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.
Some of our culture's most enduring robots appeared in the 80s. The Aliens series produced another evil android, and we saw light robot fare in the form of Short Circuit. Two of the great robots of all time also showed up: The Terminator and RoboCop.
Major global metropolitan areas are implementing a vast number of technology, energy, transportation, and Internet projects to make the metropolis a friendlier, greener, safer, and more sustainable place to be.
Here’s a look at robots depicted in movies and on TV during the 1950s and 1960s. We tried to collect the classics here, omitting the scores of forgettable B movies such as Santa Claus Conquers the Martians and Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine. Stay tuned for slideshows of robot stars from later decades.
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