Video: Is Steve Durnin’s D-Drive the holy grail of infinitely variable transmissions?

Ready for a bit of a mental mechanical challenge? Try your hand at understanding how the D-Drive works. Steve Durnin's ingenious new gearbox design is infinitely variable – that is, with your motor running at a constant speed, the D-Drive transmission can smoothly transition from top gear all the way through neutral and into reverse. It doesn't need a clutch, it doesn't use any friction drive components, and the power is always transmitted through strong, reliable gear teeth. In fact, it's a potential revolution in transmission technology – it could be pretty much the holy grail of gearboxes… if only it wasn't so diabolically hard to explain. We flew to Australia's Gold Coast to take a close look at the D-Drive – and it looks to us like Durnin has pulled a rabbit out of his hat. Check out the video after the jump and see if you can work out if there's a catch.

via Video: Is Steve Durnin’s D-Drive the holy grail of infinitely variable transmissions?.

The Recent Future / May 15, 2010 / Tech / 0 Comments

With Lasers and Flyovers, a Solar Map of New York

While most residents were sleeping, a twin-engine Shrike Commander flew serial missions over the city recently, cruising low like Superman and back and forth like a lawn mower. Equipped with a laser system, the plane collected highly precise images of the city, its rooftops, trees, wetlands and much of what lies in between.

The early morning flyovers are expected to yield the most detailed three-dimensional picture of New York City to date, with an emphasis on structures, elevations, sun and shade, and nooks and crannies relevant to the city’s emergency response system and its environmental goals.

The data will be used, among other things, to create up-to-date maps of the areas most prone to flooding, the buildings best suited for the installation of solar power and the neighborhoods most in need of trees. An advisory panel of experts formed by the mayor has warned that the city must prepare for more rain and an increased risk of coastal flooding in the coming decades as a result of global climate change.

via With Lasers and Flyovers, a Solar Map of New York – NYTimes.com.

The Recent Future / May 10, 2010 / Tech / 0 Comments