Space & Innovation

Tasty Tech Eye Candy of the Week (March 6)

Wind takes center stage this week as it generates power, creates audio art, whips your hair on a quad motorcycle and whistles over the fastest car.

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Wind takes center stage this week as it generates power, creates audio art, whips your hair on a quad motorcycle and whistles over the fastest car in the world. Above: Generating electricity in remote areas is about to get a littler easier. Swiss-based TwingTec has designed a high-flying wind turbine named TT100 that soars to 1000 feet high and then flips around to become a kite. In kite mode, it does a figure eight, pulling on its tether. The kinetic energy on the tether turns a generator in the shipping container, which produces 100kW of electricity. TwingTec says their system is easy to ship anywhere in the world and can be deployed quickly for communities living off the grid, work sites located far from power or in the aftermath of disasters that have obliterated power infrastructure.

At this week's Geneva Motor Show, French carmaker Bugatti unveiled the 2017 Chiron, and declared it the world's fastest street-legal car. The car's 8.0-liter, quad-turbo engine provides 1,500 hp and a speed of 261 mph. Sticker price should be around $2.6 million when the car goes on sale this fall.

This gorgeous computer simulation shows something the human eye would never see in real-life: the complicated fluid dynamics of liquid mercury. The simulation was done for purely scientific reasons, to reveal the distribution of heat in the metal as it moved across a cylinder. Understanding this phenomenon can help scientists better understand convection in the sun and Earth’s atmosphere, core, and oceans.

DARPA has awarded a contract for the Phase 2 X-plane to Aurora Flight Sciences. Their unmanned aircraft is designed to take off vertically like a helicopter and then fly forward like a fixed-wing airplane at speeds between 345 mph and 460 mph. A turboshaft engine will produce 3 MW of power and drive 24 ducted fans that provide thrust. Watch a video

here

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The Wind Tower, designed by London-based MSA-Gruff, amplifies the sound of blowing wind along the coast of Lincolnshire, UK. It was made from galvanized steel and coated in maritime paint to give it the resilience needed to withstand the effects of saltwater, sand and of course, blowing wind.

Most 3-D cameras are not just one camera but multiple cameras that shoot images from multiple vantage points. But this camera, under development at the University of Michigan, is made to take 3-D images on its own. It works thanks to a series of transparent light detectors inside made from graphene. As light enters the camera through the lens, the detectors split up the image and a computer program recombines them into a 3-D image.

Look closely. This image shows two oval BMX bike tracks illuminated in pink on either end by structures shaped somewhat like human lungs. A rider, his tires glowing blue, pedals around the wooden track at top speed, breathing hard. The track is an art installation meant to show the relationship between air quality and mobility. As the air changes, so does the color of the track. The track is currently on display at the Velo-City Global 2016 cycling conference in Taipei. Watch the video

here

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Good news for air travel. Boeing has developed a self-cleaning lavatory prototype that uses ultraviolet light to zap 99.99 percent of any germs lingering on surfaces. Now, if they could just improve the air quality on those long flights.

Students at Ghent University built this scorpion hexpod as part of their Master Year project. Stephan Flamand, Robbe Terryn and Pieterjan Deconinck programmed the robot to move like a real scorpion. A long-range IR sensor and three short-range sensors as well as a front-facing camera detect if someone is nearby. A red marker pen in the scorpion's tail "stings" anyone that gets too close. See a video

here

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A motorcycle with four wheels? Unheard of. But the folks at Lazareth don't think so. Their LM 847 has a 4.7-liter Maserati V8 engine, providing a whopping 470 horsepower. Just looking at it puts the wind in my hair.