Because automotive news coverage over the past few years has focused so heaviliy on hybrid technology, I was recently surprised to learn that a new documentary about electric cars was released into video on November 14th. Titled "Who Killed the Electric Car?," the film looks at the reasons behind the demise of pure electrics, paricularly GM's EV1. Narrated by actor Martin Sheen and packed with snippets from such Hollywood stars as Mel Gibson, Ed Begley Jr., Phyllis Diller, and Tom Hanks, the film has a decidely environmentalist bent to it, and hints strongly at an oil-auto-and-government conspiracy. The underlying message — that the electric vehicle was a great technology undermined by greedy oil executives and stodgy automakers — comes across clearly, thanks to some clever and entertaining filmmaking.
Still, entertainment and technology make strange bedfellows, which is why we'd like to her from those of you who've seen the movie. We'll be posting a column about it in the next few days. Until then, let us know your thoughts: Was the film fair? Honest? Technically accurate? If you haven't seen it, we recommend that you pick up a copy at the local video store, mull it over, and take a seat at your trusty word processor. Use this space to post comments and, as always, feel free to let loose. –Chuck Murray
Five years ago, optical heart rate tracking seemed like an obvious successor to the popular chest straps used by many fitness buffs, but the technology has faced myriad engineering challenges on its way to market acceptance.
Design engineers need to prepare for a future in which their electronic products will use not just one or two, but possibly many user interfaces that involve touch, vision, gestures, and even eye movements.
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