In the future, your Harley may start with a purr instead of a roar. The motorcycle of the future may run on fuel cells and create no emissions. A British company, Intelligent Energy, opened up a California sales office to sell its hydrogen fuel-cell bike, the ENV. The ENV stands for "emissions-neutral vehicle." The bike runs on hydrogen stripped from bio fuels—anything from sunflower oil to soybeans. A five-ounce can of hydrogen will power the bike up to 100 miles. Top speed is 50 mph.
The first ENV bikes are slated to appear in the United States and the United Kingdom in 2007. Retail prices will range from $6,000 to $8,000. Company officials acknowledged that finding readily-available hydrogen is a problem right now. It can be purchased from industrial chemical companies or at local welding shops, but it's not conveniently available for most consumers. California now has six hydrogen refueling stations and promises to have 100 by 2010. The current cost of fueling is $4 per tank, but that price is expected to come down to 25 cents.
Are they robots or androids? We're not exactly sure. Each talking, gesturing Geminoid looks exactly like a real individual, starting with their creator, professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University in Japan.
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.