If you've been following the Twitter account of our favorite robot (and the only humanoid) in space, then you know Robonaut 2 is out of the box and getting to work aboard the International Space Station (this morning it is using a tool to take air velocity measurements). But R2's technological contributions extend further than the ISS.
A pretty basic fear of the oncoming electric car boom is a concern that charging will be similar to the old cellphone-charger fiasco. Will the owner of a 2017 Mazda Thundersnake have to find particular Mazda charging stations, or will they be able to pull up behind a Chrysler EnFuego? Those fears can be allayed, mostly: seven major automakers have all agreed to adopt a single, universal charging system.
Genetically modified glow-in-the-dark cats not only make stylish, futuristic pets, but now provide insight into feline AIDS as well. The cats were injected with an antiviral gene from a rhesus macaque monkey that helps them resist feline AIDS, along with one that produces the fluorescent protein GFP.
Scientists have taken a big step toward curbing the impact of malaria across the globe, but the breakthrough didn’t occur in a pharmaceutical lab. A collaboration between researchers at Imperial College London and the University of Washington has produced a gene that the team was able to effectively spread from just a few mosquitoes to most of a population in just a dozen generations. Armed with malaria inhibiting characteristics, such a gene could combat malaria at the source.
One of the most common criticisms of the Chevy Volt has nothing to do with the car itself—it’s that there are so few of them available. General Motors shipped the first 360 Volts to dealers last month, but for the first quarter of this year you can only buy a Volt in six states and Washington, D.C. GM has obviously been hearing the same complaints. Today the company announced that it would make the Volt available in all 50 states by the end of this year—six months earlier than the original plan.
How does GM encourage adoption of its mild-hybrid system? Make it standard
By Lawrence UlrichPosted 01.20.2011 at 12:15 pm 2 Comments
“Mild” hybrids, with their puny batteries and weak electric motors, have largely failed in the marketplace. Next to “full” or “strong” hybrids such as the Toyota Prius—which has a sizeable battery pack and a powerful electric motor and can run under electric power for short stretches—cars like the now-discontinued Chevrolet Malibu hybrid were more expensive than the conventional model but provided only a negligible boost in fuel economy. With the 2012 Buick LaCrosse, however, GM is launching eAssist, a mild-hybrid system that the company hopes will change that equation.
In principle, the Chevrolet Volt is simple: It's an electric car with a gas-powered generator for backup. Yet the machinery under the hood is complex. The overarching goal is to wring maximum miles out of the Volt's lithium-ion battery and, when gasoline is necessary, to use it frugally. This requires the Volt's drivetrain—composed of two electric motors, a gasoline engine, three clutches and a planetary gearset—to blend power from different sources to find the perfect balance in every driving situation.