A fast hydrogen-powered Viper, a really fast hot dog-eater, and a not-so fast Segway

Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Randy Savicky
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A fast hydrogen-powered Viper, a really fast hot dog-eater, and a not-so fast Segway

There are many new forms of transportation technologies and alternative fuels being invented. Unfortunately, not fast enough for me considering my Dodge Viper eats ridiculously priced $2.49/gallon premium fuel faster than Takeru Kobayashi eats hot dogs.

In case you haven't heard about Kobayashi, the dimunitive Japanese citizen ate 53 ½ hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes breaking his own world record at the annual Nathan's Famous hot dog eating contest. Not only did he win his forth consecutive time in a row, but he won these four times on July 4th, Independence Day no less! A Japanese citizen winning a hot dog eating contest on an American holiday? That would be like an American flying to Japan and winning a sushi eating contest! That's just wrong!

Kobayashi Posing with 53 1/2 Hot Dogs
Kobayashi the Hot Dog King

Now where was I? Oh yes, I was talking about transportation technologies. A couple of monthy ago, I got to try out the Segway in Disney World and take a tour of EPCOT while riding on one of these cool devices.

(You can check out a video of me riding on a Segway by clicking the Play button below. I actually got "scolded" for going too fast on the Segway by the Disney tour guide. Gimme a break! Anyway, it may not stream, so you may have to wait for it to download (4mb), so just wait when it says "Connecting".)


The Walt Disney World Segways have their speeds slightly governed, which was a bit disappointing. But then again, it's probably for the best considering how I love to drive fast cars it would not be good to for me to be "zooming around" (as a novice Segway driver) with pedestrians in the park. One interesting note about the Segway - My wife and I figured our feet would get a break by using the Segway versus walking Epcot. How wrong we were! Standing stationary on the Segway platform was actually more taxing to both our feet than just walking around. So we do suggest if you decide to take the Epcot Segway tour to it with fresh feet.

Another interesting transportation technology involves an alternative fuel to use in automobiles, namely hydrogen. Hydrogen has been talked about and hyped as an alternative to gasoline for years, but it has several problems, including safety and storage. Well, a university has come up with an ingenious idea to address these issues. Their idea is to use miniature glass spheres, known as microspheres to hold miniscule amounts of hydrogen. When I read this, I was like "uhh, glass breaks. Who's going to want to put glass beads filled with hydrogen into their car's fuel tank?"

Well, supposedly these glass microspheres are much stronger than your typical glass (100X stronger in fact), so if the tank does break, the beads shouldn't break and even if a few do break, each one only releases a miniscule amount of hydrogen.. The refueling process is pretty interesting in that it's in two steps. First, a vacuum would suck the used spheres out and send them to a tank for refilling. New, hydrogen filled spheres would then be pumped in from a different tank.

This made me wonder if one day I would be driving a hydrogen-powered car. Hopefully, they can retrofit existing cars with some sort of kit, since I don't plan on selling the Viper anytime soon. Although, a hydrogen-powered Viper sounds sacrosanct to me. But at $2.49/gallon for gasoline, if hydrogen can give me similar performance at a cheaper price, then I'm game. Unfortunately, as with any new technology, I'm sure it is still years away from being cost economical.
You can check out the full story on the hydrogen microspheres here:



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