There’s something amazing that will never grow old about perfectly hand crafted goods. Also the sound of my Mercedes AMG C63 CoupÃ© engine… it just screams - happy. One of the incredible aspects of AMG is that each engine is hand built by a single person ~ thus, One Man, One Engine. And everyone engine comes out of their beautiful factory in Affalterbach, Germany. While doing things a little backwards, i met the man who built my engine before i met my car! Darius Garbas is the man behind my engine, and so far it seems like he’s done an incredible job with it. What i love is how much pride and passion they all seemed to have at the factory ~ and how nice they all were! There’s a plaque that reads “Leidenschaft, Leistung, und Verantwortung.” along with the signed plaques of EACH engineer building engines ~ and it means “Passion, Power, and Responsibility.” So take a peek into the One Man, One Engine world of Mercedes-AMG and meet Darius (and my engine!) on the next page.
What do you get when you combine a robot arm, turntable, scans and 3D prints of a dancer, music and a light? A modern day zoetrope of sorts! This is 16 Forms by Daito Manabe (direction, 3D data editing, lighting+sound design) + Motoi Ishibashi (robot arm programming) ~ and it was displayed at this year’s DesignTokyo Tide. Take a peek at a video of it in action and more pictures of the installation on the next page.
Geneva Lab now has a portable/travel sized Sound System XS model! Resembling a leather-like clamshell retro alarm clock ~ this little speaker packs in Bluetooth, FM, Alarm Clock, Speakers, and Amplifier. “The digital amplifier and stereo speakers play mid and high frequencies with absolute accuracy. The woofer is capable of producing robust bass response below 80Hz.” This 2.1 speaker system with two 1” tweeters and one 2Â¼” woofer come in their classic glossy white, black, and red and runs on a rechargeable lithium battery with 5+ hours of play-time. At a mere 6.2” Ã— 4” Ã— 4.5” it weighs in at 1.1 pounds. I can’t wait to check out the sound to see how it compares to my Jambox. See more pictures on the next page…
More fun that just came in via email from my Dad ~ this time after he checked out the Art Center Car Classic over the weekend… i loved this map visualizing where the many post WWII automotive design studios of southern california are. We definitely have no shortage! Take a peek at a bigger view on the next page.
Your keys can do it all ~ how adorable is this tiny lighter? Along with some tiny screwdrivers, mini crow bar, and tweezers. Sure you could replace some of those with an equally tiny and functional tiny multi-tool/key… but not the lighter! See more details of the Kauffman Mercantile EDC Kit on the next page!
I’ve been lusting after the Parrot AR.Drone for years, (remember their amazing outdoor play area at CES in jan?) not sure why i never gave in to it till now, but NOTlabs definitely needs some fun toys… and running around Fry’s, there was one just there… calling to be brought home! So here’s a peek at the unboxing ~ and a few random images from test flights… but to be honest, it’s so fun to fly, it’s hard to remember to take pics of it at the same time, especially cell phone pics since you’re using iPhone/iPad and/or Android to control it! Touted as the first AR Flying Video Game, it’s gorgeous, amusing, surprisingly stable and even has two cameras mounted on it (front facing and downward facing)… so take a look at what’s inside the box on the next page…
p.s. i’m sure Shawn will be coming up with more NOTlabs projects to dronehack this one in to when we’re not busy flying it around the lab/yard. So more to come… and we might need another to properly play each other!
p.p.s. fun to see what other apps people have been developing for it!
Going through the many pics from the last month of euro-madness ~ i couldn’t stop staring at these pics from the Wiesmann booth at IAA. If i were a Batman: the Animated Series character, i’d totally drive a matte metallic GT MF5. It’s so cute. I couldn’t stop staring at the show ~ and looped by the booth a few times for unknown reasons… it just pulled me in over and over. And now i can’t stop staring at the pics, so clearly they needed to be shared! And the jeweled lizard logo is just stunning and brings out the little kid in me too… take a peek at them on the next page…
On my adventure to see where my AMG C63 CoupÃ© (like the one we tried on the track!) will come from, Shawn Sims joined me with his automotive and engineering expertise on the adventure to the factories to learn about the whole process. He rounded up our story in Bremen below for you!
As we raced to the Mercedes-Benz factory along the Autobahn from Hamburg to Bremen, I couldn’t help but wonder what crazy German engineering mega-center we were about to stumble into. We arrive at the campus (more like small town) of the 15,000,000 sqft factory that has over 12,000 people inside. Starting at from the customer welcome center (where the GT5 set up greeted us and where you can pick up your new car directly), we first watch a video overview of how Mercedes’ are produced and get a peek at the people and machines behind them. Then we headed into Building 9; a pristine, lively, mechanical wonderland responsible for the production of the C-class (as well as a few others simultaneously). There are over 8.5 kilometers of assembly lines in Building 9 alone, and the majority are stations for assembly by hand. Each employee on the line is trained in multiple positions so that day to day work changes. Supply trucks are whizzing by, car bodies flying on overhead tracks, robots twisting and turning, all while the seemingly endless hall is filled with the sounds of motors, robots, drills, and presses. We have entered an engineering mecca!
Photos wouldn’t even do the mesmerizing process justice, so check out the great introduction video we saw (the robots really are quite incredible), as well as our pics and videos of the adventure on the next page.
On surprises when i went by the Mercedes-Benz Bremen Factory where my AMG C63 CoupÃ© was just built (and unfortunately we missed it on the factory line by a few DAYS), they brought us out on the TEST TRACK!!! To do a few laps with their pro drivers. Apparently EVERY AMG that goes to the USA take a few laps here (and one out of a few for other countries to test). While i unfortunately don’t know how fast he got on the straight away and 60 degree bank of a hairpin turn… it was great fun! And at first i was far too busy experiencing it to take pics/vids… then we tried videoing two laps which you can see below ~ i tried hand holding my 5D MKII ~ as carefully in front of my face as possible without letting the g-forces slam it into my face! You’ve got crazy banking, straight away, speed bump, turns and more on this factory track… Take a peek at the video and pics on the next page!
Wow. The Mercedes-AMG SLS and SLS Roadster have internet browsing built in… and turn into WLAN hotspots… and runs Android… and someday you can even have apps… since it’s on android does that mean we can write our own?
I’ve never seen NOTCOT flanked in carbon fiber… or navigated to on an in car dashboard after we just hopped across the french/italian border and ended up on the top of some hilly lush greenery… granted, they don’t allow you to browse the internet while driving (so i guess no posting while racing around in the Mercedes-AMG SLS Roadster!) ~ this is only one of a series of fascinating options in the “AMG Performance Media” section. But on the internet related side first ~ “AMG Performance Media provides fully-fledged, mobile high-speed internet access: when the car is stationary, the driver and passenger are able to surf the web and install apps.” YES. Your car is a smartphone. Running on Android. You can even scroll through the websites with the usual COMAND Controller (the big dial). This all even turns into a WLAN hotspot! (Which passengers CAN access with their phones, laptops, etc while you’re driving.) Amazing, right? I want my car to come to life with internet! Oh, and in addition, you can also enter Race Mode, have dials showing engine outputs and torque in real time, output your stats to USB, record lap times, and more… It’s 3am sleep time before playing with it all a bit more tomorrow before ending up in Munich, so see some screenshots as well as full details on the next page!
We joked about Nail Polish Colors to match cars when i was playing with the Louboutins on the Mars Red C63… then i found the Mercedes Designo Zircon Red SLK inspired polish… well at AMG yesterday, they gave me a bottle of Le Mans Red SLS inspired nail polish… so at the AMG SLS Roadster drive in Nice/Monaco today, i couldn’t help trying it out to see just how “inspired” the nail color was from the car also in Le Mans Red… the conclusion (well you can judge for yourself on the next page as well) is that it needs a bit more metallic in it to be fully awesome… but it is still quite the bright red!
So many fun things to share with you from the last few days, but so sleepy this 1am and currently in the CÃ´te d’Azur… so, silly things first. While visiting the Mercedes-Benz factory in Bremen, i couldn’t help but admire their Gran Turismo 5 + PS3 + Logitech circle of racing fun set up in the lobby. The design details of the racing pod are great ~ but even better is the NÃ¼rburgring mat it sits on, complete with each twist and turn labeled. The PS3 mount even resembles an engine! See all of the details on the next page!
Continuing our exploration of Mini HD Action Cameras (So far there’s the roundup, unboxing the GoPro, and unboxing the Contour+) ~ so here’s an unboxing of the germany based, GoBandit. The packaging is good fun, and they have super playful branding that tells you to Shoot Your Adrenaline! what’s most unique about the GoBandit seems to be its software side ~ tracking GPS, speed, and altitude, there are a variety of skins (perhaps someday customizable?) that can overlay your videos to show the data as well as a map alongside to see where you’ve gone. As far as tech specs, it isn’t the most powerful on the market ~ shooting only 720p video, 5mp camera, 135 degree angle of view ~ but is waterproof up to 1m for 30 min without additional housing, and you can embed your videos complete with navigable maps/altitude/speed graphs! And their GoBandit Community is definitely going for the competitive angle on action cam videos sorting videos by FASTEST and HIGHEST! We’re still playing around with it at the moment ~ but check out the unboxing and details of the camera on the next page!
By far the coolest display i found after trekking out to the farthest hall of all at Frankfurt Auto Show, was BMW’s 7 robot arm displays. Think apple like glossy white and wood and plexi displays with the blue led glow… housing 7 robotic arms and touch screens waiting for you to poke and prod and stare in wonder as they demonstrated their various technologies. Granted, most were being poked by everyone from kids to adults and few had any idea what was being demonstrated, but everyone was trying to see what they could do to get the arms moving… SO beautiful, i have lots of pics and videos of them in action for you on the next page!
IAA is one of the biggest auto shows in the world ~ quite fascinating besides the car are the luxury automakers “style” stores ~ filled with goods they are selling outside to complement their cars. Increasing trend? Toddler Cars! A great way for junior to be just like mommy and daddy? Nice way to start the brand loyalty young? And some really are SO cute. So take a peek at ones i found wandering the show floor over at Porsche, BMW, Audi, and Hyundai on the next page.
p.s. While many others have variations of these push/walk cars as well, these are the ones i actually saw today on the show floor!