Monday, June 27, 2011

Using the sun to circumnavigate the globe

Futuristic is an understated expression for this sea vessel. Covered all over with solar panels, the world's largest solar-powered vessel by the name of MS TÛRANOR PlanetSolar has been accepting the challenge since April 2011 to circumnavigate the globe as the first sea vessel powered by solar energy - to be precise this means about 40,000 kilometres in 160 days.

The name means 'The Power of the Sun' in J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings language because the vessel made of carbon fibre is driven only be solar energy. Thanks to its ca. 500 m² solar modules consisting of 38,000 solar cells on a surface 31 m long and 15 m wide, the MS TÛRANOR PlanetSolar can be navigated without direct sunlight for up to three days. Because the most modern submarine accumulators of the world store the energy. Furthermore four electric motors are supplied by them with current.

According to the technical data the vessel weighs 85 tons, 12 tons of which go to the batteries. The vessel is navigated via a small joystick. 160 days are planned for the 40,000 some kilometre trip at an average speed of about 8 knots.

The circumnavigation is to take the message of the efficient use of renewable energies symbolically around the globe. During the long-term use during the circumnavigation the efficiency of the vessel is also to be tested. German and Swiss companies were involved in the construction of the catamaran. The MS TÛRANOR PlanetSolar shows at present that the engineers have done an optimum job.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Playfully ploughing the fields

With the second part of the successful John Deere farming simulator you can expect again many different agricultural challenges. Take a seat behind the wheel of original John Deere tractors and a number of other agricultural machines.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Jeff Koons Art Car

BMW will participate in the Le Mans 24-hour race with a racing car designed by Jeff Koons. The US American Pop Art artist and the Bavarian car builder are now presenting the project in New York - and Koons showed the first drafts of the loud-colour racer.
Already a few weeks ago it became known that Jeff Koons would design the 17th Art Car from BMW. For the first time today, the artist showed drafts in New York of how he imagines the optics of the car to be like - namely very colourful and very dynamic. That is perfect because at the same time BMW announced that the M3 GT2 designed by Koons will take part in the Le Mans 24-hour race on 12 and 13 June this year. The completed racing car in Jeff-Koons design is scheduled to be presented two weeks before the race on 1 June at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

(Sources of the German text :

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

VW prototype undercuts the 1-litre level... Smart, isn't it?

Volkswagen study XL1 – the dream of a 1-litre car was already dreamt by Ferdinand Piech two decades ago. Now the time has come: The company from Wolfsburg get things going and present an extremely economical XL1 hybrid with gullwings. This premier is staged in the oil-wealthy desert state of Qatar of all places, where the petrol price is of no importance. Volkswagen presented another study of its 1-litre car on the eve of the Qatar Motor Show which takes place from 26 to 29 January. The plug-in hybrid car whose official name is XL1 is designed to consume only 0.9 litres on 100 kilometres which means that the vehicle only emits 24 grams of CO2 per kilometre to the environment. This efficiency is also achieved by the light construction of parts of carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic and the cW value of 0.186 which is obtained thanks to a particularly aerodynamic shape.

(Sources of the German text: and
See also: (VDI nachrichten, 11 February 2011, no. 6)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Building and further developing robots...

For more than 450 kits visit (also available in Switzerland and Austria).
The ASURO ARX-03, for example, one of the most favourite robots from this supplier, is designed for application-relevant project studies for practical use - the smart brain capable of learning.