The sun shines. Temperatures creep into the 80s. A Harley roars down your street. You've got to go riding. So what's stopping you? Run to your garage, hop on your Lectra(TM), and take off. The Lectra, manufactured and marketed by EMB, Inc. (Sebastopol, CA), is the world's first commercially produced electric motorbike, according to company founder, Scott Cronk. EMB commercialized an advanced variable-reluctance (VR) electric drive system for vehicle drive applications. The newly patented VR motor is a compact brushless motor system, complete with custom computer controls. The VR has an electronically assisted braking mode. This extends the driving range and preserves brake life by converting the vehicle's kinetic energy into stored electrical energy during braking. The prototype and final design were created using CADKEY software by Baystate Technologies (Marlborough, MA). A cross between a motor scooter and a motorcycle, the Lectra weighs 340 pounds, runs up to 30 miles on a single charge, and features a single-speed transmission, lead-acid batteries, a top speed of 45 mph, and a price tag of $3,995. For the environmentally conscious, it has zero emissions, virtually no maintenance, and a low cost of operation, says EMB. Visit: www.motorbike.org.
During a teardown of the iPad Air and Microsoft Surface Pro 3 at the Medical Design & Manufacturing Show in Schaumburg, Ill., an engineer showed this "inflammatory" video about the dangers of maliciously mishandling lithium-ion batteries.
Science fiction author Isaac Asimov may have the best rules for effective brainstorming and creativity. His never-before-published essay, "On Creativity," recently made it to the Web pages of MIT Technology Review.
Much has been made over the potentially dangerous flammability of lithium-ion batteries after major companies like Boeing, Sony, and Tesla have grappled with well-publicized battery fires. Researchers at Stanford University may have come up with a solution to this problem with a smart sensor for lithium-ion batteries that provides a warning if the battery is about to overheat or catch fire.
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.