Picture this: You're on a cross-country road trip with your kids, passing through some dusty corner of Nevada in your self-driving 2030 Chevrolet Lumina. Your car then sends an invisible message across the desert: Three passengers. Two in child seats. Sixth hour without a break. A distant server whirrs, combs through a database of your and your kids' past online behavior, and beams a command back to your car. A grinning clown dances across your windshield and a familiar jingle plays. "McDonalds!" your kids squeal. Suddenly you have lunch plans.
A team of twenty students at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands entered the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge 2013, a six-day solar race across Australia’s Outback, in the new Michelin Cruiser Class. Practicality was paramount for these entries, though energy use, payload capacity, and speed counted as well. The question to answer, according to Jordy de Renet, one of Stella’s drivers, was, “Do you want it in your daily life? Would you want to take it to get groceries?”
ComSonics, a company specializing in cable leakage detection, is working on a device that would sense when drivers are texting, the Virginian-Pilot reports. The Virginia newspaper suggests the final product, designed for police to use, might look something like the "radar gun" gadgets that police currently use to log drivers' speed and give out tickets. The text-sensing device looks for the radio wavelengths that phones use to send and receive SMS messages. Busted!
Popular Science has partnered with British electric racecar driver Katherine Legge, who will compete in the very first Formula E championship. Legge is a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) supporter and is blogging for us from the racetrack in Beijing -- the host city for the first round, which kicks off Saturday, Sept. 13.
This is perhaps the only optical illusion you would want to see while you're driving. A team of university engineers has created a vehicle headlight that adjusts itself so that drivers can keep their high beams on even when other cars are coming toward them. To the driver, the light still looks extra-bright. But from the point of view of the oncoming driver, it's automatically dimmed.
In a convention center in Chicago, there's a living-room-sized 3-D printer that's just finished printing the parts for a driveable plastic car. The engineers working on the car -- including those involved in developing the plastic, the printer, and the car design -- are hoping to have something ready to drive off the premises by the end of the week.