A wireless iPad charging system that costs considerably more than any iPad isn’t for everyone. But the LaunchPad is as much conversation piece as practical accessory. Strut is best known for its finely crafted luxury-car accessories, and the charger and pedestal are made of chromed and buffed stainless steel, while the iPad is held securely in a — plastic, alas — matching sleeve. Price aside, the LaunchPort is handsome enough to adorn a duke’s desk, and it’s certain your intended recipient won’t already have one.
Since at least the Neolithic Era, nags, naysayers, and other haters have been admonishing the creative types in their midst against engaging in the most iconically futile task in all of human capacity: re-inventing the wheel. Fortunately for us cloudy-headed dreamers, some automotive-parts manufacturers are doing just that.
First, a quick primer. You may not be aware of this, but on a contemporary car—actually on pretty much any car built after 1903—there is a difference between the “wheel” and the “tire.” The wheel is the shiny part in the middle, with the bolts that attach it to the vehicle; the tire, then, is that black rubber thing that runs around the edge.
So what’s the big news in the big, round world of wheels? Like elsewhere in the automotive, and human, realm, it’s all about losing weight. “Right now the big push in the auto industry is lightweight,” says Brett Gass, the engineering director for the custom-wheel manufacturer Carbon Revolution. The reason for the slim-down is twofold: reducing mass makes cars more efficient, and it also makes them faster (and more fun).
Morris Yachts of Mount Desert Island, Maine recently announced their newest vessel in their M-Series line of sailboats, the M46. The boat combines the storied tradition of New England shipbuilding craftsmanship and the latest in marine technology. To use an automotive analogy, can the M46 be considered a “crossover,” that borrows the luxuries and amenities of larger yachts and the performance of racing vessels to offer the “best of both” in one boat. The M46′s state-of-the-art steering system allows its sails to be controlled from the captain’s station by push button—smaller crew, less chance of mutiny at sea. Below the deck, the M46′s plush interior boasts 25 percent more room than other models in its class, featuring a two cabins, a dinette seating for six and a home office with integrated wireless capabilities.
We recently spoke with Morris Yachts CEO, Doug Metchick, to learn more.
The latest pleasure boats allow sailors to take to the water with a crew of just one, with sails that can move at the touch of a button.
The Morris M-Series, for example, is a line of luxury yachts built in Maine, all of which get automated sail control. The 52-foot M52 has all the hallmarks of a high-end pleasure boat: a laid teak deck, stainless steel brightwork and an interior trimmed in solid cherry. But it doesn’t require an entire crew to run.
In fact, the M52 automates the majority of sail handling, allowing a single person to go for a cruise and never leave the helm, controlling the sails from a single user interface. All lines are hidden under deck, and a FurlFinder system from Holmatro uses hydraulics to automatically move the boom to the proper angle for furling. Morris says that a comparable boat would require two or three crew, but the M52 needs only one person to sail.
Can a machine have a soul? Theologians may think not, but that doesn’t keep motorcycle makers all over the world, from Milwaukee to Mandello del Lario, the Italian home of Moto Guzzi on Lake Como, from giving it the old design-school try.
If this soul thing did exist, what would it be made of? A long, sepia-toned heritage wouldn’t hurt. And while it can’t quite match Harley-Davidson’s 110-year history, Moto Guzzi is very much on the ancestry map, having made motorcycles since 1921.