Photokina 2014 highlights

Mike Hanlon

Peugeot 208 GTi Concept

One of the cars which originally popularized the now-burgeoning hot hatchback category, the Peugeot 205 GTi, looks set to be reprized with an all-new 208 GTi concept to be shown in Geneva next month and production seemingly inevitable. The six-speed manual 208 GTi runs a 203 bhp turbocharged 1.6-liter engine, guaranteeing performance well beyond the original 205 GTi which launched in 1984 with an at-the-time amazing 104 bhp.  Read More

A slight shift in traffic composition from cars to motorcycles has been found to significa...

The answer to the world's growing urban traffic congestion may be as simple as promoting motorcycling to commuters. A Belgian study has found that even a slight modal shift from cars to motorcycles in traffic composition significantly reduces traffic congestion and emissions. When 10 percent of cars are replaced by motorcycles, total time losses for all vehicles decrease by 40 percent and total emissions reduce by 6 percent.  Read More

The top five biggest lemons in history - to this point.

When the likes of Jaguar, Porsche, Ford, GM, BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Volkswagen, Renault and Chrysler introduce a new model series, it is equally or more reliable than the model it replaces. Right? Wrong! New information has been released this week which indicates all of the above companies have replaced major models with less reliable models in the last decade - the worst three examples were 60%, 54% and 40% more likely to break down than their predecessor.  Read More

Once folded, the Voltitude responds to a button on the handlebar enabling you to 'walk' it...

The Voltitude fold-up electric scooter has an ingenious EasyFold system. Once folded, a special button on the handlebar enables you to "walk" it alongside you indoors, so you never raise a sweat in reaching a power outlet, which will fully replenish the battery inside four hours. The 25 kph (15.5 mph) electric assist Voltitude begins volume production in July with an on-line price expected in the vicinity of EUR4000.  Read More

There are four pre-programmed massage routines plus you can make and record your own on uP...

OSIM, better known for its advanced massage chairs, has begun selling a US$170 thumb-sized USB massager which uses Electronic Muscle Stimulation (EMS - the same technology you first witnessed in biology when your teacher made a dead frog's leg twitch using electrical current), to deliver a suite of specialized massage programs from your laptop. It's a pretty good fit of technologies because you can synch the massage to your computer’s music player and massage away stress, and tone up using the tapping, squeezing and kneading of the uPixie on specific muscle groups … while you are working. You can even write and store your own massage routines.  Read More

The TEEWAVE AR.1 Electric sports car

One of the highlights of the Tokyo Motor Show last month was the world debut of the TEEWAVE AR.1 Electric sports car. Commissioned by advanced materials manufacturer Toray and designed and built by Gordon Murray Design, my original story last October covered the design and Murray’s revolutionary iStream® manufacturing system, but at the Tokyo Motor Show I was able to see the AR.1 in fine detail (see in-depth (see extensive image library)). Yesterday Murray and Toray announced a technological partnership in the use of carbon fibre and other advanced materials in volume production, the development of structural thermoplastics and advanced crash structures. The two believe that in working together, they can deliver significant benefits in the areas of light-weighting, efficiency, cost, safety and sustainability.  Read More

Shovelhead Exhibit, iRex, Tokyo Big Site, December 2011

You may have already come in contact with the work of techno-artist Yasuhito Udagawa (AKA Shovelhead) before and not realised it. He has created many of the theme icons of major art, technology and other exhibitions and shows over the last decade, and has become far better known since his sponsorship by Nike. Shovelhead's work is mesmerizing. A Japanese salaryman who found himself jobless in 1995 when the company he worked for went into bankruptcy, Yasuhito turned to his passion for making models and his fertile imagination and attention to fabricating the minutest detail have propelled him to the brink of superstardom. Make sure you browse the extensive image gallery for this story. Spellbinding!  Read More

Village Defense: Neighborhood Watch 2.0 - the good guys are winning

If you've ever picked up a Neighborhood Watch newsletter and been astonished by the amount of crime in your community, you might be very interested in a new social software start-up named Village Defense. The software links neighbors to form a real-time communication system - one phone call notifies all neighbors (by text or phone) when a crime or suspicious activity is in progress. In the first pilot study of the new system, the increased awareness, greater availability of witnesses and shorter response times facilitated by Village Defense saw crime rates drop 58% in the first year.  Read More

Personal Rover - personal EV for under US$1000

It is no secret that personal transportation form factors are beginning to diverge and a new one caught our attention this week that is almost certain to carve itself a niche in this intensely interesting and competitive space. It's not as sexy as a Yikebike, Honda U3-X or Toyota Winglet, but it is easy to use, has a range of 12 miles (20 km), a top speed of 15 mph and a price under US$1000. At 90 pounds, the Personal Rover is not exactly small, but it folds up so it can be rolled on castor wheels inside a building, and will easily fit inside a car boot to fulfill secondary transport duties.  Read More

Honda shrinks the family car with the N Box

Honda's new N Box platform was purpose built for Japanese domestic market Kei car regulations - the idea was to create a comfortable, spacious passenger environment for four adults using the available real estate of a minicar platform. The whole N Box package is designed to be customised and the Wa Concept, which took a bow today in Tokyo, has patent leather seats and a traditional Japanese lacquerware exterior. It's gorgeous!  Read More

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