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Solar Challenge car stars at show

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Engineering innovation and cutting-edge green tech will be highlights of the SA Solar Challenge exhibit at the Rand Show’s Science & Technology Hall for the next ten days.

The SA Solar Challenge puts engineering to the test, tasking the country’s young engineers to build solar cars that can cover thousands of kilometres in an eight-day staged event from Pretoria to Cape Town with just sunshine in the tank.

The Solar Challenge team from North-West University (NWU) is bringing its futuristic solar car, the R1.5m Sirius X25, to the Rand Show.

Designed by a multi-disciplinary team of students from NWU’s Faculty of Engineering under the guidance of team project manager Professor Albert Helberg, the NWU solar car Sirius X25 is an aerodynamic masterpiece. Weighing just 208 kg without the driver and 4.5 m long, the Sirius X25 has lower wind resistance than some of the best sports cars in the world. While it typically travels at 80km/h on level terrain, it can reach speeds of 140 km/h. And it does all this while consuming less energy than a standard household light bulb, running off nothing but sunlight.

The Sirius X25 will be carrying South Africa’s hopes with it when it competes in the biennial World Solar Challenge that takes place in Australia in October 2015. The Sirius X25 and the NWU team are one of only two teams to have entered from Africa, putting the continent at the starting line for the first time ever in the world challenge. They’ll be driving some 3 000 km from Darwin in the Northern Territory to Adelaide in South Australia.

The Solar Challenge team will be presenting talks at the Rand Show on the Challenge, solar technology and solar cars, presenting specifically to school groups if requested. There will also be a model of a full-size solar-powered sedan car, and an interactive display of an electric motor to show how an electric vehicle works.

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CES: And thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for making and enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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