Photokina 2014 highlights

Aerodynamics

The fairings are made to fit most standard road bikes

If you were designing a vehicle to be as aerodynamic as possible, it would definitely be counterproductive if parts of that vehicle actually moved into the oncoming wind. According to Los Angeles-based engineer Garth Magee, however, that's just what the forward-turning top sections of bicycle wheels do. His solution? Upper Wheel Fairings, which shield the spokes from the breeze. He claims that cyclists using his fairings can go up to 20 percent faster without any extra effort.  Read More

A pre-certified Split Scimitar Winglet installed on a United Boeing 737-800 during the tes...

If you think that you've been seeing some funny-looking airliners in the past couple of months, you're not imagining things. On February 18th, a United Airlines Boeing 737-800 made the world's first commercial flight by an aircraft equipped with fuel-saving Split Scimitar Winglets.  Read More

Flying snakes are actually very gifted gliders, not unlike flying squirrels (Photo: Jake S...

So first of all ... yes, flying snakes do exist. Disappointingly, though, they don't have scaly dragon-like wings. Instead, they're able to flatten out their bodies after launching themselves from tree branches, proceeding to glide through the air for up to 100 feet (30.5 m). Recently, scientists figured out why that technique works as well as it does. Their findings could have some major applications for us humans.  Read More

The Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience, on the road

According to a report in Truck News, Walmart plans on doubling the fuel efficiency of its trucking fleet by next year. In order to show that it's not kidding around, the retailer has collaborated with Peterbilt, Great Dane Trailers, and Capstone Turbine to create a concept "truck of tomorrow" known as the Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience – or WAVE.  Read More

The Speed Up Bag is a combination cargo compartment and aerodynamic partial fairing

It's not uncommon for cyclists to carry snacks, phones, wallets or other items in a handlebar-mounted bag when out for a ride. Unfortunately, though, putting a block-shaped bag right on the front of the bike doesn't do wonders for its aerodynamics. That's why Slovenian inventor Joze Petkovsek created the Speed Up Bag. Not only is it sleeker than a regular bag, but a bicycle equipped with one is claimed to produce less wind drag than one with no bag at all.  Read More

FlexSys' variable geometry airfoil, the FlexFoil

If there's one thing that needs to be aerodynamic, it's an airplane wing. Conventional wing designs however, suffer from a glaring weakness in this respect: the joint where the main wing meets the trailing flaps. Michigan-based FlexSys has developed a way to optimize wing aerodynamics with FlexFoil, a seamless variable geometry airfoil system that could deliver fuel savings of up to 12 percent.  Read More

1.8 mm-wide windmill on a US Lincoln penny (Photo: U of Texas at Arlington)

Professor J.C. Chiao and his postdoc Dr. Smitha Rao of the University of Texas at Arlington have developed a MEMS-based nickel alloy windmill so small that 10 could be mounted on a single grain of rice. Aimed at very-small-scale energy harvesting applications, these windmills could recharge batteries for smartphones, and directly power ultra-low-power electronic devices.  Read More

The Mini John Cooper Works concept will debut at the North American International Auto Sho...

The holidays are a time for stocking stuffers and BMW has given us one with a hint of what’s to come in the new year. On Monday, the car maker announced that it would present the new Mini John Cooper Works concept at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) 2014, running January 13 to 26 in Detroit. Since we’re getting just a taste of what is still a concept, there aren’t a lot of details and BMW is keen to talk more about style than engineering, but we do get a bit of an idea of what this track-oriented concept is about.  Read More

The Boz design is driven by four electric motors mounted at the wheels

The Boz is not a car, and you won't be able to buy it. According to new start-up Zoox, the Boz is the transportation paradigm that comes after the car. It's but a fanciful idea from an unknown start-up for now, but the company believes it can finish its thought by 2021.  Read More

Rendering of the Urbee 2 overlooking a city at sunset (Photo: Kor EcoLogic)

Urbee 2, the first road-ready, fuel-efficient car built using 3D printing, is the subject of a collaboration between design firm KOR EcoLogic, direct digital manufacturers RedEye On Demand, and 3D-printing manufacturer Stratsys. Their aim is to put the 7 hp (5 kW) three-wheeled, rear-steering eco-hybrid on the roads by 2015, and then demonstrate its capabilities by crossing the US using only ten gallons (38 L) of fuel.  Read More

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