Of course, with technological exploration comes risk; at least, perhaps, when volatile chemicals are involved. A recent segment of DnA: Design and Architecture on the Los Angeles radio station KCRW hosted by Frances Anderton delved into autonomous cars and the hypothetical Hyperloop train, two high-tech mobility ventures that challenge our safety comfort zone. Image courtesy wired.com
Dwell Media recently joined Swedish luxury automobile manufacturer Volvo for Modernism Week in Palm Springs. Among the fantastic reveals? Designer Alvin Huang’s Pure Tension Pavilion, a rapidly deployable and portable solar charging station created to power up Volvo’s V60 Plug-in Hybrid, the world’s first Diesel Plug-in Hybrid. The free-standing tensioned membrane structure, made from Fabric Images fabric architecture, is the result of a Volvo contest. It fits in the trunk and shades the car while it charges. Of the technological shifts that have propelled our means of mobility, Huang said, "When the car first came about, we used to call it the horseless carriage; we don't really think about the fact that there used to be a horse. So right now, we're calling it a hybrid car, and I don't really know what it's going to be later, but I have a feeling it may not be a car."
It was only a matter of time before the tech sector responded to all of the transit options available with mobile apps. But now, drivers can access apps from behind the wheel with in-car touch screens that mimic smartphones. The Car Connectivity Consortium's MirrorLink program, for example, displays apps that let drivers share location, parking and traffic hazard information.
Retro-inspired bicycles may be of-the-moment, but the latest technologically sophisticated bikes are just as eye-catching. From data-driven power meters that measure a cyclist's output to ultra-light bikes weighing less than 1,000 grams to aerodynamic models with linear-pull style cantilever brakes, riding a bike has never been quite so techie. Photo by Peter Belanger.
Car accidents and fatalities resulting from human error have led some to conclude that humans are simply unfit for driving. At Dwell on Design in 2009, Mike Simonian and Maaike Evers of San Francisco experimental industrial design studio mike and maaike posed the idea that, eventually, we could be downloading different drivers to keep us safer.