PopSci Presents: How It Works

Our seventh-annual special issue delves inside today's technology on the cutting edge—from an airborne military laser that melts its targets to the most advanced earbuds on the market—to answer the eternal question: How does that work?

Ever get the urge to rip apart sophisticated machinery to figure out what makes it tick? Us too. Below are the nine devices we tore open this year:

Volvo ReCharge Concept

A hybrid with motors in the wheels


The toy dinosaur that thinks for itself

GEnx Jet Engine

A lightweight, fuel-sipping engine that will power Boeing's 787 Dreamliner (with full exploded view)

Sayaka Endoscope Capsule

A pill camera that shoots movies of your gut (with video of the Sayaka in action)

Panasonic HDC-SD5

An HD camcorder that steadies shaky hands

Boeing Advanced Tactical Laser

A laser cannon that melts tanks from the air

Ultimate Ears UE 11 Pro

An earbud with a subwoofer inside

Micron 64GB Flash Disk

Flash memory that can take a dropkick


A satellite that can photograph home plate from 425 miles up (with interactive infographic)