Amid the excitement of the 2007 Tokyo auto show, Honda has confirmed that it will be unveiling a production version of its much-anticipated 2008 FCX hydrogen fuel-cell car next month in Los Angeles. Why the Japanese auto maker chose LA for the unveiling rather than its own back yard may have to do with the fact that a considerable number of the production FCXs will be leased to customers in the United States beginning next year. According to USA Today, Honda has not decided on the final number of models bound for the U.S. market, although it quotes Honda … Read more
GestureTek Mobile has bestowed the powers of movement-based navigation, popularized by the Nintendo Wii, upon cell phones. The one crucial difference: no Wii tennis elbow.
Since the technology in GestureTek Mobile's EyeMobile Engine is purely optic rather than hardware-based--unlike the accelerometer that tells iPhone when to jump into landscape mode--wrist motion is powerful and specific.
Here's an example from the demo: just click the soft key to zoom in on the map, and tilt the phone back and forth to zoom in and out. Do it again holding the scroll button to activate the motion detection, and tilt … Read more
Having set out its conservative agenda for the production of plug-in cars earlier this week, Toyota gave away some more details yesterday, confirming that it would offer plug-in technology "during the life" of its third-generation Prius hybrid, according to an article in Just Auto.
The non plug-in version of the third-gen Prius is scheduled to go on sale in the next two to three years with a plug-in version possible by 2011, according to Thierry Dombreval, executive vice president of Toyota Europe. Dombreval also suggested that the plug-in Prius would be available only as an option when it … Read more
So far, no one has won NASA's $500,000 space elevator challenge after five days of bad weather in Salt Lake City, Utah, and more than enough snafus.
As of Monday, three finalist teams--the Kansas City Space Pirates, The University of Saskatchewan (USST) and the Technology Tycons (high-school kids from California)--were scheduled to perform two tests each of their self-built robotic climbers. To win the prize money, the teams' robots must be able to hoist up a thin carbon tether 100 meters within 50 seconds, under its own power source.
The three finalists emerged from eight teams … Read more
As part of a public experiment, some commuters in Singapore need only tap their mobile phones for bus and train fares.
They're part of the Near-Field Communication (NFC) phone trial jointly organized by Singapore service provider StarHub and partner EZ-Link. According to the press release, the trial is the first public NFC trial in the Republic and possibly one of the largest of its kind in the world.
Since the middle of last week, 1,000 selected trialists have been given a handset from Singapore phone manufacturer iWOW and a Sony PaSoRi card reader (EZ-Link card reader) which they … Read more
Questions about expense, reliability and profitability are good reasons for Toyota to take its time on a plug-in electric hybrid, a company executive said Monday.
Yoshitaka Asakura, project general manager in Toyota's hybrid vehicle system-engineering division, said Monday in an article in The Wall Street Journal that Toyota is taking into account that not all consumers, despite vocal environmentalist groups, may be interested in a car that has to be re-charged daily.
Toyota executives spoke at several break-out sessions on emissions reduction, battery technology and design strategy on Monday at the 2007 Tokyo International Automotive Conference, of which Toyota … Read more
Since you're using the gas anyway, why not convert the heat from your car engine into useful electricity?
That's the basic premise behind the work of Terry Tritt, professor and director of the U.S. Department of Energy's Center of Excellence in Thermoelectric Materials Research at Clemson University.
Thermoelectric generators are currently used to convent radioactive heat into electricity by NASA for deep space probes. The same technology could be applied to the automotive combustion cycle, which wastes more than 60 percent of its energy through heat, according to a paper Tritt delivered at the Alan MacDairmid … Read more
But what about the … Read more
The days of bringing a wad of wrinkly $5 bills to space are over. Finally, a form of currency built for space travellers by National Space Centre scientists is here.
According to this BBC News story, the Quasi Universal Intergalactic Denomination (Quid for short) are coins custom-built for purchasing goods and services in space. The currency was designed by the U.K.'s National Space Centre and the University of Leicester for foreign exchange service Travelex.
The rounded, disc-shaped coins look a bit like skipping stones. Thanks to being made from the same polymer as nonstick pans, they will not … Read more
You've been thinking, "Hey, where are all the updates on mind-reading devices?" All the appropriate scientists already knew this, so they decided to give you what you want today.
Here's this week's mind-readers' digest.
Microsoft applies for mind-reading patent: According to this New Scientist blog post, Microsoft applied for a patent in August that would help the company figure out what people really think about its products. The technology in the patent application, titled "Using electroencephalograph signals for task classification and activity recognition," would read a user's brain states while testing Microsoft'… Read more