Who will build the fastest experimental helicopter?
By Joseph A. BernsteinPosted 01.05.2011 at 10:28 am 16 Comments
The cabin of a helicopter flying faster than 170 knots (196 mph) is a perilous place. Vibrations experienced at such high speeds can quickly exhaust pilots, obscure instrument panels, and knock equipment loose. (Pilots commonly joke about lost dental fillings.) Now two major helicopter manufacturers have independently solved the decades-long engineering problem of increasing speed without sacrificing chopper stability or maneuverability, laying the groundwork for dramatically faster emergency-rescue operations and battlefield resupply missions.
Further solidifying its reputations for cutting edge battlefield tech and badass acronyms, DARPA has awarded BAE systems $8.4 million to develop its BLADE program (for Behavioral Learning for Adaptive Electronic Warfare), a system of algorithms that can automatically identify and jam threatening wireless communications.
More than three decades after scientists concluded that NASA’s Viking missions to Mars had found inconclusive evidence for the existence of organic compounds on Mars, a new study says not only are there organics on Mars, but Viking found them back in the late 1970s and scientists completely missed them.
Orville Douglas Denison spent much of his youth sketching out futuristic aircraft, but in retirement he has turned pragmatic. His “aerial fire truck,” a cross between a conveyer belt and a ladder, could help firefighters quickly shuttle victims out of burning buildings.
The Defense Ministry of the People's Republic of China would like to wish you a happy new year – and welcome you into a new era. China's first known stealth aircraft (maybe) appeared across the Web over the past week or so in a series of pictures depicting what appear to be high-speed taxi tests at Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute's airfield.
Gyroscopes and infrared blasters ready radio-controlled helicopters for midair battle
By Eric AdamsPosted 01.04.2011 at 10:56 am 0 Comments
Unsophisticated electronics and design used to keep tiny R/C helicopters out of the fight. Eventually, motors the size of aspirin capsules let companies stack two counter-rotating rotors to cancel out torque from the spinning drive shaft; this increased stability but not enough to make dogfighting any fun. Enter Force's new ready-to-fly line.
Last year, we wrote about a particularly bright scheme for using a room's lighting to also transmit data, creating a wireless Internet connection that relies on visual light rather than radio spectrum. It seems the city of St. Cloud, Minn., thinks there's something to the notion too.
By linking together three massive radio telescopes in Europe, South Africa and Western Australia a University of Southampton professor is taking the lead in a global effort to capture astrophysical events across the entire sky for the first time.
Add corrections officers to the list of workers at risk of being replaced by machines. Recently demonstrated computer-vision systems can analyze imagery provided by cameras perched in prison yards, recognizing faces, gestures, and unfolding incidents and warning guards if, say, two groups of inmates appear hostile. It’s one of a smattering of experimental computer-vision systems highlighted in a New York Times piece examining how smart, observant computers may soon document our every move.
Engineering professors at McGill University have constructed a new type of wheel, designed for the moon but inspired by the humble beanbag chair. These wheels allow a rover to climb objects taller than the wheel's diameter, as well as functioning as impressive shock absorbers for traversing difficult terrain--great news for those disgusted with the slow pace of the "pave the moon" movement.