Last weekend I went to Street Smart San Diego where, among many interesting booths, they offered test rides of various hybrid electric bicycles. I really liked the Eneloop from Sanyo which is coming to the U.S. this Fall. It’s not just an electric assisted bicycle (in the spirit of "mild hybrid" automobiles) but a hybrid integrated drive (in the spirit of Toyota’s hybrid synergy drive. You don’t have to think about controlling the electric motor. The way you ask for power is to pedal, and the bike matches your effort 2-to-1 at low speeds and 1-to-1 at high speeds. Coast on a slight downhill and it reclaims some energy to recharge the battery. Brake and it reclaims more.
The International Autonomous Robotics Competition is coming to San Diego in June, at the Del Mar Fairgrounds! Thanks to the San Diego Java Users Group and Wintriss Technical Schools, kids can compete in building and programming robots. The kids will use Sun SPOT which are – of course – the open source robot tool kits. They’ll program the robots in Java. Eric Arseneau writes all about the robot competition. I think my boy is a bit young to be writing software, but he’s taken me by surprise many times before. Contest or not, he wants me to get him a robot kit, which he thinks I must be able to pick up in the office any day.