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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I'm a rocket man... burning out his fuse up here alone ....

Sorry but I really must be on my way
The Bell Rocket belt that James  Bond used in the movie Thunderball was actually a fully functional rocket pack device, which had been developed for the army. Unfortunately, its flying time was too brief to be of practical use, relying on an almost pure hydrogen peroxide propellant that burned too quickly. The catalyst in this old rocket pack was silver, which decomposed the hydrogen peroxide  into a mixture of super heated steam and oxygen in less than 1/10 millisecond. Designing a jetpack device that would be light enough, safe enough, high flying enough, long flying enough, not to mention maneuverable,  would prove to challenge the smarts of even the most determined engineers. Yes, rocket science can be that way!

Enter Swiss Flying Man, Rocket Man on Steroids, AKA JETMAN Yves Rossy, sky racer against fighter jets, and all-round solo high flyer extrordinaire.

How does he do it? Aside from being Swiss, fearless, and super smart? I will give you a hint. He's got some killer jet turbine engines strapped on his back. Not one, not two, but four (!) jet engines are strapped to his back!!!!

Learn more about the amazing "Jet Man" Yves Rossy and follow his journey as he zooms through the sky :

My mind to your mind... my thoughts to your thoughts

Why pay a penny when I can get your thoughts for free?

Mr. Spock was my favorite Star Trek character, for many reasons. Superior intelligence, physical strength, and not the least were his abilities to nerve pinch and mind meld. The recent movie Pacific Rim features mind melding, called "drifting", a required element so that two pilots could sync and control their giant robot Jaeger, because according to the movie, one human mind did not have the neural power to be able to do it alone.  The concept of linking two ( or more ) brains to amplify brain power and cancel out each other's errors is, as Spock might say, fascinating.

Researchers at the University of Washington made news today with their brain-to-brain experiment.
By using EEG and TMS technologies, brain signals from one person ( the sender) were recorded, interpreted via software and then transmitted to a different location (via internet) where a second person (the receiver), was wired to a TMS machine. The sender had visualized his hand pressing a key as part of a video game play, and his brain signal was transmitted and decoded as a magnetic pulse to the proper brain region of the receiver, who then responded by pressing the key.

Gives a whole new meaning to the term "mind manipulation", doesn't it?

Read about the experiment here, and at the bottom of the page there are also some good background references for brain-computer interfaces:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Power Loading and Exoskeletons

Ripley taking on the Alien Mama
Remember Ripley vs. the Alien? What a great battle!  Recent movies such as Iron Man and Elysium feature robotic exoskeletons with advanced power loading capabiities. Companies such as Lockheed Martin ( HULC) and Raytheon (Sarcos) have developed working power loading exoskeletons for military applications, and Panasonic has a couple Power Loader products in the works for commercial use. So how do they work? Discover how sensors, chips, actuators, and controllers come together to make these super-human, alien butt-kicking machines a reality.

Welcome to the blog for the 2014 Kavli Science Video Contest!

The theme of this year's video contest is "science in fiction". Or, how about"science faction" ???

According to the online Urban dictionary:
1. science faction

refers to:
(1) Actual scientific discoveries or inventions that are so hard to believe as to be commonly mistaken for science fiction.

(2) A speculative technological discovery or invention specifically referred to in past science fiction writing that has since become true.
Apparently an invisibility cloak has become science faction as military scientists have discovered a reflective material that can bend light around a subject making the subject effectively invisible.
In the days ahead we will be exploring some examples of science faction. I will be sharing some cool inventions and discoveries...
 Here is a personal favorite of mine to kick off our quest .... the flying car!