MIT has found a way to lighten the burden for those in the military, at least physically. The Exoskeleton Leg Rack can take 80% of an 80 lb. load off its wearer although it will affect his/her normal walking pattern. Hugh Herr, principal investigator of the Biomechatronics Group, hopes that the device will allow soldiers to hustle without running out of breath and to carry heavier packs. He believes that about 20 years from now people will be buying leg racks instead of bike racks. We love when scientists do research for the military, knowing that eventually it will trickle down to those of us in the civilian sector, even if it takes another 20 years.
Read More | MIT
Toyota’s new iQ concept car was recently introduced at the 2007 Frankfurt Auto Show. The vehicle is only 2.98 meters in length yet has room to seat up to three adults and 1 child with its innovative 3+1 system which allows the fourth seat to be utilized for luggage space. We could not find any information concerning what type of fuel the vehicle will use, leading us to believe that this is not a plug-and-play automobile. All the same, we are hoping we will get a glimpse of it at the NAIAS early next year. The iQ will make its formal debut in Europe probably in 2009.
Read More | AutoblogGreen
Recently unveiled at the IFA 2007, the Navigon 2100 features a 3.5-inch anti-glare touchscreen, simplified menus, and spoken directions with its text-to-speech. Their Reality View displays geometry and road sign text with automatic speed warnings. The exclusive technology provides 2D and 3D, photo-realistic, virtual views of intersections. Look for the navigational device this fall with an MSRP of $249.00. We wonder if the future of such gadgets will provide us with back seat drivers and directions to the nearest pit stop.
Read More | BetaNews
Just as the American Hummer was created as an offspring of the military Humvee, the Chinese car company Dongfeng developed the EQ2050 for theirs, complete with Cummins turbodeisel. Now they have taken that idea and created a civilian version called the Crazy Soldier. The new vehicle is to be launched early next year, at prices starting at about $185,000.00, hoping that telecom and forestry companies will see this is as a nifty knockoff. We hope they check the composition of the paint before they release it, thinking that the name of the vehicle may in fact end up describing its drivers and passengers.
Read More | edmunds
in error. It seems there is a Jetsons-type car flying in an atmosphere near you. Moller International, founded by a UC Davis professor, has announced that it is producing the M200G Volantor, a small, two passenger, saucer-shaped vehicle that takes off and lands vertically. Designed to hold up to 250 pounds, the device hovers about 10 feet off the ground so it will escape the watchful eye of the FAA until the company can pass the certification-testing program. Moller claims that the car can go up to 45 mph for 45 to 90 minutes.
Bruce Calkins, General Manager, says that although a market has to be created before skycars catch on, he believes that a good first step would be for those who want to either run down to the beach or head out to the golf course. Check out the M200G in action as it takes a test spin. Only a limited amount of them will be available before a full-scale release by 2009 for marketing demonstrators, special sales, and military applications. We think that for $125,000.00, it makes it a heck of a toy.
Read More | Moller
There seems to be two schools of thought regarding the 2-wheeled “personal transporter” known as the Segway—a convenient vehicle for getting around town or a vehicle for the attention-starved. Well, in New York you can now say it’s a vehicle for fighting crime. Twenty-five New York cops have been trained and have started using 10 Segways in parks and beaches including Coney Island, Central Park, Prospect Park and more, with Yankee and Shea Stadiums to come. The Segways won’t be used in the actual streets of NY, as—quite ironically—they fail certain safety standards, and therefore cannot be registered legally in the state. New York joins over 200 police agencies around the country that employ the Segway.
Read More | New York Daily News
As if iPods weren’t ubiquitous enough (and we mean that in a good way), by mid-year select airlines will have iPod seat connections that will keep your little buddy powered and charged during the flight. Even better, using the dock connector port, you will be able to display the video content from the iPod on seat-back screens. It’s all about synergy, as many airlines are currently improving and increasing their in-flight entertainment options. Apple is currently working with Delta, US Airlines, United, Continental, and others, with even more airlines on the horizon.
We live in a society that loves to customize it’s cell phones and cars. Well the folks at Horntones have ingeniously taken that notion a step further: in April look for the Horntones FX-550, a clever $150 USD device that lets you to customize the sound of your horn using almost any standard audio file. The dashboard-mounted device stores hundreds of different sounds; some are pre-loaded, and more can be downloaded from Horntones.com. Here’s the fun but scary part: you can create your own tones in MP3 or WAV format. Yes, you can have any sound or song clip as your horn, whether it’s naughty, nice or just flat-out obnoxious. A USB thumb drive transfers the sounds from your computer to the player, which never has to leave your car. You can even create your own themes, utilizing the 8 preset buttons on the player. Could be fun, or a complete nightmare on the roads if this actually catches on.
For the complete hands-free set, Parrot aims to please with their MK6000 Bluetooth Car Kit. Once installed in your vehicle, you can answer cellphone calls at the touch of a button without requiring a physical headset. Even better, you can stream CD-quality music from the phone to the car stereo.