In the early 20th century Henry Ford revolutionized automobile production with the introduction of the assembly line for the iconic Ford Model T. Now, almost a century later, a car has been produced using a process that could prove just as revolutionary – 3D printing. Code-named, Urbee, the streamlined vehicle is the first ever to have its entire body, including its glass panel prototypes, 3D printed with an additive manufacturing process.
Charles Babbage was the quintessential "man ahead of his time". In the mid 19th century the English mathematician and inventor developed the concept of a programmable computer and designed complex, steam-powered calculating engines that were never completed during his lifetime. One of these machines – the Difference Engine – was successfully constructed using Babbage's original plans in 1991 and now programmer John Graham-Cumming is on a mission to build a working replica of a second, more complex computing machine known as the Analytical Engine.
Last July Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo (SS2), the VSS Enterprise, made its first manned flight
. For the duration of that flight, the spacecraft remained attached to its jet-powered carrier aircraft. But over the weekend VSS Enterprise left the protective grip of its mothership, VMS Eve
, to successfully achieve its first manned free flight. Released from VMS Eve at an altitude of 45,000 ft (13,700 meters), VSS Enterprise glided for 11 minutes before landing at Mojave Air and Spaceport, successfully completing the two main goals of the flight.
A coming together of sports lens developer Zeal Optics and display innovator Recon Instruments has managed to successfully squeeze both GPS technology and head-mounted display into a set of ski goggles named Transcend. A tiny computer gathers information from a number of onboard sensors and provides location, speed, altitude and temperature information to the wearer via a micro-LCD display inside the goggles. The image from the display is then virtually projected so that it appears out in front of the user.
Out of financial necessity, Russia was one of the innovators when it came to the burgeoning field of space tourism
, with American businessman and former JPL scientist Dennis Tito
becoming the first space tourist in mid-2001 when he spent nearly eight days in orbit on the Russian Soyuz TM-32, the International Space Station (ISS), and Soyuz TM-31. Following Russia’s halting of orbital space tourism earlier this year due to an increase in the ISS crew size, private Russian company, Orbital Technologies, has now announced plans to build, launch and operate the world’s first commercial space station (CSS). It envisions the station will be used by professional crews and corporate researchers to conduct scientific experiments, as well as private citizens looking for an out of this world holiday destination.
Venturi, the French electric vehicle (EV) specialists responsible for the world’s first production electric sportscar, the Fetish
, and the Volange
, has unveiled its latest creation at the Paris Motor Show. The America concept is a new half buggy, half sportscar-style EV that is designed to blend an electric sportscar and an all-terrain leisure vehicle. The America borrows its electric motor from the new VM300 Fetish, which, with over 300 hp (+220 kW) and torque of 380 Nm, Venturi says is the, “most advanced electric motor ever designed for an automobile.”
Over the years we’ve seen quite a variety of technology aimed at shaving a few shots of a golfer’s game, from robots such as the Top Swing
to motion analyzing systems such as the PSProSwing
and iClub system
. While such systems provide great feedback about the motion of a golf swing, they can overlook one of the most basic but no less important aspects of a natural golf swing – a relaxed grip. German-based company, Sensosolutions, has come up with a compact way to measure the level of grip pressure in the form of the SensoGlove, the world’s first digital golf glove.
IBC is a globally-important video and content creation show held in Amsterdam each year. It’s where trends emerge and this year it delivered irrefutable proof that the advent of Digital SLRs such as Canon's 5D Mk II
has influenced the design of the video camera. The biggest benefit of the huge DSLR sensor is the narrow native depth of field that allows the videographer to isolate a subject. It’s the control which film and TV creatives want, and has seen the 5D spawn an entire industry of gear which turns the still camera into a ripping video camera – in just two years. So successful has the DSLR become as a full-frame video camera, that manufacturers are responding with cameras that take all the DSLR's strengths and add in the features videographers want and/or need. The belle of the ball is undoubtedly Panasonic's EUR 5000 (US$6500) AG-AF101, so Gizmag's Noel McKeegan and Mike Hanlon went to see what all the fuss was about.
In April, NEC announced plans
to release a 3D all-in-one (AIO) desktop PC sometime this year. They were probably hoping to lay claim to being the first company to bring such a product to the market but they’ve been beaten to the punch by MSI, who is set to release its Wind Top AE2420 3D AIO PC that also boasts a touchscreen and is also the first AIO PC to feature USB 3.0
ports. Sporting a 24-inch Full HD (1080p) multi-touch display comprising a 120Hz LED panel, the AE2420 3D comes with one pair of rechargeable wireless active shutter glasses and 2D to 3D conversion capabilities.
Following on from the release of its first mirrorless camera, the NX10
, earlier this year, Samsung has announced the launch of the NX100. Like the NX10, the mirrorless NX100 features a 14.6-megapixel APS-C size sensor and a 3-inch VGA AMOLED screen. Setting it apart, however, is the world’s first i-Function Lens, which communicates with the camera body and allows users to control camera settings using the lens.