Rev it up for the origin of Lightning McQueen! Pixar’s CARS was such a huge hit for the studio that it’s spawned a sequel, due in 2012. If you and your kids don’t want to wait that long, BOOM! Studios has something to satisfy fans of the Dinoco 400 until then. In conjunction with Disney Worldwide Publishing, BOOM! is launching a brand new licensed CARS comic book. Written by Alan J. Porter and illustrated by Albert Carreres, the first issue of CARS: THE ROOKIE will debut in March 2009. In the debut issue, CARS Star Lightning McQueen gets interviewed by Darrel Cartrip and reveals his less-than-humble origins as “Bulldozer” McQueen, “a local short track racer who dreams of the big time.” If you’re looking for something your kids can hook into, this is the comic to seek out. You can order it from your local comic book store (the BOOM! folks have a handy order form you can hand to your retailer), and you can also order it from the BOOM! website.
BOOM! is also releasing THE INCREDIBLES: FAMILY MATTERS #1 (by Mark Waid and Marcio Takara) and THE MUPPET SHOW #1 (by Roger Langridge) in March as well. Don’t let this opportunity slip by to get kids into reading comics.
Buckypaper may look like regular carbon paper, but is in actual fact Florida State University’s Ben Wang’s material that is 10 times lighter but up to 500 times stronger than steel when stacked and pressed. It has the capability of conducting electricity and dispensing heat. The material is made from tube-shaped carbon molecules 50,000x thinner than a human’s hair. Applications would include energy-efficient aircraft and cars, and more powerful computers. At this point buckypaper, which came out of the discovery of the buckyball (a form of pure carbon,) is only made at half of its strength and is very expensive to produce, FSU is planning to developing it commercially in the next 12 months, according to Wang.
Read More | CNN
How often do you spring for a fast food meal on the road and end up with a burger and fries that are room temperature at best? Now you can cook your own with maplin’s in-car Microwave. Plug into your 12V socket and program the LED touchscreen to heat your sandwich or SpaghettiOs in quick time. Built of steel with a heavy duty handle, it will even stand up to the kidlets’ Lunchables. Find it at a price of £79.97 (~$147.00.)
Read More | maplin
AM General, the company that makes the Hummer H2 for GM, is hoping to make wheelchair-accessible vehicles by 2010. The car will be made for the U.S. and Canada and will include an automatic ramp that will be able to handle wheelchairs, scooters, and other mobile devices. They say they already have reservations for 3,500 units. Since GM has mentioned that other parties might be interested in its Hummer brand, it will be interesting to see if this will be another carrot or a last ditch effort by the company to keep those gas-hogs on the road.
Read More | Detroit News
It won’t be long before you can get WiFi in your car or truck. The “uconnect” system will be available in most 2009 Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep automobiles. The wireless technology is a dealer-installed extra and operates over cell phone lines. Users will be able to utilize laptops, cell phones, and MP3 players with an onboard control, even when moving. It also features GPS, a 30GB hard drive, and an option for satellite TV and radio. While there is a monthly fee involved, there is not yet a specific amount announced.
Read More | MSNBC
We were happy to find out that the new Smart Car did well during its recent crash tests. The 8 foot car received the highest rating in both front-end and side impact testing. It received the second highest rating for rear crashes. Adrian Lund, president of the IIHS that conducted the test, said that a small car may be safer in congested urban areas, where crashes occur less often.
“All things being equal in safety, bigger and heavier is always better. But among the smallest cars, the engineers of the Smart did their homework and designed a high level of safety into a very small package,” Lund said. Looking at the results, it’s even a smaller package now.
Read More | CNN
Imagine not having to deal with the noise and hassle of replacing windshield wipers. This is exactly what Italian Car Designer Leonardo Fioravanti has done with his prototype Hindra. The windshield not only filters out UV rays, it repels water. “Nano-dust” forces dirt to the glass edges activated by sensors. Electricity is used to run the entire mechanism. The process is completed by drag which allows freer flowing air over the windshield. The Hindra and its technology will be on display next month at the Geneva Motor Show.
This must have been designed for cab drivers, security guards, soccer moms/dads, and those that want fast food without the grease. The Road Pro 12 Volt Sandwich Maker plugs into your cigarette lighter socket and runs on 5 amps. It has a power-on indicator light, is non-stick, and has a 5 ft. power cord in case someone in the back has the munchies, too. The Sandwich Maker carries a 90 day warranty and a price of $19.50, not much more than a Crave Case of White Castle Burgers.
Read More | The S. King Company
We learned all about Microsoft Sync at CES, and have lots to share. Sync is integrated software that’s factory-installed in certain Ford, Lincoln and Mercury cars. It allows you to control your cell phone and music player via voice recognition. Once your cell phone is “synced” with the software and your contacts are transferred, just press the button on the steering wheel and speak your command, such as “Call Mom.” Mom is immediately dialed, and you can talk to her without ever touching your phone. What’s also cool is that you can control your entire music library via voice as well, just by saying the name of the artist, song, album or even playlist. Just sync up your iPod (except the Shuffle), iPhone, MP3 player or even a thumb drive, and you’re good to go.
The Jaguar XKR was just too special to pass by. It carries a MSRP of ~$90,000 and is the elitest of the elite. With 420 horsepower and a 4.2 liter V-8 engine, we assume you are going to rule the road with this one as it can hit a top speed of 155 mph and accelerate to 60 in 4.9 seconds. It was the luxury that we just couldn’t get past. Reach up and the ceiling is all kid leather. You don’t just get new car smell in this car. It figuratively screams, “I am so rich!” The seats and steering wheel adjustments are so exact, even the shortest of us fit. A couple of interior shots after the jump. All we can say is that this is the car we want to be buried in.
Read More | NAIAS 2008