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Toyota has a new two-page ad which can be found in the first few pages of the December issue of Scientific American. It touts the "Idea Expo" that Toyota holds each year to encourage their employees to think in fresh new ways. The picture shows a Toyota engineer* on the boardwalk of a beach riding a land surfboard. The interesting thing is that the wheels of the surfboard are our familiar friend, the planetary gear set, which is the main gearing arrangement in our Prius transmission.

Seems a bit impractical though (which may be a good thing in this contest) since I don't think planetary gear sets are good at dealing with lateral forces.

* you can tell he's an engineer because he's struggling to maintain his balance on an incredibly stable looking platform :p
 
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