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— Inventors and Remarkable People Feature

Dambusters 70 years on: Barnes Wallis – an engineer ahead of his time

It's seventy years to the day since No. 617 Squadron of the Royal Air Force returned from Operation Chastise, in which specially designed bouncing bombs were dropped in an attack on the Möhne, Sorpe and Eder Dams in Germany during World War II. Though the bouncing bomb is without doubt the invention for which Barnes Wallis is most renowned (thanks in no small part to its depiction in the film Dambusters) Wallis' other work before, during, and after World War II was of great importance, and in some cases, far ahead of its time. Gizmag spoke to Dr. Andrew Nahum, Principal Curator of Technology at the Science Museum where many of Wallis' papers are archived, about swing-wing aircraft, earthquake bombs, improbable mathematics lessons, and the geodetic Wellington Bomber. Read More
— 3D Printing

3D-printed pistol survives test firing

The potential for 3D-printed guns has (unsurprisingly) generated a great deal of controversy, and the Liberator is no exception. Named after the WWII single shot pistol, this 3D-printed .380 caliber pistol is made of almost entirely of plastic and looks more like a nozzle for a water hose than a gun. The weapon has survived multiple firings with very little damage, inspiring enough confidence that designer Cody Wilson has now tested the gun by hand. Read More
— Good Thinking

Radar used to detect concealed weapons in public spaces

An electrical engineering professor at the University of Michigan believes that a type of radar, part developed by the Department of Defense, has the potential to be used as a means of detecting concealed weapons. Originally intended for military use, it is possible that the millimeter-wave radar system could be used to detect weapons across distances as large as a football field. Read More
— Electronics

Hobbyist builds working replica of Iron Man's laser gauntlet

Given that most real-life superheroes don’t have the budget of Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne, you would assume that their gadgetry wouldn’t be quite on par with what we’re used to seeing in the movies. German cyber weapons hobbyist Patrick Priebe recently dropped us a line, however, to tell us about his latest homebuilt creation – a working laser gauntlet, just like the one made famous by a certain Iron Man. Read More
— Music

Weapons become musical instruments in Pedro Reyes’ "Imagine"

Decommissioned weapons are usually destroyed, but a Mexican artist decided to do something more creative and life-affirming with a stockpile given to him. Earlier this year, Pedro Reyes recycled 6,700 confiscated guns into musical instruments for a project called Imagine. Revolvers, shotguns and machine guns previously used to kill became 50 wind, percussion and string instruments. They are currently on display at the Istanbul Design Biennal as part of Adhocracy exhibit. Read More
— Military

CHAMP missile test flight knocks out electronic devices with a burst of energy

This week, science fiction became science fact as a Boeing CHAMP missile knocked out a building full of electronics in the Utah desert at Hill Air Force Base. There was no explosion and no flying shrapnel. There was only the sound of the missile’s engine as it flew overhead and the sputtering of sophisticated computers crashing as they were hit by a beam of high-energy microwaves. Read More
— Aircraft

X-51a test results released

The United States Air Force (USAF) has released the results of last August’s third test of the X-51a Waverider, which resulted in the crash of the unmanned scramjet demonstrator. At a press teleconference featuring the Program Manager for Air Force Research Laboratory, Charles Brink, it was confirmed that a malfunctioning fin was the cause of the crash. However, engineers are confident of correcting the fault in time for the fourth test flight scheduled for (Northern Hemisphere) late spring or early summer of next year. Read More