Airplane-inspired amusement-park rides of the 1930s spawned some of today´s theme-park favorites
By Amanda Macmillan
Posted 06.06.2005 at 4:00 pm 0 Comments
Devalued stocks, raging unemployment and weakened national pride plagued the 1930s, but PopSci escaped the Great Depression with a focus on fun inventions. A ride that “gives thrill seekers topsy-turvy sensations, comparable to those of looping the loop in a plane” graced our May 1934 cover, half a century after the roller coaster first appeared in American amusement parks. A giant steel arm swung this four-passenger car like a pendulum until momentum took over, hurling riders around a full loop.
Saab´s BioPower engine gives ethanol a kick in the pants
By Matthew Phenix
Posted 06.06.2005 at 2:00 am 2 Comments
With all the buzz about hybrids, it´s easy to ignore our homegrown alternative fuel: ethanol. Clean-burning and infinitely renewable-we´re talking grain alcohol-ethanol is dear to environmentalists and economists alike. The standard 85/15-percent ethanol/gasoline blend (E85) is widely used in Sweden, but there are only 313 E85 fueling stations in the U.S.
Amateur rocketeers from all over North America are converging in Lethbridge, Canada, this weekend for the 24th annual Large Dangerous Rocket Ship convention. Some come to launch small kits, others to fire up giant home-brewed rocket motors, but everyone enjoys the thrill of a good explosion. Check out our preview of this year's event, from July's Popular Science.
The visitor who pulls up to this upstate New York hayfield on a sunny July Saturday afternoon might well wonder whether he’s stumbled upon a 4-H Club event or a third-world arms bazaar.
A supersonic gun takes the ouch out of vaccine drug delivery
By Kalee Thompson
Posted 06.02.2005 at 6:00 pm 0 Comments
Take your medication with a gun made by PowderMed in Oxford, England, and the drugs will blast into your skin at 1,500 miles per hour. “You hear the sound, so you know it’s gone off,” explains Mark Kendall, a mechanical engineer at the University of Oxford and co-inventor of the flashlight-shaped disposable device.
X-45A prototypes snap smartly onto the runway centerline after attacks on simulated mobile missile launchers. Although the two programs are not yet competing for dollars, they are certainly jockeying for position as military planners grapple with the ever changing nature of armed conflict.
By Eric Adams
Posted 06.02.2005 at 2:00 am 0 Comments
When it lifted off the runway at Edwards Air Force Base on May 22, 2002, Boeing's X-45A unmanned combat air vehicle became the first dedicated robotic fighter to begin flight testing. The first flight lasted only 14 minutes, but subsequent testing later saw the airplane, and its twin, conduct substantially longer missions, proving their ability to fly in formation, drop warheads on simulated missile sites, and attack newly identified targets completely autonomously.
With crime-fighting software inspired by evolution, a picture is worth a thousand . . . other pictures
By David Kohn
Posted 06.02.2005 at 2:00 am 0 Comments
As often happens during a crime, a victim gets only a brief glance at the assailant. Later, when police ask him for a description of the perpetrator, he
has trouble recalling details. But now, with new identification software developed by
A lot of people wonder what the cellphone of tomorrow will look like. We decided to design it
By Michael Myser
Posted 06.01.2005 at 2:20 pm 1 Comment
We all expect the cellphone to get smaller while packing in an ever broadening array of functions. The real question is what it’ll look like—inside and outin several years. To find the answer, we investigated dozens of on-the-brink technologies, picking the brains of cellphone product engineers, industry analysts and lab researchers. They told us of cameras that zoom, screens that play Star Wars, and micro fuel cells that deliver days of continuous operation.
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.