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.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.