Archive for the ‘Transportation’ Category
Troy Hartman was building a jetpack that he planned to use to fly out of an airplane at 8000 feet. But before leaping from a plane into thin air, he had a great idea: Why not test it out on skis first? Hartman tells PM how his jetpack ski test worked, how fast he went, and just how close the 1500-degree flames came to toasting his rear end.
We’ve seen plenty of neat 3D printing products over the last year or so, though none are as impressive as this bicycle in terms of scale. Unveiled by EADS (European Aerospace and Defence Group), the Airbike is “grown” with nylon powder using a process called additive layer manufacturing, which is similar to 3D printing but with the added benefit of laser-sintering to reinforce the structure. This way the parts can save up to 65 percent in weight while retaining the same strength (of steel or aluminum in this case), and apparently Airbus was quick to pick up this technology well before everyone else (hence named Airbike, in its honor). It’s all well and good, except EADS does say there’s still some way to go before we can print our own custom Harley-Davidson bikes without breaking our banks. Shame — as with many things in life, we’ll just have to wait.
Or maybe the right metaphor is a used car salesman on late-night TV: “Come on down to Crazy Bolden’s! [Flings money in air] We’re givin’ em away!”
Because, in point of fact, they are. Not counting tax, title, and license, of course, which in the Space Shuttle’s case amount to some $28 million. When Discovery returns from its final mission today, some 21 museums will be waiting in the wings to see which will become the lucky custodian of Orbital Vehicle 103, artifact. Atlantis and Endeavour (OVs 4 and 5, respectively) are also up for grabs. Contending institutions include the Johnson Space Center in Houston, the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum in Manhattan, Seattle’s Museum of Flight, Florida’s Kennedy Space Center, and the Smithsonian. More details and used-car metaphors at The New York Times.
Worried that the fancy-schmancy SYNC system you just ordered up in your Mustang will soon be outlawed? Fret not, speed demon. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will reportedly not push for restrictions on handsfree phones or in-car technology until “the government conducts further research.” There are generally two prevailing trains of thought: one feels that any type of calling — be it handsfree or otherwise — is a terrible distraction to the driver, while the other feels that properly integrated technology is safe enough for use on the road. As the story goes, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is currently investigating whether systems like SYNC post a “cognitive distraction,” while some automakers suggest that motorists are going to goof off with their phone anyway — might as well make it as safe as possible for ’em. Of course, things could change in short order once this so-called “research” gets finalized, but for now, feel free to request that your OnStar system read on to the next post. Your OnStar system can read Engadget, right?