Telekinetic Boarding (sport of the futurepresent)

Posted by on February 22nd, 2012
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Read the how & the who at Engadget…

“It was us who burnt the sky”

Posted by on May 20th, 2011

…is the title Tim Maly gave to this photo of the recent Space Shuttle launch, taken by Trey Ratcliff:

The Jetman Cometh

Posted by on May 11th, 2011
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Flying his jet-propelled wing attached to his back, and steering only by moving his body, Rossy launched from a helicopter at 2,440 metres above the the Grand Canyon, according to his Geneva press office.

Skimming the rockscape at speeds of up to 300km per hour, Jetman sustained flight for more than eight minutes, 60 metres above the rim of Grand Canyon West before deploying his parachute and landing smoothly on the canyon floor.

[More at:]

New Autogyro Is An Alternative to Flying Cars

Posted by on January 22nd, 2011


From Wired:

Never mind the flying car. It’s all about slowed-rotor/compound, according to Carter Aviation Technologies. SR/C is what the Texas company considers the key to a practical, personal transportation aircraft. And from the looks of its new, second-generation aircraft, Carter might be on to something.

The company’s latest flight test aircraft is a proof-of-concept version of a four-seat autogyro capable of vertical takeoff and landing. Carter has been flight-testing the aircraft and earlier this month completed a 36 minute flight, its longest yet. In addition to the size, the new aircraft reduces pilot workload by using automated systems and computer controls similar to many new aircraft.

Hot Train

Posted by on January 20th, 2011


Railroad cars carrying some 123 tons of nuclear waste glow red-hot in an infrared picture taken in Valognes (map), France, in November and released by Greenpeace International as part of an antinuclear-power campaign that included arranging protests that delayed the train’s progress.

The train is hauling a so-called CASTOR convoy, named after the type of container carried: Cask for Storage and Transport Of Radioactive material. These trademarked casks have been used since 1995 to transport nuclear waste from German power plants to France for reprocessing, then back to Germany for storage.

“High-level waste is in fact hot,” said nuclear energy and proliferation expert Matthew Bunn. “It doesn’t mean anything in particular in terms of how dangerous it is.”

From nationalgeographic.

Land Crawler eXtreme

Posted by on November 22nd, 2010
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And the winner for best intro video for a freaky new robot goes to: Land Crawler eXtreme.

Singularity Hub tells us:

Capitulating to his son’s demands for a riding robot, Vagabond Works took inspiration from Theo Jansen’s legendary Strandbeests and created a mobile platform that walks as you stand atop it. The Land Crawler eXtreme moves with an eerily biological gait and can carry between 15 and 80 kg.

Or, as Benjamin van Gaalen said, pinging me about this, “surely these legs are for carrying Futurama style brainpods around”. Indeed.

LandCrawler eXtreme走行テスト  [無料ホームページ]

The Urbee Hybrid is the first car to come out of a printer

Posted by on November 3rd, 2010


3D Printers are getting ever more advanced and, apparently, ever bigger too. Proof to that is the Urbee Hybrid, the result of a partnership between transportation company Kor Ecologic and Stratasys, who we’ve already seen shamelessly rebranding its 3D printers as HP Designjets. Kor provided the concept and the underpinnings of the thing, a design that amazingly has its roots in the early ’90s but has been given a new, teardrop body 100 percent printed by Stratasys. Underneath is a plug-in hybrid powertrain that manages up to 200mpg on the highway and 100mpg around town running on ethanol or plain ‘ol gasoline.

No plans for production (so far). Via

Pioneer’s prototype windshield HUD

Posted by on October 21st, 2010

Pioneer have prototyped windshield HUD technology:

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It uses lasers. Therefore it is Science!

Cyborg fly pilots robotic vehicle through a simple obstacle course

Posted by on August 27th, 2010

Further proof we’re living in the Future. From IEEE Spectrum:

Chauncey Graetzel and colleagues at ETH Zurich’s Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems started by building a miniature IMAX movie theater for their fly. Inside, they glued the insect facing a LED screen that flashed different patterns. These patterns visually stimulated the fly to beat its left or right wing faster or slower, and a vision system translated the wing motion into commands to steer the robot in real time.

The fly, in other words, believed to be airborne when in reality it was fixed to a tether, watching a virtual-reality simulation and controlling a robot at a distance.

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The key component in their setup was a high-speed computer vision system that captured the beating of the fly’s wings. It extracted parameters such as wing beat frequency, amplitude, position, and phase. This data, in turn, was used to drive the mobile robot. Closing the loop, the robot carried cameras and proximity sensors; an algorithm transformed this data stream into the light patterns displayed on the LED screen.

In a paper in the July 2010 issue of IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering, they describe the vision system’s latest version. It uses a camera that focuses on a small subset of pixels of interest (the part of the fly’s wings responsible for most lift, for instance) and a predictive algorithm that constantly reevaluates and selects this subset. The researchers report that their system can sample the wings at 7 kilohertz — several times as fast as other tracking techniques.”As autonomous robots get smaller, their size and speed approach that of the biological counterparts from which they are often inspired,” they write in the paper, adding that their technique could “be relevant to the tracking of micro and nano robots, where high relative velocities make them hard to folow and where robust visual position feedback is crucial for sensing and control.”

The ETH group, led by professor Bradley Nelson, head of the Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems, performed their main Cyborg Fly experiments two years ago. It’s not the only “flight simulator” for flies, and other research groups have used insects to control robots. But still, the ETH project stands out because of its high-speed vision component. This system could be useful not only for biology research, to study insect flight and track fast movements of appendages or the body, but also for industrial applications — for monitoring a production line or controlling fast manipulators, for example.

Here’s Your F&$*ing Jetpack

Posted by on March 13th, 2010

According to Alex Eichler over at io9, the New Zealand-based Martin Aircraft Company is officially producing the world’s first commercial Jetpack.  As an ultralight aircraft you don’t even need a license to fly it in the United States.  For only 90 grand you can zoom around at 60 miles an hour and get yourself about a mile high with nothing but a jet strapped to your ass.  (Provided you and your ass, as a package, weigh between 140 and 240 pounds.)

Gryphon tactical wingsuits = covert death from above

Posted by on December 3rd, 2009

I really wasn’t sure what I wanted for Christmas until now.  In fact, this is just the sort of system a twenty-first century Santa needs.

From WIRED’s Danger Room:

…described as a modular upgrade for parachute systems for use in “high-altitude, high-opening” jump missions, typically carried out by Special Forces. This 6-foot wing gives a glide ratio of 5:1, which means that a drop from 30,000 feet will allow you to glide about 30 miles. The makers estimate that this would take around 15 minutes, giving an average speed of about 60 miles an hour.

“All equipment is hidden in a lifting body optimized for stealth, the radar-signature is extremely low,” says the Gryphon data sheet (PDF). “Detection of incoming Gryphon soldiers by airborne or ground radar will be extremely difficult.”

Gryphon has a guidance system and heads-up display navigation. Best of all, the company are looking at an option for bolting on small engines similar to those used in Yves Rossy’s setup. These will increase the range to more than 60 miles, but will also make it possible to cover long distances from low altitude so that the entire mission can be more stealthy.

Yes, so while Yvs Rossy (aka Fusion Man) won’t sell to the military, other companies are happy to.

thanks to my buddy Tone for the tip-off!


Could airships be the new trains?

Posted by on September 30th, 2009

This crazy beautiful design from the Re-Burbia competition, the Airbia, is just the kind of madness we need to fix this broken world.

Wouldn’t you rather board an alien mothership for your commute to the cubicle?

The proposed airship has a capacity to carry 400 people and travel with an avarage of 150 km/h speed on a hight between 30 – 500 meters. Instead of having a major airship station, Airbia proposes a more dispersed network of station-platforms, that constist of staircases, lifts and ticket spaces. This way the system becomes much more flexible, since these drop off – pick up platforms can be placed almost anywhere in the city 

thanks for the tip-off Bindy!

Video: Paperclips do magnetic dance on train

Posted by on July 16th, 2009


The video — shot on the Rokko Liner in Kobe, Japan — shows how paperclips stand on end when the train accelerates and brakes. The magnetism, which is produced by the electric current that drives the motors located under the floor, apparently poses no harm to the human body, though it could damage credit cards, mobile phones, or other electronic devices if left on the floor. The Kobe New Transit Company, which operates the Rokko Liner (as well as the Port Liner, which uses similar trains), says extra shielding is being installed just in case.

The Autonomobile – a passengercentric, driverless car

Posted by on July 15th, 2009

From A Distinctive World:

The Autonomobile (ATNMBL) is a concept car is designed around passenger, rather than driver, experience with architectural styling, a lounge-like interior and fully glazed sides

Babel 2.0 – Scientists pitch an inflatable tower to touch the sky

Posted by on June 8th, 2009

Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel

From NewScientist:

Inflatable pneumatic modules already used in some spacecraft could be assembled into a 15-kilometre-high tower, say Brendan Quine, Raj Seth and George Zhu at York University in Toronto, Canada, writing in Acta Astronautica (DOI: 10.1016/j.actaastro.2009.02.018). If built from a suitable mountain top it could reach an altitude of around 20 kilometres, where it could be used for atmospheric research, tourism, telecoms or launching spacecraft.

The team envisages assembling the structure from a series of modules constructed from Kevlar-polyethylene composite tubes made rigid by inflating them with a lightweight gas such as helium. To test the idea, they built a 7-metre scale model made up of six modules. Each module was built out of three laminated polyethylene tubes 8 centimetres in diameter, mounted around circular spacers and inflated with air.

To stay upright and withstand winds, full-scale structures would require gyroscopes and active stabilisation systems in each module. The team modelled a 15-kilometre tower made up of 100 modules, each one 150 metres tall and 230 metres in diameter, built from inflatable tubes 2 metres across. Quine estimates it would weigh about 800,000 tonnes when pressurised – around twice the weight of the world’s largest supertanker.

Mazda’s car for 2050

Posted by on May 31st, 2009

This is some serious industrial design/car pr0n. From Pink Tentacle:


In Mazda’s vision of the late 2050s, advances in molecular engineering have rendered metal-based manufacturing obsolete. The rise of ubiquitous computing and artificial intelligence drastically accelerates the automotive production cycle…A “haptic skin” suit consisting of millions of microscopic actuators enables the driver to experience the road psycho-somatically while receiving electrical muscle stimulation from the onboard AI guidance system…The vehicle’s entire structure is comprised of a 100% reprototypable, carbon nanotube/shape memory alloy weave with a photovoltaic coating, which allows the vehicle to mimic the driver’s body movements while powering the in-wheel electrostatic motors.

Keep reading for more..

via Futurismic

EyeStop – Italy’s 21C bus stops

Posted by on May 28th, 2009

From cnet:

eye stop

The EyeStop is a touch-screen bus shelter that monitors environmental conditions and real-time bus movement and also provides information and communication tools that can interact with your cell phone.

The EyeStop, which has touch sensitive e-Ink screens as well as LEDs, features a bus map plotting locations in real-time, e-mail and Web access, tools for planning a best route and getting directions, a community bulletin board, and, of course, a place for silent video advertisements. It will also use sensors to monitor and display local air quality.

Riders can choose to have their local EyeStop bus stop sync with their cell phone. The EyeStop you normally frequent, for example, could twitter you that your usual bus is running late that morning.

Intended for tourists as well as locals, the EyeStop tools will be accessible in several languages.

pole versionThe bus shelter and bus pole versions of the EyeStop will power themselves with solar energy, but they won’t be one-size-fits-all.

Each EyeStop will be customized by a computer program that takes into account the stop’s immediate surroundings. As a result, each can be built to fit into the existing space using steel, glass, and gray stone local to Florence. The software also considers maximum sunlight exposure for the location to determine power generation needs.


via chris arkenberg

The end of the road

Posted by on May 19th, 2009


The Chariot mobility device

Posted by on April 16th, 2009

From medGadget:

As you can see in the clip, movement of the device is controlled through subtle movements of the hips and lower torso by sensing pressure changes and weight balance shifting. This is battery operated with a reported top speed of 12 MPH.

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Test flight video of Terrafugia’s “roadable aircraft”

Posted by on March 18th, 2009

Not quite a flying car, but Terrafugia’s “roadable aircracraft” is the closest thing yet.

From Xconomy:

..the two-seat, four-wheeled, carbon-fiber-composite aircraft, which can fly up to 450 miles at 115 miles per hour and is distinguished by folding wings that ratchet out of the way when it’s on the ground. That makes the craft just 80 inches wide, narrow enough to tool down the highway—where it can go up to 65 mph and get 30 miles to the gallon.

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But with an estimated price of $194,000, will there still be anyone rich enough to buy one by the time they’re ready to be sold?

thanks to Nora Wainwright for the tip-off!