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If cars got weirder

Compiled by Gokhra

So what do you want to call it? Weird? Ugly? Beautiful even? Come to think of it, is it a car? Oh wait, it has four wheels. Well, you reactions are as mixed as anyone else's.

The vehicle is called MA, named for the Asian philosophy of "the space between." The philosophy refers to a kind of threshold where two concepts can exist in a mutually beneficial relationship. As a car, the MA represents the same idea, occupying a space between emotional and rational, art and science. It does have a minimalist attraction to it.

"The MA, with its architectural, minimalist appearance, poses what an automotive aesthetic might look like in the future," said Ford Motor Company Vice President of Design J Mays. "This car is hard to pin down - and that's what the MA is all about. It's about proposing solutions that are not obvious, that are between our traditional visions for a car."

Designed totally on a computer, the MA uses a futuristic combination of materials: bamboo, aluminum and carbon fiber. The car has no welds. Instead, 364 titanium bolts hold the MA together. So how do you repair it after a close encounter with a rickshaw?

Environmental responsibility plays a key role in the MA. Bamboo, a regenerative grass (also easily available attached to a "thela gari")that grows back every five years, figures prominently in the open-air design. Only a few parts are painted. There are no hydraulic fluids and none of the industrial adhesives typically used in automobiles, making the MA more than 96 percent recyclable. The MA concept uses a zero-emission, low-speed electric engine that has virtually no environmental impact. However, the car could also be outfitted with a small conventional gasoline engine.

The MA is targeted at younger customers looking for new interpretations of an automobile. The MA's low-slung, aerodynamic wedge shape and mid-engine balance conjure up images of a two-seat, neighborhood sports car. Instead of being produced in a plant, the vehicle comes in a more than 500-piece kit, ready for assembly. At the MOCA exhibit, the MA will be displayed both as a completed car and as a kit of individual pieces ready for assembly.

Ford has a come up with a lot of mind blowing concepts like the GT40, Fortynine and the GT90 but this? Go figure!


By Dr Freak

Tiny Telescope Finds Giant Planet
Fifteen years ago, the largest telescopes in the world had yet to locate a planet orbiting another star. Today telescopes no larger than those used by amateur star-gazers are proving capable of spotting previously unknown worlds. A newfound planet detected by a small, 4-inch-diameter telescope demonstrates that we are at the cusp of a new age of planet discovery. Soon, new worlds may be located at an accelerating pace, bringing the detection of the first Earth-sized world one step closer. This is the very first extra-solar planet discovery made by a dedicated survey of many thousands of relatively bright stars in large regions of the sky. The newfound planet is a Jupiter-sized gas giant orbiting a star located about 500 light-years from the Earth in the constellation Lyra. This world circles its star every 3.03 days at a distance of only 4 million miles, much closer and faster than the planet Mercury in our solar system, giving it a temperature of around 1500 degrees F. Astronomers used an innovative technique to discover this new world. It was found by the "transit method," which looks for a dip in a star's brightness when a planet crosses directly in front of the star and casts a shadow. A Jupiter-sized planet blocks only about 1/100th of the light from a Sun-like star, but that is enough to make it detectable. Who knows what you may find while gazing at the sky with a small telescope?

Movies On Holographic Discs
Optware Corp., the developer of Collinear Holographic Data Storage System, recently announced that it had achieved successfully world's first recording and play back of digital movies on a holographic recording disc with a reflective layer using Optware's revolutionary Collinear Holography. This is a major milestone for commercializing holographic data storage system. Optware's holographic recording technology records data on discs in the form of laser interference fringes, enabling existing discs the same size as today's DVDs to store as much as one terabyte of data (200 times the capacity of a single layer DVD), with a transfer speed of one gigabyte per second (40 times the speed of DVD).

A Flying Leap for Cars
That's right, efforts to take personal transportation airborne are progressing rapidly. "Air taxis" will come first. George Jetson made it look so easy in the toons. The '60s-vintage TV-cartoon character would step from the bedroom of his sky-platform apartment onto a moving walkway to his flying car. And it would whisk him off to work. Back in the real world, even decades later, we can only wish. But not for long, as flying cars are suddenly becoming less of a pipe dream or the stuff of cartoons. Giants including carmakers Honda and Toyota are developing prototypes of small flying devices. Helped by advances in nanotechnology, microelectronics and robotics, researchers from NASA, Carnegie Mellon University, and University of Florida are developing new flight-related technologies, designed to make piloting an aircraft easier than driving a car. In theory, as everyone begins flying to work, these contraptions could dwarf today's $850 billion auto industry. The devices ranging from air taxis to personal flying machines could breathe life into aerospace companies' growth or create a whole new generation of start-ups. Best of all, some versions of this vision could start to come true within several years. Air taxis, which would carry from four to eight passengers on shorter rides between smaller, now-underused airports, could become available in the next three to four years. Following in the footsteps of several start-ups, Honda has developed an experimental jet-powered air taxi, now in flight testing. In February, it announced it would manufacture, together with General Electric the economical jet engine Honda developed for the plane. With $75 billion in annual sales, the Japanese carmaker could eventually enter the promising air-taxi business as well. With air taxis whizzing overhead, personal flying cars' arrival will only be a matter of time. Just wait and see.

Jaw Transplant Gets Hi-tech
A German man has been able to savour his first proper meal in nine years after surgeons successfully created and transplanted a jawbone for him. A jaw, grown on a titanium frame, enabled the man to chew for the first time since he lost his lower jaw in radical surgery for cancer. The functional jawbone was created using a combination of computer aided design and bone stem cells. The doctors at the University of Kiel in Germany created a titanium mesh cage to a three-dimensional shape and fit, for his lower jaw, using computer-aided design, based on CT scans of his face. The mesh was then filled by bone mineral blocks, recombinant human bone morphogenic protein powder and liquid bone marrow containing stem cells. The titanium frame was then implanted into a layer of muscle on the patient's right shoulder blade to form tissue and blood vessel connections to the muscle. Seven weeks later the implant was removed, delivering a new jaw-structure, which was then transplanted and connected with the existing upper jaw.





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