Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Production

The 2012 Atalanta Sports Tourer

On March 5, 1937, a new automotive marque was born in the form of the Atalanta Sports Tourer. The high-tech Atalanta was well received but when Britain went to war just two years later, all production capacity was turned toward the war effort and the marque ceased to be. Last week, exactly 75 years later, the Atalanta marque was relaunched as a traditional sportscar built to modern standards with modern electrics, brakes, suspension, chassis and a grunty 185 bhp 2.5 litre VVT engine.  Read More

A new technology is being developed, that would allow assembly lines to automatically reco...

Factories are a bit like living things. They are made up of a number of individual systems, and a change made to any one of those systems can have an affect on other systems down the line. In the case of living things, however, all of the systems are united by the organism’s DNA – if a change is made to one system, the others adjust automatically. Such is not the case in factories, however, where humans must go in and make all the changes manually. Not only is this costly and labor-intensive, but it can also result in errors. Researchers from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation are addressing this problem by trying to make factories more like living things – as they put it, they’re trying to decode “factory DNA.”  Read More

The new electric De Lorean.

If you fell in love with the De Lorean in the Back to the Future movie series, the good news is that in 2013, you'll be able to buy a real one again. It won't have a flux capacitor, won't time-travel and it'll still be a thirty year-old design (albeit styled by Giugiaro and structurally redesigned by Colin Chapman of Lotus fame after De Lorean himself screwed up the first design), but it will have a 200+ bhp electric motor (the original had an asthmatic V6 producing 130 bhp) and those awesome gull-wing doors and it'll be … errr ... really cool. No, really! It won't be called the DMC-12 any more either, because the 12 stood for its new price at launch - US$12,000. The new one will cost you between US$90,000 and US$100,000.  Read More

Sonic Charge Patternarium

I've been a registered owner of Sonic Charge's µTonic (pronounced MicroTonic) drum/percussion synthesizer for years - but a new online tool from Sonic Charge called Patternarium is likely to make it one of my most used plugins when I'm looking for some inspiration in the studio. They're calling it a "giant collaborative patch randomizer," and my explanation of that won't fit in this summary.  Read More

Santos, the biomechanically-correct avatar

He may look like he stepped straight out of Second Life, but he isn’t here to kid around. Santos is a computer-generated auto worker who will perform various tasks on a virtual Ford assembly line, showing real-world researchers how those tasks affect his body. The avatar was originally developed for the US Department of Defense at the University of Iowa as part of the Virtual Soldier Research program where he was used to determine the physical strain that soldiers would experience in a variety of situations. Hmm... auto worker, soldier, university education, muscular, exotic name... perhaps he did just step out of Second Life.  Read More

Korg's $85 monotron analog synthesizer

Korg has been a big player in the democratization of music production in recent years, with the mini Kaoss Pad effects device, the Kaossilator phrase synthesizer and the incredibly affordable nanoSeries USB MIDI controllers finding their way into the kit bags of countless budding rockstars (and many actual rockstars). Its latest noise maker is the monotron, a dead simple analog synthesizer featuring a ribbon controller (essentially a touch panel instead of keys, which is incredibly "playable" even for amateurs) and the same filter used in the classic MS-10 and MS-20 analog synthesizers which are still some of the most sought-after vintage synths on the planet.  Read More

The stripboard page on scenechronize

If you’ve ever worked on a major film project, you’ll know just how complex all phases of the production can be - scripts and schedules get faxed and/or emailed back and forth, a bazillion phone calls and messages are made and left, and then whenever anything goes wrong (which is usually about once every 15 minutes) everything needs to be rejigged, and everyone needs to be notified of the changes. If only there were some way of posting that information where all the cast and crew could see it, people could make changes to it, and then everyone would be made aware of those changes. Gee, anything come to mind? Yes, it’s a new application for our friend, The Internet. scenechronize is its name, and it promises to save filmmakers a ton of confusion, frustration, time, money and paper.  Read More

Clockwise from top left: the 2009 MotoGP Desmosedici GP9, two patent application drawings ...

Last year when we did an extensive feature on Ducati’s motogp carbon fibre semi-monocoque frame, we lauded its groundbreaking technology. Now it seems the Italian powerhouse is so pleased with its handiwork that the semi-monocoque design looks set to replace Ducati’s trademark trellis frame on its road bikes in the future too.  Read More

Porsche to show 911 GT3 R Mechanical Hybrid race car

Ferdinand Porsche developed the world’s first hybrid car in 1900 and showed the car, the Lohner Mixte, to the public at the Paris Auto Show of 1901. Hence, it is entirely appropriate that Porsche should introduce the hybrid drive to production-based GT racing. One hundred and nine years after that Paris debut, the Porsche 911 GT3 R with hybrid drive will debut at the Geneva Motor Show. Remarkably, the two 60 kW electric motors on the front axle drive are not supplied their energy by conventional chemical batteries, but by an electrical flywheel power generator originally developed the AT&T Williams F1 team.
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The 280bhp AsphaltFighter Stormbringer

German company Asphaltfighters' latest creation has the most outrageous set of raw numbers we’ve seen for a production motorcycle. The 999cc Stormbringer has 220hp and an extra 60 ponies kick in over 180kmh for a 280bhp total. It’ll run "more than 198mph", hits 62mph in 2.9 seconds, 124mph in 6.5 seconds, and 186mph in 13.9 seconds. It comes standard with a HELD riding suit and kevlar/carbon X-Lite helmet, and the riding position and suspension are all tailored for the purchaser. The machine has the full array of cutting edge technology such 10 stage traction control, heads up display, rear-view camera, programmable speed limiter and, considering what it offers, a remarkably reasonable price tag of EUR 57,500 (USD86,000).  Read More

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