Electronic Design's Bill Wong and Don Tuite visit with Nuvation and Willow Garage.


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E-Rex, with a demonstrated top speed of 160 mph, and 0-60 acceleration in 5 seconds, is Nuvation’s demonstration platform for its battery-management system.

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Electronic Design’s Bill Wong hears about E-Rex from Nuvation CEO Michael Worry while Terry Knight runs the video gear. From this angle, the car’s battery compartment, with some of Nuvation’s battery –management boards, is conspicuous. The battery-management challenge lies in balancing all the cells. Videos will be up shortly. 

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The E-Rex cabin is a tight squeeze, as Michael Worry demonstrates to Bill Wong. Still, 6-foot-plus Bill managed to get a demo ride on San Jose’s North First Street. He reports that, from a standing start at a traffic light, E-Rex rocketed all the way to the next intersection, “Before the other cars began to move.”

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What do engineers at a design-services company like Nuvation do for fun? They participate in battlebot competitions with flamethrowers. “We like to have fun,” says CEO Michael Worry.

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The flamethrower robot has some honorable battle scars.

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Willow Garage’s PR2 Robots have completed a chore that involves bussing dirty dishes, putting out clean place settings, and selecting sushi items from a revolving display. Now, they’ve plugged themselves into wall sockets for recharging. Bill Wong’s video interview with CEO Steve Cousins provides more detail.

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What’s on top of that PR2’s head? Looks like an X-Box. What’s it doing up there? In the video, CEO Steve Cousins explains to Bill Wong how the X-box provides a cheap and ubiquitous interface for developers.