Continental’s new wheel and brake system for electric vehicles

Continental, a company known for making tires has a new concept to the age old invention, the wheel and of course in more modern times, the brakes. This is in particular for electric cars. The new wheel rim consists of two aluminium (Al) parts, the inner Al start shaped with the Al brake disk and the outer Al rim with the tyre on it.
The new wheel rim consists of two aluminium (Al) parts, the inner Al start shaped with the Al brake disk and the outer Al rim with the tyre on it. The brake engages the Al disk from the inner portion of the rim but this provides a larger surface area in which the brake pads are in contact with thus increasing braking performance.

To increase the vehicle’s range, deceleration in the EV generates as much electricity as possible through recuperation (= braking using the electric motor), so the wheel brake is used less frequently. The corrosion-free Al brake disk also prevents the formation of rust (as is normal on cast-iron disks) which can impair the braking effect.
“Electromobility needs new solutions for braking technology too,” says Matthias Matic, Head of Continental’s Hydraulic Brake Systems Business Unit. “Using conventional brakes is not very effective in this case. The New Wheel Concept meets all the demands that electric driving places on the brake. We used our braking know-how to develop a solution that provides a consistently reliable braking effect in the electric vehicle.”
Thanks to the lightweight material such as lightweight aluminum, it reduces the weight of the wheel and brake, enabling lightweight construction in EVs. Advantages of the concept are much easier wheel and brake pad changes and that the disk is not subject to wear.

“In EVs, it’s crucial that the driver expends as little energy as possible on the friction brake,” says Paul Linhoff, Head of Brake Pre-Development in the Chassis & Safety Business Unit at Continental. “During a deceleration, the momentum of the vehicle is converted into electricity in the generator to increase the vehicle’s range. That’s why the driver continues to operate the brake pedal – but it certainly doesn’t mean that the wheel brakes are active too.” The deceleration torque of the electric motor is only no longer sufficient by itself when the driver brakes more energetically, or braking also has to carry out with the non-driven axle for driving dynamics reasons. The wheel brake is needed in this situation – and it must be available. “Drivers want to be able to rely on a consistent braking effect – and too much rust on the brake disk, in particular, can really make this difficult,” Linhoff emphasizes. The reason behind the reduced performance is less friction between the brake pad and the brake disk. The automatic emergency braking function also has to fully rely on the availability of the friction brake effect.
[Souce: Continental & ArsTechnica]

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Google Maps include in Parking Information

Google has launched a new feature for their Google Maps app, parking information, for users who want to drive to a specific location and the destination doesn’t provide any parking. This is very true especially if you want to route yourself to a national monument or a tourist spot where parking is not available. Google Maps will then help you identify if that particular location has little or no parking.

The aim is to continually assist people to be able to get the best timing in terms of their route which includes driving to the parking location, walking from the parking spot and finally arriving at the intended destination. Definitely a real help for tourists and visitors. I was heavily relying on Google Maps recently when I was driving through Milan and Genoa and most of the time in those old cities, parking is always a pain. So after routing to the destination, I would have to then start my search near the destination for parking locations. This is definitely a step in the forward direction.
As of this time, parking difficulty icons are now available in the following cities:, Alicante, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Cologne, Darmstadt, Dusseldorf, London, Madrid, Malaga, Manchester, Milan, Montreal, Moscow, Munich, Paris, Prague, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Sao Paulo, Stockholm, Stuttgart, Toronto, Valencia, and Vancouver.
People can now find parking in the following US cities: Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas/Fort Worth, DC, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Diego, Sacramento, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, and Tampa.

What it is still missing are whether there are parking spaces available and how much the parking charges are which parking apps in Europe offer at the moment. Hopefully, Google will continue rolling out the feature across the world and continues to improve on it.
[Source: Google]
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Acer Nitro 5 Spin Hands On: A Modest (Convertible) Gaming Laptop for the Everyday Gamer

Although the Acer Nitro 5 Spin wasn’t announced right here at IFA 2017 – it was made official early last week – the Taiwanese company naturally had the gaming laptop on display at its booth. Of course, I took the opportunity to take the Nitro 5 Spin for a quick spin – pun intended – and if Acer prices it right, it may be a pretty compelling convertible gaming laptop.
First up, specifications. The Nitro 5 Spin comes with a 15.6-inch 1080p IPS touch display, Intel’s 8th generation Core i5-8250U or i7-8550U processor, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU, up to 512GB of fast PCIe SSD storage and 16GB of DDR4 RAM, as well as a claimed battery life of up to 10 hours. While this battery life doesn’t sound too far-fetched for any capable laptop, it’s quite a surprise for a gamingmachine.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, it’s worth noting that the Nitro 5 Spin is very, very similar to the recently refreshed Acer Spin 5. In fact, both laptops share the same design and GPU, although the Nitro 5 Spin does sport a more “gamer” aesthetics with its black and red colour scheme. Beyond that, however, only certain hardware options differentiate the two convertibles.
Similarities aside, let’s get on with the actual hands on, starting with the Nitro 5 Spin’s keyboard. Surprisingly enough, the keyboard is pretty good: there’s enough key travel for a comfortable typing experience, the layout isn’t out of the ordinary, and I love the tactility of the keys. In fact, it’s really one of the most decent laptop keyboards I’ve ever tried, especially for a laptop in this price range.

The trackpad of the Nitro 5 Spin is also good. It can track my fingers accurately, and the smooth surface makes for pleasant user experience. Of course, it’s not quite as good as a trackpad found on a productivity-focused laptop, but the Nitro 5 Spin’s trackpad is certainly above average for a gaming-focused machine.
Unfortunately, the Nitro 5 Spin showcased at Acer’s booth did not have any particularly demanding games installed, but you can expect the laptop’s GTX 1050 GPU to run most modern games decently well. The graphics settings may need to be turned down, but there’s no doubt the Nitro 5 Spin can run games like Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, or even Overwatch with relative ease.

Beyond gaming, I reckon the Nitro 5 Spin can double as a pretty capable productivity laptop too; especially if it can deliver 10 hours of battery life as claimed. It has a great keyboard, a good trackpad, and the convertible nature of the Nitro 5 Spin makes it ideal for users to switch between different modes to suit different usage scenarios. The hinge is pretty solid as well: it has just the right amount of tension.
However, there is one thing that stood out to me when I picked up the Nitro 5 Spin: it’s quite a hefty laptop. Weighing 2.2kg, switching between modes is not an effortless feat with the Nitro 5 Spin. To top it off, it’s a 15.6-inch laptop too: you wouldn’t want to use it in tablet mode for too long.

But all things considered, the Acer Nitro 5 Spin is quite the compelling gaming laptop. The fact that it’s also a convertible laptop is really a nice bonus. However, once – or if – the Nitro 5 Spin is made available right here in Malaysia, its retail price will ultimately decide if it will be an attractive enough gaming machine.
For the sake of comparison, the Nitro 5 Spin retails from $999 in the US – that’s about RM4,265. Now, as it is, this isn’t the most attractive price tag for a GTX 1050 laptop, and it’s almost a certainty the Nitro 5 Spin will be priced slightly higher in Malaysia than in the US.

While value for money isn’t necessarily the Nitro 5 Spin’s main selling point, it is a convertible gaming laptop: it’s quite an uncommon form factor. Those who are looking for a gaming laptop that can also double as a capable productivity laptop may see the Nitro 5 Spin as an attractive option. Alternatively, there’s also the new Spin 5 for those who want a more conservative – and professional – colour scheme.
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IFA 2017: Dell Introduces Alienware Aurora With Radeon RX Vega 64 Option; Two New Monitors

It’s no secret that Dell is the only OEM putting out AMD powered desktops, and this continues with the introduction of the Alienware Aurora with Radeon RX Vega 64 graphics. Two new Alienware monitors are also being released alongside this new option.
Announcing the new graphics options gives AMD fans the option to finally have a beast of a computer; powered entirely by their preferred technology. The Radeon RX Vega 64 cards offer 4096 stream processes and up to 484 GB/s memory bandwidth; both of which represent close to double the capabilities of the Radeon RX 580 which was in the original Aurora specifications.
The new Alienware Aurora will be on display at PAX West instead of IFA for some reason. However, it is already available for purchase in the US with prices starting from $1549.99 (about RM6600).

What should be on display at IFA 2017 are the two new Alienware monitors. Both are 34-inch curved models, with the two differing in terms of resolution and refresh rate. The AW3418DW supports WQHD (3440 x 1440) resolution with a 120Hz refresh rate, while the AW3418HW supports WFHD (2560 x 1080) resolution with a 160Hz refresh rate.
Dell will be selling the Alienware 34-inch Curved Gaming Monitor AW3418DW in the US from today starting at $1,499 (about RM6400); while the AW3418HW will be available in the fall from $1,199 (about RM5000).
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IFA 2017: Samsung Introduces New Gear Sport, Gear Fit2 Pro, and Gear IconX

Samsung has introduced new additions to its existing fitness wearable portfolio. Technically, only two of these are new: the Gear Sport and Gear Fit2 Pro. The Gear IconX is an update of the existing IconX wireless earbuds.
The Gear Sport and Gear Fit2 Pro share similar features in terms of having 5 ATM of water resistance, advanced heart-rate monitoring, automatic activity detection, and access to premium partnerships with Under Armour and Spotify.
Where they defer is in how much else they can do beyond simply being a fitness tracker. In the case of the Gear Sport, this is a whole lot more. The wearable is also capable of controlling other devices in Samsung’s home appliance eco-system through Samsung Connect. It can also function as a remote control for the Samsung Gear VR headset (which we think gives it a very scifi vibe). Finally, its built in NFC technology allows the wearer to use Samsung Pay.

On the other hand, the Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro has a far more modest proposition. It’s a basic fitness band with built in GPS for route tracking. Which may appeal to those who really just want a fitness band without all the extra bells and whistles. It also features a marginally larger display – 1.5-inch over 1.2-inches on the Gear Sport.

Finally, the Samsung Gear IconX is a fitness tuned pair of wireless earbuds. What’s really new in this case is the addition of Bixby integration, allowing the wearer to control Samsung’s newest AI assistant by tapping and holding one of the earbuds.
The Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro will arrive in Malaysia at the end of September; while the other two wearables will be made available in November. No prices have been provided for any of the devices.
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Microsoft and Amazon To Integrate Cortana and Alexa Into Each Other

Microsoft and Amazon have announced that their digital personal assistants will soon be able to interact with each other. In other words, Cortana and Alexa will soon become best friends…for real.
Okay, that maybe an oversimplified way to describe the collaboration. What actually happened is that both companies have agreed to allow their respective digital assistants to be integrated with each other.

For example, users will soon be able to summon Cortana on their Amazon Echo devices in order to check their calendar, schedule a meeting, or set a reminder. On another hand, Windows 10 users can call Alexa through Cortana to order or manage their products from Amazon.
Users will also be able to tap into third-party skills that are available on both Cortana and Alexa. While the actual roll out date is not yet known for now but expect to see the integration to take place later this year.
(Source: Microsoft, Amazon, New York Times)
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IFA 2017: Dell Updates Inspiron Gaming Line And Introduces It’s Own Mixed Reality Headset

Dell is updating its Inspiron gaming line with some minor tweaks to the formula. Only two products are actually being adjusted, and then only the Inspiron 15 7000 receives a proper hardware update.
In this case, the entry level gaming laptop is being bumped up to an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card. According to Dell’s press release this makes it a Max Q laptop, since it now qualifies as being both thin and powerful. Aside from that, Intel’s Thunderbolt 3 technology is also being added to the machine.
That’s about as much adjustment as the Inspiron 15 7000 is receiving, with no word on the 8th generation Intel processors. Still, the base model offers a relatively good deal on hardware specifications; and should be able to cater to Dell’s target market.
This update to the Inspiron is intended to function with the Dell Visor Windows Mixed Reality Headset. The HMD was technically announced back at Computex, but this is the first time that we’re hearing about a proper release date and price. For the US market at least.

On the other hand, the Dell Inspiron Gaming Desktop is receiving a more cosmetic option. The company has introduced a version of the computer that ships with a clear side panel; just in case you want to be able to see the internals. That’s really all there is to the ‘update’, as the hardware remains the same.
The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 with GTX 1060 will be appearing on 12 September in the US from $999 (about RM4200). It’s partner Dell Visor is set to be sold in October for $349.99 for the headset, with an additional $99.99 for the controllers. Alternatively, Dell is offering a bundle for $449.99 (which is just a matter of convenience and isn’t cheaper).
Dell’s Inspiron Gaming Desktop with clear side panel will retail for $50 more than the regular model and begin shipping in September.
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IFA 2017: ASUS ROG Chimera Gaming Laptop Features Blazing Fast 144Hz Display and More

Aside from 2-in-1 laptops and Windows Mixed Reality headset, ASUS has also announced another new product at IFA 2017 in the form of ROG Chimera. Being an ROG product, it is obvious that this particular laptop is made for gaming.
Furthermore, its gigantic 17.3-inch full HD display display further highlight its purpose. According to ASUS, ROG Chimera’s panel is apparently the first in the world to feature 144Hz refresh rate and 7ms response time. Not surprisingly, it also supports NVIDIA G-Sync technology.

The gaming laptop is also equipped with Intel Core i7-7820HK that has been overclocked in the factory itself and able to run at a speed of up to 4.3GHz out of the box. Its NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 has also been factory-overclocked as well and can be pushed up to 1974MHz.
ASUS apparently has also integrated Xbox Wireless into the ROG Chimera which allows it to support tons of Xbox accessories out there. Aside from these details, the company somehow has yet to release other information regarding ROG Chimera. So, stay tuned as we’ll keep you updated once we heard more from ASUS.
(Image: The Verge)
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IFA 2017: Asus Announces ZenBook Flip 14 And 15; Updates The Flip S

Asus has announced two brand new notebooks at its recent IFA 2017 event: the ZenBook Flip 14 and Flip 15. In addition to unveiling new additions to its “Flip” notebook family, the Taiwanese company had also announced updates for its ZenBook Flip S notebook.
The first new notebook from Asus is the Asus ZenBook Flip 14, also known as the UX461. In addition to being equipped with an 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor, Asus has also bestowed this 2-in-1 notebook with 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD storage capacity and a Nvidia MX150 GPU. Asus boldly claims that the ZenBook Flip 14 comes with a battery that’s capable of lasting up to 13 hours.

Next up is the larger ZenBook Flip 15, which according to Asus, will be available in two display options: 1080p and 4K. Like the Flip 14, Asus’ ZenBook Flip 15 also features the an 8th generation Intel Core i7 CPU. This notebook does, however, come with a beefier GPU: Nvidia GTX 1050. Other specifications include: 2TB HDD, 512GB SSD, and a Thunderbolt 3 port – for external GPUs or monitors.
Finally, we have the Asus ZenBook Flip S update. Previously, this notebook featured Intel’s Core i7-7500U CPU; this time round, however, Asus has updated it with the new Core i7-8550U CPU. When it comes to pricing, the ZenBook Flip 14 and 15 will be priced at €799 (around RM4,067) and €899 (about RM4,576) respectively. The price for the updated ZenBook Flip S, on the other hand, was not announced during the event.
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IFA 2017: ASUS Windows Mixed Reality Headset Goes Official

ASUS today has officially launched its Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) headset at the company’s media event in IFA 2017. This is not the first time the headset being shown to the world though since it was originally unveiled at Computex by Microsoft but nevertheless, we now finally have learned about its specifications.
According to the company, its headset is equipped with two 2.89-inch 90Hz displays which have a combined resolution of 2880 x 1440. Offering 95-degrees field of view, ASUS has also implemented inside-out tracking on its headset which is similar to other WMR headset made by other OEMs.

This is made possible through a pair of camera on its front which allows the headset to be used without external sensors unlike HTC Vive or Oculus Rift. Weighing at under 400 grams, a pair of WMR motion controllers will be accompanying the headset as well.
As for its price, the ASUS WMR headset will go for EUR 449 (about RM 2,285) although its actual release date is still not known at the moment. Additionally, the company also didn’t reveal whether it will also offer the headset as a stand-alone product or otherwise.
(Source: ASUS)
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