If you’re into cars then you probably know what a Bugatti Veyron is. 1001 horsepower (because it sounds so much better to say “over 1000 hp” than just “1000 hp”) from a quad turbocharged W16 engine. The W comes from the fact that the block is basically two narrow angle V8 engines connected to a common crankshaft. 922 foot-pounds of torque available from 2000 rpm to redline, which is at 6000 rpm. It has all wheel drive, a 7 speed paddle shifted sequential transmission, and a top speed of 253 miles/hour. The British car show Top Gear raced the Veyron against a Eurofighter Typhoon jet and the finish was very close. You’ll have to look for the video on youtube if you want to know which vehicle won.
So, maybe you don’t own one of these cars, because you’re a little put off by the $1.5M price tag. The good news for you is that there is a kit version that you can assemble yourself that includes the retractable roof, the disc brakes, and the seven speed sequential transmission. The bad news is that it’s 1/8 scale, so you can’t fit in it, although you can drive it around with the remote control.
LEGO builder extraordinaire Sheepo HL has built a scale model of the Bugatti supercar out of LEGO Technics that can be driven around under remote control. Sheepo’s creation includes working brakes on the wheels, and just like the real Bugatti, when you apply the brakes the movable airfoil in the back tilts steeply down to provide braking assist. The seven speed sequential transmission (actually 7 speeds plus reverse) drives all four wheels. It has independent suspension at all four corners and many other features. You can read all about it on his WWW page, and see some amazing videos that were recorded at the 2009 Hispabrick convention in Madrid.
I’ve seen some cool LEGO gadgets out there, (a LEGO gadget column is still in the works), but this car is by far the most amazing LEGO gadget I’ve ever seen.
The final showdown is under way in our first-ever Gadget Freak of the Year contest. Who will win an all-expenses-paid trip to the Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show? It's up to you, dear readers, to tell us.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.