It seemed like nothing at first. The red patch that appeared on Roy Brillon's thigh could have been a spider bite. But as the weeks passed, it grew and grew. By December 2004, the innocuous-looking bump had become an open wound the size of the palm of his hand. Brillon's doctor, Randy Wolcott, prescribed just about every antibiotic he could think of to cure the infection, but the lesion just got worse. "It was really bad," says Brillon, a 62-year-old retired housepainter from Lubbock, Texas. "I had to give up work because I couldn't climb ladders anymore."
Brillon felt like he was being eaten away from the inside out. And in a very real sense, he was.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This portable crane can hoist millions of pounds all
day long, then drive home like any other 18-wheeler
By Michael DumiakPosted 03.23.2009 at 11:57 am 12 Comments
Built for tasks like lifting 55-ton generators to the top of 300-foot windmills, the Liebherr 11200-9.1 might just be the world's most monstrous truck. The 108-ton 18-wheeler doubles in weight when the boom—-which with extensions can reach 47 stories—-is attached. Fully assembled, it can lift up to 2.6 million pounds. Without the boom, it can drive on public roads, so getting it to a job site requires five fewer trucks than it would take to haul in and assemble an equally large fixed crane. It's also far easier to move from place to place once it's on-site.
The Black Hawk helicopter has served the U.S. Army well. But it's been around since 1979. Time for a revamp, with advanced electronics, more-powerful engines, and various other tweaks. The UH-60M Upgrade, as it's officially known, made its first flight last summer, and the Connecticut aircraft-manufacturer Sikorsky will start delivering them to the Army next year and ramp up to full production by 2013.
Standard drills will barely make a chip in concrete or brick. That's why contractors drilling holes in a home's foundation use rotary hammer drills like this new Hitachi DH50MRY. In addition to the standard spinning bit, it slams a weight—the hammer—forward to create a sort of jackhammer effect to crush masonry as it drills. But all that pounding beats the heck out of your hands and arms. The Hitachi is one of the first to integrate a counterweight to absorb recoil. The result is a safer and easier-to-control drill that's still concrete's worst nightmare.
For the past five years, John Rennie has braved the towering waves of the North Atlantic Ocean to keep your e-mail coming to you. As chief submersible engineer aboard the Wave Sentinel, part of the fleet operated by U.K.-based undersea installation and maintenance firm Global Marine Systems, Rennie--a congenial, 6'4", 57-year-old Scotsman--patrols the seas, dispatching a remotely operated submarine deep below the surface to repair undersea cables. The cables, thick as fire hoses and packed with fiber optics, run everywhere along the seafloor, ferrying phone and Web traffic from continent to continent at the speed of light.
The cables regularly fail. On any given day, somewhere in the world there is the nautical equivalent of a hit and run when a cable is torn by fishing nets or sliced by dragging anchors. If the mishap occurs in the Irish Sea, the North Sea or the North Atlantic, Rennie comes in to splice the break together.