Automotive

Modified Land Rover Discovery has an entire lab for malaria research

Bringing the lab straight to the field

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Car brands have been coming up with ways to fit more baggage inside a vehicle — be it groceries, full-size suitcases, or even surfboards. Those are all good and impressive, but this special vehicle from Land Rover just upped the ante. An entire research laboratory is now mobile thanks to the modified Discovery. Not only that, this lab on wheels is helping beat malaria.

Addressing the current malaria situation in Africa, the Mobile Malaria Project was conceived as a trans-African journey to work closely with smaller research groups. Through the mobile genetic sequencing laboratory tucked inside the mid-size SUV, they aim to extract and sequence parasite and mosquito DNA. In other words, they’re bringing the lab research directly to the field this time.


Embarking on this journey of Discovery (pun intended) are three researchers from Oxford University. They will be driving through different countries in Africa, gathering needed research and educating groups with limited resources along the way.

Packing all the lab equipment needed onto the luxury SUV was no easy feat, either. The team needed a small freezer to keep test supplies cool, a reliable power source to run said freezer 24/7, and storage space. These were successfully installed in the vehicle but some things (like the two rear seats) were needed to be taken out.

 

Additionally, the scientifically pimped-out Discovery was installed with awnings to cover the sides of the car. This way, researchers will be able to work around the vehicle while the hot African sun is above them or even when rainstorms are passing.

It’s a very interesting project with a very promising goal in mind. If you want to know more and get into the details, you may visit their page.

Automotive

You might soon have a pickup truck emoji thanks to Ford

Because it’s 🌏 Emoji Day

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Let’s admit it, not a day goes by without us sending out emoji to our family and friends. We all have our favorites, too — from Apple’s pleading face to the pinching hand emoji. But other users noticed there’s something else missing: the pickup truck emoji.

And who would have the authority to propose one but the truck specialist themselves? Ford submitted a proposal to the Unicode Consortium (which is the organization that reviews and approves proposals for new emoji) back in 2018 to include the pickup truck emoji. After some time, it has now been short-listed as a candidate for inclusion in the future.


“Given the F-series’ status as America’s best-selling truck for 42 consecutive years, there’s no one better than Ford to help bring an all-new pickup truck emoji to hard-working texters around the globe,” said Todd Eckert, Ford truck group marketing manager.

If the emoji is indeed approved by early 2020, the design will be customized for all mobile platforms and you can just send a pickup emoji whenever you need a pickup. 😉

 

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Automotive

2019 Honda Brio RS: The sporty baby Jazz

A fun ride through and through

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For today’s millennials and young professionals, choosing which car to buy could be a tough choice to make. For some, it has to pass certain requirements like fuel efficiency, ride comfort, space, if it looks good, and more importantly if it fits the budget. This is what first came to my mind when we got to test the 2019 Honda Brio RS. I think it has all the criteria most of us need for our daily commute and I’ll tell you why.

At first glance, it will give you the impression of a baby Jazz as it follows traditional Honda design cues.  It looks far better than its competing compact hatchbacks and is definitely a big design upgrade than the previous generation Brio.  From the front, this car looks aggressive and masculine for its size. The rear, however, still leans on the conservative side. Together with its sporty side skirts, the side profile is sleek with forward-tilting character lines giving it a sense of action and speed.


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Being an RS variant, there are additional design upgrades which include the black roof, blacked-out honeycomb grille, a rear spoiler with mounted third brake light, 15-inch RS design alloy rims, and of course, the bright red RS badges plastered all over. These positively add to the sportiness of the vehicle.

Its Phoenix Orange Pearl body looked glowing hot when the sun hits and we like it

Hopping in, you will immediately notice the orange accents running through the air vents, glove box, and side panels, plus the orange stitching and patterns on the seats. Next, we see the 7-inch touch-enabled infotainment system at the center of the dash which is connected to six speakers. Although that’s the case, we still weren’t impressed with the sound quality as it felt a bit short on bass.

Whether as the driver or passenger, you are seated in a low orientation and feel very close and planted to the ground. The height of the steering wheel and dashboard takes some getting used to if you always drive tall cars. But don’t get the idea that it’s cramped up inside. The seats up front are spacious with plenty of headroom to spare while at the back we have a decent amount of legroom for the average Asian. The trunk was large enough to carry our equipment along with other stuff. It was impressively spacious for a car this size.

We drove to our favorite scenic route of the Sierra Madre mountains, putting the car through its paces. The Brio is powered by a 1.2-liter SOHC i-VTEC engine which I think is sufficient enough for a car this small. It is then mated to a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with sport mode and the company’s Earth Dreams Technology.

This car gives you a smooth and quiet ride even at high speeds. The cabin is astonishingly quiet with very minimal wind noise and vibrations. Thanks to its CVT implementation, this car is so smooth that I didn’t realize I was already going 90 on a 50kph road.

You cannot ask it to drive like its more spirited cousins, though. It is not the fastest accelerating car and pushing down the gas pedal when overtaking or driving up a steep road takes the CVT some time to adjust and you won’t get that instant punch you were expecting.

The Brio also lacks traction control and other basic features like rear sensors and reverse camera. It doesn’t even have a center console box and an armrest, but these are things we can brush aside. In terms of fuel efficiency, we were able to average 11.1km/liter which is not bad considering we drove it aggressively through the winding and steep roads of Tanay, Rizal. Steering was light and handled tight corners remarkably.  Overall, this car gets the job done. It gets you where you need to go and is reliable, economical, safe, and don’t forget that it’s such a looker.

Will I recommend the Brio RS? In the city, this car would be perfect. Although it’s not the most powerful more so for long drives. I can tell you one thing, though, it sure is fun to drive. I’m actually not a big fan of small hatchbacks but it all boils down to the company’s target market. The Brio is tuned to be sporty and modernly stylish so it might appeal to those looking for something that looks fun and doesn’t break the bank.

With those, I could confidently say that the Brio RS has the edge over its small hatchback competitors in terms of performance and design. You won’t go wrong with this car.

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Automotive

This is Mini’s all-electric vehicle

The latest vehicle on Electric Avenue

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Mini has taken the wraps off of its all-electric car which is set to be available for delivery next year.

The new Mini Electric or Mini Cooper SE looks like the current design the Mini S Hatch is rocking. It has a three-door design with big round headlamps and even a hood scoop — it’s said to be sealed off, though, since its electric motor doesn’t need any airflow.


Under the hood is a 135kW motor that can propel you from 0-62 miles per hour in 7.3 seconds. It has a top speed of 93 mph, a maximum range between 235 to 270 kilometers, and promises a low center of gravity for that nimble handling.

As for recharging, the company says their fast-charging station can top up the Mini Electric’s battery up to 80% in 35 minutes.

Inside, it features a 5.5-inch screen for the driver that shows information like battery level and other EV-related details. For entertainment, there’s a 6.5-inch touch display with Apple CarPlay, real-time traffic updates, and a map that shows nearby charging stations.

Just like Mini’s previous lineup, there will be higher-end models that come with more features like a bigger 8.8-inch touchscreen, wireless charging, park assist, and more.

Interested buyers will be able to pre-order the Mini Electric starting immediately at £24,400 for the standard, £26,400 for the mid-tier model, and £30,400 for its top of the line variant. Deliveries will begin March of 2020.

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