Special Projects

Some projects occupy a special place in your heart and mind either due to the hard work that was required to surmount difficult problems, or maybe the finished product exceeded all metrics (including my own). These are some of those projects.

 

 

Wearable Sensors | Boxing Telematics

In a boxing video game, a player can receive instant feedback as to inflicted damage, the type of punch and the character's health. The challenge that was brought forth was to provide that same type of information found in video games to the real world of the boxing ring- and provide the information in real time.

 

Premier Boxing Champions, a new heavy hitting boxing series on NBC during primetime, requested just that of the fitness tracker company Welltec in New Mexico. Welltec sought out the technical expertise of Vicar Mechanica to create the design, prototype the product and test the solution. Partners in San Diego provided the quick-turn PCB boards.

 

So all that was needed was a way to measure force, velocity, angle, position, heart rate, and other health factors in a package so small it wouldn't register to the boxer- oh, it also had to last 18 rounds, be waterproof, and had to be durable enough to survive a fight. Someone may have asked for the Rocky theme to play as well....

 

The solution was to fit a sensor array (two accelerometers and a magnetometer) under each of the boxer's gloves, with a third sensor array that included biomedical data acquisition on the lower back, broadcasting data at a rate of 800Hz (800 samples per second) to the broadcast booth. The data would be interpretted by custom software and displayed as overlayed graphics on the live broadcast.

 

This article in Fast Company does a great job of distilling the usage: Link to Article

 

Electric Vehicles | Motorcycle

I was approached by Zeteo to create a new vehicle architecture for a hybrid electric motorcycle for tactical operations.  The motorcycle would need to meet stringent design and operational targets, as well as price. The motorcycle is unique in several ways- two-wheel drive using direct drive hub motors not requiring a drive chain; JP8/Diesel co-generator that recharges the 12kW battery pod or provides direct power; ultra-pneumatic power assist  "turbo-boost" when you absolutely, positively need to get the heck out of there. The on-board air also allows the tire pressure to be adjusted on the fly to match the terrain.

 

The architecture was created from the ground up, with all new designs for the major systems, unique supplier identification and custom designed components. Without the use of the drive chain the rear suspension can be stowed to minimize the wheelbase for storage or military air deployment.

 

Plus, it looks really cool.

 

Automotive | Dodge SRT6 Concept

Sometimes you just need to design and build your own car. This vehicle was self-designed and built using a combination of re-purposed production components, concept car flair and hot rod ingenuity. For years AEC had been creating one-off concept and auto show vehicles for OEMs and production companies, but were usually neutered with stock or no powertrains. On the other side of the business, AEC developed Future-Now™ technology for alternative fuels and powertrain solutions. The vehicle would be a showcase of the abilities at AEC to produced exterior system components in short order and our new alternative fuels division for ethanol, natural gas and hybrid powertrains.

 

I decided to put the two together and create the ultimate performance vehicle- the AEC SRT6, later renamed the “Oblivion” due to obvious trademark violations (Thank you Chrysler lawyers for pointing that out, repeatedly). The idea was to take a production vehicle platform and apply coachbuilder manufacturing to create a bespoke vehicle. A similar customization program could be applied to other vehicles, giving the customer control of options and enhancements not capable of being factory delivered. The locally built Chrysler Pacifica was chosen and a donor vehicle purchased.

 

The body components were modeled in clay, scanned and then transferred to 3D CAD to be cleaned up. Rapid prototype molds and PIM parts were produced in house using the same processes employed on the Viper and Dodge SRT10 pickup parts. The vehicle encompassed a Paxton supercharged 3.5L V6 converted to E85-fuel, all-wheel drive and one-off matte black paint. The matte paint became a new product segment and set the SEMA crowd on fire with many copycats in the years to come. Even the tricks emploed with the exhaust tips attached to the fascia to ensure they stayed centered were cherry picked for later production vehicles.

 

The vehicle debuted at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas along side our customer EDAG. Most of the the time our booth was just Chrysler Executives going over the car in minute detail. Dan Knott, Head of SRT fell in love with the concept, and that sparked off a great long term relationship with the Performance Group at Chrysler. Products like Turbo Toys, the Viper personalization program and the HEMI supercharger were all children of that relationship.

Consumer Electronics | BioMedical

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supports the Tuberculosis Aerobiology Advisory Group (TAAG) to create deployable and impactful research to solve the epidemic. Key to solving the health crisis, is a simplied, low cost collection and real-time analysis of an exposed population. Such a prototype was envision and created for clinical trials.

 

Respiratory Aerosol Sampling Chamber (RASC), is instrumented to provide real-time information about the particulate output of a single patient, and to capture samples via a suite of particulate impingers, impactors and filters. The desktop-sized unit would allow for collection and analysis at a point of entry to test for the presence of the pathogen and characterize the exposure limits.

Motorcycle | Chassis & Engine Development

I have spent much of my time designing, toiling, manufacuring, testing and riding motorcycles and motorized recreational products. From golf carts and scooters, to offroad  ATVs and motorcycles, I have created the entire spectrum.

 

Beyond my personal endeavors, my favorite projects have been with Indian on the stillborn "Scout" flat tracker, the Cleveland Cyclewerks hardtail Scrambler and the BRC inline two-cylinder, two-stroke engine.

 

Casting engine components and hydroformed chassis designs were where I started 20years ago, and those lessons learned have stayed with me ever since.

 

 

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