Lexus hoverboard

Cool technology from car companies

Lexus shocked the world with a real, working hoverboard. The floating board may not work exactly like the one we grew up dreaming about after watching the Back To The Future series of films, but it's the most credible attempt at the futuristic technology we've yet seen.

Lexus isn't the first automaker to delve into the technology waters. And we don't just mean the tech that's packed into modern cars. Take a look at some of the impressive technology rolling out of the labs of companies most people think just make cars.

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Honda's Asimo robot waves in front of a Honda Insight hybrid

Honda's Asimo robot

You've probably seen Asimo. The robot from Honda, the name of which is derived from the tagline "Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility," is one of the most advanced robots in the world. He's even got his own dedicated website.

Honda embarked on research into Asimo way back in 1986. The first prototype stood 6’ 2” tall, and weighed 386 pounds! Since then, Asimo has gotten much more advanced, and has shrunk in size considerably.

What does the future hold for Asimo? According to Honda, "Someday ASIMO might help with important tasks like assisting the elderly or a person confined to a bed or a wheelchair. ASIMO might also perform certain tasks that are dangerous to humans, such as fighting fires or cleaning up toxic spills."

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Toyota robots in Japan

Toyota's Robots

Toyota isn't about to let Honda bask in all the robotic glory by itself. Above are the i-foot (left) and one-seater i-unit (center and right).

The two-legged walking i-foot is controlled via a joystick, and, as you can see, has room for one lone occupant. The i-unit, on the other hand, is a shape-shifting robot on wheels.

Like Honda, Toyota has been working on robots for years, going so far as to create bots that can play entire musical scores. In the future, Toyota believes its robots will serve as human companions and help take care of sick and elderly patients.

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Team USA BMW bobsled

BMW's bobsleds

Going into the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, the USA Men's Bobsled Team hadn't won a medal in 62 years. With the help of BMW, that streak ended with Team USA taking home bronze. The Women's Bobsled team did even better, clinching both silver and bronze.

BMW's bobsleds are made from carbon fiber, a composite material that's being used more and more in automobiles, including the high-tech i-Series from BMW. The German automaker also developed a motion tracking system to help US swimmers train more effectively for the Olympic Games.

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Yamaha classical piano

Yamaha musical instruments

Lots of people are familiar with Yamaha. In addition to its strong presence in the motorcycle world, the Japanese company does a lot of engineering for automobile firms, designing such complex items as V6 and V8 engines for companies like Ford and Volvo.

But Yamaha actually got its start building musical instruments, way back in 1887. Pay close attention to the company's logo and you'll see it's derived from three tuning forks. Yamaha's first motorcycle didn't hit the scene until 1954.

Today, Yamaha is the world's largest manufacturer of musical instruments. Pianos, guitars, drums, woodwinds and stringed instruments galore are all produced by Yamaha, not to mention high-tech electronic instruments.



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