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What Bright Sparks around the World are Inventing, Making and Researching

Catch up on what Bright Sparks around the World are Inventing, Making and Researching....

Surf's Up

Gold Coast professional SUP boarder Jake Jensen made headlines in the surfing world when he rode a prototype hydrofoil surfboard 7km non-stop from Coolangatta to Currumbin earlier this year. And yes, it did look pretty cool. Now you can get in line for your own eFoil. Manufactured by US company Lift Foils, and claimed to be the first commercial electric-powered hydrofoil surfboard, it can travel up to 25km/h, controlled by a wireless hand controller and the rider's body language. The battery can be recharged via a normal home power outlet. But forget the morning waves at Bondi. For obvious reasons, a foil isn't for a crowded break - it's a board you can take out and surf ocean swells. Available in two sizes and a variety of colours, it should be hitting the market any day now!

Black Goes Green

The iconic London taxi is about to get an overhaul, with the electrix TX model slated for release in November this year. Pairing an electric motor with a small petrol generator, the TX will have a range of more than 645 kilometres and will be able to charge up at one of the 300 cab charging stations that it's claimed will be in place by 2020. The design was inspired by the FX4 black cabs built until 1984 - the one tourists buy in miniature as a souvenir. Priced from around 50,000 quid (that's $84K to you, Squire), it's about $12K more than the current diesel version. But the good news is that with the average cabbie covering 200km a day, it'll cost around $170 a week less to run. Tax-ee!

Born to Fail

Anyone remember Apple's gaming console, Pippin? Or Google Class? Or Sony Betamax? If you're wondering what happened to them, you'll find them alive and well at the new Museum of Failure in Helsingborg, Sweden, alongside 60-odd other not so great ideas from big brands such as Nokia (N-Gage), Coca-Cola (Blak) and Colgate (lasagne toothpaste). The museum's mission is to convey that in order to not stuff up, we have to pay attention to our failures. Considering that an estimated 90 per cent of innovations fail, they won't be short of exhibits.

For more information on any of these News Items, head to our Electrical Gems Page and click on Issue 141 Oct-Nov The Institution Issue!