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David Szondy

Artist's impression of ALIAS, a drop-in automated flight control system designed to make t...

Flying a military aircraft is the classic example of long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of terror. Part of the reason for this is that despite half a century of creating automated flight systems, emergencies still require flight crews to multitask like a one-tentacled octopus. DARPA is hoping to change this with its Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) program aimed at producing a drop-in automated flight control system designed to make the pilot's life simpler while reducing the size of flight crews.  Read More

Artist's impression of ISEE-3 on a lunar flyby (Image: NASA)

Putting classic cars on the road or classic boats on the water isn’t that odd, but what about putting a classic spacecraft back into service? The ISEE-3 Reboot Project is a crowdfunding effort aimed at reactivating a comet-chasing space probe launched in the 1970s. Using a radio telescope and a software emulator of the original control equipment to contact and reactivate the hibernating unmanned probe, the hope is to use the International Sun/Earth Explorer 3 (ISEE-3) to conduct a privately funded mission to fly by a comet.  Read More

The first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket has made a controlled power landing on the surface ...

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has confirmed that the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket that boosted the CRS-3 Dragon spacecraft into orbit made a controlled power landing on the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. The historic first controlled landing of a liquid booster was tracked by telemetry and recorded on video. Unfortunately, heavy seas destroyed the rocket before recovery operations could retrieve it.  Read More

The magazine cover is so small that 2,000 can fit on a grain of salt

IBM has unveiled the world’s smallest magazine cover at the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, DC. Certified by the Guinness Book of World Records, the micro magazine is a reproduction of the cover of the March 2014 issue of National Geographic Kids and is many times smaller than a grain of salt at just 11 × 14 micrometers. Why, you ask? The tiny cover was created to demonstrate potential of a new nano-scale manufacturing technology, as well to encourage young people’s interest in science and technology.  Read More

Using implantable sensors linked wirelessly to external modules, the goal is to provide li...

Many modern prosthetic limbs are so intricate that they seem like something from the sci-fi cyborg realm. Unfortunately, to the wearer these marvels still feel like lumps of dead metal and plastic. DARPA's recently announced Hand Proprioception and Touch Interfaces (HAPTIX) program aims to change this. Using implantable sensors linked wirelessly to external modules, the goal is to provide lifelike prosthetic limbs with such a high degree of sensory feedback that they bring a sense of being part of the the wearer’s body, not something just strapped on.  Read More

The Arcturus Jump system is designed to give UAVs VTOL capability without the weight penal...

Fixed-wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles have a lot of advantages over manned aircraft, but much of that is lost when they get too big to be launched by hand and start needing runways and catapults to get aloft. Vertical Takeoff and Landing systems seem like an obvious alternative, but the extra weight of these systems can limit the advantages they offer. Arcturus UAV in Northern California unveiled its solution this week with its Jump VTOL system. Using self-contained electric lift motors, this add-on system is designed to provide tactical UAVs with VTOL capabilities without the usual penalties of payload and range.  Read More

The peacock mantis shrimp has a punch like a .22 bullet (Photo: Carlos Puma)

A new lightweight, super strong material has been discovered thanks to one of nature’s most violent sociopaths. The peacock mantis shrimp may look like a colorful, reasonably mild-mannered aquarium dweller, but its claws have the punch of a .22 bullet. A team of researchers led by University of California, Riverside, has developed a carbon composite that imitates the claw’s structure. The result is a promising new material that may one day be used to build cars and airplanes.  Read More

The Optionally Piloted Black Hawk (OPBH) Demonstrator program aims at developing aircraft ...

While autonomous aircraft are now a well established part of military operations, there are some areas where “pilot optional” is still very much synonymous with “cutting edge.” Case in point is Optionally Piloted Black Hawk (OPBH) Demonstrator developed by the Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. In cooperation with the US Army, Sikorsky demonstrated the helicopter's capabilities for the first time in an autonomous cargo delivery exercise on March 11 at Sikorsky’s Development Flight Center.  Read More

The Denza made its première at Auto China 2014

The auto market in China looks set to continue expanding dramatically and this hasn't failed to catch the eyes of the big players in the car industry. At Auto China 2014 in Beijing, Shenzhen BYD Daimler New Technology Co., Ltd presented the world premiere of the production model of its Denza; the first all-electric vehicle for the Chinese market produced by the first Sino-German electric car joint venture.  Read More

Hitachi's new ultra-high-speed elevators will be installed in the Guangzhou CTF Finance Ce...

Hitachi has announced that it’s installing the world's fastest ultra-high-speed elevators in the Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre skyscraper in Guangzhou, China. Making up two out of a total of 95 elevators in the building, the new lifts use a range of technologies to produce record-breaking speeds of 1,200 m/min (that's 44.7 mph, or 72 km/h) while still meeting the necessary standards of safety and comfort according to Hitachi.  Read More

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