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David Szondy

The glass-fibre cows at the Glastonbury Festival act as WiFi hotspots

Running on and off since 1970, Britain’s Glastonbury Festival is famous for hosting such acts as David Bowie, The Who, Coldplay, and Beyoncé. It’s also famous for its sea of mud and streams flowing through tents thanks to the typical English weather. This year, high tech meets the bucolic at the Festival as visitors are greeted by a herd of life-sized, glass-fiber cows that double as free Wi-Fi hotspots to keep them connected.  Read More

The system use 3D cameras to detect and record gestures

Quality control is a vital part of modern manufacturing. Not only does it decrease the chances of a dissatisfied customer, but it reduces waste and, therefore, cost. However, inspecting products on the assembly line can itself be expensive, time consuming, and not as accurate as it should be. To speed things up a bit, BMW has developed a new system for inspecting bumpers that uses gestures to allow inspectors to literally point out defects.  Read More

An F/A-18C Hornet is launched from a test runway using EMALS (Image: US Navy)

A fighter plane taking off from a strike carrier is a dramatic sight – not the least because of the woosh and plume of steam as the catapult blasts the aircraft into the air. In a few years, such launches may still be dramatic, but they’ll also be a bit quieter and very plume-free. That’s because the US Navy has completed testing of its Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS); clearing it for use on the new Gerald R Ford-class aircraft carriers.  Read More

Artist's concept of Duke Airborne Systems’ Robotic Weapon System (RWS) in action

When we hear about military robots, it usually evokes images of Terminator-like killing machines, but it can also mean robotic systems designed to help soldiers concentrate on the job at hand. Case in point is Israel-based Duke Airborne Systems’ Robotic Weapon System (RWS). Unveiled at the Eurosatory defense industry show in Paris, the system billed as a “first-of-its-kind” is a concealable robotic gunnery module that allows utility helicopters to fly into hostile territory without an armed escort.  Read More

Lawrence Livermore Engineer Xiaoyu 'Rayne' Zheng studies a macroscale version of the unit ...

Imagine materials strong enough to use in building airplanes or motor cars, yet are literally lighter than air. Soon, that may not be so hard to do because a team of researchers from MIT and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have developed new ultra-lightweight materials that are as light as aerogel, but 10,000 times stiffer, and may one day revolutionize aerospace and automotive designs.  Read More

The Lockheed Martin future supersonic advanced concept (Image: Lockheed Martin/NASA)

On October, 24 2003, the last Concorde jet went out of service. What began as a promise of supersonic travel for all, ended as a museum exhibit of a false dawn. However, that may be changing with companies such as Aerion and Spike Aerospace looking to take business jets supersonic. At Aviation 2014, an annual event of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, NASA presented examples of the space agency’s work on new technologies that could lead to a revival of civilian supersonic travel within the next 15 years.  Read More

Falcon 9 on the launch pad SpaceX today aborted the launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying six Orbcomm OG2 communication satellites; the second mission flight of a Falcon booster equipped with landing legs. Six minutes and nine seconds before the lift off, mission control declared the abort due to a problem with the second stage of the rocket.  Read More

The pioneering integrated circuit has an estimated value of US$1 million and $2 million

If it weren't for the microchip, your smartphone would be size of a building and need its own power plant to work. Thanks to the integrated circuit and its modern incarnation in the microchip, electronics are a bit easier to carry around than that, and this week, Christie’s put one of the very first integrated circuits up for auction. Designed and constructed in 1958 by Texas Instruments, it's one of the three earliest "chips" ever made and went on the block with an estimated value of up to US$2 million.  Read More

The TOSA buses charge as they stand at a bus stop

It’s one thing to invent an electric bus, a hydrogen car, or other green transportation technology, but quite another for it to work in the real world. For example, the Trolleybus Optimisation Système Alimentation (TOSA) flash-charging electric bus system may be the most brilliant idea ever, but if it can’t stay in the black, then might as well be drawn by diesel-powered horses. Scientists at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) are hoping to avoid that scenario by developing a computer model that helps engineers integrate the buses into existing transport systems while keeping costs down.  Read More

LLNL researchers are working to improve 3D metal printing using higher-powered lasers

To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, there was a time when 3D metal printing was like a dog walking on his hind legs – it wasn't done well; but you were surprised to find it done at all. Now that laser sintering or Selective Laser Melting (SLM) is used for everything from printing rocket engine components to semi-automatic pistols, the time for surprise may b long past, but the technology still has plenty of room for improvement. That's why researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) are working on simulations to improve the speed of 3D laser printing and the quality of the final product by using higher-powered lasers.  Read More

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