The Winnebago isn't exactly a marvel of technology. But there's a good chance that NASA's next generation of lunar travelers will live and work out of a two-piece system—a mobile robot and habitat combination that will allow astronauts to bring base camp with them—that has plenty in common with the humble RV.
If a few ounces of quicklime mixed with water can make self-heating soup cans, we figured 500 pounds of it could create a self-heating hot tub
By Theodore GrayPosted 04.17.2008 at 4:07 pm 25 Comments
Self-heating soup sounds like something from the future: Push a button on the can, and three minutes later the contents are piping hot. But it's widely available today, along with self-heating coffee and hot chocolate. In Japan, I even found self-heating sake. Pretty high-tech!
Or not. In fact, these products use a chemical reaction known since at least 4000 B.C.—the mixing of quicklime and water. When you roast limestone at about 1,650°F, it converts to quicklime, a powder used to disinfect corpses in war zones. Mix quicklime with water, and it grabs and binds the water molecules, releasing lots of energy in the form of heat. (The material left over, known as hydrated or slaked lime, is the basis of lime mortar, popular in the Roman empire and still used today.)
Soup is OK, but I decided to use the technology to make a self-heating hot tub.
On the eve of the world championship of remote-control flight, an American financier, a three-star general, a jet engineer and the Air Force’s most powerful civilian have come together in Thailand to build the perfect fighting plane—at 1:5 scale
If a sodden rice paddy feels soft and forgiving underfoot, it is not a merciful place to set down an airplane at 200 mph. And that's only one of Mike Selby's reasons to look nervous as he watches his A-10 Warthog—a 10-foot-wide, 65-pound, hand-built model—begin its maiden takeoff roll down a rough asphalt runway near Bangkok, Thailand. Selby, who spent over $12,000 and the better part of a year fabricating and building this radio-controlled jet, stands runwayside with his thumbs hooked into the belt loops of his jeans, trying to look relaxed as he draws on a Cuban cigar.
Fresh off the assembly line, the leapfrogging, stealthy F-35B fighter jet prepares for liftoff
By Eric AdamsPosted 04.16.2008 at 9:16 am 8 Comments
Last April, we dissected the worlds most advanced fighter jet, the F-35B Lightning II, in the pages of our annual How It Works issue. Now military contractor Lockheed Martin is firing up the jets 40,000-pound-thrust engine (the most powerful ever built for a fighter jet) in preparation for flight tests. The jet can soar at supersonic speeds (1,000 mph) and deflect radar signals, but by the end of the month, pilots are expected to show off its most highly anticipated feature: the ability to stop mid-flight and touch down virtually anywhere.
From the gadgets in Get Smart to the gamma rays in The Hulk, we rate the scientific jargon quotient of the summer's hottest flicks
By Gregory MonePosted 04.11.2008 at 2:48 pm 0 Comments
Its blockbuster season, and that means mad scientists, angry robots and a certain flexibility with the laws of physics. Heres our guide to movies made especially with PopSci fans in mind. In it, a roundup of the season's best (and worst) geek candy, along with our expected gibberish quotient, so youll know which lines are pure comedy—even if no one else is laughing.
The high-speed stunner Speed Racer resets reality by creating a fantasyland out of nothing but computers and imagination
By Corey BinnsPosted 04.11.2008 at 1:44 pm 1 Comment
Go, Speed Racer
A fully composited single image from the Speed Racer movie. More than 500 effects artists worked on the film.
Filming conventional high-speed action fare is hard enough, but to bring the classic cartoon Speed Racer to life, the Wachowski brothers had to contend with 300mph racecars sporting fanciful features like robotic reconnaissance pigeons and wheels that can rotate 180 degrees. With 2,300 visual-effects (VFX) shots—twice as many as last year's eye-popping 300—it heralds the future of summer-blockbuster fare: The entire movie, aside from the human actors, exists only in a computer.
Make this mini cellphone do just about anything, simply by swapping its case
By Lauren AaronsonPosted 04.10.2008 at 12:51 pm 3 Comments
Carry a different phone for every situation, whether youre traveling light or blasting tunes in your car. On its own, Modu is one of the smallest, lightest cellphones yet. But when you want to do more than basic calling, pop it into a new outer shell to give it features like a full keyboard, a wider display or a longer-lasting battery.
By Gregory MonePosted 04.09.2008 at 11:12 am 35 Comments
We've told you all about the Raytheon Sarcos XOS exoskeleton, the smart suit of armor that endows its wearer with super-human strength. Now see it in action, and meet the minds behind both Iron Men—real, and imaginary.
While audiences flood theaters this month to see the comic-book-inspired Iron Man, a real-life mad genius toils in a secret mountain lab to make the mechanical superhuman more than just a fantasy with the XOS Exoskeleton
By Gregory MonePosted 04.09.2008 at 11:11 am 64 Comments
Afghanistan. A hidden bunker. Four men with rifles guard a thick, rusted steel door. Bam! A huge fist pounds against it—from inside. Bam! More blows dent the steel. The hinges strain. The guards cower, inching backward. Whatever's trying to break out is big. And angry.