McLaren Develops Composite Body Armor For Health Care
We all know Formula 1 is a test bed for a variety of technologies that will eventually trickle down to the street. Now, McLaren is taking its go-faster know-how and applying it somewhere a bit unexpected – health care. The body armor you see here was created in response to a client’s request for a device that would help keep his organs protected after undergoing surgery. It’s called Invincible shield, and it protects the rib cage through the use of high-failure strain Dyneema fibers, as well as woven fabrics and a highly-toughened resin system. The construction and materials pull from McLaren’s F1 experience, and includes the same fibers used as side-impact crash protection in the race car. Essentially, this armor is made from the same stuff that’s going into next year’s F1 competitor.
The end result is something lightweight, but tough and rigid enough to protect the client. The armor was designed to be discreet as well, and was perfectly tailored to the client’s body to be hidden under a shirt. Responsible for its creation was McLaren’s Applied Technologies division, which apparently has a hand in developing health care products. “From digital therapeutics, to tailored human performance programs and bespoke medical devices, our aim is to innovate health care solutions that can be tailored for individual patients,” says Dr. Adam Hill, McLaren’s Chief Medical Officer. Yeah, I didn’t know McLaren had a Chief Medical Officer, either.
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McLaren Teams Up with BMW to Develop Next-Generation Drivetrains
British sports car manufacturer McLaren has announced a new strategic partnership to design and develop technology for its next generation of powertrains. The new project, which is part of the company’s "Track22" business plan, includes six different partners, including the BMW Group.
Details are scant as of this writing, but McLaren’s brief statement on the matter talks about "new combustion technology that will deliver a higher output per capacity than currently possible." The British brand also aims to further reduce CO2 emissions, while simultaneously increasing engine output.
Supported and partly-funded by the British Government through the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), the collaboration also includes Ricardo, McLaren’s existing engine manufacturing partner. Grainger and Worrall will join in to deliver complex, lightweight casting technology, while Lentus Composite will contribute knowledge in specialist composite structure. Finally, the University of Bath will bring its advanced research and development capabilities in internal combustion engine systems efficiency.
"This is an exciting project that plays to the strengths of all partners. McLaren Automotive has an exceptional reputation for building the world’s finest engines, as showcased by our M838T and its previous category wins in the International Engine of the Year awards. We will continue to independently design and build our own engines, and the benefits of this project will help us accelerate the development of our next generation of powertrain," said Mike Flewitt, CEO of McLaren Automotive.
The result of this collaboration will most likely motivate all future McLarens, including the successor to the P1 supercar and the next-generation Super Series.
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McLaren Launches Partnership With Epic Games To Integrate Unreal Engine For Auto Design Use
Cross-industry partnerships are commonplace in the auto industry, especially these days with technology playing such a key role in shaping the business towards the future. McLaren considers itself as one of the automakers leading this charge and that became more apparent at the 2016 Game Developers Conference when it announced a partnership with Epic Games. McLaren will use Unreal Engine 4 software to help design its models.
For those who don’t know, Unreal Engine 4 is the latest version of the Unreal Engine game development tool. The tool is the most successful video game engine ever, as cited by no less than the Guinness Book of World Records. While it’s core function remains in the industry of video games, the technology has since branched out and has been licensed in other industries, including education, training and construction simulations, virtual reality, CG animation, and with the announcement of this partnership with McLaren, the auto industry.
McLaren design manager Mark Roberts spoke about the partnership at the conference, calling it a huge step for McLaren in creating “a range of new tools, new virtual tools in the visualization field.” Roberts also said that as part of the new collaboration, McLaren has already sent capture data from all of its cars to Epic, in addition to actual paint samples, material samples of the paint and fabric, and audio recordings of things like engine noise.
That’s part and parcel tied into the first product to come out of this new collaboration, which has been dubbed the “Customer Configurator.” Using this consumer facing tool, would-be buyers of McLaren cars can fully customize their cars similar to how sneakerheads do it through Nike’s ID editor. If you’ve seen how that works, it basically allows a customer to mix and match paint colors to see which one he likes. In the case of McLaren, that level of customization can extend all the way to the interior with the seat and surface materials, as well as trim and color options.
The objective of the configurator is to give prospective buyers the chance to essentially imprint their personalities into the car that they’d like to buy. It’s a new level of customization that Roberts said will “revolutionize” the way the British automaker designs its cars.
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Imagine driving a car on a rainy day with no windshield wipers. Sure, water-repelling chemicals help a bit, but without wipers, driving could get tricky. Modern automobiles are a result of over 100 years of evolution, and today’s supercars are unlike anything the father of the automobile would’ve dreamed of.
The 21st-century automobile is a complex system of mechanical and electronic parts, but some old bits, like the windshield wipers, are still a part of each and every car that rolls out of its respective factory. Well, McLaren has now embarked on a quest to completely revolutionize the concept of the windshield wiper.
The company plans to replace the mechanical wiper with an invisible force that would make these parts unnecessary. According to McLaren’s chief designer, Frank Stephenson, McLaren is currently working on a system that will use high-frequency sound waves across the windshield to keep it free of all debris, which is similar to the system used on modern fighter jets today.
Modern supercars do look like road-going fighter jets and use carbon composites and other materials from the aeronautics industry, so why not add more aerospace technology to the mix?
Mechanical wipers cause substantial aerodynamic loses and when it comes to supercars, like the McLaren P1, engineers spend months on end perfecting its aero-performance.So, the industry would definitely benefit if wipers as we know are replaced by sound waves.
What McLaren in planning, is to use an ultrasonic transducer to emit 30 kHz sound waves to help debris just bounce off the windshield. Of course, this a more simplified explanation and we’re sure it’s much more complicated than that.
There is no word on when this technology may be ready.
Click past the jump to read more about the Mclaren P1 hypercar
McLaren Automotive has found a new way for people like us to “make it rain” with our ’Monopoly’ money and build our very own, customized McLaren MP4-12C with its new online configurator. The configurator was designed by using data from the McLaren Automotive design and engineering teams at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, England. In the process, these chaps have given us the opportunity to waste our time doling out millions of possible color combinations that we can use to dress up our imaginary MP4-12C. It can’t get any better than that.
The online configurator gives you the option of choosing between 31 different exterior colors and five different leather trim options. You can further design your McLaren by opting for the “Driver Zone” interior option. This allows the designer to add leather, carbon, and Alcantara to the surrounding areas of the driver’s seat. Performance upgrades are also included in the configurator and consist of a lightweight sports exhaust system, carbon ceramic brake discs, polished-finish calipers and two different lightweight forged wheel options. Media and navigational options round off this wishful-thinking, lunch-hour-absorbing trip down to the McLaren Institute of Fine Design (not a real place, I totally made it up).
You can check out the press release as well as a couple of real pros design their own McLarens after the jump. 2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button and 2008 World Champion Lewis Hamilton spend a little time with the online configurator in a short film made by McLaren.