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News in Numbers

The $10m Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize and over 1,000 Lufthansa biofuel flights are in the number news this month.


As a six-month biofuel trial came to an end, German airline Lufthansa said it had operated 1,187 flights between Hamburg and Frankfurt with one engine of an Airbus A321 powered by a 50:50 mix of biosynthetic kerosene and standard fuel, reducing CO2 emissions by 1,471t.

Project manager Joachim Buse said the biofuel was cleaner than standard jet fuel and its higher energy density meant fuel consumption was reduced by more than 1 per cent. However, practical trials could only continue if Lufthansa could secure the volume of sustainable, certified raw materials required for routine operations.


All six finalist vehicles in the 2012 North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACTOY) awards were developed using CATIA PLM (product lifecycle management) software from French firm Dassault Systèmes.

The finalists within the car category were the Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra and Volkswagen Passat, while the truck finalists were the BMW X3, the Honda CR-V and the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque.

The winners, chosen by a jury of 50 automotive journalists from the US and Canada and announced at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, were the Elantra and the Evoque.


Power stations with a combined capacity of 8GW secured government consent in England and Wales during 2011. The 15 plants mark the highest number approved since the Electricity Act came into force in 1989.

Official figures for December 2010 give a total ‘transmission entry capacity’ of just over 70GW (ignoring electricity used within the generating plant) from the major power producers in England and Wales.


A $10m prize is on offer in a competition to develop a handheld diagnostic device like the Tricorder in the Star Trek TV series.

The Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize will be awarded to the team that develops a mobile platform that most accurately diagnoses a set of 15 diseases across 30 consumers in three days.

The winning device must not only capture and process critical data such as blood pressure, respiratory rate and temperature but also “provide a compelling consumer experience”.

35 million

Market research firm IMS Research says 35 million Near Field Communications (NFC)-enabled phones shipped globally in 2011, marking “something of a breakthrough year” according to Don Tait, a senior analyst at the firm. Most of the leading cellular handset manufacturers have launched NFC-enabled handsets over the last 12 months. IMS forecasts that sales will approach 80 million by the end of 2012, driven by handset availability, new mobile payment schemes and major events such as the Olympic Games in London, where NFC will be available at the Olympic Park.


Ten million Financial Inclusion Network & Operations (FINO) customers in India are now using Gemalto smart cards for micro-banking, as part of FINO’s broader branchless banking programme.

Each card can securely store up to 15 applications such as deposit remittances, savings, loans, insurance and e-purses. Transactions are validated biometrically using fingerprints.


Transport for London tests showed that vehicle engines can be switched on and off more than 100 times an hour with no discernible loss of performance.

The research underpins a TfL campaign aimed at improving air quality. Restarting an engine after a minute or longer uses less fuel and causes less pollution than if it is idling.

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