Vectrix hybrid scooter for commuters: Coller than the Segway
Engineers at Vectrix Corp. are working on the industry's first hybrid fuel cell/electric-powered scooter, due out in approximately 3 years. An all-electric version will be introduced within the next 18 months. Parker Hannifin has partnered with the scooter maker to develop the direct methanol fuel cell, which will operate continuously at its rated power output until the battery pack is fully charged, then it will shut off. "A big advantage is that drivers won't have to rely on a charging infrastructure. All that's required is methanol and water—the same thing you have in your windshield washer fluid," says Craig Maxwell, VP of Innovation and Technology at Parker Hannifin. Engineers say the scooter's performance will be comparable to other vehicles powered by two-stroke, 250cc engines. Target acceleration is 0 to 50 kph in 4 seconds, as experienced by Maxwell's test ride on an early prototype: "Being a guy, I didn't want to hang on to the engineer driving the scooter, so I thought I'd just hang on to the scooter. When we started up, I nearly flew off the back end of the thing," he recalls. The scooter is targeted at the commuter market and will retail for $5,500.
Artificially created metamaterials are already appearing in niche applications like electronics, communications, and defense, says a new report from Lux Research. How quickly they become mainstream depends on cost-effective manufacturing methods, which will include additive manufacturing.
Sharon Glotzer and David Pine are hoping to create the first liquid hard drive with liquid nanoparticles that can store 1TB per teaspoon. They aren't the first to find potential data stores, as Harvard researchers have stored 700 TB inside a gram of DNA.
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