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On-The-Horizon Technology


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Initial post: Jul 29, 2010 3:37:42 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 29, 2010 4:45:52 AM PDT
So many interesting ideas in this forum seem to get buried in a barrage of back-and-forth arguements. So I thought I'd try something new: Posting technological breakthroughs, or news of the current direction of some technology research.

Maybe this will cut down on the "never/impossible/name-calling" pontification of some posters, and let everyone just savor ideas-come-true from science fiction.

http://terrafugia.com/
A strange-looking working concept of this automobile/airplane. Although I love the idea of fly-where-you-can, and drive-everywhere-else.

http://www.technewsdaily.com/researchers-model-a-plane-that-could-land-upright-like-a-bird-0890/
MIT is working on a robotic plane that can land upright, at a 45 degree angle. This would make for easier take-offs and landings, and it may even be able one day to perch on power-lines to recharge.

http://www.technewsdaily.com/10-profound-innovations-ahead-0135/
"Ten Profound Innovations Ahead". These may still be on the drawing board, but many have companies or military entities working on them.

#9 - "Lightcraft" that could ride laser-produced explosions into the sky, to deliver passengers and cargo across the globe in an hour. ("Laser-produced explosions" for launching? Maybe this is a partial answer to help bring down launch-costs?)

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 29, 2010 3:58:44 AM PDT
C. Zajic says:
On the automobile airplane. People drive horribly in my city, I wouldn't want to worry about Bubba in the next sky lane dropping his double decker on the floor and veering off to crash into the school below him.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 29, 2010 8:04:46 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 29, 2010 8:11:35 AM PDT
M. Helsdon says:
"savor ideas-come-true from science fiction."

These are not ideas from science fiction; the actual development of these concepts predates their appearance in science fiction.

"A strange-looking working concept of this automobile/airplane. Although I love the idea of fly-where-you-can, and drive-everywhere-else."

Flying cars have already been built; a 1926 Ford design was abandoned when it crashed and killed the driver/pilot and one of the first successful ones was designed and flown by Waldo Waterman in 1937. The Convair flying car wasn't a commercial success; examples of the Taylor Aerocar are still flying.

"MIT is working on a robotic plane that can land upright, at a 45 degree angle. This would make for easier take-offs and landings, and it may even be able one day to perch on power-lines to recharge."

VTOL planes have been around for some decades. Perching on powerlines would be impractical save for small light-weight unmanned drones without specially dedicated pylons because powerlines aren't designed to take weight; even ice building up in winter can cause lines to fail.

This concept appears to be related to ornithopters, and a manned ornithopter was successfully flown in 1942; a purely man-powered ornithopter tragically broke up in 2005 crippling the pilot.

" "Lightcraft" that could ride laser-produced explosions into the sky, to deliver passengers and cargo across the globe in an hour. ("Laser-produced explosions" for launching? Maybe this is a partial answer to help bring down launch-costs?)"

I mentioned this on the Race to Space thread some months ago... Small model versions have already acheived a height of a hundred feet. It is a possible means of launching small payloads into space, though it may not be safe for manned launches.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 29, 2010 12:15:09 PM PDT
Ronald Craig says:
"Maybe this will cut down on the 'never/impossible/name-calling' pontification of some posters..."

You could achieve your desired result by posting less nonsense. :)

Posted on Jul 29, 2010 12:20:18 PM PDT
Here's a video of the perching airplane->
http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2010/perching-plane-0720.html
(about 2/3 of the way down the page)

Here's a much more extensive video with different angles and slo-mo-> http://groups.csail.mit.edu/locomotion/perching_media/video/perching_project.mp4

Hmm...why not add velcro to the bottom and have it stick to the side of a building? Might be easier to disembark than tight-roping walking away from the plane ;-)

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 29, 2010 12:27:33 PM PDT
Ronald Craig says:
"Hmm...why not add velcro to the bottom and have it stick to the side of a building?"

LOL. I like the way your mind works. :)

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 29, 2010 12:33:09 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 29, 2010 12:34:28 PM PDT
M. Helsdon says:
"Hmm...why not add velcro to the bottom and have it stick to the side of a building?"

Surely a large electromagnet would be easier? Power it up to 'land' the plane, power it off to let it fall. Far easier than unpeeling all the hooks. 8-)

To save weight, the electromagnet would be in the building and the plane would just have a metallic strip.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 29, 2010 12:58:48 PM PDT
Ronald Craig says:
^^^ Ahp, gotcha there, Bob. That's why HE gets to "pontificate". LOL.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 29, 2010 1:15:35 PM PDT
"But even the best of science and technology has yet to solve climate change"

- Stopped reading right there.

Posted on Jul 29, 2010 5:57:28 PM PDT
I wonder about micro-robotic technology. In my story, The Proximian, the other-worlders have created some amazing little devices--medical robots, some the size of BBs and some the size of fleas--that can go into a serious wound, locate damaged arteries and blood vessels, and stitch them back together. It's hard to imagine how to get there, but when I see the technology in existence today, I know it's just a matter of time.
Dennis Phillips, author

Posted on Jul 29, 2010 6:17:57 PM PDT
Oh well, but sticking to the building was my idea first!!

Posted on Jul 29, 2010 6:25:32 PM PDT
Dennis...micro/nanobots in medicine is an interesting topic. I'm sure we'll see these things hit the mainstream in a few years.

Here's an article from last year where a team made a tiny bacteria sized bot with a flagellum http://www.medinewsdirect.com/?p=666

And here's an even better one from May 2010 that talks about swimming robots that can move around in your bloodstream-> http://www.pharmainfo.net/sowjanyastanns/swimming-robots-medicine

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 30, 2010 9:06:46 AM PDT
M. Helsdon says:
Bob,

"Oh well, but sticking to the building was my idea first!!"

We'll let you issue the patent (and the liability when 'planes fall off). 8-)

Posted on Jul 30, 2010 10:29:12 AM PDT
Ha...pretty funny, Martin!

Posted on Aug 2, 2010 6:30:38 AM PDT
Still a far cry from off-earth colonies, but these companies are on top of their game when it comes to innovative housing on Earth.

http://www.naturalspacesdomes.com/storm_stories.htm
Natural Spaces has built dome housing all over the globe, and in every extreme environment. And they have withstood weather disasters that have flattened normal structures.

http://www.makmax.com.au/
MakMaz is the world's leading tensile membrane specialist of "fabric architecture".

Posted on Aug 13, 2010 9:07:42 AM PDT
DARPA is at it again! They are currently examining designs to build a Underwater-Plane, or a Flying-Submarine. Or a dual-environment military attack craft.

http://newscientist.com/article/mg20727671.000-from-sea-to-sky-submarines-that-fly.html

Posted on Aug 13, 2010 10:46:53 AM PDT
The University of Florida, principally their "Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering" (MAE), is involved in some very interesting research:

http://www.mae.ufl.edu/newwebpage/research/smdm/solidmechanics.aspx
How about "On Modeling Plasticity of Heterogeneous Anistropic Media Using the Discontinuous Velocity Domain Splitting Method". Or "Spall Propagation-Resistant Hybrid Bearings for High-Performance Turbine Engines".

And this is some research going on in their CLESM lab, or "Computational Labortory for Electromagnetics and Solid Mechanics"
http://clesm.mae.ufl.edu/~vql/clesm/clesm_geo_exact.html
"...smart structures with embedded piezoelectric layers as sensors and actuators for monitoring the strain level and for vibration control ..."

Posted on Aug 13, 2010 1:15:32 PM PDT
Ubiquitin says:
Personally, I'm waiting for the day when we can grow muscle tissue for consumption and avoid the animal slaughter. Mmm, meat.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 13, 2010 6:53:09 PM PDT
Ronald Craig says:
What in particular do you find so interesting about the research, Marilyn? It would help other readers of these forums if you could provide a bit more information, you know, more than the skimpy one sentence or two you always put after the link. :)

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 14, 2010 4:01:41 AM PDT
Which is the non-and which is the sense?
Einstein believed quantum mechanics was just flat out wrong

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 14, 2010 5:32:35 AM PDT
M. Helsdon says:
"Einstein believed quantum mechanics was just flat out wrong"

No, he and Max Planck were central to the initial definition of the ideas of quantum physics. In his debates with Niels Bohr he questioned and criticised to hone the understanding of quantum physics and its implications.

Einstein's final position was that the definition was incomplete, and he generally believed that some aspects of space-time would never be understood. He wrote 'Without doubt quantum mechanics has grasped an important fragment of the truth and will be a paragon for all future fundamental theories, for the fact that it must be deducible as a limiting case from such foundations, just as electrostatics is deducible from Maxwell's equations of the electromagnetic field or as thermodynamics is deducible from statistical mechanics.'

Posted on Aug 17, 2010 8:51:50 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 17, 2010 8:53:30 AM PDT
http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2010/08/-bluescreen-earth-an-update-on-the-doomsday-ark-on-the-moon-to-broadcast-toolkit-to-reboot-human-civ.html

AN UPDATE ON ESA's MOON-BASED 'DOOMSDAY ARK' (A planned lunar information bank of 2,000 years of Earth history, which could be used to re-boot Earth's civilization remnants in the event of a cataclysmic disaster.)

Posted on Aug 19, 2010 2:12:59 PM PDT
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/19/business/energy-environment/19fuel.html

MIT RESEARCH - FINDING NEW WAYS TO FILL THE GAS TANK (OR INVENT A BETTER BATTERY)

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 20, 2010 10:17:37 AM PDT
Juan Mikalef says:
Following technews daily countdown (loosely related of course)
10-Read my mind : Truth Machine
9- AROUND THE WORLD IN 90 MIN Jumper: A Novel (they say is much better than the film)
8- A Perfect Artificial Limb Diaspora (the gleisner robots are the ultimate artificial limb)
7-Know it all Still searching for this one
6- Regenerate the body: "The Jigsaw man" short story from L. Niven in Dangerous Visions
5- Feed the world Soylent Green
4 -Eliminate Waste Wall-E (Three-Disc Special Edition + Digital Copy)
3- Global Climate Control - Pending...
2-Harness the Sun's Fiery Furnace Gasp
1- Hack the Brain Too many possibilities. From Greg Egan's Permutation City or his short story "Learning to be me" in Axiomatic, to Neuromancer, Asimov's robots or any of the thousands of sentient AI stories ( From Colossus: The Forbin project to The Terminator Saga passing through Star Trek The motion picture

Posted on Aug 20, 2010 8:57:41 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 20, 2010 8:58:38 PM PDT
Maxwell says:
For science fiction come true, how about Jules Verne?
20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (Scholastic Classics)
From the Earth to the Moon
He was only a little before his time....

If I were going to look for the technology that might have the biggest impact on the future, I think it would revolve around understanding the human mind. Functional MRI seems to be a pretty exciting approach today, for example:
http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/123/11/2203
This sort of knowledge might cut both ways: we might find ourselves with a better understanding of human function and disfunction, and at the same time it might give us insights into building better AI.
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Discussion in:  Science Fiction forum
Participants:  44
Total posts:  1015
Initial post:  Jul 29, 2010
Latest post:  Aug 31, 2013

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