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Category Archives: automotive

So You Want to Build a Smart Garage? Start With These Gadgets.

Smart Garage

Not all people who want to start making their houses smart remember to include their garage. But you, you’re smart to know that your garage is one of the weakest spots in your home. Your garage door is probably the most-used door to your house. It’s just fitting to secure it too, along with your front door.

So, let’s start? Here are the recommended gadgets that you should have when making your garage smart.

Garage Door Controllers

This is the obvious must-have. Garage door controllers like the Chamberlain MyQ System let you control and monitor your garage door from your smartphone. It’s pretty nifty, especially if you’re the type who always seem to forget whether you have left your garage door open or not. You don’t need to drive all the way back home, just take your phone out and check.

Automated Lighting Systems

Your garage door may automatically open up and let you in when you arrive, but how can you park safely when it’s dark in there? Make sure you follow up by installing smart lighting fixtures in your garage. The popular choice is always Philips Hue bulbs; they’re super powerful too. But, there are cheaper alternatives which function just fine like the Ashia Light which is equipped with motion sensors.

Smart Tools

Your garage is also the home of your big tools, right? If you want to multitask and avoid wasting time by looking for a misplaced tool, you can invest in smart tools like Black and Decker’s drill. You can use your phone to locate it, lock or unlock it, and operate it. It even has a port which can charge up your phone.

These are just a few of the recommended gadgets that we think are worthy to sit in your smart garage. We actually have a lot more. Check them out below.

[Things You Need to Make Your Dumb Garage “Smart”]

World’s First Bacon-Powered Diesel Motorcycle Preparing For Cross Country Trip

Hormel Black Label Bacon Motorcycle

Bacon Week 2014 – International Bacon Film Festival 2014 is just a couple of weeks away and everyone will be looking forward to the “Driven by Bacon” documentary. This documentary is about a diesel motorcycle that runs on bacon grease fuel. Austin-based Hormel came up with the idea of powering a motorcycle dubbed Hormel Black Label Bacon Motorcycle that runs on B-100 bio-diesel which is converted from bacon waste into bio-diesel by bio-Blend Fuels in Winsconsin. The bike fuel costs just $3.50 a gallon and makes the motorcycle run 75-100 miles per gallon. Now, that is quite impressive since the demand for bio-fuel is paramount.
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Fan-Made Batmobile to be auctioned at Mercedes-Benz World

Homemade 1989 Batmobile auction at Mercedes Benz World

Batmobiles are one of the most liked DIY vehicles and it is no surprise that many geeks venture out on making their own. In the past too we have seen many intuitive Batman fans making their own versions of a high end Batmobile, with some so impressive that it was hard to believe that they were made in backyards or home garage. One Batmobile that caught our eye just because of the amount of work put into its making and the attention to detail in its look, is the one pictured above. It also petrified us, considering that it will be auctioned by Historics for an estimated £90,000 at the Mercedes-Benz World in Brooklands.
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Pioneer Unveils High-end In-dash Navigation


By Shane McGlaun

I’ve never felt the need to spend thousands of dollars on a car stereo. Some folks can’t imagine having a stock audio system in their car and for these types of people there are a huge amount of aftermarket systems available to choose from.

Pioneer has announced a new high-end in-dash navigation system called the AVIC-Z110BT. The system allows users to control an iPod, iPhone, and Bluetooth enabled phones with voice commands. The unit has a 7-inch motorized touch panel screen and supports CD and DVD playback.

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Honestly Officer, I Didn’t Know What The Speed Limit Was

By Jonathan Kimak

Ok, maybe you will tell the police officer that caught you speeding that you didn’t know the speed limit when you really did know. But sometimes you get distracted for a second because you’re switching tracks on your iPod and you miss seeing the sign and the next sign might be 10 miles away. That one second distraction could cost you hundreds of dollars in speeding tickets.

Vauxhall Motors, a British subsidiary of General Motors, has come up with a camera to fix that problem and possibly save you money. The optional camera takes 30 pictures a second and analyzes the pictures with image recognition software to detect all the speed limit signs it passes and then posts the current limit on the dashboard of the car.

The system will debut in Vauxhall’s upcoming Insignia sedan and might be available for 2010 models of cars in the US. Of course if you do have this in your car and are speeding, you’ll have a far harder time trying to explain how you didn’t know the speed limit when you have a big light that says 65 on your dash.

VIA [ Kicking Tires ]

And We’re Off To The Races

By Jonathan Kimak

Have you got a thousand dollar budget for your next party or office meeting? Then you can rent out the 8-lane Scalextric race track. The track is computer controlled and can keep track of statistics like lap times, winners of each race and championship points.

The track measures roughly 19 feet by 9 feet so you’ll definitely need a big room. You also get a real live Race Director, a public address system and head microphone, full race structure and a choice of racing styles.

For an extra $400 you can get the Championship mode which includes race theme music, race flags and cones for decorations and 2 race marshals that will pick up your cars if they fall off the track.

Personally I’d keep the $400 and somehow find the strength to do the arduous task of picking up my own car myself. The only downside to this is that it’s currently only available in the United Kingdom.

[ Event House UK ] VIA [ New Launches ]

Aptera Type 1 Tour Video

By Evan Ackerman

In their March newsletter, Aptera is making things sound pretty bright and cheery when it comes to the future of their (let’s face it) revolutionary car-thing. Yesterday they added this video, which doesn’t provide much in the way of new info, but does show some details of the car’s interior:

Also in the newsletter, Aptera promises that they’re “going to be updating you regularly from now until the rollout.” They’re hiring new people, making a new website, and moving into a bigger place, but the meat and potatoes is that they still have to conduct advanced crash testing and refine the manufacturing process before production. Their goal is still to begin production in “late 2008.”

I noticed a few more facts on their website, such as the minimum hybrid mileage of 130 mpg (at sustained highway speeds). Also, the Aptera is classified as a motorcycle (although it doesn’t require any special driver’s license endorsement) but it exceeds safety requirements for a passenger car. Check out the Aptera website for plenty more info.

[ Aptera Newsletter ]

LA Auto Show: New Fuel Tech

GAS Truck

By Colin Ackerman

The Honda FCX Clarity may have been the star of the LA Auto Show when it came to new fuel innovation that anyone normal (i.e. not a millionaire) has the potential to get their hands on in the near future, but that doesn’t mean that everyone else has given up on the idea. Quite the contrary, in fact. After the jump, read about the Chevy Volt, concepts by Volvo, Toyota, and BMW, a custom Ford hydrogen/biodiesel monster, and of course the Tesla Roadster.Continue Reading

LA Auto Show: Honda FCX Clarity & Home Energy Station

Honda FCX Clarity

By Evan Ackerman

Hybrids are the current consumer automotive buzzword when it comes to fuel efficiency, and they were everywhere at the 2007 LA Auto Show. So, I’m not really going to talk about them, because we’re looking forward, to what’s so brand new that, in some cases, it’s borderline impractical (albeit a step in the right direction). The most promising car (in the immediate short term) that I saw unveiled at the show perfectly illustrates what I mean: it’s the FCX Clarity, by Honda, and it’s powered exclusively by hydrogen.

Honda FCX Clarity

First, the good news: the FCX Clarity is a production car. Want one? If you live in the LA area, you’ve got a shot at the first batch of leases in the summer of 2008 for a mere $600 a month. That even includes maintenance, which is good, since I somehow doubt your local garage knows how to handle a car like this. The Clarity runs on pure hydrogen, combining it with oxygen in the atmosphere to generate electricity to drive the wheels. The only exhaust is pure water. It gets an equivalent 68 mpg on a 5,000 psi hydrogen tank that gives the car a range of 270 miles. According to the rep, the high pressure tank has been crash tested extensively and is perfectly safe (although that’s a lot of compressed explosive gas under the back seat, if you ask me).

So, why only the LA area? That’s part of the bad news; LA is one of the few places with hydrogen fuel stations (I think there are about six). Recognizing this, Honda has also introduced a Home Energy Station, which is able to convert natural gas (the stuff that may heat your house or run your stove) into enough hydrogen to fuel your car on a daily basis, while at the same time providing enough electricity to power your house. Oh, and it provides heat, too. Honda wasn’t able to provide much in the way of specific information about the Home Energy Station, although a commercial launch is rumored to be on the way within a few years.

Honda Home Energy Station

I give a lot of credit to Honda for introducing a production hydrogen fuel cell car into a world that, infrastructurally, just isn’t quite ready for one. If they can get their Home Energy Station technology out into the commercial market for a somewhat affordable price, it’ll help things immensely, since there IS an existing infrastructure for natural gas. The general public first has to get comfortable with the technology, and then be willing to pay for it, and Honda is doing their level best to make the transition as easy as possible.

[ Honda FCX Clarity ]