Yamaha is probably best known for producing motorcycles of the two-wheel variety. The designers at Yamaha are showing off some prototype concept vehicles that are very different from what most associate with the brand. The prototypes have three wheels with two in the front and one in the rear.
When you take away the driving from the driver, what do the meat-popsicles inside an autonomous car do while the AI is at the wheel? That's the question Mercedes-Benz has tackled with the F 015 Luxury in Motion, a dramatically different approach to the future of transportation. Starting with the assumption that space will eventually be the biggest luxury, the self-driving concept treats driving much in the same way that a smartphone does the voice call: just one of many features and, as I discovered when I hitched a ride in the space-age pod, no longer the most important.
When Audipulled the plug on the Audi R8 e-tron in 2012, it was because neither the market nor the technology seemed to be ready yet for an all electric vehicle. Partly in thanks to Tesla's stubbornness, however, the landscape has changed significantly. Now electric cars are part and parcel of Audi's plans for the next three years, as outlined by its own Technical Development management board member Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg. And it will be starting off, quite appropriately, with a new Audi R8 e-tron that in some ways stays the same as the original but significantly improves it as well.
A new gadget that warns of potential hot car deaths of babies and pets could cut tragic cases like the Justin Ross Harris indictment last summer, with an AT&T intern already cooking up a prototype. The handiwork of Nancy Dominguez at the carrier's Foundry innovation center, the sensor uses a combination of motion, carbon dioxide, and temperature detection to spot if a dog or a child has been left in a vehicle, figure out whether conditions are getting too hot inside, and then fire out a warning message if things are getting dangerous. If unaddressed, the system can even call in 911.
The launch of Tesla's Model X may have been pushed back until later in 2015, but someone is apparently getting to enjoy how the electric SUV launches from a standing start. A case of "right place, right time" saw Juan del Real catch the camouflaged car undergoing testing in Alameda, California, hooning up and down a runway as some lucky driver got to put the EV powertrain - and the prototype's brakes - through their paces. However, there's also speculation that what we're seeing is no Model X, and could in fact be something much more interesting: Tesla's upcoming "affordable" EV, the Model 3.
Wearables largely revolve around fitness and health at the moment, but we're slowly seeing ones with other functionality surface. Fujitsu has set its attention on turning your finger into a stylus, one that works by writing in the air rather than on a touchscreen. This wearable will prove particularly useful for those wearing head-mounted displays, allowing for non-auditory input and control in situations where it is preferable. Other useful situations can be things like having children practice penmanship using their finger.
Personal drones have opened up digital photography to a new breed of users and uses. Naturally, camera makers want in on the new and still hot market that is practically dominated by the likes of GoPro. But while Olympus isn't exactly going out to build a drone of its own, it is trying to come up with the next best thing. It's Open Platform Camera or OPC aims to create a "lens-camera drone", that is, a lens mount that can be equipped with a rotor.
Microsoft might have closed the last chapter of Nokia's Lumia book, but the story is far from over, especially with many unanswered questions left hanging. One of those pertain to the supposed Lumia 1020 successor, a smartphone codenamed "McLaren". Aside from continuing the 1020's photography lineage, this McLaren was supposed to also bear a "3D Touch" interface. However, it was rumored to have been axed mid year and vanished without a trace. That is, until this RM-1052 prototype surfaced in China, which could very well be that stillborn smartphone.
Onyx apparently has a smartwatch in the works, and though there aren't a lot of details on it at this point, a prototype has surfaced via the folks at ARMdevices. Though a smartwatch isn't notable in and of itself at this point, the prototype stands out amongst the competition because of its display: a true e-ink offering. Though the refresh speed on the prototype seems a bit too slow for everyday use, there are some obvious benefits to using an e-ink display rather than an LCD.
Perhaps Microsoft has really turned over a new leaf. It has lately been quite supportive of other platforms by bringing their software to iOS and Android, sometimes even on par with their native OS versions as well. Quite surprisingly, Microsoft recently updated OneNote to have support for Android Wear, probably not a technological miracle but a well-intentioned gesture nonetheless. Now it has an even bigger surprise, one that has literal gestures in it: an "analog" keyboard for Android Wear that doesn't have keys.