Consider a scene from a hypothetical Hollywood thriller: Our heroine, filled with dread and whispering into her cellphone, walks slowly down a dark hallway toward a closed door. The sounds that make this scene come alive—-her voice, her footsteps, the creaking floorboards, the background music—-began as a bunch of prerecorded digital files on a hard drive. It took a sound engineer’s touch-—and a machine like the Euphonix System 5—-to blend them into the final, seamless soundtrack.
SpaceX's new Falcon 9 takes a crucial step to the launchpad
By Marshall Louis ReavesPosted 03.27.2009 at 12:56 pm 2 Comments
Since January, SpaceX's heavy-payload Falcon 9 launch vehicle has stood 180 feet above Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral, undergoing ground-systems tests in the run-up to its first test flight. The reusable Falcon series, named for the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars, has nine engines that provide more than a million pounds of thrust. Last September, the smaller, 70-foot-tall Falcon 1 became the first privately developed liquid-fueled rocket to orbit the Earth.
Snakes can slither through tight spaces, swim across lakes, scale trees, and even glide through the air. Their mechanical doubles won't be flying anytime soon, but thanks to technological leaps in climbing ability, snakebots could soon tackle a few notoriously dangerous jobs.
When Keith Baxter asked a salesman at a Milwaukee sporting-goods store for something stronger than 60-pound line, he wasn’t dreaming of big fish. He was hoping to catch a face-melting solo—he needed the line for his PC-controlled, motorized guitar.
A seven-layer screen—-as thin as a credit card—-will be better-looking and more efficient than LCD and plasma
By Darren MurphPosted 03.26.2009 at 4:01 pm 15 Comments
Q: What is OLED?
A: OLED, or organic light-emitting diode, is a display technology using man-made, carbon-based molecules that emit light when charged with electricity.
Q: How thick are OLEDs?
A: The latest prototypes are as thin as a credit card (0.3 millimeter), because OLED pixels produce their own light, with nothing behind the screen. LCDs need a fluorescent or LED lamp to illuminate the pixels, and plasmas need compartments of electrically charged gas.
With cop cars disappearing from his rearview mirror and an open road ahead, a fugitive thinks he's in the clear—until his car comes to a sudden halt. A sheriff, hiding in the bushes, has activated a road trap that sprung a ball of straps into the car's undercarriage, immobilizing its drive shaft and axles.
As early as 2015, the Ares 1 rocket, carrying the Orion crew capsule, could replace the space shuttle. With more than two and a half times the interior space of Apollo-era crew capsules, Orion can deliver a crew of six to the International Space Station and up to four astronauts to the moon. And if something goes wrong within the first 300,000 feet of the rocket's ascent, the Launch Abort System (LAS) will whisk the astronauts to safety.
Software engineer Steve Struebing put a lot of work into a device that helps him to be lazy. Using a Construx toy set and a servo motor, he built a frame to hold a bottle of his favorite beer. He then created a Web application for his iPhone to communicate with a control module that pivots the frame. As he tilts the iPhone, the frame tilts accordingly, for a perfect pour every time. More details at instructables.com.
In a few years, doctors won’t need to fill the bodies of gastrointestinal-cancer patients with chemotherapy drugs that also kill off normal tissue. Instead, patients will swallow an electronic pill that finds its way to a tumor, dispenses drugs onto it—and only it—and then passes harmlessly from the body. That’s the promise of the iPill, an ingestible capsule being developed by the electronics giant Philips.
Every time you hit "print," this $100 inkjet lays down thousands of droplets per inch of paper, with microscopic precision
By Theano NikitasPosted 03.23.2009 at 1:37 pm 2 Comments
Even today's budget-priced home printers churn out quality photos that a few years ago you could have gotten only from a professional printing house. Key to the high quality are steady improvements in print heads, which can eject smaller and smaller droplets of ink with ever-greater precision.