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DT Daily: ‘Ordinary’ solar car, sunken phone still works, Star Wars fan’s big win

Today on DT Daily: A record-breaking solar-powered car, a Sony phone swims with the fishes and the luckiest Star Wars fan, ever.

Solar-powered cars are still oddly-shaped, highly experimental vehicles built mostly by engineering students. But a record-breaking car built in Australia may signal a shift towards actual passenger vehicles powered by the sun.

The “Eve” solar car, which also uses a battery to store energy, features seating for two and a more typical “coupe” form factor than solar cars were used to seeing, like this one. Last month, students at the University of New South Wales took the car to the track and broke a 26-year-old time and distance record, going 500 kilometers at 100 clicks per hour – which is about 62 miles an hour. All on power from the sun.

The car, made mostly of carbon fiber, is a bit short on luxury appointments – it has none – but given a nice set of rims, some paint and maybe some leather trim, it could easily mix with current traffic. To these hard-working students, we say congrats and “good on ya.”

Dropping your cell phone in water usually spells certain death for the delicate devices, but one trend we’re seeing is for phones to be both more drop-resistant and waterproof. Case in point: the Sony Xperia Z2 phablet, which is rated waterproof to about 5 feet for half an hour in fresh water. Or, maybe more. Swede Alexander Maxen was having some ocean fun when his $700 Z2 went overboard and sank in 30 feet of salt water. He figured it was done for.

But six weeks later, Alex’s friend was diving in the same area when he came across the sunken Sony – and brought it to shore. They plugged it in and despite a cracked back panel, the phone booted right up. So I guess that Sony waterproof rating could be considered “conservative.”

Star Wars fans are perhaps the most loyal in the world, with many still smitten with the space opera almost 40 years after it first debuted.

One of those life-long fans is a guy named D.C. Barns of Colorado. Recently, while he was on a video call answering a question about his best Star Wars moment, folks with the Force for Change contest burst in the door with a surprise: he’d won the Force for Change lotto and is going to be in the next movie. And that, Mr. Barnes said, was his best Star Wars moment. Force for Change won as well, raising over 4.2 million dollars.

Star Wars Episode VII comes out next year, and we’ll be looking for D.C. Barnes’ winning cameo.

Your host today is Jilian Rabe. Missed yesterday’s awesome episode of DT Daily? Watch it – and all the rest – right here.