I'm not a fan of Hot Wheels, but I might buy Mattel's latest tin can car, the Video Racer. The vehicle has a VGA video camera mounted at the front to record the thrills and spills of spinning round the track. There's even a small LCD on the undercarriage that lets you play back the clips. … Read more
Researchers at the University of Utah have been studying devices on steering wheels that guide drivers by pulling skin on index fingers to the left or the right, and are giving the technology two thumbs up.
"It has the potential of being a safer way of doing what's already being done--delivering information that people are already getting with in-car GPS navigation systems," says lead author William Provancher, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Utah.
He adds that the study was based on a "multiple resource model" of how people process information, where our senses are considered resources that relay information to our brains:"You can only process so much," he says. "The theory is that if you provide information through different channels, you can provide more total information. Our sense of touch is currently an unexplored means of communication in the car."
Tactile systems that warn drivers if they are veering out of lanes already exist, but these devices actually turn the steering wheel, instead of prompting the driver to turn it.
Using the new device, the researchers studied 19 University of Utah undergraduates (13 men and 6 women) in four driving scenarios, each one lasting 6 minutes and including, randomly, 12 cues to move right and 12 to move left. During the simulations, each driver's index fingertips rested on a red TrackPoint cap from an IBM ThinkPad computer that gently stretches skin clockwise to indicate right turns and counterclockwise to indicate left.
In two scenarios, the drivers talked via cell phone to a person in the lab while receiving directions from a computer voice or the touch devices on the steering wheel. In the other two scenarios, the drivers did not talk on cell phones.… Read more
The Hot Wheels I grew up with were die-cast, detailed replicas of actual cars or outrageously exaggerated hot rods, running down orange plastic tracks snapped together in any configuration I could imagine. The two latest Hot Wheels sitting on my desk are plastic, fold flat so they can fit into an iPhone-size carrying case, and require neither gravity nor muscle power to move.
Stealth Rides are Hot Wheels' latest remote controlled cars, with the unique feature of stowing away into their own remote controllers. The company designed them so that boys, its major demographic, can easily carry them around and play with them.
Currently, Stealth Rides come as either a race car or a treaded crawler, with a Batman Tumbler available in October. … Read more
Ah, the humble steering wheel--circular apparatus designed to maneuver modern land vehicles right or left, correct? Wrong. It may have started that way, but in Ferrari's hands, the Formula One steering wheel has evolved exponentially to become a full-on computer system that can cost upwards of 100,000 pounds (that's $156,400). Each.During a recent trip to the Galleria Ferrari museum in Maranello, Italy, we had the opportunity to go hands on with several slices of F1 history. The first of these was the enormous wheel on the 1963 Ferrari 156 F1-63. This model had a circumference … Read more
September 1 has become a circled date on every Mac nerd's calendar following Apple's announcement of a music-related media event to be held in San Francisco. One of the big announcements, according to analysts, could be an overhauled iPod Nano, sans click wheel.
The click wheel has been one of the most iconic pieces of industrial engineering in technology since its release, but may be relegated to science museums sooner than later. Kaufman analyst Shawn Wu claims via sources that a "significant redesign" of the iPod Nano may also be part of Apple's media event … Read more
Can a symbol of frustration be turned into a signal of style? Can a visual aid that suggests something might be seriously amiss turn into a chic magnet?
I ask this important question because one enterprising marketer believes that if you are geek chic-forward, you ought to be wearing Apple's Spinning Wheel of Doom.
Should you not be familiar with this wheel, it is sometimes referred to as "the beach ball of hell" or, by the extremely naive, the "swirling rainbow circle thingy." Apple itself refers to it as the "spinning wait cursor." … Read more
LilRacerz Pro Rally is a top-down 2D racer where you'll need to win races on various terrains to unlock more cars, tracks, and upgrades. The control system consists of two touch-screen buttons on the left for turning and a gas pedal and break on the right. You also get a turbo button above the gas pedal for brief bursts of speed on straightaways. LilRacerz has two game modes including Quickrace for practicing on tracks with cars you've previously unlocked, or Cup races where you'll race against the AI and unlock cars and tracks by winning.
LilRacerz Pro … Read more
So recently we've gotten a look at BMW's xDrive all-wheel traction control system, both in theory and in action. Not surprisingly, German manufacturer Audi thinks its vehicles run and handle better on snowy and icy roads to the point that the company is hosting an event known as the Audi Ice Experience; it's a racing-track-based high-performance practical driving education event that's been around for more than 20 years now. And today we've got video from the most recent Experience held this year in Finland.
The Audi Ice Experience is a winter-specific course that is usually … Read more
All-wheel traction control systems can make a trip on snowy and icy roads an easier time on you and your car. On Monday we got a brief glimpse of the innovative BMW xDrive traction system in action, and in today's video blog we dive into the deeper details of the technology involved and how BMW xDrive works.
For those of you just joining the conversation, BMW's xDrive is an "intelligent" electrical all-wheel traction control system that through Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) sensors can redistribute power between the axles depending on what is felt on existing road … Read more
I was on the phone with my mom yesterday, and she was telling me that she made the trek from Ohio to New Jersey to visit my brother. Apparently, she was not aware that the East Coast was about to get hit again with yet another blast of snow, and according to Mommy Dearest, Jersey got smacked with 20 or so inches in this latest winter storm, and they had to drive through it. (No offense, Mom, but better you than me).
Even though it's technically March now, Old Man Winter has still got a lot of the U.… Read more