After enthusiastically covering the debut of Parrot at the Consumer Electronics Show back in 2010, PopSci went on to honor the camera-equipped, remotely-piloted quadrotor with a Best of What’s New distinction. And so with that in mind I unboxed the newest iteration--properly named AR.Drone 2.0--prepared for some degree of disappointment.
Most musicians can tune their instruments whenever they like. The exception is the pianist, who typically isn’t trained to tune the piano’s 200-plus strings. Instead, both amateur and professional piano players must hire a technician to get their instrument in shape. But Don Gilmore has accomplished an engineering feat that he says could do away with the need for tuners: a self-tuning piano.
The world’s thinnest transparent screen isn’t really a screen at all, but something more like a soap bubble. An international team of researchers claims its display--which uses ultrasonic sound waves to change the properties of a soap-like film to display both flat and 3-D images--is the world’s thinnest transparent screen, and that using several of them together can even produce a holographic projection.
Lithium-ion batteries work by stacking active ingredients in layers. In your laptop and phone, the layers are stacked into a block, but a new process could make that seem quaint: spray-paint the necessary layers onto any surface like paint, to make an instant battery anywhere.
By Derek Mead
Posted 06.28.2012 at 11:01 am 1 Comment
PopSci is pleased to present videos created by Motherboard, Vice Media's guide to future culture. Motherboard's original videos that run the gamut from in-depth, investigative reports to profiles of the offbeat forward-thinking characters who are sculpting our bizarre present.
Japan has a storied history of technical wizardry, but even then Yoshiro Nakamatsu stands a cut above. Better known as Dr. NakaMats, he's a celebrity inventor who's claimed to hold over 4,000 patents, which would be a world record. He's known for his loopy, goofball demeanor, which makes him something of a cross between Nikola Tesla and Willy Wonka. Dr. NakaMats celebrated his 84th birthday on June 26.
There will come a time when our homes are completely automated, just like in several horror movies in which a house slowly murders its unsuspecting occupant. The Insteon is a pretty good step towards that inevitable murder--it's the first LED lightbulb that you can control with a smartphone app.
In late 2011, DARPA announced its intention to create an on-orbit capability to harvest dead satellites and recycle their parts into new orbiting communications outposts. In 2012, the research arm of the DoD is making good.
Google (probably accidentally) leaked some details of the Nexus Q before today's I/O event even started. It's a streaming...I almost said box, but it's actually more like an orb. It's somewhere between a Sonos system, which streams music to stations in different parts of your house, and an Apple TV, which streams music and video to your TV. And I think it's very exciting. Here's why.
So much for best two out of three. A robotic hand developed by engineers at the University of Tokyo will take you at rock-paper-scissors three out of three times. Then it will do it again, for as long as you car to challenge. Thus far, it hasn’t lost a game.
The Cannes Lions are generally characterized by lavish parties and ad industry people congratulating each other for, well, being ad industry people. But it’s also a meeting of creative, forward-thinking media minds, so perhaps it’s about time someone got wise to the robotics revolution unfolding across the globe right now.
When the roused and active sun flings its energetic particles at Earth, we get to see beautiful aurorae, even in low latitudes of late. Pretty as they are, they don’t give a full account of how hard the planet’s magnetosphere is working to shield us from the sun’s wrath. This new video from the animation whiz team at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center brings it home.
It shows a massive coronal mass ejection careening toward our planet, where it’s deflected by Earth’s powerful magnetic field. Venus is not so lucky.
Already demolishing the standing world record more than twice over, a massive human-powered quadrotor designed by students at the University of Maryland is poised to make aviation history today. The Gamera II helicopter is shooting for the Sikorsky Prize, one of aviation’s last great challenges, by hovering for one full minute under human power only. Their first attempt Wednesday morning lasted 35 seconds!
This Finnish-built flying boat made its maiden flight a few days ago, taking off from a lake and soaring into the air. The FlyNano, made by a startup by the same name, is a recreational vehicle with no wheels — and it looks like fun.
FlyNano seems pretty affordable at €32,000, or about $40,500 U.S. You’ll also want a storage trailer, which sells for around $6,600. The company wants to start production next year and deliver its first 35 planes, which have been pre-sold, by the end of 2013.
The beauty and promise of 3-D printing is really all tied to the end-user experience--if you can think of something, you can have it made specifically the way you want it to suit any specific need. And as NYU grad student Marko Manriquez says, “sometimes you really need a burrito.” Enter Burritobot, which is exactly what it sounds like.
The future of robotics is soft and modular, or at least that’s they way some of the robotics gurus at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne envision things moving. Rigid robots are fine, but true versatility in the robotic medium will come from modular robots that are flexible enough in form that they can adapt to task and environment.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.