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Toyota Winglet to Challenge the Segway

Segway users, look behind your shoulder. Another “personal transport assistant” is waiting in the wings.

The Toyota Winglet will be used in trials at a Japanese airport and shopping center in 2009, with a planned mass deployment in early 2010. It’s much slower than the Segway with a top speed of only 3.7 mph, but comes in three models: the S (which is only 18 inches tall and weighs 22 pounds), the M (27 inches tall and 27 pounds), and the L (about 4 feet tall and the same weight as the M). Both the S and M use leg braces to help you steer, while the L provides a handle bar. Like the Segway, the Winglet senses weight shifts for steering and speed and can slow down or stop if you teeter too much.

In a video demo, a Toyota representative effortless drove around a stage with the S model. Trials in Japan will determine how well the device maneuvers in crowded areas, and how pedestrians not riding on a Winglet will react. The press release for the Winglet mentions how the Toyota robotics division intends to help contribute the “health and comfort” of future society. My only comment: in current society, with pervasive electronic entertainment, gas-guzzling cars, and a coach-potato lifestyle, it seems as though introducing another vehicle that does not require physical excursion is counter-productive.

But who knows? The Winglet looks slick and portable, a device that is light enough to carry in the car and use on a whim. It could also provide more mobility for those who walk to work every day. In the US, it’s still unclear whether devices such as the Segway and Winglet will catch on; but manufacturers seem to have few qualms pushing them.

August 15, 2008 Posted by | Design, Eco, electronics, Geeks, News, raw art gallery, sports, Technology, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Running Slows Aging

A recent study by Stanford researchers has confirmed your worst fears—that dorky neighbor in the short-shorts who zips by every morning at 6 o’clock in the morning will likely outlive you, and will be healthier in the long run.

James Fries and a team from the Stanford University School of Medicine began tracking 538 runners over the age of 50 in 1984. Participants have answered a detailed questionnaire about their injuries, quality of life, and running habits for each of the last nineteen years. Lo and behold, the runners, now in their 70s and 80s, had only a 15 percent death rate compared to 34 percent for non-runners. Even more, the oldsters in sneakers, who average 76 minutes a week on the blacktop, staved off the onset of major disabilities 16 years longer than non-runners, and had lower instances of cancer, infections, and other diseases.

 

And that age-old excuse for not getting off your butt; that running will destroy your knees or lead to other injuries? Blown out of the water. “Running straight ahead without pain is not harmful,” says Fries, who, in a separate paper did not find an increase in joint problems, knee replacements, or osteoarthritis in his subjects. But don’t worry, you’ve still got one excuse left lying on the couch—you’d be too embarrassed if Grandpa lapped you.

August 15, 2008 Posted by | News, sports, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

VW Lego Samba-Bus

I guess we are on a car kick. Check out this rendition of the VW Samba-Bus by Scandell. I love the color scheme and that interior is pretty sweet. I’m loving those seats!

August 15, 2008 Posted by | Artists, Lego, News, raw art gallery, Uncategorized | , | 4 Comments