Archive for July, 2015

London to New York in 3 Hours!

Making faster means of transportation is what the human race has mastered over the last century. Just a hundred years ago in 1915 it would take nearly three months for people to “pop across the pond”, but today its a matter of a single day’s flight. Not everyone is happy with the 17 hour long flight that currently runs between the two cities and naturally there are always plans to make the trip last for a lesser time.

A Boston based company called Spike Aerospace is currently testing a design for a Supersonic Aeroplane that may be able to deliver a load of twenty people from London to New York in just about three hours. The plans for the S-512 Supersonic Jet were officially announced way back in 2013. The design has since then been undergoing constant updates to make it safer and feasible.

The aeroplane is likely to have the ability to travel at Mach 1.8 speed which is 1.8 times faster than the speed of sound. Needless to say it would be much faster than the Jumbo Jet which currently plies at a sedate Mach 0.92.  That it is possible to achieve the speed is already proved by the F-18 Hornet, a military fighter jet, however when the science project culminates and this plane is built will be the fastest commercial carrier.

Leave a Comment

Swan Robots Check For Pollution

If you see some beautiful swans swimming in Singapore, don’t try to feed them. They might just be robotic swans skimming the water body for signs of pollution. These elegant looking bird like robots were built by researchers at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Environmental Research Institute and the Tropical Marine Science Institute.

They identify the physical and biological components found in fresh water and then pass on the data via a wireless connection to a website. Then the data is studied by researchers to analyse the findings. The whole process is automated to a great degree. The Swan robots also do not need to be directed to swim in the water body as they can travel autonomously for hours at a time.

The elegant posture and pure white feathers of the swan robots have been kept on purpose to ensure that the swans blend in with the natural environment. The participants of this science project look most authentic if you only look at them from the top, below the water the propellers and instruments used to measure the water will fast rob you of the opinion that they are nothing more than birds out for a swim. They even use GPS technology to specifically visit areas of the reservoir that they have been instructed to.

Leave a Comment

Vortex : The Programable Robot Toy

Parents are always looking for toys to keep children amused, entertained and if possible learning skills. A whole industry of educational toys makes its living off this desire. The newest addition to the market is likely to be a robot. This little robot is designed with four in built games that children can play, plus with the ability to be paired with a smartphone and programmed. Called Vortex it is compatible with both Android and iOS devices.

The makers of Vortex are a company called DFRobot, based in Shanghai. DFRobot specializes in developing robotics and open source hardware for the maker community. With the Vortex children will be able to drag and drop modules to enable the robot to do what they wish. The Arduino-based robot runs on four AA batteries and can run for 40 to 90 minutes based on the activities that it has been programmed to perform.

A truly interesting science project, the general activities that Vortex can perform include picking its way through obstacles, detecting lines, and talking in response to verbal stimuli. Different combinations allow the robot to play different games with the children. The four games added to the basic Vortex model include Bumping Fight, Virtual Golf, Driving and Robot Soccer. Vortex can be expanded with other sensors, Ryan Daws said, for temperature, sound, accelerometer, gyroscope, ultrasonic, touch sensor, and more via the I2C socket.

Leave a Comment

Pluto Meets New Horizons!

After nearly a decade, the wait is finally over. Pluto finally gets to meet New Horizons and the space craft is now of the farther side of the planet having successfully culminated its flypast. Alice Bowman, the mission operations manager confirmed that they have a healthy spacecraft, they have recorded data of the Pluto system, and they’re outbound from Pluto.

After nearly twenty hours of recording information New Horizons finally sent back confirmation of all systems normal to a packed auditorium where Bowman received them to much jubilation in the room. The sheer magnitude of data waiting to be sorted through will take nearly the next sixteen months to reach the planet. Needless to say with several eager scientists waiting to analyse it, just like waiting for the next episode of your daily soap opera.

Just the three huge greyscale pictures that arrive tomorrow will create a huge amount of buzz as they will allow us to see the surface of Pluto as never seen before. The researchers can expect temperature readings, solar wind measurements, nitrogen molecule counts, and whole lot of other variable recordings made by New Horizons. Needless to say that this is one science project that is going to have astronomers busy for decades.


Leave a Comment

The Ultimate Super Phone

That the smartphones have taken over the mobile market is a well known fact, but it is also true that the initial smartphones were not exactly practical to use. They were delicate and had features that could easily stop working if merely rattled a bit. Now Turning Robotic Industries has unveiled a super phone. One which their CEO Syl Choa is calling unbreakable and unhackable.

The Turing Phone is a 5.5-inch smartphone, running Android 5.1 and that’s about as conventional as it gets. It has three sharp bold colors and is inspired by sketches of science fiction spaceships. It comes in three models: Pharaoh, Cardinal, and Beowulf. It has no USB port or headphones jack but just a single proprietary jack that looks a little like the MacBook’s MagSafe, and Bluetooth capabilities.

The software that operates the phone is entirely customized and CEO Choa promises that it will be a masterpiece. With fingerprint readers on the side and end to end encryption for all core apps of the phone, he is not kidding. This is one science project that is going possibly increase in value even after you purchase it if the cryptocurrency called Turing Coin inside it begins to appreciate in value. Now if that is not a super phone, what it?

Leave a Comment

Dawn Stays Longer at Ceres

Dawn is the probe that NASA sent out in September 2007 to study the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. So far it has covered investigations of the two largest objects in the asteroid belt, namely Vesta and Ceres. The $466 million space mission has a small set back when the probe went into safe mode.

It may be just a precautionary measure that the system on board Dawn has taken, but observers have made it clear that it will stay in its current orbit around the dwarf planet till the investigations being undertaken are completed. The safe mode action was initiated on June 30th when the space craft’s protective software detected a problem of some sort.

This resulted in Dawn shutting down its engines and while mission team members managed to get Dawn back in action after two days, they are not changing its orbit till they know for sure what caused the initial problem. As part of the mission the probe was to finish four orbits around the dwarf planet, each at a closer orbit.

Currently Dawn has finished two orbits and was about to start on the third one when the problem struck. The mission team had hoped to launch the probe into the next orbit in August this year. Despite the problems this science project has had a fair deal of success.

Leave a Comment