Equipped with “inchworm” motors and sonar, and built with MEMS processes, tiny inspecto-bots will scurry and fly, performing investigations for their human controllers.
Bugs can go places that humans can’t; they cooperate better than almost any other organism; some of them can even fly. It’s those desirable traits that are driving robotics toward a future that looks more like A Bug’s Life than The Jetsons.
Within a decade or so, swarms of mechatronic bugs outfitted with sensors and wireless transceivers will likely be burrowing through the rubble of buildings to search for earthquake survivors and scrabbling over the hull of a spacecraft to repair damage inflight.
At the “brain spa” of the future, transcranial magnetic stimulation and memory-enhancing drugs will clear your mind of forgetfulness and flabby thinking.
A visit to the spa, circa 2015: Your session begins with a battery of mental tests—from visual puzzles to memory quizzes to games that measure reaction time. After your results are evaluated, you don a lightweight helmet housing electromagnetic coils and relax while a certified “neurotrainer” consults a 3-D image of your brain to adjust the helmet settings. You feel oddly energized as the device zaps your gray matter with painless energy pulses. After a few minutes, you visit the smart bar for a custom regimen of brain-enhancing pills.
Scientists have created cultured teeth, seeding them like pearls in the intestines of rats. Progress with stem cells and tissue engineering promises to bring this tech to dentistry.
“They’re drosophila with a backbone,” Pamela Yelick says as she shows me the tanks full of zebra fish in her lab. Translation: The critters are easy to work with, and scientists have cracked their genome, making them almost as good as fruit flies when it comes to doing genetic research. But for Yelick, a molecular biologist at the Forsyth Institute in Boston, one crucial trait makes them even better than fruit flies: Zebra fish have teeth. And not only that, they continuously shed and regrow those teeth over the course of their lifetime.
The handheld “smart communicator” will have the memory and processing power of today’s best desktop computers, and it’ll display on any nearby screen. The virtual laptop is pocket-size.
Call it the smart communicator. In a few years, the functions in today’s personal digital assistant (PDA)—notebook, to-do list, calendar, contacts—will be the least of it. Thanks to a variant of Moore’s Law that says data-storage density doubles every 18 months, tomorrow’s smart communicator will hold 250GB—enough to store 55 movies.
133-year old title nabs general excellence award.
New York, NY, May 5, 2004--Popular Science received a National Magazine Award for General Excellence from the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) today at an industry luncheon, held at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. This marks the first time Popular Science has been nominated in the General Excellence category, as well as its first National Magazine Award win.
Bogus science and health claims are rampant—and these self-styled vigilantes are after the perps.
At the turn of the 20th century, corrupt entrepreneurs roamed the country in covered wagons, peddling "cure-all" tonics that were little more than alcohol and crushed leaves. The public drank it up, literally and figuratively, and many of these traveling leeches enjoyed millionaire status back when that was still a meaningful designation. We may think we live in a more enlightened age, but two scientists who often forgo their day jobs to chase frauds say snake-oil salesmen posing as science or health experts are as prevalent as ever.
We asked a writer to notice and decode the science claims he heard on a typical day. They averaged one every 10 minutes. And they weren't very scientific.
I'm not up five minutes, and it looks like I'll get my RDA of science claims at breakfast. Cheerios "can reduce your cholesterol."1 My milk derives from a dairy whose cows "graze freely on lush natural pastures as nature intended."2 My Concord Foods soy shake is "fat-free" and a "good source of fresh fruit."3
One mission to turn a high-speed comet into a piata.
You’d think this mission was the brainchild of some mischievous teenagers who love mailbox baseball, but the attempt here is more like shooing a fly into the path of a speeding Hummer. Scheduled for a January launch, NASA’s Deep Impact will pull alongside the orbital path of comet Tempel 1 on July 3, 2005, when the comet is half a million miles away from Earth. The mother ship will release the impactor, a 793-pound copper-and-aluminum “fly,” which will drift for 24 hours as the comet closes in at 6 miles per second.
It's a moment fraught with exquisite anticipation and dread–the moment when your car's true power is laid bare for all to see.
I need to find out, once and for all, how big it is. I need to see if I measure up to the other guys, if I have what it takes. And to do that, I’ll have to hang it out in public, let them size it up, in a very open display of the one quantity most important to the American car guy. Horsepower.
There are many ways to melt metal, but an arc furnace can liquefy almost anything you put in it, using only electricity.
Dept: Gray Matter
Project: Arc melting
Time: 30 minutes
DABBLER | | | | | MASTER