Lamborghini Sian’s supercapacitor hybrid system explained by company’s CTO

“We are a game-changer and a provocateur,” Lamborghini’s CTO, Maurizio Reggiani told Engadget. The automaker has a long history of making waves with traffic-stopping designs and more recently, innovative tech. At last week’s Frankfurt Motor Show, the Italian company unveiled its Sian hybrid supercar. But it ditched the traditional battery pack in favor of a supercapacitor to power an electric motor, which is exactly what you would expect from the Italian company.

Typically a hybrid uses a lithium-ion battery pack to store energy. Then when needed, it transfers an electrical current to a motor (or motors) to either help the gas-powered engine or take over propulsion entirely. It’s a recipe that has successfully improved gas mileage and sold over six million examples of the Toyota Prius, not to mention countless other hybrids.

“It’s too easy to follow,” Reggiani said. “If you want to move for the first time in electrification you must guarantee that the implementation will not destroy the DNA of a car and brand.” With that in mind, the automaker went with a supercapacitor instead of a battery.

According to Reggiani, the supercapacitor offers up three times the power of a battery pack from the same weight and packaging. Plus, it stores and discharges energy much quicker. The spent power can be fully regenerated very quickly during normal braking.

Reggiani explained that this could be particularly useful while cornering. Going into a corner, the driver applies the brakes and replenishes any spent energy. Then, as the driver accelerates out of the corner, all the available power is there for acceleration. Then as the driver brakes for the next curve, the process starts all over again.

Plus, the supercapacitor doesn’t have to cool down like traditional battery, it’s just ready to go at all times — which is exactly what Lamborghini owners want.

The output of the 48-volt motor installed into the gearbox is 34 horsepower which brings the total power output of the V12 Sian to 819 horsepower. While 34 horsepower doesn’t seem like much, it means the vehicle can do zero to 62 miles per hour in under 2.8 seconds. That’s Tesla Model S Performance and Porsche Taycan levels of fast.

But there are other benefits. The electric motor reduces the torque hits of the gears shifting. You know those momentary losses — then explosions of power — you feel in the car as it speeds up, that’s the vehicle going through its gears. Lamborghini’s hybrid system reduces those so it’s a smooth transition up the driver’s desired speed.

That results is additional traction over a traditional gas engine since the tires are not tasked with handling torque hits while accelerating. That means the contact patches (the part of the tires touching the road) are under less stress and the rubber is less likely to break free from the asphalt.

Reggiani said that the traction increase is 10 percent between gear shifts while going from first to fifth gear and a 20 percent increase between sixth and seventh gear. The byproduct is better grip while accelerating out of those corners thanks to the supercapacitor.

Reggiani does note that the supercapacitor, while great for the Lamborghini in terms of speed, isn’t so hot for emissions or mileage. For that, he concedes that right now traditional battery packs are the way to go.

Plus, we shouldn’t expect to see a supercapacitor in the automaker’s Huracan model anytime soon. Supercapacitors and battery packs won’t make their way into the existing lineup, instead Lamborghini will release new electrified models in the future. To make this a reality the company has invested in two laboratories to research both supercapacitors and battery packs.

For now, the Sian hybrid is limited to 63 vehicles. So it’s a very exclusive coming-out party for Lamborghini’s electrification plans. Reggiani is ready to push the technological limits of cars while still staying true to the automaker’s brand.

“It’s important that from a technical point of view, we are able to prove that there are different possibilities. We can do something completely different where nobody investigated before. This is our way to be Lamborghini.”

Lamborghini’s nimbleness, willingness to experiment, and its dedicated (and very rich) fan base have given rise to a host of technologies that may or may not make its way into passenger vehicles the rest of us can afford. Other automakers need to create cars that’ll sell hundreds of thousands and that limits their ability to explore new technologies on the road with actual customers. Today’s supercar supercapacitor could find a home in tomorrow’s pickup truck, towing a horse trailer. The research has to start somewhere, even in the car that looks like the Batmobile.

This story originally appeared on Engadget.

via Autoblog

September 21, 2019 at 02:30PM

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French Court Says Steam Should Allow Game Resales

This French article

has word that a French court has ruled that users should be permitted to resell games and other media purchased through


(thanks Primalchrome).


has a reaction from Valve saying they will appeal the ruling. There is an article about the ruling

on MSPoweruser

that outlines it in English so we don’t have to resort to Google Translate. Here’s word:

“In a judgement rendered on September 17th by the Paris District Court… The Association for the Defence of Consumer Rights managed to obtain the cancellation of a number of clauses that Valve imposed on Steam,” the website says.

The biggest cancellation is that of Valve’s licensing of Steam games. Although you pay full price for titles on Steam, you do not own games you buy on Steam. This ruling changes that: by allowing you to sell your Steam games that you’ve purchased, gamers now have some form of control over their titles. The ruling doesn’t just apply to games. Games, movies, trading cards and more are all included.

How Steam will handle this ruling is unknown.

via Blue’s News

September 19, 2019 at 07:29PM

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Happy Little Lessons: Woman Teaching Logarithms In The Style Of Bob Ross

This is a video of physics, math, astronomy and nature enthusiast Toby ‘Tibees’ teaching a lesson about logarithms in the style of Bob Ross. Was it effective? Well, before I watched the video I didn’t know anything about logarithms since I’ve forgotten all about them since high school, but now, well *turning canvas around* now I’ve painted this beautiful landscape. "Are those penises?" You knew what they were! I really am improving.
Keep going for the video.

Thanks to hairless and Stephanie B, who agree everyone learns differently.

via Geekologie – Gadgets, Gizmos, and Awesome

September 19, 2019 at 01:22PM

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Amazon orders 100,000 electric trucks to fight climate change

  • A publicity shot shows the truck Rivian plans to build for Amazon.

  • The Rivian/Amazon truck, viewed from a different angle.

  • Jeff Bezos

  • The R1T from behind.

  • The R1S SUV. If it looks like an R1T with more roof and a hatch, that’s because it is.

Amazon has ordered 100,000 electric trucks from startup Rivian, the e-commerce giant announced Thursday. The order is part of Amazon’s larger pledge—also announced today—to reach zero net carbon emissions by 2040. Amazon aims to use 80% renewable energy by 2024 and 100% by 2030.

Rivian is an electric-vehicle startup that is initially focusing on trucks and SUVs. Amazon led a $700 million funding round for the company earlier this year.

“The first electric delivery vans will go on the road in 2021,” said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos at an event in Washington DC. “The 100,000 will be completely deployed by 2024, let’s say.”

Amazon’s press release on the initiative offers a slightly different timeline, saying the company is aiming to have 10,000 vehicles on the road by 2022 and all 100,000 vehicles on the road by 2030—six years later than the date Bezos gave. I’ve asked Amazon to explain this discrepancy and will update if I hear back.

Rivian unveiled its first two products late last year: a pickup truck called the R1T and an SUV called the R1S, both of which are slated to have a range as far as 400 miles. The pickup is expected to start at $69,000 (for a shorter-range model) while the SUV will cost $72,500 and up. Ars Technica declared the R1T the best truck at this year’s New York International Auto Show and named Rivian the star of the show.

Amazon’s 100,000-vehicle order is apparently for a custom design more suited for carrying packages. Press photos show a bulky delivery van with a big “Prime” logo on the side.

Partnerships are an important part of Rivian’s business strategy. On top of the Amazon-led $700 million investment round in February, Rivian raised another $500 million from Ford in April. That deal envisions Ford using Rivian’s platform to build a future electric truck.

Then last week Rivian raised a further $350 million from Cox Automotive, a conglomerate that owns “nearly 30 automotive brands, including Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book, Pivet, RideKleen, and Manheim,” according to Rivian’s press release. The two companies vowed to “explore partnership opportunities in service operations, logistics, and digital retailing.”

Rivian is likely to need all of this cash and more to become a major automaker. Manufacturing cars costs billions of dollars, as electric-car leader Tesla has learned over the last 15 years. Tesla already has an SUV—the Model X—and is hard at work on a second SUV, a pickup truck, and a semi truck.

Listing image by Amazon

via Ars Technica

September 19, 2019 at 04:45PM

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Hulu hackathon leads to eye-tracking controls for Roku

Of the 40 project ideas that came out of Hulu’s annual hackathon this summer, more than a quarter addressed the needs of users with disabilities. Today, Hulu shared some of those accessibility-focused concepts.

One feature, Eye Remote for Roku, allows you to control the device using eye-tracking. We saw a similar idea pop up in a Netflix hackathon last year, and this summer, Comcast revealed an eye-control remote for users with limited mobility.


Another project, Campfire, allows Hulu viewers to watch content together — even when they’re apart. It enables video and text chat as you watch Hulu content. And Hulu Immersion syncs your Hulu video content with IoT devices like smart home light bulbs, smart thermostats and smart speakers, so the lights might dim or flicker as you watch a show. The goal is to blur the boundaries between your TV and surroundings.


While there’s no guarantee that any of these will become official Hulu products, accessibility has become a larger focus of hackathons. As we saw with Microsoft’s Xbox One Adaptive Controller, hackathons with a focus on inclusion can lead to breakthrough ideas.

Source: Hulu

via Engadget

September 17, 2019 at 08:39PM

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Amazon Music HD is a New Tier of Streaming Audio Quality, Priced at $13/Month

amazon echo dot deal

Amazon is introducing Amazon Music HD this week, a new tier for users of the Amazon Music service. HD is a tier above what has been offered in terms of audio quality, hence the HD in the name. That always means better.

Pricing for Music HD starts at $12.99/month for new subscribers and current subscribers to Amazon Music pay $5/month plus their regular plan fee. However, for a limited time, Amazon Music subscribers in the US, UK, Germany, and Japan can upgrade to Amazon Music HD for 90 days at no additional cost.

Here’s the actual specs of Music HD.

Amazon Music HD offers customers more than 50 million lossless HD songs, with a bit depth of 16 bits and a sample rate of 44.1kHz (CD quality). In addition, customers can stream millions more songs in Ultra HD (better than CD quality), with a bit depth of 24 bits and a sample rate up to 192 kHz.

To compare, Tidal offers the same 44.1kHz rate with its HiFi tier, but it also offers the Masters tier at 96 kHz/24 bit. If you’re using Spotify, let’s just say you probably aren’t overly concerned about bit depth and sample rate, but if you’re a Premium subscriber, you’re able to access streams at approximately 320kbit/s.

According to Neil Young, who you maybe know has taken the quality of digital music extremely seriously, “Earth will be changed forever when Amazon introduces high quality streaming to the masses. This will be the biggest thing to happen in music since the introduction of digital audio 40 years ago.”

If you’re into Amazon Music, go check it out.

Amazon Music HD

// Amazon

via Droid Life: A Droid Community Blog

September 17, 2019 at 02:57PM

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DRN is private surveillance tool with billions of license plate scans

For $20, a Digital Recognition Network (DRN) customer can look up any license plate in the United States. If there is a match, the program will show the last time one of the company’s cameras captured the plate, including a photo and information about when and where the photo was taken. The company sells the data to businesses, such as auto lenders, insurance carriers, repossession agents, and private investigators, but it can also be accessed by law enforcement. With more than 9,000,000,000 license plate scans in its database, it’s a vast tracking tool that holds a massive amount of power. Vice recently looked deeper into the company and detailed how it works.

According to DRN’s website, “our data helps lenders make right party contact to reduce charge-offs, insurers improve pricing at underwriting and claims investigations, and gives recovery agents the technology they need to recover more vehicles.” So how does it do this? By taking photos of every car it can and logging them into a neatly organized database that makes surveillance and tracking simple.

DRN sells $15,000 ReaperHD Four Camera Kits mostly to repo men who install the devices onto their unmarked vehicles. In addition to alerting the agents of flagged vehicles, these cameras passively scan every single car and license plate they pass and note the time and location. DRN even provides further service for $70 that will alert a customer when a desired target is scanned. According to Vice, there are more than 600 vehicles throughout the U.S. that use these camera kits. 

Vice also says there are more than 1,000 accounts with access to the DRN. Although DRN takes its information security seriously, there are easy ways for unauthorized people to access the information, such as people with access simply sharing the login information. 

Although this type of technology and service is obviously extremely helpful for its intended uses, we can’t help but be unnerved by the thought that our whereabouts under surveillance (not that phones and the internet don’t already do so). Read more about the DRN on Vice.

If this feels like an egregious violation of privacy to you, you’re not alone. A company called Adversarial Fashions makes clothing intended to throw off license plate scanners, bombarding them with worthless data.

via Autoblog

September 17, 2019 at 12:03PM

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