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The Nissan iV concept

For the past six years, the Los Angeles Auto Show has invited automobile designers to participate in its Design Challenges. The challenge for this year’s show was to come up with a design for “a 1,000lb [453.6kg], four-passenger vehicle that is both comfortable and safe, while delivering satisfactory driving performance without sacrificing the styling consumers’ demand.” Entries are being judged not only for meeting the weight constraint (no more than 1,500 pounds/680 kg with passengers), but also for artistic beauty, comfort, uniqueness of design, roadworthiness, sustainability, performance and user-friendliness. The winner will be announced at the show, on Nov. 18. Here’s a look at some of the higher-profile entries...  Read More

The fast-charging zero-emission Mitsubishi i-MiEV

Britain held its first free eco-car show last month on London's famous royal driveway, The Mall. The event was held as part of HRH Prince Charles's latest sustainability initiative “Start”, which aims to promote positive steps to leading a sustainable lifestyle, and was opened by his “Garden Party to Make a Difference”. The Start Eco-Car Spectacular aimed to showcase the future of green transport with a variety of bicycles, cars and other environmental transport solutions.  Read More

A rendering of the planned new five-door car to be distributed by smart USA

smart USA announced today that it will be collaborating with Nissan on a new five-door car. According to a Memorandum of Understanding between the two companies, smart USA would obtain the rights to procure and distribute a five-door, gasoline powered, B-segment vehicle from Nissan for sale through the smart USA retail dealership network.  Read More

smart has announced a pedal-powered bicycle with electric assist named e-bike

If you were wondering about the other two-wheeled vehicle pictured with the smart e-scooter at the Paris Motor Show, then read on. The company has also announced a pedal-powered bicycle with electric assist named e-bike which shares regenerative braking technology and similar smartphone integration with its cousin. When the e-bike reaches a certain speed, the hub motor cuts out and the bike is driven by leg-work only.  Read More

Daimler's car2go edition smart fortwo

Last year in the German city of Ulm, Daimler started up an experimental car-sharing system called car2go. It incorporated a fleet of 50 smart fortwos, that users could pick up in various locations, drive as long as they wanted, and then leave within the city. Ulm’s program is now up to 20,000 members and 200 cars, while a younger sister project in Austin, Texas, is up to 10,000 members. Given that success, Daimler has just announced a new “car2go edition” of the fortwo, designed specifically for use in the program. We got a look, at the 2010 Paris Motor Show.  Read More

The smart escooter

Daimler’s smart brand has managed to reduce the size of its already micro-sized vehicles even further by subtracting a couple of wheels and unveiling a concept scooter. The chassis of the all-electric smart escooter is modeled on the tridion safety cell of the smart fortwo, with its steel and aluminum frame clad in fully interchangeable plastic body panels. The scooter has a top speed of 45 km/h (28 mph) with power provided by a 48-volt lithium-ion battery pack with a capacity of 80 Ah that gives the vehicle a range of up to 100 km (62 miles).  Read More

A test of the Multiple Memory Material Technology

They’re known as smart materials, memory materials or shape memory alloys, but it all boils down to the same thing: materials that hold one shape, but then take on another at a certain temperature. Such substances have been around for decades, but now researchers at Canada’s University of Waterloo have taken them to a new level. Using a patent-pending process, they can embed multiple shape memories in one object – in other words, while memory materials can presently take on only two shapes, going from one to the other at just one temperature, using the new process they could take on several shapes at several temperatures. The Multiple Memory Material Technology (MMMT) is said to work with virtually any memory material.  Read More

smart fortwo electric drive heads for U.S. and Canada

Daimler has announced that its smart fortwo electric drive will cross the Atlantic later this year. The tiny two seater, which has a rear mounted 30 kW electric motor producing 120 Nm of torque, a range of 100 km to 135 km and can be parked pretty much anywhere, is slated to reach cities in USA and Canada in Q3.  Read More

Flyfire is a cloud of LED-carrying helicopters controlled in synchrony (Courtesy of  'MIT ...

The basis of most 3D systems is to "trick" our eyes into believing that an image shown on a flat screen has three dimensions, but what if you could throw away the screen entirely! It sounds simply too far-fetched and impossible to choreograph, but that's exactly what researchers MIT's SENSEable City Lab and Aerospace Robotics and Embedded Systems Laboratory (ARES Lab) have created with Flyfire - a cloud of LED-carrying micro-helicopters controlled in synchrony to show unique animated light displays in three-dimensional space.  Read More

Researchers have discovered that higher levels of magnesium in rats enhanced their learnin...

Your mother was right – eating your “greens” (which contain magnesium) is good for you. In fact, according to neuroscientists at MIT and Tsinghua University in Beijing, rats who were fed a new compound that increased their brain magnesium demonstrated enhanced learning abilities, working memory, and short- and long-term memory. The dietary supplement also boosted older rats’ ability to perform a variety of learning tests. Great, if it’s not hard enough getting rid of the rodents now, imagine trying to remove smarter rats!  Read More

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