The HumanCar LMV Imagineâ„¢

Fossil fuels are expensive, non-renewable in the short term, and are the root of some major geopolitical tensions. Biofuels are causing problems with the production of food for our planet. And the places we need to go are still too far to walk. Could a human-powered vehicle be the answer?

435Human Car .jpg

HumanCar is the world's first human-electric hybrid automobile. It works like a cross between a handcar and a rowing machine, and it's been compared to a Flintstones car, but inventor and company CEO Chuck Greenwood insists the design was inspired by drag racing cars. The production model is street legal. The rowing motion recharges the battery, which in turn can be used to power the car (and you can also plug it in). In addition to normal auto gauges, the company offers optional biometrics to monitor your physical extertion. And yes, you can get a cup holder. As well as internet acccess in your HumanCar. Scroll down to the bottom of the preorder page for an options list. After decades of tinkering, prototypes, and testing, the HumanCar LMV Imagineâ„¢ model is set to launch on April 22nd (EarthDay) in 2008.

This video of a prototype chassis in use shows you how it goes.

Fascinating, but it raises a lot of questions. I mainly use a car to haul people and things. Neither my kids nor my elderly relatives can be counted on to pull their weight (so to speak). Greenwood was happy to address my questions in an interview by email.

How do you steer it?
Body-Steeringâ„¢ is like a ski or a board. The two front pilots steer the vehicle with angulation. It rocks. It's fun. BodySteer utilizes more degrees of freedom than leaning - like riding a motorcycle. High speed handling is critical to the safe performance of any vehicle. Why make a 200 MPH chassis/suspension system? Why not? BodySteer is at least as effective as wheel steering - some would say much more effective.

If two people are steering, does one have override control?
Either can control the vehicle, but there is an exotic sensory input when you feel the others sharing the activity. Dominant/Submissive arrangements work, and so does real-time cooperation.

Could the HumanCar carry people who don't contribute to the power (meaning children)?
Yes and cargo as well (1000 lbs.)

How many people are required for it to work properly?
111Humancar_FM4 One to Four. Three people works quite well. Of course, with one or two people you are probably going to want auxiliary power.

When does the battery assist come in?
100% Variable - So you can rock it just a little or full blast anytime.

How does the driver control the speed?
Advanced braking systems.

Have you ever parallel-parked this car?
Yes, with Cool Fuel Roadtrips as seen on YouTube and Google Video.

Is there any place to carry cargo (groceries)?
The Imagineâ„¢ LMV will have a rather large (est 6 bags of groceries) sized cargo area.

111Rod and FM4 NaturalWho is going to manufacture these?
HumanCar(R) Inc., we may also license options to manufacture globally.

Since the latest artwork is a drawing, can we assume that what will be
manufactured will look different from any of the prototypes?

Best question ever, it's a hot rod in essence and in parallel the whole project is in constant evolution. Notice the chassis on the FM4 Troublemaker and notice the integration of design from the 189mph Research Rod. Now the recent ideations that are being distributed are renderings from the actual CAD files. It's delicate to release exactly what the car will look like but we can share this: The new body style is sexy and essentially WYSIWYG.

Will there be a cover for the weather?
Yes. A T-Top pop top deal.

Can it be used in the rain?
Yes and snow.

Will there be two models available?
We make three- download the info. kit from our site and check it. We are focusing 100% on the Imagineâ„¢ LMV electric human hybrid right now. They are exotic at first - think of a Carrera GT for Low Mass Vehicles. Soon we will be able to make them from recycled plastics and the cost will come down to a near free price point with co-marketing and branding scenarios.

Greenwood also said:
111Humancar_FM4_CSG_PE We are part mad scientists, part hot rodders, part musicians and patrons, like my dad says, "Everybody says they are ready to rock, now let's see it!" We are just trying to carry some weight and show the world that a small group of independent thinkers can make it happen at the big picture level.

This concept causes us to stop and think about why we drive a car in the first place. If you are driving yourself to work and want to save gas and stay fit, then by all means, ride a bicycle. The advantage of the HumanCar is that it allows you to do those things as a group, or carry cargo and passengers. If you drive to save yourself a walk, then you would want to go with an all-power car, electric or hybrid.

The LMV Imagineâ„¢ will run you $15,000. It's the hot rod model. The first production run as a limited edition of 100 vehicles. If more demand is created, a larger production run should bring the price down. Whether it will take off depends on several things. Greenwood noted that when the first prototype was built, gas was 32 cents a gallon. Would you drive a car like this if gas were $5 a gallon instead of $3? When you figure the cost of the car vs. money saved on gasoline, throw in the money you save by not buying a fitness club membership. That brings up another point: will the product be viewed as an exercise machine more than a vehicle? It might prove to be more popular in countries where gas is precious and physical exertion is already the norm. And in the end, it comes down to usability. It if really can haul kids and groceries, travel in the rain and snow, climb hills, and keep up with traffic, it might be the wave of the future. We'll look forward to hearing how those who have preordered HumanCars feel about them after a few months of driving. And we'll look forward to checking out their biceps and triceps!

Find out more at HumanCar.

Peder Norrby, YouTube
The Fun Optical Illusion You Can Make With Your iPhone X
Peder Norrby, YouTube
Peder Norrby, YouTube

You can use the iPhone X’s powerful depth sensor for more than just face recognition. The technology also allows you to create wild optical illusions on your phone. The phone’s 3D camera allowed Swedish artist Peder Norrby to create a depth illusion that makes an image on the phone look 3D, as Co.Design reports.

The app Norrby created with ARKit face tracking, TheParallaxView, uses a technique called trompe l’oeil, a style you might have seen before in the form of pavement art. It uses hyperrealistic art to give the illusion that a 2D image is really 3D.

The eye tracking makes the image move as the camera does, making it look like you’re manipulating a 3D object, either one that recesses deep into the phone or pops out from the screen. As Mark Wilson explains on Co.Design, this face tracking “allows the screen to create not just one static 3D illusion, but dozens a second, tricking your mind into believing that there’s a whole other world behind the screen of your phone.”

It’s a monoscopic effect, according to Norrby, so the illusion works particularly well in video form, but in person, you’ll need to close one eye to make it work to the same degree.

You can see how it works in the video below. Norrby has submitted the app to Apple’s App Store, but it’s still pending approval. He’s also planning on submitting the source code for developers, which means that anyone could incorporate it into their apps—which we imagine could lead to some pretty amazing video games.

[h/t Co.Design]

Live Smarter
Buying a Cast-Iron Pan Is the Easiest Way to Improve Your Cooking

You can stock your kitchen with every type of modern slicer, dicer, and immersion circulator you want, but the piece of cooking equipment that comes most highly recommended by chefs has been around for centuries: the cast-iron skillet. Like the name suggests, this essential cooking tool is molded from molten iron and coated with a protective seasoning. The result is a durable, versatile piece of cookware that’s perfect for making everything from dump cakes to sunny-side up eggs.

If you’re used to steel or aluminum frying pans, cooking with cast-iron may sound intimidating. But don’t let horror stories of skillets tarnished by dishwashers or a few hours in the sink turn you off: The metal does require some special knowledge to maintain, but what you get in return is well worth the effort. “You can cook practically anything with it,” Dominique DeVito, author of The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook, tells Mental Floss. “It’s definitely a kitchen staple.”

So what is it exactly about cast-iron that entitles it to a spot on your stovetop? Here are some points to consider.


Iron is prized by engineers for its high-tensile strength, so you can bet it will hold up to whatever you throw at in the kitchen. But the metal does have one crucial weakness home cooks need to be aware of: water. Iron combines easily with oxygen, which is how you get iron oxide or rust. When iron is exposed to water, that liquid mixes with gases in the air to create a weak carbonic acid. The acid corrodes the iron, and the oxygen in the water bonds with the newly dissolved iron and forms iron oxide. While it won’t necessarily poison you, rust isn’t something you want flavoring your dinner.

Fortunately, keeping your skillet rust-free is easy to do. All cast-iron pans need to be seasoned before they’re ready to hit the stove. To season a pan, you can coat it with a thin layer of neutral fat like vegetable oil and heat in the oven. During the frontier days, DIY seasoning was the only option for cast-iron owners, but today most pans come pre-seasoned.

The difference between an unreliable skillet and one that’s built to last usually comes down to the quality of the seasoning. DeVito recommends cast-iron products from Lodge, which has been making cookware in the U.S. since 1896. “They put out a nice finished product that’s consistent and smooth,” she says. “It becomes something that you have an expectation about. I know that every time I go to my Lodge, it’s going to perform.”

But even well-seasoned cast-iron benefits from a little extra care from time to time. Before re-seasoning a skillet, DeVito suggests wiping it clean of any grease or caked-on food that’s left over from whatever you cooked last. Instead of scrubbing it with a soapy sponge, she washes her pan with hot water and a brush. Tough plastic works well for this, as well as chain-link metal that you can use like a hand towel to wipe down the pan. After she cleans it, DeVito likes to dry her cast-iron by placing it over low heat on her gas stovetop for a few minutes. Once it’s dry, she rubs it with a quarter teaspoon of vegetable oil using a paper towel, lets it sit over low heat for a few minutes more, and then wipes off the excess oil with another dry paper towel.

While it may not fit into your regular dishwashing routine, treating cast-iron cookware correctly pays off. A well-maintained pan is tough enough to withstand super high heat, meaning you can start cooking a dish on the stove and finish it in the oven in the same pan. The iron itself will endure any type of utensil you use on it, whether it’s a wooden spoon, metal tongs, or a plastic spatula. And if you ever damage the skillet’s seasoning or allow it to rust, it can be restored without too much trouble. “Ideally, you should be able to hand it down to your kids,” DeVito says.


Cast-iron offers health benefits beyond the nutritional value of the food it cooks. The first is a healthy dose of iron added to your meals. If you have an iron deficiency, like close to 10 million people in the U.S. do, your doctor may recommend incorporating more meat, beans, and leafy greens into your diet. In addition to eating iron-rich foods, you could also try preparing more meals in a cast-iron skillet. As the metal heats up, small amounts of iron leach out and enrich your food. The is especially apparent with acidic, higher-moisture ingredients like applesauce and tomato sauce. The iron you get is definitely not enough to replace dietary iron, but it’s a nice bonus if you’re looking for more ways to sneak the nutrient into your meals.

With cast-iron, you know the only thing being added to your food is an essential mineral. Nonstick Teflon pans, on the other hand, are made from substances that aren’t safe to be eaten. (Though you don’t really need to worry about these chemicals contaminating your food unless you’re really abusing the pan.) If your cast-iron is seasoned well enough, it will produce the same nonstick effects as Teflon without the unwanted chemicals.

And that brings us to the final health benefit: Cooking with cast-iron requires less oil than conventional pans. Because oil is already baked into the cast-iron’s exterior, you don’t have to worry about meat and vegetables getting stuck to the surface. You can either add a small amount of oil or no oil at all so you don’t end up adding more fat to your dinner than necessary.


Even without the industrial strength and bonus minerals, the cast-iron skillet would still be prized by cooks for the incredible effects it has on food. This is because of the way it reacts to heat. Iron is much thicker and denser than materials like copper and aluminum, so it takes longer to heat up. But once the metal has been heated through, it packs a lot more thermal energy than most metals heated to the same temperature. All that harnessed energy is the key to achieving crisp, golden-brown sears on foods like steak, hamburger patties, eggplant, and scallops.

And just as cast-iron takes a while to get hot, it’s also slow cooling down. That means that once you’ve left your pan to sit over a raging burner or in a screaming-hot oven for long enough, you can trust it to maintain that heat, even after filling it with cold or room-temperature ingredients. The cooling effects food has on other metals is one of the most common culprits that leaves foods pale and flabby rather than brown and crunchy.

Even when a hard sear isn’t your end goal, a cast-iron skillet is often still the best tool for the job. The versatile design makes it a great option for baking, shallow-frying, and sautéeing. A few of the items DeVito likes to cook in her cast-iron include cakes, pies, cornbread, eggs, hash browns, bacon, and vegetables. “I use it for a lot of things, like reheating leftovers and improvising with whatever I have in the fridge,” she says. “You could put a lid on it and cook rice or pasta in there—you really could put almost anything in there.”


With so many desirable qualities, you may expect a cast-iron pan to rank up there with other rite-of-passage kitchen items in terms of price. But it's actually easy to find a cast-iron pan for less than other pans that don’t perform as well or last as long. Lodge, the brand DeVito recommends, has 10-inch skillets available for around $25 on Amazon. You can find fancier cast-iron pans from brands like Le Creuset selling for over $150, but when it comes to this kitchen essential, simplicity is hard to beat.


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