Photokina 2014 highlights

David Szondy

The 3D model shows the Homunculus Nebula surrounding Eta Carinae (Image: NASA Goddard (ins...

Using a 3D printer to make key fobs and automatic pistols is old hat. The latest thing is a 3D-printed model stellar nebulae. Using new telescopic observations, NASA has created a 3D model of the Homunculus Nebula that isn't just a string of mathematical equations, but a printable plan for a physical representation of an exploding star system. It’s intended to give astronomers a better understanding of the nature of the stars, but can also be downloaded and printed out by the public using a 3D printer.  Read More

The OG2 mission carries 17 satellites (Image: SpaceX)

SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket today, carrying six Orbcomm OG2 communication satellites in the second mission flight of a Falcon booster equipped with landing legs. At 11:15 am EDT, the Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The launch comes on the heels of three aborted attempts. The first, on May 10, was cancelled due to a helium leak; a second on June 20, was scratched because of a depressurization alarm in the second stage; and a third, on June 21, was called off because of bad weather.  Read More

The Firefly Alpha uses methane fuel and a plug-aerospike engine

The signs of a healthy industry isn't just growth or innovation, but a tendency to reach out and fill niche markets. A case in point is the small satellite launch company Firefly Space Systems, which recently unveiled its planned Alpha launcher. Aimed at the small satellite launch market, it's designed to launch satellites into low-Earth orbit (LEO) at very low cost with an unconventional aerospike engine. It is also the first orbital launcher to use methane as fuel.  Read More

The TNT Royal Rétro 43 has six second hands instead of one How can an upmarket analog watch compete in a digital world? Pierre DeRoche’s answer is its TNT Royal Rétro 43, which is based on the idea that if one second hand is good, six is better. Instead of one hand taking the tiresome journey around the entire dial, the TNT Royal Retro 43 has six; each measuring a 10-second interval before passing the job off to the next in a neat bit of mechanical choreography.  Read More

The ISEE-3 Reboot Project was unable to successfully file the craft's engine (Image: NASA)

The private effort to recover the 35-year old ISEE-3 spacecraft has ended in apparent failure. In an interview on National Public Radio (NPR), Keith Cowing of the ISEE-3 Reboot Project said that though the group had been able to establish radio contact with the unmanned probe, it was unsuccessful in getting the engines to fire properly. This means it will not be able to make the planned course correction and the craft will head back into deep space.  Read More

The public début of the F-35 was cancelled due to a technical issue (Photo: Lockheed Marti... There are going to be some disappointed aeronautical fans this weekend at the Royal International Air Tattoo in Gloucestershire, UK. The F-35B Lightning II fighter will not be making its scheduled international public début due to the grounding of the entire F-35 fleet after a runway incident in Florida.  Read More

The BMW charging system uses a primary coil in the floor and a secondary coil in the car

Electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids may be green and sustainable, but that doesn't mean much if you forget to plug them in the night before. To overcome this frustrating morning surprise, BMW Group is developing a new generation of wireless inductive charger technology that’s comparable in speed to cables, but requires no more effort than parking and pressing a button.  Read More

The MirrorBox projects 3D-mapped images onto solid objects

Advertising is a bit like an arms race, with businesses competing with one another in a never-ending battle for the eyes and ears of consumers. The latest salvo in this Don Draper war is the MirrorBox, billed as "the world's first projection-mapped display unit." Built by DisplayMapper, a division of London-based Projection Artworks, the MirrorBox is a self-contained projection system designed for retail spaces and points of sale that projects stereographically-mapped images onto three-dimensional objects.  Read More

Changing how orders are given to robotic joints has the potential to cut energy usage

Getting robots to carry out repetitive tasks precisely and untiringly is relatively easy. Getting them to do it in the most efficient way possible is another thing entirely. Unai Ugalde-Olea, lecturer in the Department of Electronics Technology of the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country is working on a new way of controlling robot joints that promises energy savings of up to 40 percent by changing the way the robot handles instructions.  Read More

The virtual cockpit display widens the pilot's field of vision

Imagine showing up at the airport to catch your flight, looking at your plane, and noticing that instead of windows, the cockpit is now a smooth cone of aluminum. It may seem like the worst case of quality control in history, but Airbus argues that this could be the airliner of the future. In a new US patent application, the EU aircraft consortium outlines a new cockpit design that replaces the traditional cockpit with one that uses 3D view screens instead of conventional windows.  Read More

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