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Aerodynamics

Science

A new understanding of flying snakes may lead to advances in technology

So first of all ... yes, flying snakes do exist. Disappointingly, though, they don't have scaly dragon-like wings. Instead, they're able to flatten out their bodies after launching themselves from tree branches, proceeding to glide through the air for up to 100 feet (30.5 m). Recently, scientists figured out why that technique works as well as it does. Their findings could have some major applications for us humans. Read More

Bicycles

Speed Up Bag carries cyclists' stuff and reduces drag

It's not uncommon for cyclists to carry snacks, phones, wallets or other items in a handlebar-mounted bag when out for a ride. Unfortunately, though, putting a block-shaped bag right on the front of the bike doesn't do wonders for its aerodynamics. That's why Slovenian inventor Joze Petkovsek created the Speed Up Bag. Not only is it sleeker than a regular bag, but a bicycle equipped with one is claimed to produce less wind drag than one with no bag at all. Read More

Aircraft

FlexFoil aims to seamlessly boost airplanes' fuel efficiency

If there's one thing that needs to be aerodynamic, it's an airplane wing. Conventional wing designs however, suffer from a glaring weakness in this respect: the joint where the main wing meets the trailing flaps. Michigan-based FlexSys has developed a way to optimize wing aerodynamics with FlexFoil, a seamless variable geometry airfoil system that could deliver fuel savings of up to 12 percent. Read More

Science

World's smallest windmills to power cell phones

Professor J.C. Chiao and his postdoc Dr. Smitha Rao of the University of Texas at Arlington have developed a MEMS-based nickel alloy windmill so small that 10 could be mounted on a single grain of rice. Aimed at very-small-scale energy harvesting applications, these windmills could recharge batteries for smartphones, and directly power ultra-low-power electronic devices.Read More

Automotive

Mini John Cooper Works Concept to debut at NAIAS 2014

The holidays are a time for stocking stuffers and BMW has given us one with a hint of what’s to come in the new year. On Monday, the car maker announced that it would present the new Mini John Cooper Works concept at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) 2014, running January 13 to 26 in Detroit. Since we’re getting just a taste of what is still a concept, there aren’t a lot of details and BMW is keen to talk more about style than engineering, but we do get a bit of an idea of what this track-oriented concept is about. Read More

3D Printing

Urbee 2 to attempt US crossing using ten gallons of fuel

Urbee 2, the first road-ready, fuel-efficient car built using 3D printing, is the subject of a collaboration between design firm KOR EcoLogic, direct digital manufacturers RedEye On Demand, and 3D-printing manufacturer Stratsys. Their aim is to put the 7 hp (5 kW) three-wheeled, rear-steering eco-hybrid on the roads by 2015, and then demonstrate its capabilities by crossing the US using only ten gallons (38 L) of fuel. Read More

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