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Toyota Hybrid Concept Squeezes More MPG From Existing Tech

Toyota is bringing a new subcompact hybrid to the Geneva Motor Show in March. Though the final design is still a secret, it’s less one big surprise than a lot of little ones.
The concept is named FT-Bh, for “Future Toyota, B-segment hybrid.” In other words, it’s a one-off subcompact that previews Priuses to come. Toyota claims it will have half the CO2 emissions of a traditional three-door subcompact while remaining as roomy as a larger five-door car — a feat achieved through a “total vehicle” approach, which squeezes as much efficiency as possible at the margins of automotive engineering.

By reducing the FT-Bh’s weight to less than 1,763 lbs, improving aerodynamics by 30 percent, downsizing the hybrid powertrain and doing a better job managing thermal energy and saving electricity, Toyota has previewed what can be done to make existing vehicle designs as efficient as possible. Most importantly, Toyota claims that those gains have come from refining existing technology, which means that a production vehicle could be built without  costs shouldn’t increase dramatically.
“It was designed to achieve low emissions within an economically viable production framework,” the automaker said in a statement. “This means no use of exotic and expensive materials or complex procedures, only those already commonplace in the automotive industry.”
It wouldn’t be surprising if Toyota applied this new knowledge across their vehicle range, which now includes a Europe-only Yaris hybrid in addition to the expanded Prius lineup.

ZecOO Electric Bike Pushes Design Boundaries

Looking like something out of Tron, design company 
Znug have come up with a completely amazing looking electric motorbike. Called the ZecOO, the new bike is a sleek, agressive and completely unconventional design.

The bike is designed by former Toyota designer Kota Nezu and assembled and built in a custom bike shop Suehiro in Tokyo, taking only 6 months from concept to prototype. The frame is made from a combination of solid wood and alloy and looks to push the boundaries of what the future for EV bikes could be. Rather than conventional fork steering the front uses a central hub system and sits on cantilevered shock absorbers and driven by rear wheel belt. The bike’s homepage has a whole collection of images of the building process and original concept sketches that are also worth checking out.
Right now there are no indications of specs for the bike and it will be officially tested in spring of this year but the designers are promising performance that definitely matches the look of the bike, which we take to mean pretty aggressively fast. The aim was to create a bike that is not only reliable technically and inline with the future of mobility but also one that takes into account the power of design, “a design that grabs the heart”.

It is not clear when it could be commercially available but reports suggest that it could go for just under $8million, a massive price tag despite its outstanding design. Despite probably not emitting any of the usual grunts a super-bike make with the electric engine, it would certainly turn heads when riding through the streets of Tokyo.


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“Windows Of Opportunity”, by GM & Bezalel Future

“Windows Of Opportunity – WOO” is an interactive car windows project, fruit of the collaboration between GM and the students of the “Future Lab” Masters Course at theBezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. The project focuses on transforming car windows into interactive displays and to create an enriched experience for the backseat passengers.

Full-scale prototypes are now functional. The technology used is named Eyeclick and combines motion and optical sensors. Different applications are in development.
One of the most interesting is “Spindow”: after selecting a city from a spinnable globe, the user can look in real-time at the window view of other users around the world. The destination landscape is overlain on their window.
Another application features an animated travel companion, “Otto”, offering an educational experience. The creature also provides lights and is controlled with gestures.

See in-depth presentation with the video.


What could be the Scania trucks of near future

The answer to this question is provided by the design company LTdesign, recently has shown sketches of prospective truck Scania R1000. By the way, last year, they have already represented its vision of the future Scania truck with his design project R800. The new truck, according to the index, should be equipped with a 1,000 hp powertrain! The exterior design of R1000 features a complex architecture of curved lines, aggressive front bumper and typical Scania grille. It is a pity that the Scania company has no relation with this design project. I would like all future long distance trucks to look that way.

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Nanolet – Nano Wrist Band

If you are looking for something a little more minimalist this new Nano wrist band called the Nanolet might well be worth a look. The lightweight, flexible band is 3D printed as one single component that simply wraps around your wrist for a quick and easy way to carry your Nano. Its been designed by Curve Creative and is available to purchase for around $22, and simply wraps around your wrist. Currently the Nanolet is sized for medium to large wrists, but its creators say more sizes are on their way.



Is this a bracelet from Philips? No, it’s a flexible smartphone!
Although this is just a concept design from Dinard da Mata for Philips and not yet a reality, we know that flexible smartphones are not too far away.

We’ve already seen flexible smartphones being presented at the 2011 CES convention, as well as an amazing concept that uses the touch-screen flexible AMOLED display from the KoreanSamsung.
So just hang in there with your current smartphone and you never know what 2012 may bring!

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