VIDEO: Chevrolet Volt tests driver-controlled audio warning system with the blind

As the popularity of hybrids has grown over the last few years, advocates for the blind have been raising a red flag about noise, or — more to the point — the lack of it. Because electric-drive vehicles emit much lower levels of sound on the street, blind pedestrians who’ve relied on the noise emitted from traditional vehicles lose a major source of information when navigating the streets and sidewalks.

There have been movements in various legislatures to mandate some minimum sound level from electric vehicles to ensure that blind pedestrians can tell when they’re approaching, and General Motors recently conducted a test session at its Milford Proving Grounds with a group of the visually-challenged to assess the audible warning systems on the Chevrolet Volt.

The engineers have employed the car’s horn to emit a series of warning chirps when a pedestrian is in proximity to GM’s gas-electric hybrid, evaluating the nature and level of the warnings to alert pedestrians rather than startle them. GM spokesman Rob Peterson tells us that on the first generation Volt the warnings will be manually activated by the driver, although future iterations are likely to incorporate some sort of active system. Currently, the biggest hurdle is developing an active system that can distinguish a pedestrian from another vehicle. Otherwise, without a reliable detection system, the horns would be going off at all times, increasing noise levels and making it largely useless.

Source: ChevroletVoltage

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World’s Most Expensive Cellphone is $3.2 million iPhone 3GS Supreme

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Stuart Hughes has unveiled the world’s most expensive cell phone , the $3.2-million iPhone 3GS Supreme. Featuring a 22K solid gold casing and a front bezel studded with 136 diamonds — “rear logo has 53 flawless diamonds, front navigation button is home to a very rare diamond at 7.1 cts.” It was reportedly commissioned by an Australian businessman. Continue reading to see the case it comes in.

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Source:  Stuart Hughes
Phone Arena, Tech Ed Blog

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Stantum Slate PC with Multi-Touch Panel Hands On

Masaki from Stantum Japan gave me a tour of their multi-touch screen technology showcased on their Slate PC proof of concept device, which if you remember, is a modded Dell Mini 10.

I came away quite impressed with the technology – it seemed very responsive and sensitive to the touch, more than some of the touch screens that were showcased at FPD 2009. But what do I know, my experience with touch screens is pretty limited to Kohjinsha netbooks. There’s support for 10 points on the screen, with any sort of device – fingers, fingernails, stylus, glove or.. paintbrush as you will see in the video. Not that you’ll even need 10 points for a tablet PC usage scenario but it’s quite important for other industries where Stantum is involved in.

Full Story: Netbooked

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Magellan Premium GPS Car Kit for iPhone and iPod Touch

The Magellan Premium Car Kit transforms your iPhone into a complete in-car solution for GPS navigation. Simply place your iPhone in the cradle and connect the power. There’s no need to remove your protective case–the cradle adjusts to your needs.

Transform your iPhone into a complete in-car solution for GPS navigation. Click to enlarge.
Secure, adjustable vehicle mounting.
Works with any navigation or location-based app.

Magellan Premium Car Kit for iPhone / iPod touch

With the built-in GPS receiver, you’ll automatically enhance the iPhone and iPod touch navigation experience. The Premium Car Kit works with all turn by turn applications available today, including the Magellan RoadMate for iPhone apps.

The premium car kit connects your iPhone via Bluetooth to deliver a superior for hands-free calling experience. The noise canceling speaker delivers crystal clear calls and turn by turn directions.

Features

  • Built-in GPS receiver enhances performance
  • In-car charging
  • Secure, adjustable vehicle mounting
  • Noise-cancelling, hands-free speakerphone
  • Powerful, amplified speaker
  • Fits most hard shell cases or silicon skins
  • Enables iPod touch to use navigation or location-based applications
  • Works with any navigation or location-based app

Note: Requires purchase of a navigation App. Sold separately.

Compatibility

  • iPhone 3G, 3GS (Requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later)
  • iPod touch 2G, 3G

What’s in the Box
Premium GPS Car Kit, Vehicle Mount, Adhesive Disc, Vehicle Power Adapter, Getting Started Guide

Source: Amazon

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Swiss ‘Jetman’ Yves Rossy ditches in Atlantic

Jetman Yves Rossy

The Swiss adventurer Yves Rossy found himself in deep water today after a bid to make the first intercontinental flight using a jet-powered wing strapped to his back failed.

Rossy, 50, planned to fly 24 miles (38km) across the Strait of Gibraltar from Tangier in Morocco to Atlanterra in southern Spain, at a speed of almost 140mph (220kph).

His daredevil flight should have taken around 13 minutes, but shortly after setting off the “Jetman” disappeared from TV feeds.

Live pictures soon showed him in the Atlantic, swimming around beside his parachute.

The reason for his failure was not immediately apparent, but the ex-military pilot appeared unhurt and waved at a passing TV crew.

A search and rescue team codenamed Falcon 1, involving former special forces members, winched him to safety before he was taken to hospital by helicopter.

Stuart Sterzel, CEO of the challenge’s sponsors Webtel, speculated that Rossy had experienced engine failure.

He said he had no doubts that the pilot would “dust himself off” and make another bid in the future, expected to take place in the new year.

“Nothing worthwhile has ever been achieved on the first attempt,” he said. “One tries and tries again.

“No, he did not make it from Africa to Europe. But yes, it was success, because it was man’s first effort to make it across and full marks for his courage.”

Mr Sterzel added that Rossy had also achieved a minor triumph, noting: “He would have (reached European waters) because European waters start just off the coast of Morocco.”

He said that the Spanish Coastguard would recover the two-metre-long carbon-fibre wing, which is powered by four jet engines and steered by the pilot’s body movements.

Organisers covering the event on the micro-blogging site Twitter suggested that the weather may have contributed to the mishap, commenting that the “winds were certainly difficult today”.

Rossy made headlines in September 2008 when he became the first person to cross the English Channel between France and Britain using a jet-powered wing.

A global audience witnessed him leap from a plane more than 8,200ft (2,500m) above France before soaring at more than 100mph over one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes on his home-made wing.

His team said today’s Africa to Europe attempt was the logical next challenge.

Speaking before the flight, Rossy said that the main dangers were engine failure and losing control of the wing.

“But there’s always plan B. I can ditch the wing and open the parachute. If I land in the water, there are people to come and get me,” he said.

Full Story:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article6931566.ece

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