How the next generation of sensor-packed devices gather 70,000 data points per second to make cars safer for flesh-and-blood humans
By Rena Marie PacellaPosted 04.04.2011 at 10:54 am 0 Comments
In a typical day at General Motors Anthropomorphic Test Device (ATD) lab in Milford, Michigan, a crash-test dummy is decapitated, rammed in the chest, and contorted by a torsion machine, and that's just to set a baseline. Many safety innovations—crumple zones and smart airbags among them—are the result of such careful calibration. And with today's ATDs carrying up to 192 sensors, safety engineers can predict the risk of injury more accurately than ever before.
One hitch in bringing 3-D motion pictures to home theaters has been the glasses—people hate them. Yet viewers have been enjoying motionless 3-D images unassisted since at least the 1960s. At that time, VariVue was printing postcards covered with a lenticular array that sent each eye a slightly different view. This year Toshiba demonstrated a similar kind of glasses-free 3-D display, and Nintendo released its 3DS. Instead of a lens, the 3DS uses a barrier to produce the stereoscopic effect.
Few people experience the adrenaline spike that a Formula One driver gets tearing down a straightaway at 230 mph. To bring that thrill to the masses, the owners of Ferrari World Abu Dhabi—the world's largest indoor theme park—built the Formula Rossa roller coaster, which opened last October.
Pumping a body full of celldestroying chemicals sounds like a bad idea, but that’s what chemotherapy entails. The side effects of intravenous chemo for liver cancer, the third deadliest cancer in men, usually necessitate a four-day hospital stay with each treatment. As doctors try to target the chemicals by injecting high doses into an artery that feeds the tumor, the bloodstream inevitably carries them into the rest of the body. It’s an imprecise and painful process, but a plastic bead called a QuadraSphere could make it less so.
Since the first 3-D printer was invented by Charles Hull in 1984, machines have seen vast improvements in speed and accuracy. Today's best 3-D printers operate much like a standard inkjet, spraying millions of droplets of polymer to build an object layer by layer. But there's a hitch: Most 3-D printers use only use a single material at once, thus each product they produce can be just one color or consistency.
By Robert HeronPosted 03.25.2011 at 1:04 pm 9 Comments
Television manufacturers are already starting to produce equipment with an image resolution that far exceeds today’s HDTV standards. In part, that’s because passive 3-D glasses cost you picture resolution, so LG, Vizio and others plan to compensate by doubling the resolution of 1080p screens by next year—and double it again by 2013. Those sets will be able to display an amazing picture.
By Wesley SilerPosted 03.24.2011 at 4:07 pm 11 Comments
In November 2009, after spending three months recovering from a broken pelvis, Chris Yates, a motorcycle racer, engineer, and defense contractor, began staging his reentry into racing. This time, he chose a new niche, where his training as an engineer would be a particular asset: electric motorcycles.
New integrated circuits use photons to build fast and extremely power-efficient supercomputers
By Valerie RossPosted 03.24.2011 at 11:00 am 12 Comments
The speed of light is as fast as it gets, and IBM researchers are exploiting that fact to give supercomputers a boost. They've made the smallest-yet silicon chips that use light to transmit information.
By Paul KvintaPosted 03.23.2011 at 10:17 am 3 Comments
"The animals are telling us things," said Martin Wikelski, hopping out of the cockpit of his Cessna. He had just spent a chilly January morning chasing blackbirds in southern France. "Maybe they're saying, 'the next earthquake will happen this week,' or 'listen, we're telling you where this ebola outbreak is headed. Pay attention.'" The blackbirds hadn't been quite so explicit today, but by tracking data from radio tags temporarily glued to their backs, he had learned their heart rates and how fast they flap their wings.
About 20 years ago, the static split-and-tilt ergonomic keyboard became the wrist-friendly standard. Today, Smartfish Technologies, a company founded by a former chiropractor, has a better approach: the Engage, a keyboard that periodically shifts its position. The goal is to constantly change your typing angle, thereby reducing the chance of repetitive-stress injuries. A motor inside the keyboard tweaks the separation (up to 1.4 inches) and tilt (up to 6 degrees) of each side in small increments every 2,500 keystrokes. You can also alter the frequency of changes.