In the netherworld between handheld ultra-mobile PCs and clunky full-featured laptops, there lies the niche market for the ultraportable notebook. Like cyclists stripping every last ounce off their racing bikes, manufacturers take the familiar notebook, trim the fat, and make everything remaining smaller and lighter. Sony clearly took this extreme cyclist-minded approach - right down to the carbon fiber - with their latest ultraportable, the Vaio TZ. At a feather-light 2.6 pounds, it’s an ultraportable notebook that will barely even register on your bathroom scale, much less slow you down when you have places to be.
The first thing to note about the Vaio TZ is that it’s composed of that pricy and popular composite that’s now synonymous with high performance - carbon fiber. The TZ’s case is constructed of gel-coated carbon fiber, which Sony says lends the laptop a “rustic yet urbane sophistication.” Translation: it looks really nice. Whether or not a laptop needs the same material used in everything from Formula 1 cars to Boeing’s new 787 is ultimately irrelevant - Sony chose carbon fiber to make a say two things: light and fast.
On the fiddle
The J Oscar Carbon Fiber Bow is a basic, dependable and functional choice for the serious amateur or rising student, or professional looking for a “pit” bow. It does it all: Spicatto, Sautille, Ricichet and other complex strokes while producing a warm articulate tone. Its one-piece hand made construction and ebony and German silver frog design make this bow a great choice all for around $100. For an extra $5,400 you can get a carbon fibre violin to go with it as well.
Bike frame by Carbon Fiber Products
Weighing in at less than one kilo, this road bike frame by Carbon Fiber Products is just about as good as it gets. Less weight isn’t always king in the world of cycling. But when a reduction in weight can be combined with an increase in rigidity- that’s always the way to go.
All you’ve got to do now is figure out where to put the wheels.
K-2 All Terrain Wheelchair
Racing ahead with wheelchair design
At the heart of every modern racing car you will find a special carbon-fibre shell known as a ‘monocoque’. This incredibly strong structure plays two important roles: it encases and protects the driver and acts as a frame to which the car’s structural components can be attached. A British engineering company has used its experience of manufacturing parts for F1 cars to create the world’s first commercially available ‘monocoque’ wheelchair. This will change the way we think about wheelchair design forever. The new shape offers an extremely strong but lightweight chair with a Formula 1-inspired seat sculpted to fit the driver’s body comfortably.
First published in Men's Passion issue #12 April 2009