Spherical Flying Machine

We got our first look at Japan’s Defense Ministry’s spherical flying machine earlier this year, but at a recent technology expo in Tokyo the hovering ball got the full coming-out treatment, complete with public demos eliciting “ooohs” and “aaaahs.” The video below shows the drone doing everything it was designed to do: zipping around omnidirectionally, rolling across the floor, and staying aloft even when it strikes or is struck by an obstacle.

Perhaps most impressive: the thing is built with off-the-shelf parts and costs a ridiculously lean $1,400. For that you get airborne speeds topping out at nearly 40 miles per hour and stability backed up by three on-board gyros that keep the thing aloft even when it runs into objects. Not bad bang for your buck.

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The Eyeborg

When he was nine years old, Toronto film-maker Rob Spence received a severe injury to his right eye in a shotgun accident. After a period of hiding the aftermath under an eyepatch, six years ago he had the eye replaced with a prosthesis. Being a visual artist, however, he had an idea - instead of just an unseeing artificial eye, he wanted one that could capture images of what he was looking at, and wirelessly transmit them to an external recording device. He himself wouldn't be able to see through the eye, but the footage obtained from it could take film-making to new levels. It's been a few years since Spence began his Eyeborg Project, but he has just announced that the eye is now functioning. Learn More

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Exoskeleton

The human body is unsurpassed in the complexity of its design, performance and efficiency, but there are definite limitations to what we can achieve with a frame that's around 6ft high - we can only carry so much weight, jump so far or run so fast before we reach our physical boundary. Machines that overcome these limitations have been with us for centuries, but we are only beginning to explore the possibilities of augmentation - extending our existing capabilities through wearable robot exoskeletons to create superhuman strength, speed and stamina.

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Bulldog

BULLDOG: A MILITARY BIG DOG Early this week I wrote about the new robotic pack animal Big Dog. I have just found out that there is a military version called BullDog! It certainly is a bigger, scarier version that will be on the battle field. BullDog, like BigDog, is designed to carry hundreds of pounds of gear for armed forces, ambling over rough terrain and following humans without complaint. The larger version will carry 400 pounds, last 24 hours and carry enough fuel for a 20-mile trek. It will also be able to jump over obstacles, and more easily regain its footing after it falls over. BullDog will also have greater navigational autonomy than BigDog, IEEE says. The most significant change may be that it’s significantly quieter than BigDog, which is quite obnoxiously, buzzingly loud.

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Jet Pack Time 2

An Exciting Update On The Martin Jet Pack. In May, inventor Glenn Martin—along with fire-rescue officers and crews on board a pair of chase helicopters—watched as his jetpack flew for nine minutes and 43 seconds, soaring 3,500 feet into the New Zealand sky. Had the machine been holding a live person instead of a 150-pound dummy, it would have smashed the record for the longest and highest jetpack flight ever. Every other such device in history has managed to be airborne for, at most, only a minute or two. But Martin was out to do more than set records with his demonstration. He wanted to prove that his design was safe enough to become the first commercial jetpack—one anyone could buy and fly. Martin says that he hopes people will also use his jetpack for recreation. He’s designing it to meet FAA ultralight standards, which will limit the speed to 63 mph and flight time to around 30 minutes. Flyers won’t need a pilot’s license, but they will need about $100,000 to buy the rig, which includes a mandatory two-week training session. The first units could ship as early as next year. (read full article at: http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2011-08/finally-jetpack-flies)

I for one am really excited about this, maybe in a few years they won't be so expensive and we will all be giving each other fly-by Hi-Fives! See you in the air my friend!

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