Archive for November 2012

KTM’s 1290 Superduke R prototype – the best power-to-weight ratio ever?

November 18, 2012


1290 Super Duke R prototype

1290 Super Duke R prototype

The most exciting exhibit at either Intermot or EICMA was the first showing of the KTM 1290 Superduke R prototype – a super-lightweight, trellis-framed naked bike powered by a 1290cc version of the proven RC8R V-twin, complete with drive-by-wire, lots of (disengageable) electronic rider assistance, lashings of carbon fiber, new prototype WP suspension at both ends and the promise of a production version within 12 months.The excitement is based not so much on what is known about the new prototype, but what the bike is based on. The RC8 R engine upon which the bike is developed, produces 129 kW (173 hp) of power and torque of 120 Nm (88.5 lb.ft) in its 1190cc form, with rumors suggesting the new bike will have somewhere between 180 and 200 horsepower by the time it hits showrooms.

1290 Super Duke R prototype

Whatsmore, thanks to the removal of everything that’s not entirely necessary, the chrome molybdenum trellis frame and the carbon fiber everything else, this bike can be expected to be much lighter than the RC8 R which already tips the scales at 200 kg with a full tank and all lubricants.Hence the new 1290 Superduke R built with “ready to race” KTM ethos is undoubtedly going to be in the same category of power and weight as the best-of-breed Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R, BMW S1000RR and Ducati Panigale 1199.

1290 Super Duke R prototype

Indeed, it just might be lighter than the Panigale with a better power to weight ratio than anything else, and it will come complete WITHOUT a praying-mantis-doing-yoga riding position.

1290 Super Duke R prototype

The last few weeks have seen a number of teaser images emanate from KTM, with even a recording of the bike’s snarling engine having been released before we saw it in the flesh.

KTM must feel that it is on a roll at present, having just won the inaugural Moto3 title and with its smaller sporty Duke’s gaining traction around the developing world thanks to the relationship with India’s Bajaj Auto, the third largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world.


MP-3 VTU Notes

November 15, 2012

Mine Kafon: the low-tech tumbleweed minesweeper

November 12, 2012
A dramatic visualization of the Mine Kafon in use

A dramatic visualization of the Mine Kafon in use

An Afghan designer has come up with a novel tumbleweed-esque device to find and detonate mines, a device that has evolved from the wind-powered toys he made as a child. Massoud Hassani’s Mine Kafon is made mainly from bamboo and biodegradable plastics, but the simple addition of a GPS chip means the wind-swept spheres can be monitored to reveal the location of mines.

GPS chip aside, this is an extremely low-tech approach to mine detection. Typically the process involves the sweeping of mine fields, either manually with metal detectors, or with specialized vehicles (sometimes remotely controlled). The Mine Kafon, on the other hand, is an array of bamboo sticks with plastic disks at the end. It’s light enough to be caught and moved by the wind, but heavy enough that it should trip any mine it passes over. The Mine Kafon will probably be destroyed in the process, but better that than a human life.

Clearly, the Mine Kafon will never be as efficient a means of clearing mines as an intensive sweep using specialist technology. The Mine Kafon is bound to travel the path of least resistance, and so it’s not as if you can pop one into a field and expect it to clear the area. But the ability of the Mine Kafon to report on its route, trackable on the web thanks to its GPS chip, means that perhaps, were many of these low cost devices be released at scattered locations, they might chance upon mine fields that were previously undocumented.

There’s something artful about the Mine Kafon, though, that is just as valuable. Perhaps it’s the poetic symmetry of this peaceful response to the problem of land mines emerging from a nation ravaged by them. The UN puts Afghanistan’s land mine count at 10 million, though Hassani insists there are “far, far more.” Some of these are Valmara 69s, an anti-personnel mine designed to leap half a meter (or a foot and a half) into the air when tripped before scattering about 1000 steel shards over a lethal radius of 25 meters (82 ft).

The Mine Kafon

“When we were young we learned to make our own toys,” Hassani writes at his website. “One of my favourites was a small rolling object that was wind-powered. We used to race against the other kids on the fields around our neighbourhood. There was always a strong wind waving towards the mountains. While we were racing against each other, our toys rolled too fast and too far. Mostly they landed in areas where we couldn’t go rescue them because of land mines. I still remember those toys I’d made that we lost and watching them just beyond where we could go.” Twenty years on, and Hassani’s windswept creations are set to return to Qasaba, Kabul, where he grew up.

The Mine Kafon is set to appear at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and is the subject of a documentary by Callum Cooper. You can see the trailer for the film below.


Source: Massoud Hassani


Industrial Management Notes

November 11, 2012