The US isn’t really known for the quality of its public mass transit. While we have trains, planes and buses aplenty, the system is nothing like that offered in Europe. Some parts of the country are better than others, but overall, Americans love their cars more than they love the idea of efficient mass transit.
Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, believes the US can do better. His vision for the mass transit of the future is called the Hyperloop; a solar-powered, earthquake-safe system that relies on high speed pods zipping through an enclosed tube to move travelers to their destination. Continue reading
While many of us are still trying to wrap our brains around how smart phones and mobile apps have forever altered day-to-day living, innovators are moving on to what many are calling the next big thing: wearables. Engineers are already dreaming up designs for the wearable product segment, which encompasses anything from augmented reality glasses like the widely-hyped Google Glass to Apple’s rumored iWatch and a range of still-to-be-thought-of devices.
If you think this segment seems like the stuff of science fiction, think again. Analyst firms such as the UK-based IMS Research are projecting the wearable computer market to swell to around $6 billion by 2016, with some estimates going even higher. Already, more than 14 million wearable technology devices were estimated to ship in 2011, according to IHS, another research firm tracking this emerging segment. IHS is projecting that 171 million wearable tech devices will ship in 2016, resulting in a 550% growth surge from 2011 to 2016. Continue reading
I wrote last summer about a team of University of Maryland students who tried, but failed, to win the elusive Sikorsky Prize with their Gamera II human-powered helicopter. The American Helicopter Society International sponsors the $250,000 price, which requires a 60-second flight at an altitude of 3 meters in a 10-square-meter area, a goal that the Gamera II team missed by a good 10 seconds. The prize has been offered since 1980. Continue reading
Science fiction has provided plenty of inspiration for designers and engineers over the past century—that’s one of the reasons people are still working on invisibility cloaks and tricorders. Earlier this month, Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination launched something call the Hieroglyph Project, which aims to bring sci-fi writers together with scientists and engineers to generate optimistic visions of the future that are grounded in real science. Continue reading