Flying cars have been in the works since 1946, when aeronautical engineer Ted Hall created two prototypes of the ConvAirCar. Unfortunately, a crash landing due to low fuel caused the hybrid vehicle’s manufacturer, Convair, to lose interest and shut down the venture within a year. While there have been numerous attempts since, none have gone beyond the experimental stage. That is about to change thanks to a slew of new and established companies that are determined to make this 70-year-old quest a reality.
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Space travel is expensive, especially since every launch requires a new rocket. The biggest and most costly part is the booster that powers the spacecraft beyond the Earth’s orbit. Once the job, which takes a few minutes, is completed, it separates from the rest of the rocket and drops back into the ocean while the second stage engine takes over and delivers the payload to its destination.
With our smart gadgets continuing to get increasingly powerful, battery power, of all things, is becoming of utmost importance. But amid the messy tangle of smartphone cords, unwieldy portable chargers, and the improbability of finding an electrical outlet, charging remains a challenge. Now, some brilliant scientists at Disney Research have created a room that can wirelessly charge all your electronic devices simultaneously.
Like most people, Gal Rozov hates folding laundry. But instead of complaining, the software developer decided to put his programming skills to work and create a laundry-folding robot! In 2012, after spending two years researching the most efficient design, Rozov moved from Israel to California and founded FoldiMate Inc. It took another four years, but by 2016, he had a working prototype of the namesake robot.
On Sunday, March 20, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, was observed behaving like a kid in a candy store — and for a good reason too. The beaming billionaire was among the first to be given the opportunity to pilot a 14-foot-tall mechanical robot, dubbed Method-2, at the opening of the Amazon-hosted MARS 2017 conference. Dedicated to Machine learning, home Automation, Robotics, and Space Exploration (hence the acronym MARS), the three-day invite-only event was attended by 130 guests from the business, entertainment, and robotics sectors.
In August 2013, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk released a 57-page white paper concept for Hyperloop — a supersonic mass transit system between high-traffic cities that lie within short distances. The founder of Tesla Motors and SpaceX envisioned it to be a frictionless system where pods inside low-pressure, vacuum-sealed tubes would transport passengers and cargo at up to 760 miles an hour — approximately the speed of sound. Powered by solar energy, it would be strong enough to withstand extreme weather and earthquakes.
Unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, have tremendous potential to deliver emergency supplies to remote or disaster-struck regions. However, they are expensive to mass produce and often require special pads to launch and land safely. Additionally, the need for the aircraft to maintain enough battery life to return, cuts the delivery distance to half. But these issues may be history, thanks to an affordable and disposable drone that is designed for a one way journey.
In retrospect, 2016 was a banner year for exploding devices. The trend began when hoverboards — two-wheeled self-balancing motorized devices — randomly began to burst into flames, hurting riders and causing millions of dollars in property damages. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 mobile phone, which debuted to stellar reviews in August faced similar issues and was withdrawn from the market by October. It turns out that all the mishaps were the result of malfunctioning lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries used to power the devices.