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Khamis, 24 Oktober 2013

InEco EV's steel-CFRP hybrid

InEco EV's steel-CFRP hybrid construction keeps weight under a ton 
The InEco demonstrator vehicle was displayed at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show
One of the quieter debuts at last month's Frankfurt Motor Show was also one of the more interesting. The InEco electric car, developed at the Dresden University of Technology's Institute of Lightweight Engineering and Polymer Technology (TU Dresden's ILK), combines an innovative mix of materials to keep its weight down to under a ton and allow it to get the most out of its small electric powertrain. 
A diagram of materials in the InEco car
InEco is an ongoing project by TU Dresden and several corporate partners, including Leichtbau-Zentrum Sachsen GmbH and ThyssenKrupp AG. At Frankfurt, the parties presented the first roadworthy demonstrator model, an urban-focused, four-seat hatchback. 
The InEco's consumption is 9.7 kWh / 100 km
The focus of the InEco project has been on experimenting with construction methods and material blends. The body and chassis of the car are built with a variety of materials, most notably steel and carbon fiber-reinforced polymer. 
The InEco is powered by a small 15-kWh lithium-ion battery and 120-hp electric motor
In using steel construction to augment and reinforce the CFRP, the InEco combines the advantages of both – the non-splintering malleability of steel, advantageous in crash protection, and the light weight, rigidity and high energy absorption of CFRP. Some structures are made strictly from steel, some from CFRP, some from a mix of both materials, and some from other materials like aluminum. The diagram below shows the different materials (in German) in use around the car's structure. 
A large grille and sharp headlamps define the InEco's front-end styling
According to TU Dresden, the steel-CFRP hybrid construction has allowed for the simplification of the car's design, cutting 70 percent of traditional bodywork components out. The research vehicle weighs just 1,984 lb (900 kg), including a 330-lb (150-kg) chassis, batteries and electric powertrain. That low weight allows a modest combination of 120-hp synchronous motor and 15 kWh lithium-ion battery pack to push the four-seat hatchback to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 7.5 seconds and on to a top speed close to 100 mph (160 km/h). The 100-cell battery pack keeps firing for around 75 miles (120 km) of driving distance. 
Inside the InEco
Those performance numbers don't sound all that different from current-generation electric vehicles, but the battery pack is smaller than average thanks to the car's low weight. For comparison, the Nissan Leaf uses a 24 kWh battery pack; the Ford Focus Electric uses a 23 kWh battery; and the Chevy Volt, a gas-electric hybrid, uses a 16.5 kWh battery. 
The InEco hood uses an ultralight sandwich construction
The InEco uses a central tunnel for its lithium-ion cells
Styling is often a distant afterthought when it comes to a technological research vehicle, but the InEco does manage to catch the eye with its Hyundai Veloster-like hot hatch look that comes courtesy of its sharp headlamps, descending roofline and wraparound-style glasshouse. While the InEco isn't likely to show up in dealerships anytime soon, some of the methods used in its construction may influence the automotive industry. 

 Source: TU Dresden


SpyBike GPS Tracker is like LoJack for bikes 

The National Bike Registry tells us that thousands of bikes are stolen every day in the United States alone, estimating a cost of around US$200 million per year. A stolen bike can take hundreds or thousands of dollars out of your pocket, leave you without a means of transit and turn into a frustrating, angering experience. 
The SpyBike flashes when it's armed
The SpyBike Covert Bicycle GPS Tracker protects you from theft by tracking down your bike. They may deserve every expletive-laced, demeaning name in the book, but there's no denying that bike thieves are crafty, determined folks. Even if you lock your bike up, thieves have a way of cutting, prying, hammering and hacking through your line of defense ... or maybe they'll just saw the fence post that the bike is secured to. Since you're not a professional thief, it's difficult to protect your bike from every possible scenario, and your bike could get stolen even if you make every attempt to lock it securely. The chances of you getting the bike back are slim, and you may not see it again even if the police recover it. 

The SpyBike GPS tracker from Integrated Trackers gives you a second line of defense. You should still lock your bike, but if a thief happens to break it free, you have a means to get it back. The device mounts inside the headset, where it is hidden and unassuming. You use a special wrench to secure the device, so it's not easily removed. Activate the unit when you leave your bike using the accompanying electronic key ring. If the bike is taken before being deactivated with your key (i.e. stolen), the vibration sensor initiates the tracking system, which sends you an alert SMS message and begins uploading coordinates to the cloud every 20 seconds until the vibration stops. 
You activate the SpyBike system with an electronic keyring
The unit will activate again when the vibration starts up (i.e. the thief is riding or transporting the bicycle), so you can continue keeping up on its whereabouts. You can keep track of the bike's location via Integrated Trackers' website, and then relay its location to the police. If you forgot to arm the unit before your bike was stolen, you can remotely activate it by sending an SMS message. It checks its messages automatically every six hours, so it will begin tracking when it gets your message. The tracking service is free, but users do have to equip the unit with a pay-as-you-go SIM card and will be charged for the data used in uploading coordinates. This may seem like an extra cost and work, but combined with the quad-band GSM modem, it allows the unit to work with nearly any mobile network in the world. You can configure it to the carrier that offers the best coverage in your area to ensure that it works when you need it. The unit uses GPRS to upload data, not SMS, and Integrated Trackers says it costs a fraction of a penny to send each update (in the U.K.). 
Secure the SpyBike unit with a special wrench
The SpyBike runs on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Integrated Trackers says that the battery can go for months between charges. The unit will send you an SMS message when the battery needs charging. The SpyBike does have some limitations. Because it relies on GPS, the device will stop operating effectively if your bike is taken inside or anywhere there isn't a clear view of the sky. In that case, the unit will step down to GSM cellular triangulation. 

The company says GSM is only accurate to about 650 feet (200 m), which could prove all but useless in a building-dense environment like the center of a city. In fact, even GPS's claimed 16 to 82 feet (5 to 25 m) accuracy won't necessarily bring you right to the thief's doorstep. Having a hidden tracking system keeping you updated on the bike's location will almost certainly increase your chances of recovery. 

By integrating it into the headset, Integrated Trackers makes it unassuming enough that thieves may not think to check for it, and difficult enough to remove that they won't be able to just pull it out or break it off. The remote activation feature is a smart inclusion that keeps the device active even if you don't have the key ring or your bike is forcibly stolen. 

The SpyBike starts at US$153.58. The following video shows you how it works in a theft scenario. 

 Source: Integrated Trackers


Retrievor is solar powered and roughly the size of a US quarter
 If you've ever wondered where you left the laptop or how your dog came home smelling like a frog pond, then a GPS tracking device might seem like a good idea. The trick is to find one small enough to be practical and doesn't need its batteries replaced every day. 
Size comparison of Retrievor's processor
The Retrievor RET-100 is a self-contained, solar-powered GPS tracker no wider than a US quarter that is looking to find a way to market via a crowdfunding campaign. According to its creators, the Retrievor tracker uses the smallest, fully integrated GPS module with on‐board antenna available. Measuring only 28 mm (1.1 in) wide with a thickness of 10 mm (0.3 in), it weighs only 12 g (0.4 oz) and tracks objects using a combination of GSM, GPRS, and GPS to provide redundancy and locate objects with an accuracy of to within 1.5 m (5 ft). 
Exploded view of the Retrievor

Design sketch of Retrievor
 Retrievor is powered by a SiRFstarIV GPS processor, which allows the unit to work in areas that are often difficult for GPS to reach, such as indoors, thanks to firmware that detects changes in temperature and satellite signals, and updates its internal parameters to aid near-continuous navigation availability. 

The unit is waterproof to a depth of 3 m (10 ft) and power for the Retrievor comes from an integrated solar panel and motion charger feeding a 3.7 V lithium-ion battery, which can also be charged via micro USB. 
Retrievor and its app
The  Retrievor works with free Android, iPhone and web apps that allow users to set “Geo-Zones” and have the device send a text, email or ringtone once it moves out of a predesignated area. The app also maps the Retrievor's location, including speed, distance traveled, and route taken, and can track several units at one time. 
Retrievor prototype

Retrievor with attachment clip
There’s also a multi-purpose attachment clip that hooks the tracker to things, such as pet collars. A $169 pledge to the indiegogo campaign that is running through November 14 is the minimum to reserve a Retrievor device. 
Retrievor Geo-Zone
Deliveries are expected to begin in January, provided the campaign reaches its goal. If the campaign is successful, the retail price will be set at $299. Use of Retrievor will require a US$1.79 monthly subscription fee charged annually in advance, with tracking of additional units to cost $1.59 a month. However, supporters of the indiegogo campaign will have their subscription fee waived for the first year.



 Silicon supercapacitor could store electricity inside a silicon chip A team of researchers at the Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee has designed a supercapacitor made primarily of silicon that has shown much improved power density over its commercially available alternatives. The advance could allow for interesting integration of battery technology in everyday electronics, from solar cells to smartphones. 
A newly developed silicon supercapacitor could allow for the seamless integration of energ...

Supercapacitors store electricity by gathering ions on the surface of two plates soaked in an electrolyte solution. Because the number of ions that can be stored depends on the surface area of the plates, these are usually coated with materials, such as activated carbon, that are highly porous at the nanometric scale. 

While supercapacitors can't quite match the energy storage capabilities of lithium-ion batteries, they can absorb and release charge much more rapidly and have a significantly longer lifespan. Today, supercapacitors are used in applications ranging from stabilizing the power supply in portable electronics to supporting the KERS system in Formula 1 cars. 
Silicon chip with porous surface next to the special furnace where it was coated with grap...

Scientists have tried to improve on the amount of energy that supercapacitors can store by depositing even more porous materials materials such as carbon nanotubes on their plates, but these attempts have only produced marginal improvements that have been hard to replicate consistently. 

Assistant professor Cary Pint and his colleagues at Vanderbilt chose to attack the problem from a new and unusual angle by attempting to build a capacitor out of porous silicon. At first this seemed like an unlikely path, since silicon is known to react strongly with the electrolyte, disrupting the working mechanism of supercapacitors. 
The porous silicon was insulated by coating it with a thin layer of graphene (Image: Vande...

The silicon supercapacitor showed higher energy densities than commercial devices, though ...

On the other hand, the electronics industry is very familiar with ways to manipulate silicon precisely and make it highly porous. Pint and his colleagues coated the porous silicon in carbon and heated the ensemble to about 800° C (1500° F). The process formed a layer of graphene only a few nanometers thick that insulated the silicon from the electrolyte while retaining its highly porous structure. 
On the left, the electrolyte used in the supercapacitor; in the middle, the furnace that w...

The researchers found that supercapacitor plates manufactured in this fashion were up to 40 times more energy-dense than those made out of the "naked" silicon, and achieved a performance that significantly improved on current commercial supercapacitors.

Sabtu, 19 Oktober 2013

TECHNOLOGY : Aeromobil flying car prototype


There is a saying in flying: “If it looks good, it will fly well.” Stefan Klein, a designer from the Slovak Republic, has announced the first flight of his Aeromobil Version 2.5, a flying car prototype he has been developing over the last 20 years. 

This vehicle is a strikingly beautiful design with folding wings and a propeller in the tail. But will its flight capabilities match its looks? The Aeromobil V2.5 is a propeller-driven aircraft that also functions as an automobile – or you can think of it it a car with lofty aspirations. The aviation aspects seem to be prominent in the design, with a streamlined cockpit, super light weight, and sleek tail fins in the back. Propulsion is provided by a 100 hp Rotax 912 water cooled engine mounted behind the seats, with drive shafts leading both aft to the propeller and forward to the two front wheels for driving. This project is not the only flying car around. There is also the US-based Terrafugia, which folds up its wings vertically on the sides of the vehicle. There is also a Dutch design called the PAL-V, where the ground vehicle is a three wheeled tilting motorcycle that turns into a gyrocopter at the airport. 

 When the Automobil is a car, the wings are folded straight back along the fuselage and the engine drives the front wheels, while the small back wheels support the tail. There seems to be very little structure, and the entire vehicle weighs just 980 lb (450 kg) empty of fuel and passengers. There is room for two people in the very snug cockpit, and there are two steering wheels, mounted one inside the other in front of the driver/pilot. The larger wheel is for driving on the ground, and the smaller wheel is used for flying. As shown in the video below, when the Aeromobil gets to the airport, the driver/pilot pushes a button and the wings fold out for a wingspan of 8.2 m (27 ft), which is comparable to other light sport aircraft of similar weight and power. The large flaps (moveable surfaces on the trailing edge of the wing) in this prototype flip over the wing and hang down to add lift for takeoff with the entire wing also tilting up a few degrees to assume the proper angle to the wind for takeoff. The driver switches the gearbox to send power back to the propeller that is mounted at the very end of the vehicle between the two vertical tails. The Aeromobil then takes to the runway and accelerates for takeoff. In the video the airplane stays near the runway, as you would expect with a first flight. The airplane mode of the Aeromobil would have a top speed of 200 kph (124 mph) and a range of over 700 km (430 miles). 

 Klein says that in car mode the Aeromobil fits into a standard parking space and can be refueled at the same gas station as all the other cars – in other words, it does not require special aviation fuel like most aircraft. The flying car is extremely lightweight, coming in at less than half the weight of a compact car like the Ford Fiesta, which weighs 1,041 kg (2295 lbs). The structure is a steel tube frame with a carbon fiber composite shell, a configuration familiar to fans of racing cars. The Aeromobil is a prototype intended to demonstrate to investors that the concept is viable. Klein is now shopping this striking flying vehicle to potential manufacturers and investors in order to make it a reality. Once such a deal is struck, he estimates that it would take two additional years to get certification for the Aeromobil to go into production, presumably under the existing Light Sport Aircraft rules. 

 Over the twenty year gestation of this flying car concept, Klien has created four different versions of his dream. The first version did not have folding wings at all, but was a boxy canard (tail first) design with tall wheels. The next versions featured the signature folding wings, but different tail configurations. Version 2.0 had an inverted V-shaped tail and this last version 2.5 was the first with two vertical tail fins enclosing the wheels. His web site shows drawings for Version 3.0. Klein has a very interesting background, with degrees both in mechanical engineering, and in fine arts. He originally wanted to be a sculptor, but received his engineering degree first. He later studied design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bratislava, the Slovak Republic and became the head of the Department of Transport Design at that school. 

As a professional, he worked on car designs for Audi, BMW, and Volkswagen, and won a national design award for a three-wheeled electric scooter, which he still drives to work each day. Flying is in the Klein family, however, and his grandfather, father and brother are all pilots. He started flying as a teenager with his brother, and today flies both powered aircraft and gliders. For the Aeromobil, he is also the chief test pilot, which in unusual in these days of large aerospace companies. 

 Klein calls his Aeromobil flying car “the intersection of technology and art.” You can judge this for yourself by checking out the following video in which Klein demonstrates the road driving characteristics and then shows the first flight of the Aeromobil flying car.

Source :


Saya nak share satu artikel menarik.  Menarik pada perhatian saya la ni... Saya tak sempat translatekan... Baca je lah heh...
About this time two years ago, we looked at the efforts of Miles Lightwood and the Thingiverse community to 3D print shells for hermit crabs, but Tokyo-born artist Aki Inomata has been creating artificial shells for hermit crabs since 2009. Her most recent efforts are intricate and ornate, incorporating ideas on the theme of national identity through depictions of city skylines and vernacular architecture. 

The hermit crabs seem to like them too. Strictly speaking, hermit crabs aren't crabs at all. Crabs belong in the Brachyura order of ten-footed crustaceans, whereas hermit crabs (though also ten-footed crustaceans) dwell alongside in the order Anomura. There are more than 1,000 species of hermit crab, but they all share a common trait. They have no shell of their own, and instead rely on empty gastropod shells for protection. Hermit crabs need to upgrade as they grow, their vacated shells often quickly snapped up by smaller individuals. Where other attempts to create artificial homes for hermit crabs have been framed as an effort to address shell shortages (and there does appear to be evidence that shell availability is limiting factor for hermit crab populations), whether 3D printing can realistically hope to address the issue responsibly is perhaps debatable. Inomata makes no such claims, however. 

Her motivations, apparently, are wholly artistic. The idea, she says, came from the change in ownership of the land on which the French Embassy in Japan is built: a peaceful, nearly invisible transaction between the two countries. "These kinds of things take place without our being aware of it," she writes. "On the other hand, similar events are not unrelated to us as individuals. For example, acquiring nationality, moving, and migration." As with related projects, Inomata's shells are based on the gastropod shells to which hermit crabs' asymmetrical abdomens are so well adapted. 

CT scans were used to obtain detailed models of the internal shape of the shells. But on the outside, her more recent efforts have been embellished with details which speak to the theme of nationality. Designs include the New York skyline and a row of Low Countries windmills. "Though the body of the hermit crab is the same, according to the shell it is wearing," Inomata writes. "Its appearance changes completely. It's as if they were asking, 'Who are you?'" The hermit crabs don't seem to mind. Inomata has even observed hermit crabs choose her artificial shells over the real thing. 

 Source: Aki Inomata