Orville Douglas Denison spent much of his youth sketching out futuristic aircraft, but in retirement he has turned pragmatic. His “aerial fire truck,” a cross between a conveyer belt and a ladder, could help firefighters quickly shuttle victims out of burning buildings.
Gyroscopes and infrared blasters ready radio-controlled helicopters for midair battle
By Eric AdamsPosted 01.04.2011 at 10:56 am 0 Comments
Unsophisticated electronics and design used to keep tiny R/C helicopters out of the fight. Eventually, motors the size of aspirin capsules let companies stack two counter-rotating rotors to cancel out torque from the spinning drive shaft; this increased stability but not enough to make dogfighting any fun. Enter Force's new ready-to-fly line.
Between 1876 and 2002, the people of Lead, South Dakota, extracted $3.5 billion worth of gold from the Homestake mine. It was the town’s main business, and when falling prices and diminishing returns finally shut it down, no one was sure what to do with the remaining 8,000-foot hole in the ground. Then, in 2007, the National Science Foundation decided that an 8,000-foot hole would be the perfect place to put its proposed Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory, or DUSEL, a massive research complex that will include the world’s deepest underground lab.
How NASA repaired the seven-million-pound antenna it uses to track deep-space probes
By Arnie CooperPosted 01.03.2011 at 10:05 am 2 Comments
Since 1966, the 41,000-square-foot Mars Antenna at the Goldstone Observatory in the Mojave Desert has been communicating with robotic rovers on other planets and with deep-space probes. Its large dish makes it one of the best for sorting the faint radio signals from NASA’s most distant probe, Voyager 1—10 billion miles away—from naturally occurring ones such as pulsars. But ever since it was built, an oil leak has plagued its operation.
Cramming surround sound into an LCD TV is tricky. TV makers have tried but, to protect the screen, have ended up with bulky, subwoofer-less sets. Bass causes shaking that can blur images and damage pixels over time, and more speakers generally means broader frames. Now Bose has designed a 16-speaker setup for its HDTV that disperses audio from what looks like no more than a 46- inch LCD. Here’s how a subwoofer and room-filling virtual surround sound disappear into a case only a couple of inches thicker than other LCD TVs.
By Natalie WolchoverPosted 12.15.2010 at 12:31 pm 3 Comments
Almost nothing looks more orderly than chess pieces before a match starts. The first move, however, begins a spiral into chaos. After both players move, 400 possible board setups exist. After the second pair of turns, there are 197,742 possible games, and after three moves, 121 million. At every turn, players chart a progressively more distinctive path, and each game evolves into one that has probably never been played before.
Like all A/V gear, dirt-cheap Blu-ray players can suffer from flaws caused by poor construction and cheap components. Once you’ve moved up from sub-$100 models to name-brand equipment, though, picture-quality differences are subtle.
There are a lot of ways to use your old iPhone around the house, even without a contract
By Adam PashPosted 12.15.2010 at 12:11 pm 1 Comment
If your old iPhone’s been sitting neglected on your desk since you upgraded to a shiny new iPhone 4, you’re not taking full advantage of the exceptionally capable handheld device you still have at your disposal. That old iPhone may not have all the same raw power, but you’ll still want to keep it around to take advantage of apps and functions that help you in your home. Plus, even without a cell plan, you can keep it as a backup to make calls. Here are three uses for the still-viable gadget.