Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

David Szondy

Artist's impression of the Imaging UltraViolet Spectrograph (IUVS) on NASA's MAVEN spacecr...

"Dodging a bullet" is a well-worn cliche, but it looks as if the small armada of space probes orbiting Mars dodged a shrapnel blast last month. According to observations made by NASA and ESA orbiters, the extremely close flyby of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring was accompanied by a meteor shower larger than any seen on Earth.  Read More

The Adaptive Compliant Trailing Edge (ACTE) flap undergoing testing at  NASA’s Armstrong F...

In January, we looked at FlexFoil; a variable geometry airfoil system that seamlessly integrates into the trailing edge of the wing. During the year the system has made the leap from the test bench to the sky, with NASA conducting tests of the FlexFoil on a modified Gulfstream III business jet.  Read More

The BAE VR system is based on laser tracking and an interactive wand

Like many endeavors, making warships is a matter of specialization, with the various parts of the project scattered about the country or even across the world. For the Royal Navy and its principal shipbuilder BAE systems, this means engineers in Glasgow, Portsmouth, and Bristol having to work together despite being hundreds of miles apart. BAE’s answer is a network of "visualization suites" that allow teams to meet in a virtual environment where they can build and test designs as full-scale 3D prototypes before sending them to the shipyards.  Read More

HM6 is based on Captain Future's spaceship

When watchmaking collides with childhood memories, it usually ends with something along the lines of Mickey Mouse. But when Maximilian Büsse of MB&F was inspired by the 1970s cartoon character Captain Future, the result was Horological Machine No.6 (HM6) "Space Pirate." This luxury bit of haute horlogerie not only reflects the style of an outer space adventurer’s ship, but is also piece of high-tech mechanical watchmaking with 475 components – 80 in the case alone.  Read More

Wally Schirra examines the Hasselblad camera alongside Deke Slayton (L), and Gordon Cooper...

The first Hasselblad camera body and Zeiss lens sent into space during the Mercury-Atlas 8 mission in 1962 and the Mercury-Atlas 9 mission the following year are up for auction. The historic camera set, which was originally purchased over the counter, goes on the auction block on November 13 at the gallery of Boston-based RR Auction.  Read More

The Robot Positioning System allows the Baxter robot to work in a human/robot mixed enviro...

The robotic revolution is very often less about replacing human workers than finding ways of working alongside them. That means being as flexible at doing tasks as humans, as well as being able to work with all the jostling and chaos that people take for granted. Rethink Robotics’ new Robot Positioning System lets the Baxter robot do factory work without being bolted to the floor, adjusting itself as it endures random bumps.  Read More

The robot bartenders aboard the Quantum of the Seas can make two drinks a minute Not content with working as sales assistants and burger flippers, robots are landing jobs on cruise ships as bartenders and entertainers. Leading the way is Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas, which is currently on its maiden voyage.  Read More

Artist's impression of the Philae lander at site Agilkia (Image: ESA) Last month, ESA designated the spot where Rosetta’s Philae lander will touch down on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko as "Site J." However, the space agency didn't think that was zippy enough, so it's now known as "Agilkia," after an island on the Nile.  Read More

OSHbots are designed to not only identify and locate merchandise, but to speak to customer...

In the near future, you might be surprised to visit to the giant hardware store in your town and find yourself greeted by a chatty robot rather than a human sales assistant. A harbinger of this age of robotic shopping is being trialled with two Oshbot robot sales assistants at an Orchard Supply Hardware store in San Jose, California. Built by Lowe’s Innovation Labs and Silicon Valley technology company Fellow Robots using "science fiction prototyping," the OSHbots are designed to not only identify and locate merchandise, but to speak to customers in their own languages.  Read More

The F-35C making its first carrier landing (Image: US Navy)

On Monday at 12:18 pm PDT off the coast of San Diego, California, the F-35C Lightning II made its first arrested landing on an aircraft carrier. Taking place on the first day of a two-week sea trial, the landing of the F-35C test aircraft CF-03 on the flight deck of the nuclear-powered supercarrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) with test pilot commander Tony Wilson at the controls marked a major step towards the carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter entering operational service.  Read More

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