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David Szondy

Good Thinking

Seiko creates insanely complex machine that does very little, beautifully

Watchmaking may seem like the ultimate in humorless efficiency, but Seiko has created an extremely complicated machine that does one very silly task beautifully. The centerpiece of a three-minute video, the "Art of Time" takes watch parts and turns them into a playful mechanical cityscape that recalls the Rube Goldberg or Heath Robinson contraptions of the last century – or possibly the boardgame Mouse Trap.Read More

Inventors & Remarkable People Feature

The stopwatch: 200 years old and still ticking

Time stopped 200 years ago … then it was restarted, stopped again, and reset. No, this isn't some obscure retrospective application of relativity, we're talking about the invention of the stopwatch. In 1816 Louis Monet created a device known as the compteur de tierces – a fascinating tale in itself that only came to light a few years ago – and the era in which intervals of time could be accurately measured began. The advent of these little second counters has not only had a profound impact on our daily lives, but changed our very definition of time. Let's take a look back at how it all started.Read More

Space

SpaceX raises prices to lower them

SpaceX has done so well in bringing down launch costs that it's raising its prices. That may seem paradoxical, but all is not what it seems. As well as making great strides towards its goal of a reusable launch system with three sea landings in a row, SpaceX has made improvements in rocket engine technology which mean that while launch prices look like they are going up, they're actually going down.Read More

Space

New Shepard's parachute set to fail on next flight in the interests of safety

Blue Origin Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has revealed that when the New Shepard suborbital launch system takes to the skies later this month, the unmanned crew capsule won't come floating gently back to Earth. Instead, like a series of tests conducted by NASA on the Orion space capsule, the flight engineers plan to create a controlled parachute failure to test the emergency systems designed to protect the crew in the event of such a scenario.Read More

Robotics

Jackrabbot plays nice with pedestrians

With the era of autonomous cars almost upon us, engineers at Stanford University are already working on something more difficult – robots that can share the pavement with pedestrians. Jackrabbot may look like a backyard BB8 with WALL-E's head stuck on, but its function goes beyond cuteness. It's designed to interact with pedestrians and learn from them how to get around without bumping into people or annoying them.Read More

Drones

MQ-9 Reaper Big Wing sets Predator flight endurance record

The latest version of General Atomics' unmanned Predator drone has set a new endurance record for the aircraft. In a 10-hour improvement over the previous Predator, the company reported its next-generation Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper Big Wing aircraft flew for over 37 hours non-stop while carrying out a simulated reconnaissance mission over California.Read More

Space Feature

Leap into the lunar unknown: Fifty years since the landmark launch of Surveyor 1

Space travel can still be dramatic in 2016, but it's a cakewalk compared to half a century ago. Today marks 50 years since the unmanned Surveyor I probe lifted off from Cape Canaveral, and when it landed in the Oceanus Procellarum on June 2, 1966, it was more than the first US soft landing on the Moon, it was a leap into the unknown. Launched at the height of the Space Race and the depth of the Cold War, the stakes for the first of seven Surveyor missions were incredibly high, as NASA wrestled with untried technologies and questions about the basic nature of the Moon that could make or break any hope of a manned landing.Read More

Space

Inflatable module pops to full size on ISS

With the sound of popping corn, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) aboard the ISS has successfully been inflated on the second try in three days. At 4:10 pm EDT today, the experimental habitat expanded to its full size after a nearly seven-and-a-half hour operation. During this time, NASA astronaut Jeff Williams slowly fed air into the module while being monitored by mission control at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.Read More

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