Since the Razor came out in the U.S. in the late '90s, inventors have tried, with varying success, to create the next generation of kick-powered conveyance. Now a Nevada start-up aims to beat the Razor in both maneuverability and stability. The Sbyke is a BMX bike mixed with a skateboard. The company claims that the fixed 20-inch wheel allows its scooter to negotiate uneven surfaces better than a Razor. It also says its novel rear-axle mount, which uses ball bearings that let the axle turn up to 50 degrees in either direction, makes the Sbyke the nimblest scooter yet—one that can purportedly execute tight four-foot turns.
Amphibious vehicle designs always sounds great on paper, but in practical use they tend to sink more often than swim. It’s not so much that they don’t work, but that they tend to handle either land or water well, with the other being an afterthought (not to mention they solve a problem that most people simply don’t have). But we’d be lying if we said the Iguana 29 didn’t catch our eyes this afternoon.
I have never understood why people who aren't circus clowns ride unicycles. They seem designed specifically to create wipeouts and, subsequently, schadenfreude (a lesson our writer learned all too well in 1967 when he undertook the massive challenge of learning to ride one). But who knew that tucked away in the pages of PopScis past were some of the weirdest, most delightfully retro-futuristic unicycles of all time? Now we all do. And I don't think it's a stretch to say our lives are all the better for it.
As the world goes increasingly wireless, we've learned to tolerate a certain degree of failure in our wireless systems--like when your computer just won't sync up with the wireless internet at the cafe, or when our phones drop a call. But what about situations when wireless systems simply cannot fail? A failure rate of zero is tough to achieve in any system, but computer scientists at Saarland University in Germany have demonstrated a wireless bicycle brake that works 99.999999999997 percent of the time.
Shock waves travel in straight lines, so when most bikes hit potholes, the shocks run through the frame and into the rider. One way to avoid the discomfort that can cause is to channel those vibrations onto another path, as the Tortola RoundTail road frame does.
When self-communicating connected cars start appearing on roadways, what will it be like for the humans? Will we tolerate our cars talking behind our backs, deciding when to swerve or apply the brakes? The U.S. Department of Transportation is hosting some test drive clinics to help people prepare. Test drives on racetracks!
Last year, China laid out a plan to extend its high speed rail network all the way to Germany and London to the West and down to Singapore to the south by 2020. And naturally the Internet chorus called it politically untenable and economically unfeasible, a pie-in-the-sky project from an overly ambitious regime.
Researchers in Japan are trying to get a new kind of high speed train technology off the ground, and to prove they’re serious they’ve built a ground-effect robot that floats on a cushion of air. If their demo project works satisfactorily, it could set in motion a plan to build commuter trains that essentially fly inches from the ground, cutting friction and increasing overall efficiency.
By Barry HarbaughPosted 04.20.2011 at 10:20 am 8 Comments
A whirring comes across the sky. From 20,000 feet above the Mexican border or Afghanistan's Korengal Valley, a vehicle as long as the Chrysler building is tall drifts into the stratosphere. It looms like a cloud and stays put for 21 days, scanning for body heat below. These blimps are lighter than air, fuel-efficient and quiet—which is why they could become the military's go-to vehicles for surveillance and transport.
High speed trains are so passé — for comfortable superfast travel, hop on the Superbus.
With a top speed of 155 MPH, the new Superbus, which sort of looks like an elongated Batmobile, could be an efficient way to reduce congestion at a lower cost than building new trains or other public transit systems.