“B” The Flying Car: I Don’t Know What This is for But I Want One!

Another great Kickstarter project, and this time it’s the brainchild of Witold Mielniczek a Ph.D. Student at Southampton University. “B” is a remote controlled car that turns into a VTOL aircraft for short flights enabling it to traverse difficult terrain with ease. The vehicle transitions pretty seamlessly from driving to flying as the video shows.

The body is made out of polycarbonate and is extremely tough. The wheels have been designed to compress and detach on heavy impacts so that they vehicle is very robust, ideal for the beginner radio control enthusiast. “B” also has a video camera build in so you can get a birds eye view of the vehicles journey. Mielniczek has further development plans including:

  • Support for water landings and a reverse periscope to look beneath the surface
  • The ability to suck to walls allowing vertical ascents
  • Controling “B” from your smart phone using an App

The drive system is currently in the patent process and according to Mielniczek:

“The patentable aspect of the design is called PDU (Propelling Driving Unit). The patentable mechanism can be briefly described as any part of the propeller going through the vertical plane of the driving ring (such as a wheel or a caterpillar track).”

The “B” is shaping up to be a particularly cool toy purchasable through the kickstarter project for a paltry £320. A bargain at twice the price. However, Mielniczek has bigger plans and is suggesting that his design could be scaled to provide an extreme sports vehicle for the adrenalin junkies amongst us or a rescue vehicle for crossing terrain inaccessible to more traditional forms of transport. Currently the only limitation is the relatively small duration of play with one charge only lasting around 15 minutes.

Given the speed at which “B” has achieved its funding target on Kickstarter we can expect to see more of Mielniczek and his flying cars in the future!

Scrooser – A Harley Davidson for the Sidewalk

The Scrooser has been designed by a team in based in Dresden, Germany and there’s some pretty nifty technology built in. The first thing to notice from the video is that the thick tires on the Scrooser make riding it a very different experience from other two wheeled vehicles. It tilts and glides in a way that certainly looks more akin to snowboarding than riding a scooter. The fact that it is still a scooter meaning that you need to propel it with your feet but allowing the electric engine to enhance your action means that it’s probably a lot better for you than riding a motorbike or driving your car. The electric “impulse drive” engine  is a pretty clever piece of tech, learning the way you scoot and providing just the right amount of back up power when necessary.

The Scrooser has a range of around 35 kms but nearer to 55 kms when the “impulse drive” is running. The folks at Scrooser claim that this is equivalent to 25 days of urban Scroosing (<- see what I just did?) on a single charge. Charging should take between 1 and 5 hours depending on the power source. The Scrooser’s elegant minimalist design and eco-credentials certainly make it stand out and have already got it nominated for  the category “mobility” in the GreenTec Awards 2013, which honors pioneers who are committed to a more environmentally conscious future.

The team at Scooser are currently running a Kickstarter campaign and have hit about 50% of their total funding target with 19 days to go. You can be one of the first to own a Scrooser for the princely sum of $3,950 at Kickstarter.

The Buccaneer 3D Printer – Affordable 3D Printing For Your Home

3D printing allows you to create a three dimensional object from a two dimensional plan by laying down multiple layers of material to build the object. Sometimes known by the snappy name of Stereolithography, the first 3D printer was produced by 3D systems in 1984. It’s become a valuable tool for design and development with industry being able to rapidly develop prototypes of ideas and test them before going to full development. Recently the technology came to the forefront in people’s minds when Defense Distributed tested and published its design for a 3D printed gun. Regardless of the ethics of this particular piece of design, 3D printing has a huge number of applications ranging from processor manufacture through to medical implants.

So what does this have to do with you and me? In recent years the cost of 3D printers has fallen significantly, you no longer need to be a large company to afford the technology. You can buy the UP! 3D printer on Amazon for just over £1000. However, this still puts it in a price range acceptable to only the most dedicated consumer 3D hobbyist. Where the folks over at Pirate 3D have scored big with the Buccaneer is that it will have a price tag under £300 in the UK. This puts it firmly in the hands of the interested enthusiast.

This technology is inspiring allowing you to run riot with your imagination building all sorts of fantastic creations. However, Pirate 3D’s innovation hasn’t stopped at the cost, the Buccaneer looks great having an almost Apple’esque elegant compact design. Loading of the substrate for building your models is easy, a circular cartridge that fits in the top and feeds through a small hole at the top of the device. Perhaps the smartest innovation though is the software; by creating a design suite that is easy to use and requires no knowledge of complicated computer aided design (CAD) systems, a complete novice can create great looking objects. The design suite will work on either your PC or tablet.

It seems that I’m not the only one excited by this technology, Pirate 3D’s Kickstarter campaign to fund development and commercialization of the Buccaneer 3D Printer has reached just over $850,000 raised of a $100,000 target. For anyone that enjoys tinkering the Buccaneer 3D printer is a valuable addition to the toybox!