Thursday, August 19, 2010

The History and Future of cars

Necessity + Innovation + Technology + Investment = The optimal method for coping with environmental problems

This device employs a Venturi tube (Giovanni Battista Venturi 1746-1822) most commonly known for its part played in carburetors before the days of fuel injection and it demonstrates the power of simple (and cheap) innovation in tackling environmental challenges. Researchers from CSIRO Manufacturing Materials Technology in Melbourne have developed an insert which can be fitted by most people into their existing showerheads. It fills the water droplets with a tiny bubble of air ensuring the shower feels just the same as before, but now uses 30% less water. Australia has recently experienced some of the continent's worst ever droughts and this 'Air Shower', not a new concept but a radically improved technology, could save them the equivalent of 'more than 45,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools' of water. It should cost the user no more than $20. Good on yer Oz.
Highlighted by Science Daily - - (if you're interested in in Science & Technology developments you can sign up for email headline updates from them). You can see the original source at the CSIRO website -,,.html.

Fuel Emissions Zero, Fuel Consumption Zero - Venturi Astrolab (The Future)

Venturi Astrolab
The French manufacturer Venturi has begun the commercial launch of its new Solar Electric Hybrid vehicle the Astrolab (first deliveries scheduled for January 2008). They compare the Astrolab to a yacht declaring with characteristic French √©lan that both 'advance silently while making best use of the elements provided by Nature. And the piloting of both makes for sensations unlike any other.'
Its 3.6 square metres of photovoltaic cells are covered by a film of nano-prisms to concentrate energy capture and it does not depend on permanent exposure to the sun. This powers a 16KW engine in an overall design based on Formula 1 ultra light carbon monocoque chassis (vehicle design in which the body and chassis are one piece). It has a range of about 70 miles and a top speed around 70mph. Its batteries are capable of storing surplus energy and it can also be plugged into a socket to recharge (not zero anything really). Venturi claim that the design 'serves as an oversized protection cell ensuring the safety of its occupants in the event of a collision.'

The Silence of the Hybrids (The Future)

One of the difficulties that will have to be confronted sooner or later is that a new generation to come of really green vehicles that do not use the internal combustion engine will be all but silent. Pedestrians use a variety of sensory signals to stay safe in areas where vehicles are allowed, and not least among them is sound. How will we know when an all electric car or van is coming? Most likely there will be a clamour for the vehicles to have built in noise by law. This presents us with some interesting possibilities. We could, for example, return to former days and build in the 'clip clop' of horses. Perhaps loud onboard sound systems will become mandatory. Another idea might be a heat detecting sensor capable of sensing humans and animals which automatically takes control of the engine and brakes.

Not the future

A new study in America reveals the stunning finding that people who carry guns in their cars are likely to be more belligerent, make obscene gestures and succumb to road rage than those who don't carry guns, says the UK Science magazine the New Scientist (02/02/06). A researcher was quoted as saying that 'people driving around with guns in their cars are not among the most responsible and best-behaved people on the road'. Who ever would have thought it? And you thought the wild west was dead? Why anyone would want to waste money on a project like this defies comprehension. The most amazing thing about this is that there are states in America which allow it at all. Perhaps they think that when all motorists carry a gun the deterrent effect of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) will kick in to restore peaceful equilibrium on their roads. If anyone can tell us what the logic behind such laws is, or who just knows more facts on the ground, please let us know and we'll post your answer up here.
(Url ref:
From issue 2537 of New Scientist magazine, 04 February 2006, page 7)
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Nano cars

The online edition of the science magazine Nature (21/10/05) features an article by Philip Ball about the world's smallest car developed by James Carr at Rice University in Houston Texas. These nano vehicles are so small that a traffic jam of them, laid end to end, would still only be the length of a flea. The article says that occasionally 'the cars pivoted and took off in a new direction, making zigzag paths' perhaps indicating that road manners are no better in the nanosphere than here. More seriously, these carbon vehicles may turnout to have applications that will revolutionise technologies such as surgery.

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