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.
A group of researchers at the Seoul National University have discovered a way to take material from cigarette butts and turn it into a carbon-based material thats ideal for storing energy and creating a powerful supercapacitor.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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