Tech Universe: Wednesday 10 August

By Miraz Jordan

A BRD RedShift electric motorcycle.
A BRD RedShift electric motorcycle.

ELECTRIC RIDE: BRD RedShift electric motorcycles are for the street or motocross. They weigh around 110 Kg and are good for 15 to 60 Km of motocross riding or 80 Km of street riding. The makers claim the electric drivetrain delivers more control, feedback, and confidence than the internal combustion version. And a whole lot more quiet. See the details at Wired.

ROBOTROLLEY: The Lockheed Martin Squad Mission Support System is a robotic luggage trolley of sorts. It's job is to carry packs, water and other supplies that squads of Warfighters need for a mission. A soldier programs a handheld unit either with a prescribed route or to follow a particular individual. Then the carrier trundles along behind, even over rough terrain. The vehicle weighs around 1700 Kg and can carry payloads up to around 550 Kg. When did soliders morph into Warfighters? Lockheed Martin fill in the specs. Here's a video.

ROAD CHARGES: One problem with electric cars is plugging them in to recharge. The Evatran Plugless Power wireless/proximity charging system is a step forward. The system is around 90% efficient from wall to car. The car needs a charge receiver, and is positioned over a sending unit on the floor. Positioning doesn't need to be too exact, and can be up to half a radius off. If it's 90% efficient where does the other 10% go? Autoblog green has photos.

LET THE SUNSHINE IN: What say instead of bolting solar cells on to the roof they actually were the roof? Dyesol in Australia and Tata Steel in Europe have produced building panels around 3 metres long that incorporate dye solar cells. Although less efficient than solar cells that use silicon wafers they are cheaper to produce and more effective at generating electricity from lower levels of light. They could even be used on flat roofs and walls. Soaking it in. Read more at The GreenHorizon.

CLIPPY COMES TO CARS: Are there buttons on your car dashboard that you still haven't quite figured out? And have you lost the manual anyway, if you ever had one? New models of Audi cars come with an avatar that displays on the Mulitmedia Interface of the dash and explains the systems to you in plain language. The Avatar-based Virtual Co-driver System can also show pictures and videos to help you out. Ask a question in a complete sentence and the avatar will respond. Voice communication is always available, but graphics and videos aren't available at speed or if the system hears signs of stress in your voice. Here's hoping it's not perky and chirpy. Science Daily has the explanations.

Miraz Jordan, knowit.co.nz

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