Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Marine

Remote-Control Pool Skimmer

September 2, 2006 Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life. Accordingly, if you can find a way of making disagreeable chores fun, you’re well on the way to making your whole life super peachy keen outside of work. We’ve previously written about how to make mowing the lawn fun, and now here’s a way to make skimming the pool equally enticing – so enticing that you might be able to find others to do it for you. The US$140 Jet Net Remote-Control Pool Skimmer removes leaves, and assorted debris from your swimming pool's surface. The two foot long remote-control catamaran runs on 9 volt rechargeable Ni-MH batteries and does all the work while you laze in the sun up to 100 feet away. Via our esteemed colleague Red at the The Red Ferret Journal  Read More

The Protector Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV)

August 17, 2006 It might be remote controlled and small, but it’s not a toy boat by a long shot. Indeed, it’s the only operational Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) that exists today having successfully served in the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean. Developed by Israel’s Rafael Armament Development Authority in response to emerging terrorist threats against maritime assets, the Protector is stealthy, highly autonomous and can operate with general guidance from a commander in port, riverine, harbour and coastal waterways in a variety of roles, thanks to the plug-and-play design of its various mission modules, such as force protection, anti-terror, surveillance and reconnaissance, mine warfare and electronic warfare. The options include a highly accurate, stabilized mini-Typhoon weapon system with an excellent hit-and-kill probability, plus cameras, search radar and a Toplite electro-optical (EO) pod for detection, identification and targeting operations.  Read More

Rinspeed Splash makes amphibious English Channel attempt

July 27, 2006 The English channel is without doubt the world’s busiest waterway, even before the raft of record attempts we have seen for amphibious vehicles in recent times. Yet another amphibious vehicle took to the waters this week, and although the outright amphibious vehicle record remained intact, and the amphibious car record also remained unscathed, there’s a new record for hydrofoil amphibians which has been set by Rinspeed and its outrageous Splash concept car.  Read More

The flight of the Manta Ray

July 14, 2006 Last month we ran a story on the Kite Tube, a human-bearing inflatable towable water kite and within a week we’ve been sent another one – the Manta Ray has an 11 foot wingspan and is specially designed body to allow an average-sized body to rise out of the water and hover in the air. It takes approximately 23 mph moving to get an average sized adult airborn and hovering but as can be seen from this video, once the Manta Ray is airborn, it can hang there for very long period. Now Sevylor “absolutely discourages attempting to hover with two people” but there’s two seats and … aw shucks! At $US499 it comes in one hundred dollars below the Kite Tube and is distributed across the world.Please note that the Kite Tube has now been withdrawn from the market for safety reasons.  Read More

Kite Tube withdrawn from market

July 14, 2006 Just four weeks ago we wrote about the the Wego Kite Tube and figured it looked like a heap of fun, but reports just in show that about 19,000 Wego Kite Tubes are being voluntarily recalled. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is aware of 39 injury incidents with 29 of those resulting in medical treatment. Those injuries include a broken neck, punctured lung, chest and back injuries and facial injuries. Sportsstuff has received reports of two deaths in the United States and a variety of serious injuries. Sportsstuff has not yet been able to determine the cause of the incidents but has withdrawn the kite tube from the market . The Sportsstuff Wego Kite Tube is a 10-foot-wide, circular, yellow inflatable watercraft designed to be towed behind a power boat. A rider in the tube becomes airborne by pulling on handles attached to the floor of the tube. Model 53-5000 is printed on the tube near the product valve. The floor of the tube has black caution warning stripes. The cover for the product bears a skull and crossbones and the statement "Never Kite higher than you are willing to fall." The tubes were imported and sold through marine distributors, mail order catalogs, and various retailers from approximately October 1, 2005 to July 11, 2006 for about $500 to $600. Consumers should immediately stop using the kite tubes and contact Sportsstuff on (866) 831-5524 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CST Monday through Friday to learn how to obtain free replacement products. Consumers can also visit the firm's Web site for more information.  Read More

The World’s largest Container Ship launched

July 11, 2006 It’s normal for things in the digital realm to get much larger very quickly, but it seems the same thing is happening with container ships, which seem to be more efficient the bigger they get. Samsung Heavy Industries recently launched the World’s largest container ship, breaking its own world record of 9200 teu (a teu is a 20 ft container) which it set less than 12 months ago. The Xin Los Angeles is the new heavyweight champ and carries 9600 teu - equivalent to 1.3 million 29 inch color TVs, or 50 million mobile phones. Whatsmore, the record will almost certainly be broken again in the near future as SHI has developed a 12,000 teu container ship design in co-operation with Lloyd's Register and is working on a container ship capable of carrying 14,000 teu. To put matters in perspective, SHI built what was then the world’s largest container ship in 1999 - it carried 6,200 teu. This ship is more than three times larger than the Titanic and has a crew of (you’ll never guess) …  Read More

environmentally friendly foam for surfboard blanks

July 7, 2006 Sandia National Laboratories prides itself on provifind technology solutions to the most challenging problems that threaten peace and freedom for our nation and the globe. It’s accordingly highly appropriate that it has developed an environmentally friendly foam that may also be the answer to surf industry crisis. TufFoam was originally conceived by Sandia materials scientists for NNSA as an encapsulant material to protect sensitive electronic and mechanical structures from harsh weapons environments. It is a water-blown, closed-cell, rigid polyurethane foam that features formulations as low as 2 lbs.-per-cubic foot density. But beyond its use as a structural material, the foam likely has other applications. Clark Foam, the leading manufacturer of foam for surfboard construction, unexpectedly closed its doors late last year because of the impact of ever-tightening environmental regulations on the manufacturing of their polyurethane surfboard blanks. The move led to near-panic, particularly in California, by manufacturers and sellers of surfboards who fear they will not be able to find the high strength-to-weight ratio surfboard blanks necessary to make the boards. Surf historian Matt Warshaw, in an article in the Santa Barbara NewsPress, said “it’s the equivalent of removing lumber from the housing industry.”  Read More

Orange II shatters PlayStation's Transatlantic Sailing Record

July 7, 2006 Of all the ocean sailing records, the Atlantic crossing is without doubt the most famous and most sought after. In 2001, legendary American adventurer Steve Fossett sailed across the Atlantic in PlayStation faster than anyone else in 4 days, 17 hours, 28 minutes and 06 seconds. Today, Frenchman Bruno Peyron and his Orange II crew smashed Fossett's record aboard the maxi catamaran Orange II, finishing the course from Ambrose Light near New York City to Lizard Point off the southwestern tip of Great Britain in just 4 days, 8 hours, 23 minutes and 54 seconds - more than 9 hours faster than Fossett. Halfway through the 3,100 nautical mile trip, Orange II hit a submerged iceberg and broke one of its two steering rudders. The team had to slow down considerably to keep from capsizing but managed to maintain a boat speed average of over 28 knots. Peyron and his veteran team already hold numerous sailing records including the fastest ‘round-the-world time. And on this trip, they broke their own 24-hour world speed record twice -- making Orange II the fastest sailboat in the world. Our report on Orange II and its preparations for this event in depth can be found here.  Read More

Orange II sails 752 miles on the first day, and 766 on the second

July 5, 2006 If you’ve been reading Gizmag regularly over the last month, you’ll know that there’s a significant attempt on the transatlantic sailing record which started earlier this week by Orange II, the world’s fastest sailing boat which already holds the round-the-world record and the 24 hour record. As predicted, skipper Bruno Peyron and the crew are sweeping all before them, and in their first 24 hours on the water the boat demolished its own 24-hour sailing record by covering 752 miles in one day. That’s 60 miles more than the previous record. This is already something that will enter the history books and it may just be the start. On the second day it covered 766 miles, creating a new record again. At the end of the first day, the maxi catamaran was 133 miles ahead of where PlayStation was on the charts at the same time. After the second day, Peyron’s catamaran had built up a lead of 199 miles over the route taken by PlayStation. At the halfway point, (at 11h42 GMT today, there were 1380 miles left to go to cross the finish at The Lizard), the situation is looking good for a new record.  Read More

Transatlantic sailing record attempt poised to begin (live on the web)

July 2, 2006 Five weeks ago we ran a story on the World’s fastest sailing boat, the 36.8 metre Orange II catamaran (amazing image library here) which holds the round-the-world record (50 days, 16 hours, 20 minutes) and the world 24 hour record (706.2 miles at an average speed of 29.42 knots), indicating the boat and crew were on stand-by for an attempt on the trans-Atlantic record of four days, 17 hours, 28 minutes and six seconds. In terms of sheer speed, it is certainly the fastest sailing record in the world. To beat Steve Fossett’s time, skipper Bruno Peyron’s men will have to keep up an average speed of almost 26 knots throughout the Atlantic crossing. That means that the boat will have to be sailed continually at 30 knots to ensure this average is kept up throughout the voyage. The news is that after five weeks of waiting for the ideal conditions, Orange II is now making final preparations to leave New York today. Having a sponsor such as France Telecom enables the whole world to sail with Bruno and the boys during the four day sprint, and not only is it possible to follow the attempt live , there is a live video streaming conference planned for the mid-point of the voyage at the attempt web site. This story includes an interview with Bruno Peyron and is written on the eve of his Atlantic record attempt.  Read More

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