Seth Beall

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Boeing Designed a Strange Plane That Would Suck Up Shipping Containers

It would roll right over them, squat down, and lock them in place.<p>Boeing received a patent last month for a unique airplane design that would lower onto shipping containers and then lock them into place. The strange-looking design has landing gear that is wider than the shipping containers and a …

Aviation

This Amateur Rocket Club Is Determined to Get to Orbit

If lawyers will let them.<p>The Portland State Aerospace Society (PSAS), a student project at Portland State University, launched a rocket out in the Oregon desert on July 19th. The rocket soared nearly three miles into the sky—an impressive feat, but that's just the beginning for PSAS. The group has …

Can a $9 Computer Change the World?

A newer, cheaper circuit board could democratize computer-powered devices. All it needs are a few determined handlers.<p>If you distill a computer down to its essential parts, there's not much there. Get rid of the display, the casing, and all the software, and you're left with a central processing …

Raspberry Pi

Explore Mars as the Curiosity Rover With This Cool New Simulation

Drive, drill rocks, discover alien life. OK maybe not that last one.<p>NASA has released a simulation of the Mars Curiosity rover that allows folks to drive around the Red Planet as part of the three-year anniversary of the rover's landing. You can also drill into a rock, manipulate instruments, and …

Here's the Incredible Robotic Furniture You Didn't Know You Needed

Redefining the words "that's a cute ottoman."<p>Bookshelves that pop out just the book you need. Kitchen tables that set themselves. Bathrooms that adjust to your personal comfort levels.<p>The robots in this video from<i>The Economist</i> do absolutely none of those things. But they're pretty adorable …

How a Braille Enabled Smartwatch Lets Users Feel the Time

The new Dot smartwatch gives a braille readout of the time<p>America doesn't have the market cornered on great start-ups. A South Korean company, Dot, has a brilliant idea for a new wearable. Through a series of dots that mechanically raise up, it can give visually impaired users the time, allow them …

The World's First 3D-Printed Car Is a Blast to Drive

A little quality time behind the wheel of the Local Motors Strati roadster.<p>This spring Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne called out the auto industry for the staggering amount of money it wastes in the design and manufacture of cars. His solution is based on classic business principles: …

RFID-Enabled Feeder Makes Cats Work for Their Meals

The noble and majestic house cat stalks its prey.<p>What's the point of training a cat if you can't also train them to use high-tech gizmos?<p>Ben Millam understood this more than most, and built an RFID-tracking device that automatically feeds his cat, Monkey, when triggered. All Monkey has to do is …

Thanks To This Device, Stealing Your Car Has Never Been Easier

Cyber security in the fast lane<p>Samy Kamkar is a car buff. The cyber security expert enjoys tinkering, particularly in the intersection of automation and the Internet of Things. "I love the new technology that car companies are introducing," he says, "but I worry whether the manufacturers are …

NASA-Funded Study Says We Can Build a Moon Base by 2031

Meanwhile, NASA itself wants to go to an asteroid, not the moon.<p>While the official Obama administration line is that NASA should have its eyes on a Mars landing, a study from NexGen Space LLC and funded in part by NASA says that we should go to the moon instead and set up camp for good. The price …

The Ghost City Built Just for Self-Driving Cars Is Now Open

M City is a 32-acre replica metropolis for driverless vehicles to navigate.<p>Monday was the first day open for business at the University of Michigan's $10 million M City, a 32-acre test facility for driverless cars. Filled with intersections, building facades, defaced traffic signs, faded road …

Your New Ride To Space

You don’t need a rocket to leave Earth. There’s a slower, gentler trip in the works—and it comes with a cocktail.<p>When Alan Eustace lifted off into space from the New Mexico desert this past October, it was with a quiet whoosh, and a slight jostle of his harness. The 57-year-old computer scientist …

Surrealist Truck Sculpture Gets a Parking Ticket

Well, sort of. It turns out the police wanted to get in on the fun.<p>Lots of great works of art have challenged the establishment. But few have gone so far as to earn a parking ticket. Sort of.<p>Austrian artist and sculptor Erwin Wurm recently installed a surreal, curving truck sculpture on the streets …

Art

Sleep on the Water at This Super-Sleek Boatel

Never snooze on dry land again<p>Before now, boatels have been hulking monstrosities, at best, and watery gimmicks, at worst. In any case, they're largely eyesores. And a Serbian design studio has something to say about that.<p>Drawing inspiration from the sleek pod hotels that dot cosmopolitan …

Emerging Technology

Today in Photos: Saturn's Moon Dione Gets Sliced in Half

We're gathering the very best photos in science, auto, tech, and more in here, and updating daily!<p>The best photos in science, auto, tech, and more

Astronomy

The 4D Future of Stuff

Why limit ourselves to printing in just three dimensions?<p>Ours is a world of static objects, cut, cast, or forged for specific tasks. But let’s say you opened an Ikea box, and the desk inside assembled itself. Or your water pipes shrank as the pressure decreased: no more weak showers, less wasted …

Scientists Make Friction Disappear By Coating Diamonds With Graphene

The discovery could help make cars, computers, and other machines more efficient<p>Diamonds are already one of the hardest natural substances known to science. But combine them with graphene, and diamond nanoparticles are also incredibly slippery, which can be useful if you want to reduce friction in …

This Squishy Honeycomb Could Build Strong, Lightweight Armor

Better buckling, better bumpers<p>Armor can be light, durable, and effective, but rarely all three at the same time. New research from the University of Texas Austin has a new solution: a honeycomb shape, but one durable enough to reform after impact.<p>Man-made honeycomb structures used in armor are …

These Absurd Robots Do Pointless Jobs

But we love them anyway<p>One day, robots will most likely take on many of our most mundane chores. No more folding of laundry or washing of dishes. But until that day comes, we’ll have to settle for ones that take on less-necessary duties. These three ridiculous machines are masters of their utterly …

Super-Thin Electronic Textile Could Dress You In Video

You'll never want to change your clothes again<p>In the future you won’t have to worry about your coworkers finding out that you’re wearing the same shirt as yesterday, because you’ll be able to change its color and pattern.<p>In a recent study published in <i>Nature Communications</i>, researchers have …

Fiber Optic Fix Will Make Connecting The World Easier And Cheaper

Can you hear me now?<p>Wires are so old school. Nowadays, most of our information (whether on the Internet, TV, or phone) is communicated over fiber optic cables, long strands of material that can transmit information as light over distances. And with a new discovery, fiber optic cables could become …

Engineering

This Bricklaying Robot Can Build A House In Two Days

Replacing ancient human art with mechanical precision<p>An engineer in Perth wants to mechanize one of humanity’s oldest jobs. His robot is named “Hadrian,” after the Roman Emperor who built a wall in Northern Britain, and it can lay 1,000 bricks an hour. With a building plan programmed in, it …

These Students Built A Working Hyperloop (A Very Tiny One)

'What is this? A Hyperloop for ants!?'<p>Elon Musk’s Hyperloop is an idea as ambitious as it is fantastical. A train that travels at 760 mph through a pressurized tube is a hard sell, even with it gracing the latest cover of *Popular Science magazine. So it's pretty cool to see a real, working version …

Superfast Lasers Create A Hologram You Can Touch

At quadrillionth-second bursts<p>The halls of science fiction are well-decorated with dreams of holograms—Jules Verne introduced holography to literature in 1893 with <i>The Castle of the Carpathians</i>, and how else would we know that Obi-Wan was Leia’s only hope?<p>Now, researchers at the Digital Nature …

Police Will Throw This Camera Ball Into Rooms

“Tactical spheres”<p>“Camera in the hole!" police officers soon shout, as they toss the new Explorer camera orb into a dangerous room before entering. Made by MIT alumnus at Bounce Imaging, the Explorer is a small, grenade-sized sphere full of cameras that first responders can throw into a space ahead …

This Insanely Hard, Self-Driving Robot Race Takes Place In A Parking Lot

SparkFun's annual autonomous vehicle competition pushes the limits of cheap tech<p>The challenge of the Autonomous Vehicle Competition, hosted by hobbyist electronics vendor SparkFun at its Boulder, Colorado, headquarters, seems simple enough: Build a robot that can navigate itself around the …

The 11 Biggest Stories from E3 2015

Video game bombshells.<p>E3 is a massive week for gamers all over the globe. Worldwide reveals, bombshell news announcements, and more all keep us glued …

NASA prototypes a drone aircraft destined for Mars

No, you're not looking at a very sophisticated boomerang -- that may be the first aircraft to fly the Martian skies. NASA has revealed that it's building a prototype for Prandtl-m (Preliminary Research Aerodynamic Design to Land on Mars), a glider drone that would launch from a descending rover and …

Drones

The US Navy is testing a submarine-hunting drone ship

Originally conceived as a DARPA project, the Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) is designed to hunt the next generation of nearly silent enemy diesel submarines.<p>Diesel submarines are quickly proliferating around the world due to their low cost. Russia recently announced …

Europe to scrap roaming charges, protect net neutrality

It's been a long time coming, but we finally know when roaming charges will be scrapped in Europe: June 15th, 2017. The European Commission had been pushing for an earlier implementation, but ultimately relented in order to win support from the European Parliament and Council. Under the new rules, …

Net Neutrality