and temperatures they'll face. The Intel Fireball is a sphere the size of a tennis ball. It contains a low power WiFi transmitter, and sensors for various gases and temperature. The firefighter throws the Fireball into the building and a small server in the firetruck relays data to smartphones. Surely there would be a case for making such sensors a permanent part of industrial buildings. Laptop Mag has details and there's video here.

LIGHT RELIEF: LEDCourt is a system of LED lights that replace the traditional markings on multi-purpose courts. Flip a switch to mark out a court for basketball, volleyball, tennis or various other sports with embedded LED lights. No game play if the power's out though. More at Gizmag and video here.

- Miraz Jordan knowit.co.nz