Convergence. It’s been one of the holy grails of the electronics industry for quite some time. The idea is simple enough - empower one device to act as a central point of reference for multiple devices and/or incorporate those multiple devices into one mega unit that does it all. Depending on what portion of the industry you look at, the ideal concept of convergence might be a single point of control or reference, for multiple devices. By approaching convergence as a many-to-one scenario, it allows individuals to choose their own devices according to preference or need. Instead of being forced into using an all-in-one device that may not have all the features desired, a control device would simply make use of what devices the user has brought with him or her.
As a case in point, Volkswagen has been working on an automobile computer that takes devices such as the iPod and Treo, and provides a single point of control for them. The concept, named Gypsy, is a separate project from the in-car media center project that Microsoft and Volkswagen introduced at CeBIT. Volkswagen’s Electronics Research Lab (ERL) is working with Google to utilize Google Earth as the mapping system of choice, and sees the system as being extensible through the use of widgets. C|Net has an interesting, if lightweight, video of the Gypsy product in action. It only scratches the surface of what is possible, but it brings to mind what will one day be possible. The roadblocks to successfully implement such a wide-reaching device are abundant, but given a common set of communication standards, and a lot of luck, we can hope for the best.
Read More | C|Net
Regardless of which side of the satellite radio camp you are in, XM or Sirius, competition is always a good thing (for the consumer anyway). To that end, Sirius has signed an exclusive deal with Audi of America and Volkswagen of America. The deal will make Sirius the satellite radio provider of choice for both car manufacturers up through the 2012 model year. Audi estimates that 50% of its vehicles sold are equipped with satellite radio, while Volkswagen expects to have an installed base of 80% of its vehicles.
What was once almost a rout with XM leading by a huge margin, has turned into a fairly equal battle for market share. It’s arguable as to which company offers better technology (XM gets the nod IMHO) and better programming (Sirius I do believe), but either one makes terrestrial radio passe. The war for subscribers is really starting to heat up.
In this episode we chat with the director of Internet comedy ‘Cherub,’ check out technology that is meant to keep your eyes focused on the road, and much more:
Delphi Eye Tracking Software
Scott-O: Cherub Interview
Wireless Motion Sensor
Don’t forget - in Episode 005, we told you about two giveaways we are doing on the show. If you didn’t see it, go download it to find out how you can enter to win your own OHSO and Xbox 360.
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What’s ugly as can be, has 8 wheels, and goes from zero to sixty miles per hour in 4.2 seconds? It’s Eliica, the $260,000 electric-powered vehicle built by the Keio University in Tokyo. Eliica has been around for a while, but it’s state-of-the-art as it uses nothing but Li-Ion batteries for power and can achieve a top speed of 230mph with a range of 185 miles (obviously not at top speed). For a bit of flair, Eliica even sports gull wing doors. Obviously a case of excess in every way, but it’s interesting to see what can be done with a little know-how and a lot of money. More details can be found on Eliica’s official bog, provided of course you can read Japanese.
Concept cars are nothing new. They’re utilized by auto manufacturers to gauge public response to body-styles, used as platforms for new technology and ideas, and sadly, rarely ever see the light of day as real vehicles. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Daimler-Chrysler has seemingly been turning more of their concepts into production vehicles than any other manufacturer.
Daimler-Chrysler released their latest concept car at the Geneva Auto Show - the 2007 Dodge Hornet. Bearing a striking resemblance to both the modern Mini Cooper and Suzuki Swift vehicles, the Hornet is designed as Dodge’s new low-cost vehicle (below the Caliber). Small enough for the European market, but big enough for the U.S., the Hornet is equipped with a supercharged 170hp engine that will zip it from 0-to-60 in approximately 6.7 seconds (firmly in Mini Cooper territory). The grille has Dodge’s trademark look, while the rest of the exterior and interior speak of European influences.
Will the Hornet make it to market? Only time will tell, but given Chrysler’s past track record there’s a good chance. Estimated sticker price will be below that of the Dodge Caliber (which lists for $13,985).
It’s been said that if you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door. While that may have been true some years ago, in today’s ever mobile world, the proverbial mousetrap is now the battery. Electronic devices of all kinds require power, and if it’s not plugged into the wall, that power has traditionally been supplied by the humble battery. Fuel cell technology, while promising, isn’t quite ready for primetime yet so batteries are still center stage. With the battery industry worth billions of dollars, it’s no wonder that companies are always vying to outdo one another for dominance.
With the introduction of the M1, A123 Systems has introduced a remarkable upgrade to the Li-Ion battery. In comparison to a standard Li-Ion cell they’ve been able to double the power density, increase the peak power fivefold, and significantly reduce the time required for charging. Those gains have been accomplished by shrinking the size of the particles that coat the battery’s electrodes from 5-20 microns (standard Li-Ion) to below 100 nanometers for the new M1. Another benefit to the technology is safety. A typical Li-Ion cell when penetrated will explode, whereas an M1 cell will merely emit smoke.
One of the first adopters to bring the M1 technology to market is DeWalt. Their new line of 36-volt power tools have batteries that weigh the same as competitor’s 18-volt products, yet deliver more power and longer runtimes. While DeWalt’s application is all well and good, A123 Systems have their sights set firmly on the automotive industry. For example, the 100-lb battery in a Toyota Prius could have it’s weight reduced by nearly 80% and a quick re-charge to 90% capacity would only take 5 minutes! Certainly a technology to keep an eye on.
Getting ready for NASCAR weekend? We have a racing related post that will knock your socks off. Although this has been out there for a while, I figured you race fans would really appreciate this. After all - this does qualify as not only gear, but the ultimate in gear, gadgetry and gaming. Check out what happens when too many engineers have nothing better to do, who also happen to love racing…
Read More | Racing Sim Video
You’ve seen it before. A bike rack with a cut chaincable laying on the ground, or a locked up wheel being the only portion of the bike left behind. To combat this, people resort to different approaches. Some use the latest in super-duper, titanium-impregnated, hardened-steel locks, and others remove a seat or a wheel (or two). Whatever your method, if somebody wants your bicycle badly enough, they’re going to get it. Unless of course, they can’t reach it. The Bike Tree is a Swiss invention that lifts your bicycle overhead and stores it under a protective canopy. Not only is your bike now protected from theft and vandalism, but from Mother Nature as well. A non-contact smart card allows an authorized user to retrieve their bicycle and go about their merry way. The Bike Tree can also be utilized as a bike rental facility, and since it can be solar powered, is easy to implement no matter the location.
Doesn’t it just make you feel sad to see the ultimate in automove excellence - an Enzo Ferrari - cracked up on the side of a mountain road? Yeah, we thought so. Seems this genius figured he would see if the needle on the speedo could actually see 200+ mph. I guess he forgot that he was on the PCH and not the Autobahn. Way to waste a million bucks. Lets see…how many cool toys could be buy for that much coin?
Read More | LA Times
In the spirit of all things gadget related, we thought this would qualify as something you would want to see. This Evil Knievel Female just happened to have her video camera running when Mr. Fast and Furious wannabe decided to get sideways in front of her. Needless to say, she didn’t have much room to maneuver and here’s the result. A quick warning - we don’t recommend you try this at home kiddies, it could leave a mark or two if you know what we mean. At least she was sportin’ some leather and a helmet for the ultimate in safety gadgetry. You go girl…
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