Five years in development, Walt Disney's new interactive tour guide Pal Mickey operates off of an infrared wireless network that transmits information in order to help it triangulate its location and speak the appropriate audio message. (The receiver is in Mickey's nose.) The choice of infrared may seem surprising, given the need for line of sight and difficulties coping with direct sunlight (think crowded theme park in the Sunshine State). But Leslie Hartog, project manager for Pal Mickey, says that the entertainment giant is using a new, patent-pending outdoor infrared technology developed by its own engineers. "Even in bright sunlight, the technology is powerful enough that the toy will pick up the signals," explains Hartog. "Also, they bounce off of things like concrete and clothing." She says that Disney engineers actually preferred to use infrared over radio because of the greater accuracy and short transmission distances. The signals consist of mainly simple codes, with Pal Mickey having most of the smarts. In fact, it's programmed to speak some 700 different messages. As for delivering customized messages or using Pal Mickey to perform true traffic control in the park, though, Product Developer Kyle Poor says that's not in the plansójust yet.
The rear window on Ford's Lightweight Concept vehicle, based on the Fusion model, is made with a material combination devised by SABIC that saves 35% of the weight. The car's overall weight is 25% lighter than a standard production 2013 Fusion.
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.
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