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Inventions: Heath Robinson, eat your heart out

A team of geeks has devoted 5,000 man hours over six months to building a van-sized contraption designed to do nothing more complicated than pop a single balloon. Because, well, why not?

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The Big Question: Is London ready to embrace a bike hire scheme, and

Because Londoners are being given their first chance to size up and test ride the first of a new fleet of hire bikes heralded by the London Mayor as a "revolution in cycling". The first of the machines that will soon throng the capital's streets are being unveiled at this weekend's Cycle Show, which opens to the public today. Boris Johnson has thrown millions into the scheme and has a huge amount riding on the success of his shiny new bikes as he bids to turn the capital into a haven for two-wheeled transport.