AIRBAGS FOR BIKERS: Inflatable Motorcycle Suit Provides Instant Crash Protection

airbagsuit

Three motorcyclists competing in the final race of the international MotoGP circuit this month will have extra injury insurance, in the form of wearable airbags. Alpinestars’s Tech Air Race suit uses an onboard computer to sense the subtle differences between regular track turbulence and the motion associated with an impending crash, and it fires fall-cushioning airbags on the shoulders and collarbone (an oft-injured area for racers) before the biker hits the ground. These bags are nearly 10 times as effective at preventing injury as other armor. With foam pads, the impact at 200 mph is still more than 4,000 pounds of force; when this suit’s bags are inflated, that number is cut to 450 pounds—the difference between a collarbone fracture and a bruise.

Alpinestars anticipates that its consumer-grade suit—with two 2-quart bags, like those currently on pro tracks—will go on sale next year, with airbag-equipped jackets for everyday riders rolling out around 2013.

How To Cushion A Fall

A 1.1 pound computer set between the rider’s shoulder blades collects G-force, vibration and tilt data from seven sensors throughout the suit every two milliseconds….(read more)

Source: Popular Science


Holman W. Jenkins Jr: The Savior Elon Musk

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Tesla’s impresario is right about one thing: Humanity’s preservation is a legitimate government interest

Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. writes: There is often a large difference between what people imagine they are doing and what they are actually doing. Especially in politics, any relationship between the effect of policy, the goal of policy and the stated goal is often incidental to the point of randomness.

“He’s not the first to suggest that dramatically reducing the cost of earth orbit is a key to future space endeavors. He isn’t the only dot-com millionaire to turn his attention to space.”

Adding to the complexity, the doers themselves are often confused about the relationship between rhetoric and reality.

Which naturally brings us to a new biography of Elon Musk, whose entrepreneurial energy is a marvel; the world would be better off if there were more like him, even if a “nonstop horrible” childhood was a precursor to his adult achievements. That said, the “change the world” stuff, let alone the “save humanity” stuff, that fills Ashlee Vance’s admired “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future is a tad overdone.

spaceX

“If he succeeds, though, in delivering his cheap, reusable heavy-lift vehicle, vast new possibilities will open up. Fifty years from now if there are hotels and factories in orbit, they may well be SpaceX hotels and factories.”

Jimmy Carter put solar panels on the White House roof. GM rolled out its EV1 electric car in 1996. Mr. Musk has been selling back to affluent, middle-aged baby boomers their own youthful ideals in the shape of roof panels and plug-in cars.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

These items sell not because the moment is ripe to transition the world economy to solar but as vanity trinkets for the rich that even the rich wouldn’t buy without a large helping of taxpayer money.

Artist's concept of the new SpaceX Dragon, which may one day fly from Brownsville, Texas (Image: SpaceX)

Artist’s concept of the new SpaceX Dragon, which may one day fly from Brownsville, Texas (Image: SpaceX)

“If a human outpost materializes on Mars, it may well be a SpaceX outpost.”

Yes, Mr. Musk deserves credit for organizing his enterprises and getting them off the muskground. The bureaucratic obstacles to starting a car business are especially daunting. And his Tesla Model S is a lovely object and wonderful machine.

[Order Ashlee Vance’s book “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future” from Amazon.com]

Nowhere in Mr. Vance’s book, though, does the figure $7,500 appear—the direct taxpayer rebate to each U.S. buyer of Mr. Musk’s car. You wouldn’t know that 10% of all Model S cars have been sold in Norway—though Tesla’s own 10-K lists the possible loss of generous Norwegian tax benefits as a substantial risk to the company. Read the rest of this entry »


Wedge of Tomorrow: 20 of the Greatest Sports Cars of the ’70s and ’80s

wedge-tomorrow-sports-cars

The soft, gentle and voluptuous curves of traditional automotive design made a radical right turn in the late 1960s, when cars like the Alfa Romeo 33 Carabo concept by Bertone introduced the rising wedge line. The look was futuristic, cool, and first embraced by a handful of production Italian exotics. But soon the entire automotive industry caught on, and from the 1970s through the mid-1980s, nearly every new sports car had a pointy nose and pop-up headlamps. Here are 20 of the most memorable — a group of cars that envisioned an angular future….(read more)

popmech


[VIDEO] Custom Vehicle Scene Thrives in Japan: The Streets of Tokyo

This is admittedly a slick ad for Go Pro, it’s also irresistible escapist fun.

As the sun goes down, Tokyo transforms to a wild and exotic playground for those who like to pour on the speed. As a method of expression, the custom vehicle scene thrives in Japan. Youll meet some truly unique characters and get to ride along in some of the most exotic vehicles youve ever seen. Lamborghinis, Hayabusas, RWB Porsches, and some Kaido Racers make up a feast for the eyes on the streets of Tokyo at night.

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