Posts Tagged 'Solar powered'



Now here’s something really crazy. Designer Rob Lovegrove has a concept of a “car on a stick” – a sort of cross between a car and a lamp-post.

The little bubble-shaped vehicle, with its strange, flower-like interior design, carries up to four passengers and their shopping around the mall, taking voice commands and using satellite navigation.

It’s solar powered, and completely electric, and when you’ve had enough of it, you just park it up. But there’s more – instead of taking up space and languishing unused at night, the little car somehow gets elevated on a telescopic pole, and lights up to become a street lamp.


Quite how it achieves this, I’m not sure, and if the process is automated, exactly how it ensures all the passengers have got out is also a mystery. As a person who is prone to falling asleep at inconvenient moments, it conjures visions of waking up and finding myself trapped inside the street architecture, waiting for someone to want to go shopping so that I can get out.


Don’t worry – it’s all just a concept, and I don’t think we’ll be seeing any in the near future. It’s interesting, though. It’s the design equivalent of a thought-experiment, and elements of the design might just be worth taking further. Besides, it’s a shiny pretty thing, which the world needs more of.





It’s a question some may have been asking for a while, but we can now reveal the truth, courtesy of Bob Schneeveis, “Right in the middle of George’s chest is an electric motor about that big, weighs about 25 pounds. It’s got enough horsepower to run about five Georges and that goes through a bunch of mechanisms and that just churns the legs.” So now you know.

Actually, Schneevis is talking about his fantastic solar-powered George W Bush, who pulls a chariot. Yes – you actually need to see it to believe it. Schneeveis is an absolute hero. Winner of the 1996 Marshall D. O’Neill Award, given annually “For Exceptional and Enduring Support of Stanford University’s Research Enterprise”, the University’s glowing testimonial to his achievements is something most employees only dream of.


The thinking behind his machines is refreshingly far out of the box, and comes from the kind of unprejudiced observation that informs the most brilliant scientific discoveries. Through a logical train that anyone can understand, he reasons against the wheel as the most efficient locomotion device, and in favour of limbs. He’s fascinating to listen to, as you can tell from this video.

Whilst uninventing the wheel – or at least questioning our dependence on it – may be a profoundly counter-intuitive idea, it is worth remembering some other innovations before dismissing the idea out of hand. Those that spring to mind most immediately are the incredible Honda Asimo, and the simply beautiful wind-driven walking machines of Theo Jansen.