New system warns drivers of pedestrians, even when they're not in view
As some readers may already know, Volvo recently developed a system that uses an in-vehicle radar system to alert drivers to the presence of pedestrians and cyclists on the road in front of them. Now, Germany's Technische Universitaet Muenchen has come up with a system of its own, that can even detect pedestrians that aren't within line of sight of the car.
In the university's Ko-TAG system, pedestrians and cyclists carry a transponder – this could be a small wearable device, or it could simply be built into their smartphone.
Cars, on the other hand, transmit a coded radio signal. As a vehicle gets within range of a pedestrian, that person's transponder picks up the signal and responds by altering the code, then transmitting it back to the vehicle "in a very precise temporal pattern." By analyzing that pattern, the vehicle's onboard positioning system is able to determine the speed and trajectory of the pedestrian.
By combining the originating location of the return signal with the car's own present GPS coordinates, it's also able to determine the pedestrian's location to within a few centimeters – and it does so within a few microseconds. If it determines that the car and the person are about to collide, it can alert the driver or even automatically apply the brakes.
One of the system's big selling points is the fact that, unlike radar-based technology, it can detect pedestrians even when they're hidden from view. This could save people from being hit when walking out from between parked cars, or other objects.
Volvo is likewise working on what it calls a "car-to-cyclist communications system," although details on how it works have yet to be released.
Source: Technische Universitaet Muenchen
DinghyGo 2 inflatable 3-in-1 sailboat swims via wind, rowing or motor
Aquacrafts developed the inflatable DinghyGo to increase versatility, portability and ease of use in sailing. The boat packs into a 66-lb (30-kg), 44 x 26 x 16-in (1.12 x 0.65 x 0.40-m), two-bag package, meaning that you can leave the boat trailer back at the showroom and easily transport your sailboat in a car, camper, yacht, etc. When the day is done, there's no need to pay to dock the boat at the marina, and home storage is much more convenient than with a hard-hulled sailboat – particularly if you live in a small apartment.
At the water, the crew can get the DingyGo ready to set sail within minutes. In the video below, Aquacrafts demonstrates the vessel being unpacked, rigged and pumped up in the matter of about 3.5 minutes. The 9-foot-long (2.75-m) DingyGo 2 has a payload of 1,100 lb (500 kg) and is designed to carry up to four people. In addition to its use as a sailboat, the boat can also be rowed with the included oars or powered by an outboard motor up to 8 hp, providing three boating options in one easy-use package.
The DinghyGo is a Dutch innovation
When compared to the TIWAL 3.2, another inflatable sailing dinghy we looked at recently, the DinghyGo is lighter, cheaper and quicker to set up. However, TIWAL's model includes an aluminum frame, designed for added stability in high winds, and appears to be better suited for speed and performance. The DinghyGo 2 looks to be designed more around simplicity and versatility.
Aquacrafts introduced the DinghyGo 2 at the Boot Dusseldorf show this week. It retails for €2,599 (US$3,525) and is available for pick-up at demo centers in the Netherlands and UK, and for delivery in other European markets. It comes with a sailing kit, which includes a 43 sq ft (3.9 sq m) sail, pump and repair kit. Aquacrafts also offers the smaller DinghyGo S, which measures 7.3 ft (2.2 m) in length and carries up to three, for €2,399 ($3,250). Deliveries will begin in April.
OTIS tiny house offers a new take on the American Dream
Students at Vermont's Green Mountain College Renewable Energy and Ecological Design class have produced an off-grid tiny house that's billed as a new take on the American Dream. While that may seem a stretch, an American Dream centered around a sustainable home with a small footprint would certainly be a step in the right direction, environmentally-speaking.
OTIS can be towed by a car on a standard-sized 1.5 x 2.5 m (5 x 8 ft) open-bed utility tra...Inside, the snug home contains a composting toilet, rainwater collection system, and a rud...A computer-based software digital design tool was used to create a model, and then a CNC m...The pod shape was inspired by nature, and the students applied biomimicry principles to th...View all
OTIS (or the Optimal Traveling Independent Space) was produced as part of a semester-long Green Mountain College class taught by Professor Lucas Brown. It measures 6.5 sq m (70 sq ft), and can be towed by a car on a standard-sized 1.5 x 2.5 m (5 x 8 ft) open-bed utility trailer, underlying its practical modern nomad appeal.
"The appeal of living a more nomadic lifestyle represents a new take on the American Dream, especially among students in this millennial generation," explains Prof. Brown. "They (students) aren’t interested in being tied down with rent or a mortgage right after college. Something about having their own living space which is very low maintenance and very mobile suggests a different set of priorities."
The pod shape was inspired by nature, and the students applied biomimicry principles to th...
Brown also told Gizmag that his students applied biomimicry principles to the design of OTIS. The students drew inspiration from hollow bird bones, dragonfly wing patterns, and multifunctional skin membranes to create a lightweight, aerodynamic, and durable structure. A computer-based software digital design tool was used to create a model, and then a CNC machine fabricated many of the parts.
Inside, the snug home contains a bed, desk, composting indoor toilet, rainwater collection system, a rudimentary sink, and a small Fastco wood-burning stove. A 120 W solar panel is affixed to the front of the dwelling and serves all electricity needs.
The total cost of OTIS (not including labor) comes to between US$8,000 and $10,000.
Source: Green Mountain College