The partial wraps from FanWraps come in a multitude of different flavors. You can get a leaping, light saber-wielding Yoda, a stern-looking Darth Vader, a ready-for-action Boba Fett, a cuddly R2-D2, and a comic-book version of slave Princess Leia, among others.… Read more
Rain -- the scourge of the night driver! Too many times have distracting droplets proved an annoyance for those traveling roads after dark.
New technology co-developed by Intel and Carnegie Mellon University could one day change all that. I've spoken to Intel about the new tech, so hit play on the video above to find out how it works.
Instead of relying on a bog-standard bulb to beam light out over a darkened road, the futuristic setup would use something more akin to a projector.
Meanwhile a camera sits nestled beneath that projector, keeping an eye on drops of rain as they enter the headlights' beams. Information from that camera is sent to a processing unit, which identifies raindrops and makes a guess as to where each droplet is headed. … Read more
If you wanted to impress on Earth Day, you could do worse than this all-electric motorcycle from Canada.
The Sora superbike from Quebec-based Lito Green Motion is finally hitting the streets after years of development and promos. The Canadian Ministry of Transport recently certified the firm as a motorcycle manufacturer, and the $41,000 bike is getting lots of attention.
The Sora, which means "sky" in Japanese, has a 12 kWh lithium polymer battery and a range of 185 miles on a single charge, which takes 8 hours, or 90 minutes with a quick charger. It can be recharged anywhere using a conventional plug. … Read more
Do you drum your steering wheel in traffic jams and at all the red lights? What if it could make drum sounds instead of dull thumps?
The ridiculously named Re-Inventing The Wheel (RITW) is an electronic drum pad that covers your steering wheel and links wirelessly with your car speakers and your iPhone.
The gizmo, which is the focus of a Kickstarter campaign, emits drum sounds through the car stereo via an FM transmitter or line-in jack as you rock along to your favorite tunes on your iPhone.
RITW has eight sensors that can be set to trigger a snare, tom, cowbell, or any drum sound you like, or effects like dog barks or even Chewbacca's howl. You also can hear your drumming -- solo or with background music -- through earphones or mini speakers. … Read more
Before the recession, automakers at auto shows regularly showed off futuristic concept cars, which seemed more about keeping the design departments busy than developing future products. When resources became scarce, concept cars largely became prototypes brought out to gauge public reaction.
Such is still the case, given the assortment of concept cars we saw during the most recent international auto show cycle.… Read more
If you rob a bank and get away in a driverless Prius, will the owner be indicted as the driver? Or will Toyota? Or maybe Google?
If your driverless car decides -- as so many machines do in movies -- that it has a mind of its own, will you be responsible when it decides to mount the curb and plow straight into your favorite donut store? And what if someone hacks into your driverless car and you suddenly end up in Alaska, with an instruction to mow down moose?
You'll tell me this will never happen. I will point you to the fine profits regularly earned by the world's insurance companies.
I suspect that not everyone has the answers yet for all the ramifications of ceding your steering wheel to Google's machines.
Thankfully, though, all those who have the deepest knowledge of the self-driving future will be meeting in June to have a freewheeling exchange.… Read more
Old rumors about Volkswagen and Apple collaborating on an iCar will come the closest ever to realization next week, when Volkswagen unveils its iBeetle at Auto China 2013 in Shanghai. The iBeetle announcement consists of a special-edition Beetle, a new iPhone dock, and a Volkswagen iPhone app.
An iPhone dock in the iBeetle sits at the center top of the dashboard. Volkswagen writes in a press release that "all iPhone functions … Read more
Segway scooters are still kind of cool, but they have the disadvantage of being big. It's a bit difficult to just pack one up, take it on your morning public transportation commute, and then saddle up to ride it to the office. Israeli designer Amir Zaid is thinking smaller than Segway when it comes to his all-electric MUV-e scooter. It's small enough to fold up into a suitcase-size bundle.
Zair's resume includes design work for Ferrari and Fiat, so you know the MUV-e isn't going to look like other scooters. It has three wheels and lots of rounded edges. There's even a bit of a Tron aesthetic at work here in looking at the renderings for the final product. Dare I say, it looks a little sporty? Not at all like this boxy scooter we saw recently.… Read more
Segways are run of the mill these days. To turn heads with an unusual vehicle, you need something like the Hyundai E4U.
Recently unveiled at the ongoing 2013 Seoul Motor Show, the E4U is a one-seater that can move easily in any direction. It travels on a rotating front sphere and two rear training-wheel-like supports. Propulsion is controlled by foot pedals, which cause the spherical front to tilt.
In a demo at the car show, the pod moved at about walking speed, according to Japan's Nikkei Tech-On Web site, which provides us with this remarkable photo of the E4U and what must be some of the stupidest headgear ever conceived. … Read more
We've decided: Cars are nonsense. Who needs cars? Matt Denton's Mantis hexapod robot clearly represents the transportation of the future.
Denton, an animatronics and special-effects designer whose portfolio includes "Prometheus" and "Lost in Space" with company Micromagic Systems, has an interest in hexapods that goes way back. Over the years, he has built a few miniature hexapods at Micromagic.
Mantis is his first giant-sized model, the result of four years of research, development, design, and building, and is, Denton claims, the biggest operational hexapod in the world. The thing comes in at 9.2 feet tall, weighing 2 tons. It's powered by a 2.2-liter turbo diesel engine and is designed to take on any terrain. … Read more