Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Forget hybrids, think Volkswagen Nanospyder

This is a news item from a while back, but since it never really got any traction in mainstream media or on blogs, I am reposting it here. In line with the "nano is nature" frame predominant in Europe, Volkswagen entered the Nanospyder as an environmentally-friendly concept car for the California market to the LA Auto Show Design Challenge. Of course, this is America, so the Hummer O2 ended up winning the challenge, but the Nanospyder concept is nonetheless interesting.

"Nanospyder is the work of a team of three young designers – Patrick Faulwetter, Daniel Simon and Ian Hilton - based at the Volkswagen Design Center in Santa Monica. They created the Nanospyder in response to a challenge laid down by ‘Design Los Angeles’, a conference set to take place at the upcoming Los Angeles Motorshow in November. The brief – unlike the solution – was simple. To design a vehicle able to make the most of California without harming the environment.

The team met its brief by thinking well beyond current manufacturing techniques. According to its creators the Nanospyder would be formed out of a latticework of billions of tiny programmable nano devices measuring less than half a millimetre in diameter. Each of these tiny devices can be programmed to be as strong or weak as required meaning active crumple zones can be created. The ‘spine’ of the vehicle, onto which the rest of the components are attached, remains immensely strong."

(Click here for the full story from back in November, 2006.)