• Human-Powered Helicopter Motors Toward New Frontier

    Getting a helicopter 3 meters off the ground for 1 minute doesn't seem like much of an achievement, but doing it without the power of a motorized engine has stumped engineers for the entirety of human history.

    Since 1980, there has been a bounty on the table in the form of the Sikorksy Challenge - which states that any group able to build a human powered helicopter that can meet those criteria, all without leaving a 10-meter by 10-meter area, will be awarded a prize of $250,000 and the universal admiration of fellow engineers. A few teams came close in the 80's and 90's, but no group has claimed the prize. That may be changing soon.

    A team of 75 students from the University of Maryland have built a of carbon fiber helicopter that is inching its way towards that record, and it is called the Gamera - whimsically named after the flying turtle from old Japanese monster movies and a play on the university's mascot, the Terrapin.

    It's powered by the ½ horsepower "Meat-Motor" (as the pilots

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  • Sir James Dyson, one of the true kings of innovation in industrial design, is at it again with yet another radical redesign in his vacuum cleaner technology, and he stopped by the ABC News studios to reflect upon his career and to address the breaking news regarding alleged corporate espionage at his company, at the instigation of a rival manufacturer.

    Dyson confirmed to us that a lawsuit has been filed against German rival Bosch for allegedly stealing company secrets through a rogue Dyson engineer. The engineer is suspected of being paid through a shell company in exchange for Dyson's company secrets, specifically regarding patented motor technology. In the past decade, Dyson has settled patent lawsuits with rivals Dirt Devil and Hoover, and Sir Dyson confided to Bill that these type of situations were some of the lowest points of a long career.

    When he first began building his own line of vacuum cleaners, Dyson's major issue was that the technology had remained stagnant for too

    Read More »from Inventor advice from the Steve Jobs of Suction
  • When NASA engineer Mark Rober posted a Halloween costume on YouTube last year using two iPads to create the effect of a hole through his stomach, more than 3 million people checked it out.

    The idea, like the effect in Rober's stomach, blew up. But viewers complained they didn't have an extra thousand dollars lying around to outfit their own Halloween costumes in a similar way.

    Rober took the complaints to heart. So when he wasn't busy designing components for the Curiosity Rover that landed on Mars a couple of months ago, he devoted evenings and weekends to developing a similar but affordable costume called Digital Dudz.

    Digital Dudz is a free app for the iPhone and the Android that contains interactive videos that correspond to creepy shirts sold on digitaldudz.com. There's moving eye-balls, beating hearts, slithering worms. Even President Obama and Mitt Romney have their own shirts.

    Here's how it works: Once you get the shirt, cut out the eyeball, line up your phone so the

    Read More »from It Took a Rocket Scientist to Create This Costume

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