Computational creativity and the future of AI

Sled

Swedish adventurer Johan Ernst Nilson (right) and his Audi-designed expedition sled (All p...

Swedish adventurer Johan Ernst Nilson definitely has his work cut out for him. On April 6th he began his one-year Pole2Pole trek, in the course of which he intends to travel from the North to South Pole using only carbon-neutral transportation. He has already begun to ski down from the North Pole, with other legs of his journey intended to include travel by dog sled, sailboat, bicycle and kite-assisted sled. Given that his life may depend on everything performing properly, he won’t just be using a garden-variety toboggan to haul his gear across the Arctic and Antarctic ice caps – instead, expedition sponsor Audi has made him a one-of-a-kind sled.  Read More

University of Wisconsin - Madison's entry in the 2011 Clean Snowmobile Challenge (Image: M...

Clarkson University (New York) was the overall winner in the 2011 Clean Snowmobile Challenge, a collegiate design competition put on by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and hosted by Michigan Technological University. This year’s competition was billed as “the greenest yet,” with a record number of electric snowmobiles participating. The event was held March 7-12 at MTU’s Keweenaw Research Center in Houghton, Michigan. 17 student teams competed in the zero emissions and internal combustion categories.  Read More

The homemade sled-and-rider-towing winch (Photo: Josh Smith)

Sledding can be a lot of fun, but pulling your toboggan, inner tube or sled back up the hill ... well, that isn’t part of the fun. Yes, it definitely is good exercise, but it’s not fun. While the rest of us just quietly resign ourselves to the long climb back up, however, Pennsylvania’s Josh Smith did something about it – he built his own powered sled-and-rider-towing winch.  Read More

Slegooning: snow sledding for speed demons

December 29, 2008 Flipping upside down on a snow sled usually puts an abrupt end to your downhill journey and leaves you with - at best - a face full of the white stuff and a short slog to retrieve your errant steed. Enter the Slegoon, a concept design from Londoner Spike Reid which puts a new spin on sledding by seating the rider in a semi-enclosed pod that can continue its run even when upside down.  Read More

Cozy Cruiser Double Baby Sled

January 6, 2008 This winter, grownups might be maneuvering down the slopes on a Ski-Doo snowmobile or even a Snoxcycle, but the kids will have a safer trip careering down on a Cozy Cruiser Double Baby Sled. This nifty sled is inflated by air pump in about five minutes and is comfortable but sturdy with three-sided security enclosures and tough, welded-on rubber handles. It is made from crack-and-cold-resistant PVC and is light enough to drag through the snow using the extra-long tow rope.  Read More

The remarkable part boat, part sled, part ground-effect Tupelov aerosled

November 6, 2006 As the knowledge of the world begins to rush rather than seep across the barriers of language and distance via the internet, whole new areas of regionalised human endeavour are becoming visible to the world, and the glorious history of the Russian aerosled is a case in point. H. G. Wells once wrote, “Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature's inexorable imperative.” Getting from point A to point B has not always been as easy as it is today. Man’s need to cross the deserts, oceans, forests, mountains and the skies above them has seen many fascinating conveyances built specifically for a given task and the aerosled was devised to cross the vast frozen Russian tundra. It evolved from an adapted horse-drawn sleigh powered by a pusher prop 100 years ago to become a thriving ski-automobile industry and with sponsorship from the Russian Military in the Cold War era, developed capabilities that are truly extraordinary. The January Barrett-Jackson Collector Car auction is to include a fully-restored N007 Tupolev – the vehicle appears to be one of the early prototypes and is the only-known Russian-built aerosled to make it to the United States. Designed by Andrei Tupolev, one of the founders and key figures of Soviet Aviation, the N007 can propel through and protect its occupants from the sub-zero conditions common in the Northern Russian tundra. Powered by a 365 hp nine-cylinder radial engine it hovers just over water, marshland, ice or snow and given a flat stretch, is claimed to reach 80 mph. Part ground effect aircraft, part boat but mainly a sled, the N007 is a priceless example of human being’s ability to adapt and conquer any terrain. Over 800 examples were produced, but it’s a fair bet that this is one of the earliest and most authentic of this second generation aerosleds. Watch for our coverage of the new third generation aerosled later this week.  Read More

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