Tag: On-the-Road


BMW’s Flexible Skin Concept GINA

This extraordinary concept model that came out of the batcave of BMW shows how textile might be the future of car design. By replacing metal bodywork with a strong but flexible skin the Beamer they call GINA can transform on the spot to suit your mood. Things like opening the bonnet or adjusting your headlights suddenly become something fluid and natural.

For the future it holds the promise that a car will adapt to you and your current needs. Do you have a party and need a sleek saloon or did you just do your groceries and need some more room in the trunk? With a flexible skin this is all possible within one vehicle.

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Back to the Tribe

Who wants to Bike on Bamboo?

Carbon fiber and aluminum are so 2009. This year’s best bicycling model is made out of bamboo and hemp. A new generation of manufacturers are coming up with some of the most environmentally friendly transport yet. Lighter, stronger, more comfortable and these bikes have also got a much smaller carbon footprint.

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Mercedes-Benz Was Here

In the older days, people had to cross natural barriers like mountains for survival purposes. Grains from one side of the mountain was traded with cloth from the other side, for example. Today, we trade images and visual information overload has taken the place of the the mountain.

One can imagine this trading trips our ancestors made could be tough endeavors. Dangerous slopes and treacherous wheather conditions can take their toll, up in the mountains. Not to speak of the physical challenge of to climbing a mountain, packed with trading goods. New technologies like tunnels, cars and helicopters made it possible to skip the long climbs that take a strain on your body and mountain climbing as a bare necessity died out, to make place for mountain climbing as a recreational activity.

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Artificial Shrub Observatories

Justin Shull investigates the born and the made by mixing them up in mobile installations like the “Terrestrial Shrub Rover” and the “Porta Hedge”. His designs consist of several eco-conscious design features including recycled Christmas trees on the exterior, wood finishing on the interior, and the relaxing sound of birdsong audio on the interior and exterior. These vehicles are made to observe and explore both terrestrial and social environments.

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Traffic Jam Celebration

On this day (Saturday May 29th 2010), the Dutch nation takes pride in celebrating their first real traffic jam. During the pentecost weekend in 1955, a mass exodus of a tribe of day visitors from the west of the country to the central dutch National Park, and a tribe of German tourists coming from the east, caused a clutter of over 50,000 cars. Next to excitement about this new phenomena, there was also a feeling of pride: The Netherlands had become a modern country.

Back in 1955, The Netherlands counted about 268,000 cars (1 car per 40,3 inhabitants). Today, that is 1 car for every 2.1 dutchman or -woman. The first real traffic jam in 1955 was a big attraction. Roadside tourism was very common in those days: park the car at the side of the road, or even: in the lane (which was allowed then), unfold your chair and watch the cars pass by with the whole family: the tourists become the tourist attraction.

Different lifestyles of different tribes have always fascinating. New technologies trigger ancient impulses and one of these impulses is: watching new technologies as a form of recreation!

(Adaptation of this article in the dutch Volkskrant)

A reflection on mobility by NL Architects

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On the Road

Excuse me, I am lost. Can you point me to the information super highway?

Rendering by Chris Baker, photo Erik Pawasser. Via Wired. See also: Car Navigation – Follow the red cable, Need for Speed, Find brain, replace with GPS.

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Once you enter, you are the Car

Martin Heidegger and Marshall Mcluhan already described people’s tendency to extend their identities in the animate objects when interacting with them. When for instance, driving a car the vehicle seems to become an extension of our body. It absorbs our sense of identity and when two cars hits another in traffic, the driver of the vehicle being struck is more likely to say: “Hey! You hit me!”, than “You hit my car” or “Your car hit my car”, to be accurate.

I wonder what these thinkers would have made of the Hitachi’s vein authentication system, which identifies individuals based on the unique pattern of blood vessels inside their fingers. While providing an extra layer of security against car theft, Hitachi’s steering wheel finger vein authentication system also works to improve in-vehicle comfort when used with seats, mirrors and air conditioners that auto-adjust according to the preferences of the driver touching the wheel. Just another small step in the thinning of the border between people and products? Once you enter, you are the car.

Source: Hitachi Press release (japanese), Via Pink Tentacle.

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