These Wheels Shapeshift for Different Terrain

Who says wheels need to just be round? These unusual Reconfigurable-Wheel Track (RWT) wheels were developed by CMU National Robotics Engineering Center for DARPA’s Ground X-Vehicle Technologies program.

We can expect to see these on the war machines of the future and they may be the next step toward real-life Transformers like Optimus Prime.

These wheels can morph from a round wheel to a triangular treaded track quickly, in less than a second, which makes the vehicle good for a wide variety of terrains. The round wheels are good for hard surfaces, while the triangular tracked wheel is good for softer ones.

It’s pretty impressive to see the wheels in action. I’m hope we see them on more military vehicles very soon, then one day hopefully our own civilian vehicles will have them as well. There’s certainly more that can go wrong with these wheels compared to what we are using now, but they provide a lot more benefits too.

It’s just a shame that they only show them working on a paved parking lot. I’d like to see how they perform and change while on softer ground. This makes me think that they may not be ready for prime time.

[via Geekologie]

Dad Builds Working Mars Rover for His Son

I know that plenty of parents would like to send their kids to Mars, and if you’re gonna do that, do it right. Build them a rover to ride around in. Hell, just build them one to ride around on Earth. That’s what cool dads do. And Kris Temmerman is a cool dad.

I know this, because he built this awesome Mars rover for his son. The Rover steered via a wired controller by Kris as he walks close by, and has six articulated wheels, each with its own motor drive for tackling uneven terrain. To be honest it looks like a really fun off-road vehicle. I wouldn’t mind riding around in this thing if we could up the size, speed, and give it some Bigfoot ties and a killer paint job. You can check out videos of this thing in action, and the build process below:

I bet this is what it looks like as the real deal is tooling around on Mars, except there’s a small alien riding it instead of a child; probably doing donuts and stuff, kicking up red dust. But you’ll never see that because our government doesn’t want us to know. But I do, and I will not be silenced.

[via Laughing Squid via Geekologie]

Own a Replica of Clark Griswold’s Family Truckster

Check out this awesome replica of the Wagon Queen Family Truckster from National Lampoon’s Vacation.  This is a damn fine automobile. It’s not just for the likes of Clark Griswold either. You can own this one for yourself.

This modded 1981 Ford LTD will be up for bidding at the Barrett-Jackson automobile auction in Palm Beach, Florida, April 11-13, 2019. The only vehicle that could be better for a National Lampoon fan would be Cousin Eddie’s RV from Christmas Vacation.

This is the real deal. Make sure you take the requisite family vacations to Wally World and Las Vegas with this thing. And naturally, it can haul a Christmas tree (or Aunt Edna) on that roof rack. Just remember not to leave the dog tied up to the bumper.

Is this thing beautiful or ugly? I can’t decide. Maybe beautifully ugly. Anyway, it looks like it just came off the showroom floor. Better save your money up folks so you can drive this baby home in April.

[via Geekologie]

LEGO Porsche 911 GT3 RS Kit Can Also Build a Lancia Stratos Stradale

One of the coolest cars ever made is the Lancia Stratos Stradale. It was rare and very fast in its day. If you happen to own the awesome LEGO Technic Porsche 911 GT3 RS construction kit, there are some new instructions out that will let you build the Lancia with the same kit.

The build requires 2197 parts altogether – about 500 shy of the Porsche. If you want your LEGO Stratos Stradale to work perfectly, you will need a 32187 Technic Driving Ring Extension to enable reverse gear. If you don’t care about reverse gear, you can build the Lancia with only the parts in the kit with five working forward gears.

You can buy the full instructions via Rebrickable for 15 euro (or about $17 USD.) I wonder who the genius was who came up with this build was; they deserve a beer and a round of applause.

[via Hooniverse via Motor1]

Apple worked on biometric unlock for cars

Unlocking your car with a key is so passé. If you've got the right car, you can already use your smartphone as a car key, and Hyundai is slated to release a vehicle that can be unlocked with a fingerprint later this year. Now, it seems that Ap...

Ford Made a Sweaty Robot Butt to Simulate Sweaty Human Butts

If you’ve ever gotten into your car after a big workout or on a really hot day, you and Ford’s latest robot likely have something in common. A sweaty butt. To make sure that your car seat will stand up to such things, Ford engineers in Europe are going all out.

Ford’s Robutt is designed to mimic a sweaty butt. Taint nothing butt another chance to get crackin’ on quality at Ford. Ford uses the butt to test the effectiveness of their car seats over time. It is basically a butt-shaped cushion attached to a Kuka industrial robot arm, which is repeatedly pressed onto the tester seat to recreate 10 years of sweaty wear and tear.

The sweat test takes three days to complete and by the end of it, Robutt sits in the test seat 7,500 times, and even leans from side to side. In case you are wondering, the Robutt has the butt dimensions of a large man, is heated to body temperature, and soaked with 450 milliliters of water.

So there you go. Robots are getting grosser as they strive to copy humans, showing us just how gross WE really are. At least you know that quality is still job one at Ford, and that those seats are built Ford tough.

[via Techly]

Guy Uses RC Toys To Excavate and Expand Basement

Why hire expensive contractors to expand your basement, when you can use RC construction vehicles to do the job? I mean, that’s what I always say. YouTuber LilGiantsConstrCo otherwise known as Joe is an RC hobbyist. He has spent years excavating his basement using nothing but RC construction toys. That’ll stick it to those expensive contractors.

Joe is a grain farmer from southwest Saskatchewan, Canada, and king of toy-based excavation. He started the hobby in 1995 and has amassed a large fleet of construction equipment vehicles. So far he has used the RC truck and excavator to expand his basement by 30 percent, removing around 30 cubic meters (1,059 cubic feet) of dirt. He also used these vehicles to create a walkthrough tunnel that leads from his workshop to the basement of his house too. That’s all pretty impressive. The man has a lot of patience, that’s for sure.

Joe is the co-founder of an RC truck and construction hobbyists forum that is dedicated to the radio controlled heavy commercial hobby. Who knew that these vehicles could actually do the same jobs that their larger scaled counterparts can do? I suppose he could have just grabbed a shovel and had it done in days, but where’s the fun in that?

[via Mike Shouts]

Guy Uses RC Toys To Excavate and Expand Basement

Why hire expensive contractors to expand your basement, when you can use RC construction vehicles to do the job? I mean, that’s what I always say. YouTuber LilGiantsConstrCo otherwise known as Joe is an RC hobbyist. He has spent years excavating his basement using nothing but RC construction toys. That’ll stick it to those expensive contractors.

Joe is a grain farmer from southwest Saskatchewan, Canada, and king of toy-based excavation. He started the hobby in 1995 and has amassed a large fleet of construction equipment vehicles. So far he has used the RC truck and excavator to expand his basement by 30 percent, removing around 30 cubic meters (1,059 cubic feet) of dirt. He also used these vehicles to create a walkthrough tunnel that leads from his workshop to the basement of his house too. That’s all pretty impressive. The man has a lot of patience, that’s for sure.

Joe is the co-founder of an RC truck and construction hobbyists forum that is dedicated to the radio controlled heavy commercial hobby. Who knew that these vehicles could actually do the same jobs that their larger scaled counterparts can do? I suppose he could have just grabbed a shovel and had it done in days, but where’s the fun in that?

[via Mike Shouts]

AutoAuto All-In-One Tool Makes Changing Tires Easy

Changing your car’s tires is a lengthier process than it should be. You need several tools with you, and many people may not have them all handy. That’s why the AutoAuto car tool looks like a more efficient way of doing things. The tool has an all-in-one design that’s supposed to make changing tires faster.

This all-in-one gadget can loosen the lug nuts, crank up your jack, and air up your tire once mounted. It features an automated design for those of us who aren’t used to doing the job. It can be easily used by even the most inexperienced mechanic, without having to head to the shop and be charged way too much.

It is also compact enough to be stored anywhere. Changing a tire has never been easier. This tool will certainly shave some time off the process and allow those who aren’t so good at it to do it more easily. The AutoAuto car tool starts at about $299, and is currently raising production funds over on Kickstarter. If it does everything it’s supposed to as efficiently as claimed, it could be worth the asking price.

[via Geeky Gadgets]

Chevy Finds New Brick Roads with a Full-size LEGO Silverado Truck

It’s awesome to see people build big things with LEGO bricks. Chevrolet teamed up with students from the Oxford Community School’s First LEGO League, and Detroit’s Ralph Waldo Emerson Elementary’s A World in Motion Program to unveil a full-size replica of the Silverado truck made entirely of LEGO bricks.

Specifically, the brick-built creation is a reproduction of the 2019 Silverado 1500 LT Trail Boss. The truck was built by 18 LEGO Master Builders and took over 2,000 hours of work to select and place each brick. A total of 334,544 pieces were used to make the truck, which has working headlights. In total, the model weighs in at a whopping 3,307 pounds, which is still roughly 1,800 pounds less than an actual Silverado 1500 Trail Boss.

The LEGO truck was built in partnership between Chevy and Warner Bros. to celebrate “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part”, The film will hit theaters on February 8. If you happen to stop by the North American International Auto Show between now and January 27, you can catch a glimpse of the LEGO Silverado in person.