The best of 2014

Aerodynamics

Peugeot's 208 T16

Peugeot has released the first pictures of its special-edition 208 T16 to be entered into the Unlimited division of this year's Pikes Peak hill-climb. For those unfamiliar, Colorado’s Pikes Peak Hill climb is the second oldest auto race in the US and takes place over a 12.4-mile mountain course with 156 turns of varying sharpness and difficulty.  Read More

Apple's patent application could raise hopes that smashed iPhone screens may be consigned ...

In a move that may just stoke a faint ember of optimism in anyone unlucky enough to have suffered from a case of smashed iPhone screen syndrome, Apple has filed a U.S. patent application for a protective mechanism that would "selectively alter a center of mass of" an electronic device, and which goes on to describe various aeronautics-inspired means by which a device such as an iPhone might self-right when dropped.  Read More

The 'world's most efficient production car'

Back in 2009, before the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt were ready for market, the world heard loud, overinflated claims of "367" and "230" mpg ratings. Talk is cheap, and actual EPA testing sent those ratings rocketing right back down to Earth at 99 mpg-e and 60 mpg, respectively. Volkswagen is the latest to get in on the 200+ mpg game, claiming its XL1 will be capable of 261 mpg (European cycle). Thanks to a radical approach that slashes weight, optimizes aerodynamics and wrings every last drop of fuel, Volkswagen may actually make good - or at least get close.  Read More

The Bowlus Road Chief

Caravans make a nice change from holidays in hotels, but they can be as aerodynamic as a shoe box and often about as attractive. Canadian tech entrepreneurs John Long and Helena Mitchell are taking a step forward by going a step backward and reviving the Bowlus Road Chief of the 1930s. It’s an updated version of the classic American design that they call a “revival of an Art Moderne style with 21st century touches.”  Read More

The Aerodynamic Trailer and Truck

If you think your average annual gas bill is expensive, imagine how much the shipping industry spends to ship all forms of goods around the globe with its fleets of massive trucks. The Mercedes-Benz Aerodynamic Truck and Trailer aims to save a little of that fuel, money and pollution.  Read More

GasPods are tiny stick-on airfoils, designed to lower your vehicle's wind drag

Chances are, at some point you’ve seen vehicles that were designed with streamlined little knobs on their hoods or roofs, to improve their aerodynamics. While such features have been shown to work, they generally haven’t been available as an aftermarket product. Now, however, if you want those knobs on your car, you can have them – in the form of GasPods.  Read More

The Nike Pro TurboSpeed features golf ball-inspired dimples - Sleeve detail

The Nike Pro TurboSpeed is, as the name vividly suggests, a track uniform that offers professional athletes an advantage over their rivals. Through the clever use of aerodynamic techniques more commonly found on golf balls, the company has found a way to shave milliseconds off a sprinter's time. Or at least that's the bold claim Nike is making.  Read More

A depiction of Blue Origin's Space Vehicle

When it comes to spacecraft that may take the place of the now-defunct space shuttle, it would probably be fair to say that most people probably think of the SpaceX Dragon. It’s sometimes easy to forget, however, that SpaceX is a private company, competing against others for NASA’s business. One of those competitors is Washington state-based Blue Origin, established by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos (SpaceX was co-founded by Elon Musk, of PayPal fame). Although the company has been rather secretive about the space vehicle that it’s developing, it recently announced that the design has done well in a series of wind tunnel tests.  Read More

Kai Richter (left) and Holger Mai of DLR inspect the installation of humpback whale-inspir...

Oh, those humpback whales and their weird fins. First, they inspired more efficient wind turbines. Next, their unique qualities were copied by undersea turbines used to harness tidal flow energy. Now, they’ve led to rotor blades that allow helicopters to be more maneuverable. It all comes down to bumps along their leading edge, known as tubercles.  Read More

Pilot Matthew Tanner is raising funds to build a vertical-winged stunt aircraft, which cou...

Matthew Tanner is a Colorado-based air show pilot who also competes in aerobatics competitions and teaches Air Force pilots how to fly. His current stunt aircraft of choice is a Laser Z300. Much as he is able to do with the nimble little airplane, he wants to be able to perform aerial maneuvers that no one has ever seen before. In order to do so, he intends to equip the plane with a pair vertical wings.  Read More

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