New York City currently uses thousands of CityRacks, which are variations of fabricated square steel tube that take up little sidewalk space and don’t interfere with the flow of city life. But according to the City, the CityRack has been used for over 10 years and can’t continue as an NYC icon to promote cycling as a preferred and convenient means of transportation. The City will use the winner of the sidewalk rack competition as its new bike-parking standard, and Google will install the winning design for the in-building rack in its NYC headquarters.
The CityRack does seem economical in terms of space — but I’m sure there are better materials and designs that could both improve the space situation for bike racks in New York and encourage City commuters to regularly rely on their bicycles for transportation. Perhaps a vertical design could be a solution, stacking bikes on top of one another rather than side-by-side. And maybe there is a durable material out there that could retract when bicycles aren’t inside it — a flexible material that would still be durable enough to last indefinitely, and maintain its integrity in both sweltering summer months and frigid winters.
What materials or designs do you think would contribute to the most effective bike rack, in terms of space and usability? Find out more about the competition and upcoming registration dates, and let me know if you’re entering a design in the competition.
If you see a hitchhiker along the road in Canada this summer, it may not be human. That’s because a robot is thumbing its way across our neighbor to the north as part of a collaborative research project by several Canadian universities.
Stanford University researchers have found a way to realize what’s been called the “Holy Grail” of battery-design research -- designing a pure lithium anode for lithium-based batteries. The design has great potential to provide unprecedented efficiency and performance in lithium-based batteries that could substantially drive down the cost of electric vehicles and solve the charging problems associated with smartphones.
Robots in films during the 2000s hit the big time; no longer are they the sidekicks of nerdy character actors. Robots we see on the big screen in recent years include Nicole Kidman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Eddie Murphy. Top star of the era, Will Smith, takes a spin as a robot investigator in I, Robot. Robots (or androids or cyborgs) are fully mainstream in the 2000s.
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