Every time you hit "print," this $100 inkjet lays down thousands of droplets per inch of paper, with microscopic precision
By Theano NikitasPosted 03.23.2009 at 1:37 pm 2 Comments
Even today's budget-priced home printers churn out quality photos that a few years ago you could have gotten only from a professional printing house. Key to the high quality are steady improvements in print heads, which can eject smaller and smaller droplets of ink with ever-greater precision.
This portable crane can hoist millions of pounds all
day long, then drive home like any other 18-wheeler
By Michael DumiakPosted 03.23.2009 at 11:57 am 12 Comments
Built for tasks like lifting 55-ton generators to the top of 300-foot windmills, the Liebherr 11200-9.1 might just be the world's most monstrous truck. The 108-ton 18-wheeler doubles in weight when the boom—-which with extensions can reach 47 stories—-is attached. Fully assembled, it can lift up to 2.6 million pounds. Without the boom, it can drive on public roads, so getting it to a job site requires five fewer trucks than it would take to haul in and assemble an equally large fixed crane. It's also far easier to move from place to place once it's on-site.
The Black Hawk helicopter has served the U.S. Army well. But it's been around since 1979. Time for a revamp, with advanced electronics, more-powerful engines, and various other tweaks. The UH-60M Upgrade, as it's officially known, made its first flight last summer, and the Connecticut aircraft-manufacturer Sikorsky will start delivering them to the Army next year and ramp up to full production by 2013.
Standard drills will barely make a chip in concrete or brick. That's why contractors drilling holes in a home's foundation use rotary hammer drills like this new Hitachi DH50MRY. In addition to the standard spinning bit, it slams a weight—the hammer—forward to create a sort of jackhammer effect to crush masonry as it drills. But all that pounding beats the heck out of your hands and arms. The Hitachi is one of the first to integrate a counterweight to absorb recoil. The result is a safer and easier-to-control drill that's still concrete's worst nightmare.
For the past five years, John Rennie has braved the towering waves of the North Atlantic Ocean to keep your e-mail coming to you. As chief submersible engineer aboard the Wave Sentinel, part of the fleet operated by U.K.-based undersea installation and maintenance firm Global Marine Systems, Rennie--a congenial, 6'4", 57-year-old Scotsman--patrols the seas, dispatching a remotely operated submarine deep below the surface to repair undersea cables. The cables, thick as fire hoses and packed with fiber optics, run everywhere along the seafloor, ferrying phone and Web traffic from continent to continent at the speed of light.
The cables regularly fail. On any given day, somewhere in the world there is the nautical equivalent of a hit and run when a cable is torn by fishing nets or sliced by dragging anchors. If the mishap occurs in the Irish Sea, the North Sea or the North Atlantic, Rennie comes in to splice the break together.
Those maps on GPS devices and Google don’t just appear. Here’s how a fleet of minivans is working to digitize every road, building and sign in the world
By Doug CantorPosted 12.18.2008 at 10:23 am 3 Comments
The Netherlands-based Tele Atlas is one of two companies that build and update street maps to feed to GPS-device makers and Web sites such as Google Maps. Its raw data: photographs captured by more than 300 drivers, who collectively covered 350,000 miles last year.
This ski stretches wide for easy turns and shrinks for downhill speed
By Mark AndersPosted 10.21.2008 at 3:55 pm 1 Comment
The Atomic D2 Vario Cut is like two skis in one: It's straight and narrow for zooming downhill but expands to be wider at the tip and tail when you turn -- creating a curved ski that, like a sharply turned car wheel, carves through a tight arc.
Snapping ankles and dancer-like toes are what makes Michael Phelps win
By Corey BinnsPosted 08.01.2008 at 12:55 pm 7 Comments
Despite its name, the dolphin kick—the motion that propels the swimmer forward underwater after he dives in and at the turns—isn't just about the legs. It requires a swimmer's entire body to crack like a whip, creating a fluid wave that starts at the chest and increases in amplitude as it travels all the way through the toes. In the best swimmers, this wave moves at about nine feet every second, about half the speed an actual dolphin performs the same motion. To move this quickly, whole-body flexibility is key.
A fast run and a carbon-fiber pole create 20 feet of vertical
By Corey BinnsPosted 07.25.2008 at 11:31 am 1 Comment
The pole vault is all about energy conversion. The kinetic energy built up during the vaulter’s run turns into potential energy stored in the pole as the vaulter bends it nearly 90 degrees. When the pole recoils, it unleashes that energy to help propel the vaulter up and over the bar. Of these stages, Peter McGinnis, a professor of kinesiology at the State University of New York at Cortland, has found that the most important is the speed of the vaulter just before he plants his pole. The energy built up during the run accounts for almost 60 percent of the vault’s height.
The biomechanics behind throwing 100 mph without ripping your elbow apart
By Corey BinnsPosted 07.17.2008 at 11:44 am 0 Comments
The slingshot move of a pro pitcher's shoulder is the fastest recorded action in sports. A pitch's power, however, is generated by his entire body. For a right-handed pitcher, the chain of kinetic energy starts as soon as he lifts his left leg and faces third base. The energy of that foot landing transfers into the rotation of the trunk and then finally unleashes in the arm whipping around at the elbow.