Mini Cooper turned into 80mpg hybrid
The Mini Cooper doesn't come in a hybrid version (yet), but a small British company has turned one into a pretty impressive hybrid on their own. It's a different take on hybrids than we are used to. The car is powered by four small electric motors, one in each wheel. Each one is 160 bhp, so the car sports a surprising total of 640bhp.
Most hybrids use the gas engine to power the vehicle. This car instead uses it to recharge the battery. Regenerative braking also helps add juice to the battery. To top it off, you can plug the car in when you aren't driving it around.
All of this creates some solid performance. The car gets 80 miles per gallon and has a range of more than 930 miles on a single fill. You won’t get passed on the highway, either – the car goes 0-60 in just 4.5 seconds and tops out at 150 mph. No word on when, or if, it will go beyond being a single demo vehicle.
TV: Is there a time and a place?
The digital revolution has brought ever-improving innovations to the television watching community. Digital video recording, or DVR, is making a movement into television households; however with an additional cost on top of standard cable service this movement is gradual. As of May 2006, about seven percent of homes in the United States had a DVR system. There is no doubt that DVR service is something that many people have and will most likely soon fall in love with. It is a time mover, allowing people to watch their shows when they want to. Unfortunately in the growing arena of technology, people have begun to ask for the ability to not only move the time, but the place also.
Television networks have begun to answer this call. ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox now have most of their shows and episodes available in streaming video on their respective websites shortly after the show airs on television. In addition to the private networks hosting their own content, other companies like Veoh, YouTube, and Joost also have a presence in the online video market. Joost strictly offers content from its partners, which include Sony, Warner Bros., and Viacom; the website does not allow users to upload their own, possibly pirated, content like competitors Veoh and YouTube.
This is all well and good, and provides video buffs with online video whenever they want to access it; but what about a person who wants to watch the latest episode of Heroes and who does not have an Internet-ready computer to sit down at?
Let’s rewind to 2004. Steve Jobs announces that there will be no video iPod – it will forever be a music player with a small screen. Play back to 2005 and Apple introduces its video iPod. After cutting a deal with ABC to offer downloads of the network’s popular TV shows through iTunes, Jobs found an opportunity to introduce portable video to the already popular iPod. iTunes proceeded to make arrangements with other networks, film companies, and music artists. Purchase the videos, add them to your iPod and you can literally watch them anytime, anywhere. Apple caught the train early and is the (legal) leader in offering mobile video.
A hole was left for another form of mobile video to develop though. Mobile digital-broadcast TV is appearing on more and more cell phones per year. Currently the most popular provider is Verizon, whose V-Cast program is becoming the main inspiration for new cell phone designs. As camera phones created the need for a change in cell phones, digital-broadcast TV will also. Not only do people want their video to be high quality, but they also want high-speed connectivity and digital-broadcast capabilities that will not affect the quality and battery life of the phone.
DirecTV has also been working on filling this space in the market. Sat-Go, described as the world’s first completely portable satellite TV system, contains a 17-inch removable LCD monitor with a satellite receiver, laptop-style battery, remote control, and antenna. The full system is contained in a large briefcase that is nearly 20 inches wide and weighs a hefty 27 pounds. It would appear as if this product needs a bit more refinement because it has quite a few obstacles to overcome: its weight, antenna obstruction, difficulty viewing the screen, short battery life, etc. Yet DirecTV’s Sat-Go is a huge step in the advancement of mobile television in a world that is constantly on the go.