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Toyota Fine-Comfort Ride previews a more luxurious, hydrogen-powered future

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Toyota’s newly unveiled concept for the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show is the Fine-Comfort Ride. I love names like this because the concept is basically what’s said on the tin: a fine and comfortable ride for the future.

Toyota calls the concept “a new form of the premium saloon,” which seems like a very floofy way to avoid saying futuristic minivan. It’s got sliding doors, is roughly the same size as a Mazda5 and seats six passengers on three rows. It’s a minivan or, at least, a compact MPV. But hey, minivans are sort of cool again, so we’re interested.

Toyota Fine-Comfort Ride concept

Toyota

The Fine-Comfort Ride is powered by in-wheel electric motors that draw power from a hydrogen fuel cell stack, so its operation should be whisper quiet. Estimated range is 621 miles (1,000 km) and, because you fill it up with liquid hydrogen fuel rather than charge at a station, you can refuel and be back on the road in about 3 minutes.

The concept’s wheels are pushed way out to the very corners of the Fine-Comfort Ride’s footprint to maximize interior space, high speed stability and generally look pretty rad. Tucked between the rollers is a diamond-shaped cabin that’s wider in the middle and narrower at the ends, particularly at the rear end. That further boosts aerodynamics and efficiency at speed, while the wider midsection frees up more cabin space for first and second row passengers. The addition of a flat under-body cover reduces wind noise at speed, helping to quiet the cabin.

Inside, you’ll find four swiveling seats that can be reoriented — sometimes facing forward and sometimes facing each other as a “communication space” for the passengers — and adjusted for various postures and levels of recline. Touch displays and a virtual Agent are integrated all around the cabin area.

I only count four of these adjustable captain’s chairs, but Toyota states that the Fine-Comfort Ride seats six. It looks like the last two passengers ride on a narrow bench at the rear of the cabin. Perhaps the ride isn’t as fine and comfortable for everyone onboard, but maybe it’s just a really cozy bench.

Toyota makes no explicit mention that the Fine-Comfort Ride is an autonomous car, but generally concepts with seats that swivel backward are. Plus, what could be more comfortable on a long trip than chilling out while a robotic chauffeur handles the long boring segments?

We’ll learn more about the concept next week at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show.



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LG G7 ThinQ Is Now Available In the US for $750

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LG waited longer than normal to announce its big 2018 flagship phone, but it finally took the wraps off the LG G7 ThinQ a few weeks ago. Today, the phone is available for purchase on most US carriers. While LG has had trouble competing with the likes of Samsung, it’s still targeting the same premium space. Although, it’s got an iPhone-style screen notch now. That’s what consumers want, right?

The LG G7 ThinQ is the epitome of all things 2018 in smartphone design. It has a glass back, dual cameras, and a display notch that isn’t done particularly well. The missing bit of screen provides a place for the camera, earpiece, and some other sensors. It does seem a little excessively large for how compact these components are, though. In addition, the G7 has a “chin” at the bottom with a larger bezel than the top and bottom. This asymmetric look isn’t as striking as the iPhone X it imitates. The 6.1-inch 1440p display is also an OLED, which lacks the vibrancy of modern OLED panels.

Inside, this phone has all the current flagship hardware you’d expect with a Snapdragon 845, 64GB of storage, and 4GB of RAM. Unlike many other current smartphones, the company has opted to keep the headphone jack for the G7 ThinQ. LG also touts the G7’s unique speaker design that uses the entire chassis as a resonator to boost sound output.

You may be wondering about the name — specifically the “ThinQ” bit. Well, that’s LG’s expanded brand for all its AI technologies. What that means for the G7 is that there’s an AI mode in the camera that looks for objects it can identify and offers possible filters. It’s not very accurate or useful, but LG didn’t even develop any AI software or hardware for this phone. It just licensed a machine vision library from a third-party.

The LG G7 ThinQ is available from all major carriers in the US except AT&T. Apparently, AT&T chose to sell the LG V35 instead of the G7. This marks the third variant of the V30 that LG has sold since it debuted last year. At other carriers, the G7 ThinQ will run you $750, give or take a few dollars. Carriers offer payment plans to split the cost over two years. It will launch on Google’s Project Fi soon, as well. If you don’t want to go through carriers, the phone is also available from Amazon.

 

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Google Doodle honors ‘Prince of Mathematicians’ Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss

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Maths is the latest to receive the Google Doodle homage.

Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss, otherwise known as “The Prince of Mathematicians”, made instrumental contributions to number theory, algebra, geophysics, mechanics and statistics.

Gauss was born on April 30 in 1777 in Brunswick, a city in the north of Germany, near Wolfsburg. Despite poor working-class parents and an illiterate mother, Gauss was a child prodigy, believed to have been able to add up every number from 1 to 100 at 8-years-old.

One of his first major equations was working out his date of birth, which his mother hadn’t recorded. He used the only information she had: that it was a Wednesday, eight days before an Easter holiday.

At university when he was 19, Gauss discovered a heptadecagon, or a 17-sided polygon. He requested that a regular heptadecagon be inscribed on his tombstone, but it was too difficult for the stonemason, who said it would just look like a circle.

513px-regular-polygon-17-annotated-svg
 A heptadecagon.

 


László Németh/Wikipedia

And remember your prime numbers? That year Gauss was involved with proving the prime number theorem, helping understand how prime numbers are distributed among the integers, or whole numbers.

Again the same year, a productive one for Gauss, he discovered the quadratic reciprocity law, which allows mathematicians to determine the solvability of any quadratic equation in modular arithmetic.

At 24, Gauss’ work on number theory, which he completed when he was 21, was published as a textbook. Not only did it involve his original work, but it reconciled that of other mathematicians. It would be considered his magnum opus and had an extraordinary impact on the field.

Oh, and add to those achievements a discovery in astronomy — in the same year, 1801, Gauss calculated the orbit of an asteroid called Ceres.

After a much-accomplished life, Gauss died aged 77 on Feb. 23, 1855.

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