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Braking

— Automotive

Tough, light, inexpensive composite brake rotors could make their way to regular cars

Currently, brakes made from composite materials tend to be expensive, and as such mainly just find their way onto high-performance cars and motorcycles. That could be about to change, however. Researchers from Michigan-based materials company REL and the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) are developing aluminum composite brake rotors for everyday cars. Not only should they be much easier to produce than existing composite rotors, but they should also be 60 percent lighter than their iron counterparts, and last three times as long. Read More
— Bicycles

Magura releases hydraulic rim brakes for road bikes

When most people think of hydraulic brakes on bicycles, they probably picture modern mountain bikes with disc brakes. As early as 1987, however, German bicycle component manufacturer Magura was making hydraulic rim brakes for mountain bikes. These featured the arms and rubber pads that we currently associate with V-brakes and cantilevers, but they were hydraulically activated. Now, 25 years later, Magura has released an aerodynamic hydraulic rim brake system for lightweight time trial and triathlon bikes. Read More
— Bicycles

Parabox brings hydraulic disc brakes to existing cyclo-cross bikes

About a year and a half ago, the International Cycling Union – the organization that sets the rules for bicycle racing – announced that it would allow the use of disc brakes on cyclo-cross bikes. This was good news for off-road racers, who were willing to accept the slight weight penalty of disc systems in exchange for the performance advantages that they offer over traditional rim brakes. As a result, we’re now seeing various disc-equipped competition-level cyclo-cross bikes entering the marketplace. However, what does this mean for all the perfectly-good bikes out there that were made before the announcement? Well, it turns out that they can be converted to hydraulic discs, thanks to something known as the Parabox system. Read More
— Automotive

Mazda announces world first capacitor-based regenerative braking system

While Toyota took out the Tokachi 24-Hour Race in 2007 with a Supra HV-R hybrid race car featuring a quick-charging supercapacitor-based regenerative braking system, battery storage has so far been the norm for these systems in production vehicles. Now Mazda is charging things up with its new "i-ELOOP" system intended for internal combustion engine-powered vehicles. The i-ELOOP is billed as the world's first passenger vehicle regenerative braking system that uses a capacitor in place of rechargeable batteries to temporarily store energy captured from braking. Read More
— Bicycles

Scientists develop wireless braking for bicycles

Given that wireless gear-shifting for bicycles has been around for the past few years, perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that someone has now developed a wireless braking system. Created by computer scientists at Germany’s Saarland University, the current prototype still looks a little boxy, but it does do away with cables and brake levers. According to computer algorithms that would normally be used in control systems for aircraft or chemical factories, the system should offer 99.999999999997 percent reliability – that means it would fail three times out of a trillion braking attempts. Read More
— Automotive

New fixed brake caliper saves 1.5 kilos per wheel

Continental is best known for its tires, but its latest product could help to significantly improve the handling of the family sedan when it is shown for the first time at Frankfurt Motor Show next month. It's a new fixed-type brake caliper for passenger cars, and in comparison to the fist-caliper brakes widely used at present, the new design saves around 1.5 kg per wheel. Read More
— Bicycles

Flywheel Bicycle: KERS for pedal-pushers

In order to help boost their range, many electric and hybrid cars employ regenerative technology where braking energy is stored in the battery instead of simply being wasted. This idea can also be applied to electric-assist bikes, but what about bicycles of the plain old human-powered variety? Isn't it a shame that after having built up some good momentum, you just have to write it all off once you stop? Maxwell von Stein, a student at New York City's Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, thought so. As his senior project, he recently rigged up a flywheel to an existing bicycle, in order to harness the energy that's lost during braking. That energy can then be used to boost the bike when needed. Read More
— Bicycles

Duplex lever lets disabled cyclists activate both brakes with one hand

While commuter bicycles can generally get by with a rear-wheel-only coaster brake, mountain and cyclocross bikes require both front and rear brakes – along with the hand levers used to activate them. Although this doesn’t pose much of a challenge for most riders, it does for those who only have the use of one hand. One possible solution is to use a system that joins both brake cables to one common end, which then goes into a conventional lever. Another solution, however, is to use Paul Component Engineering’s dual-cable Duplex lever. Read More
— Automotive

Hitting the brakes by reading drivers’ minds

With human error the predominant cause of car accidents, automatic braking systems like the Pedestrian Detection system found in the Volvo S60 use cameras and sensors to assist drivers in detecting oncoming hazards and automatically applying the brakes. Now a team of researchers from the Berlin Institute for Technology has found a way to improve the response times of drivers by reading their minds. Using electroencephalography (EEG) by attaching electrodes to the scalp the researchers demonstrated that reading driver’s brain signals can provide quicker reaction times to potentially prevent many of the car accidents caused by human error. Read More
— Automotive

BMW’s left turn assistant puts the brakes on creeping drivers

BMW is working to lessen the number of fatalities caused by drivers turning left at intersections (in left-hand drive countries, that is). When the "left hand drive assistant" detects that the driver intends to turn left, three laser scanners in the front end of the car kick in to map the area up to 100 meters (328 ft) ahead. If the system detects oncoming vehicles and the driver continues to move into the intersection, it will sound a warning and automatically activate the brakes to prevent a collision. Read More
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