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Francis X Govers III

Francis X Govers III
Francis Govers is the designer of over 20 land, sea, air and space vehicles and teaches robotics and the design of self-driving cars. He spent 10 years at NASA, helped design the International Space Station, participated in the DARPA Grand Challenge, and managed the only Zeppelin operating in the US. As a commercial pilot, writer, artist, musician, engineer, race car nut and designer, Francis has a serious addiction to building things that frequently gets him into trouble.
For the last week, I've been living with a 3D printer – one of the cheapest on the market: the Flashforge Creator Dual. After 30 or so prints, I've discovered some of the foibles of home 3D printing, and some of the work-arounds. Is this a glimpse into the future of home fabrication, or a niche hobby piece? Grab some hairspray (seriously) and dive in as Gizmag reviews the FlashForge Creator 3D and, more importantly, takes a detailed look at the practicalities of 3D printing at home. Read More
DARPA has floated a fascinating new unmanned systems project that would see undersea motherships launching smaller submarines and flying vehicles to conduct pop-up surveillance on pirates, terrorists and hijackers. The Hydra Project, named after the Greek legend of the multi-headed snake that grew two new heads whenever one was cut off, looks to provide low cost response to quickly changing situations on or near the water. Read More
After a 70-year absence, it appears that a new rigid frame airship will soon be taking to the skies over California. Aeros Corporation, a company based near San Diego, has received experimental airworthiness certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to begin flight testing the Aeroscraft airship and, as these new photographs of the airship undergoing tethered testing show, the company has wasted no time in getting started. Read More
Researchers at ETH Zurich have demonstrated an amazing capability for small robots to self-assemble and take to the air as a multi-rotor helicopter. Maximilian Kriegleder and Raymond Oung worked with Professor Raffaello D’Andrea at his research lab to develop the small hexagonal pods that assemble into flying rafts. The true accomplishment of this research is that there is not one robot in control – each unit in itself decides what actions to take to keep the group in the air in what's known as Distributed Flight Array. Read More
UAV’s, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, tend to face two issues – not being able to stay on station for long periods, and carrying enough of a payload to be useful. Nevada outfit Airship Manufacturing is introducing a new line of UAV airships, called Sky Sentinels, that promise larger payloads with greater endurance, as well as being adaptable, modular, and economical to operate. And they do this without any wings. Read More
Most previous methods of producing methanol from carbon dioxide have involved lots of electricity, high pressures and high temperatures, and used toxic chemicals or rare earth elements like cadmium or tellurium. A team of researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) has developed a new method they claim is safer, less expensive, and simpler than current approaches and can be scaled up to an industrial scale to allow some of the CO2 emitted from electrical power plants to be captured and converted into a useful fuel. Read More
German automotive companies BMW and Continental have teamed up to develop self-driving car technology, or as they call it, an “electronic co-pilot” for cars. The main goal of the joint venture is to develop and test technologies that would usher in an era of highly automated driving on European freeways from 2020, with fully automated systems expected from 2025. Read More
Starting in April, 2013, the Arlington Texas police department will have permission from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to fly two small helicopter UAVs over the city in certain situations, including taking crime scene photos or looking for missing persons. While these UAVs have been operating for some time, until now flights have been restricted to remote testing area. Read More
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