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Originally published October 1, 2009 at 12:12 AM | Page modified October 1, 2009 at 6:12 PM

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Brier Dudley

Lamborghini becomes big wheel on campus

On Tuesday, UW will officially open the Automobili Lamborghini Advanced Composite Structures Laboratory, which is being repainted in Lamborghini colors.

Seattle Times staff columnist

Excerpts from the blog

The University of Washington is saying grazie mille to Italian supercar-maker Lamborghini, which donated $1 million to support the school's research into composite materials used to build airplanes and high-performance cars.

On Tuesday, the school will officially open the Automobili Lamborghini Advanced Composite Structures Laboratory, which is being repainted in Lamborghini colors.

An invitation to the event said Lamborghini made the contribution "to aid in furthering carbon fiber technologies for increased safety and weight reduction of future products. This is in line with Lamborghini's goal to improve the power-to-weight ratio of its vehicles by reducing the weight of its materials. Carbon fiber is the best material for nearly all applications which are essential to creating Lamborghini's super sports cars and achieving these goals, as it is lighter, stiffer and more versatile."

It also helps that the UW employs Paolo Feraboli, an assistant professor in aerospace structures and materials. He's a leading researcher on the safety and crashworthiness of composite materials and he worked at Lamborghini in 2002.

The latest example of this application is the new limited-edition Murcielago LP 670-4 SuperVeloce, which uses carbon composites in its floor, transmission tunnel and much of the outer skin.

It also has a 100 percent carbon-fiber spoiler in front, rear finishes in carbon and an optional "Aeropack" carbon wing.

Stephan Winkelmann, Lamborghini's president and CEO, is flying in from Italy for Tuesday's ceremony.

Also on hand will be UW officials and Scott Carson, the Boeing executive who until recently headed its commercial-airplane group that builds carbon-fiber jetliners. Maybe they can trade tips on fastening composite components.

But the suits probably won't get as much attention as the collection of Lamborghinis that will be on display outside Guggenheim Hall.

Tablet wars

Are Apple and Microsoft playing PR games — or trying to psych each other out — with dueling leaks about their upcoming tablet devices?

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The latest round in the whisper campaign told blogger Mary Jo Foley that Microsoft's "Courier" tablet runs Windows 7, builds on the OneNote concept, rectifies shortcomings of TabletPC apps and may be built and sold by Microsoft in mid-2010.

She's following up on the original Courier leak to Gizmodo.

With Microsoft getting some mindshare for its tablet, whispers about Apple's new tablet began appearing this week.

The iLounge blog has a tantalizing batch of details about the device, which now has a 10.7-inch-diameter screen, runs the iPhone OS and will be available in early 2010 with and without 3G wireless service.

It's not a netbook or productivity tool as much as a media tablet, bringing apps and Apple services to a larger device.

Both sound like major challengers to Amazon.com's Kindle and other e-book readers, if they can keep the prices reasonable.

If the rumors are to be believed.

Wear it and smile

VholdR is boosting its line of wearable video cameras with a 1080p version going on sale this month.

The $330 eggroll-sized device holds up to 3.5 hours of 1080p video on a MicroSD card and has dual lasers for alignment. It follows a 720p model VholdR announced in April.

VholdR was started in 2003 by University of Washington students and avid skiers Marc Barros and Jason Green, who proposed a helmet camera venture in a business-plan competition.

Barros said VholdR is profitable and has a staff of 15.

MIXing it up

The city of Seattle's chief technology officer, Bill Schrier, was elected president of the Metropolitan Information Exchange, an organization of tech managers for cities with populations over 100,000.

Schrier, an enthusiastic user of social-media tools such as blogs and Twitter, has been Seattle's CTO since 2003.

It remains to be seen what will happen to him next year, after his boss is replaced by either Joe Mallahan or Mike McGinn.

Maybe he should mount a T-Mobile device on his bike.

This material has been edited for print publication.

Brier Dudley's blog excerpts appear Thursdays. Reach him at 206-515-5687 or bdudley@seattletimes.com.

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About Brier Dudley

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.
bdudley@seattletimes.com | 206-515-5687

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