I'd like to have a little fun while saving the planet--I'm sure that we all would--but this wave of hotted-up hybrids has me scratching my head. Some, like the Prius Plus Performance Package, appear to use the term "performance" a bit too liberally for my tastes Still others, like the Mugen CR-Z, seem to add a sporty pedigree to what was previously just sporty pretense. Building on the later of those concepts, Honda has just pulled the wraps off of an even more extreme variant of its sporty hybrid at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in … Read more
Powering uphill on your bicycle often comes down to mind over matter. What if, in addition to controlling your protesting thigh muscles, your mind was master of your bike's gear shifter?
That idea is being made flesh in the form of a high-performance concept bicycle that sports a thought-controlled interface.
Electrodes in the rider's helmet pick up neuro-electrical activity. Signals from the helmet are transmitted to an electronic gear shifter mounted under the seat. With training, a person can learn to shift up or shift down simply by thinking it.
Gives "Look Ma, no hands!" new meaning.… Read more
The cost of the recent royal nuptials over in England has been estimated at more than $20 million. The happy couple could have saved a lot of cash and hassle by getting hitched by the AutoWed instead.
The AutoWed is a one-off device built by Concept Shed for Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum in Detroit. The creators describe it as part parking meter, part Cadillac, part cathedral, and a little bit steampunk. It stands an impressive 8 feet tall.
The Pepto Bismol-pink device lets users choose from straight, gay, lesbian, and Best Friends Forever unions. For $1, the machine dispenses a pair of plastic rings and a customized receipt for commemorating your special day.
The ceremony is accompanied with mechanized music and a stiffly robotic voice. It's like having Robby the Robot officiate at your wedding.
If you think programming in C++ is romantic or you have a gift registry at RadioShack, then this is the marriage ceremony for you and your sweetie.… Read more
Food on the go is an essential part of modern life. It's a wonder it took as long as it did for the food truck thing to catch on, but the important thing is, it did. Good food no longer has to be subject to long periods of idleness. If you're wondering what might be the next big thing concerning mobility, you are not alone. Electrolux, with its 2011 Design Lab exhibition, has just released the 25 semi-finalists for the competition. The theme is "Intelligent Mobility." Here are a few examples of the concepts that perhaps … Read more
What's interesting about the release accompanying the announcement of Toyota's latest hybrid concept is that there's absolutely no mention of the terms efficient, mpg, or eco. No, when Toyota talks about the GRMN Sports Hybrid Concept II, it uses words like maneuverability, stability, and enjoyment. Just what's gotten into boring old Toyota these days?
Set to be revealed to the public at this weekend's Nurburgring 24-hour endurance race, in Nurburg, Germany, the Toyota's concept is a sporty convertible that's powered by a gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain. GRMN stands for "Gazoo Racing tuned by … Read more
It's silly, inevitable, and inspired. Of course, in this retro-crazed world, somebody was bound to slap a real rotary dial on a smartphone. And you know what? It looks cool.
New Zealand designer Richard Clarkson has come up with a concept smartphone that features a digital touch screen on the front and a space on the back where heavy brass dials, a traditional rotary dial and a dial with buttons can be interchanged like camera lenses. The phone is enclosed in a painted copper case designed to show metal where paint wears through.
Clarkson explains his motivation for the phone, dubbed Rotary Mechanical:The rotary mechanical smartphone is based on the idea of incorporating more feeling and life into our everyday digital objects. In modern times these objects have come to define us, but who and what defines these objects? Are we happy with generic rectangles of a touch screen or do we want something with more tangibility, something with more life, something with more aura?
Clarkson's concept phone is a fine example of steampunk craft, never mind that rotary dial telephones came on the scene in the chrome-and-glass art deco '20s, several decades after the leather-and-brass Victorian era. I guess to do a truly period-appropriate steampunk smartphone you'd have to slap a crank handle on the side --not so appealing, or pocketable.… Read more
It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of the Scion FR-S concept unveiled at the 2011 New York auto show. Journalistic objectivity aside, that car is hot! When I heard that Five Axis, the team that built the concept for Scion, was entering an FR-S into the 2011 Red Bull Soapbox Race in downtown Los Angeles, I had to check it out.
The 2011 Honda CR-Z found itself on the receiving end of much criticism from the automotive press and enthusiasts, ourselves included, when it launched last year. Greenies didn't like the hybrid's merely average fuel economy, and enthusiasts chided its less-than-hard-core performance. A few of these enthusiasts figured they could do better. This is where Mugen, Honda's sometimes-official tuning division comes into the picture with its CR-Z Mugen concept, set to debut in July at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July.
Realizing that you can't please everyone, Mugen instead focuses on the needs and wants of … Read more
When serious BLT fans like myself look back over the technological accomplishments of the past century, it seems a bit unfair that we've traveled to the moon and connected the world by sending magic signals through the air, yet still burn a disconcerting proportion of our toast.
At last, a Polish designer has brought the underappreciated art of gently crisping bread into the 21st century. Mateusz Glowka created the Roastie, a wheel-shaped toasting device that's bound to haunt your hamster's nightmares.… Read more
From Paris to New York, automakers showed off their latest concept cars over the last seven months. These design and technology explorations were intended to incite buzz among auto show goers and demonstrate the future direction of their creators.
Many concepts, such as the Kia Pop, are odd-looking vehicles that will never see production. Then there are concepts such as the Jaguar C-X75 that we dream about night after night, despite the fact that Jaguar doesn't plan to build it.
The Ford Vertrek concept, and others like it, represent a future design idea for a specific model. Then there'… Read more