There was an unusual visitor at the Oshkosh airshow this year: a roadable aircraft manufactured by PlaneDriven. The PD2 takes a Glasair Sportsman amateur-built airplane and adds a separate 50-hp “drive unit” to the rear of the craft to provide ground power. To put the vehicle into drive mode, the pilot folds the wings, starts the drive unit, and away we go.
South Korean artist Song Ho-jun has spent years working on his very own DIY sputnik, a homemade satellite cobbled together from electronics store parts. It might be the first satellite completely built by an individual. Now, later this year, it'll launch.
Song started the "Open Satellite Initiative," an idea he came up with as an intern at a satellite company, and sought experts and information he'd need for the launch. Meanwhile, he ran a small electronics business and got help from his parents.
By Daniel EngberPosted 07.24.2012 at 3:02 pm 53 Comments
Possibly. The trees-down (or “arboreal”) hypothesis has been around for many years, says evolutionary biologist Richard O. Prum of Yale University. Researchers guessed that the scales of tree-dwelling Triassic reptiles elongated into feathers, which helped them leap away from predators. Once the proto-birds could glide, they were en route to avian flight. “It was like one big, crazy hairball of ideas all stuck together,” Prum says.
In the 1930s engineer Adolf Busemann conceived of a supersonic biplane that produced no sonic boom—the shock waves would bounce off the plane's two wings at opposing angles, nullifying each other. But the design created so much drag that the plane wouldn't have been able to fly. Now two groups are trying to improve the concept with computer simulations. Engineers at Japan's Tohoku University devised wings with shifting flaps that adjust for drag at different speeds.
There are lots of way to learn first-hand the principles of flight, but most of them require years of studying or a pilot's license. There is, however, an exception: folding paper airplanes. Da Vinci did it, as did the Wright Brothers and Jack Northrop, and if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for us.
The Space Shuttle Enterprise flew over New York today, piggyback-style, on its way to its retirement at the USS Intrepid Museum. PopPhoto's Dan Bracaglia, who lives in New Jersey, took these lovely photos as the shuttle and its 747 passed up the Hudson.
Flying objects can achieve forward thrust in a few ways, but here's a unique new one: Flipping inside out to move forward. Designed by the people who brought us the amazing robot seagull, the SmartInversion flying object can move through the air indefinitely.
The object is based on a design envisioned by inventor Paul Schatz. It's a six-sided articulated ring of prisms that attaches to a cube, and when it's unleashed, it can start folding into new geometric shapes. As it turns itself inside out, it moves forward.
The notion of a person flying like a bird has universal and enduring appeal, so it's not surprising that the "Human Bird Wings" video from "Jarno Smeets" went viral within a few days. However, now that it has been revealed to be an elaborate hoax, eight months in the making, and now that our dreams have been thusly dashed, let's examine a scientific red flag in the video, one that when pursued bursts the entire fantastical premise: the problem of speed. Watch the video: He really isn't moving very fast when he lifts up off the ground, so it doesn't look quite right. Let's analyze that.
On a Dutch TV show named, with utter Dutchness, De Wereld Draait Door, the man previously known as Jarno Smeets--of the Human Bird Wing video, in which he flies under mostly his own power--confessed to faking the whole thing. Dude's name isn't even Jarno Smeets! It's Floris Kaayk, and he's a "CGI artist" with degrees in animation. Apparently the video was part of a documentary, the subject of which is unclear (but could totally be "how to fool the internet with an obviously fake video"). [via @mpoppel and @TEDchris]