Who Doesn't Want Their Own Personal Flying Watercraft?

November 21 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Gadgets   Year: 2011   Rating: 7 Hot

Flying planes has been the sort of thing that, to most, seems daunting enough to avoid entirely. Pilot’s license, cost of the plane, upkeep, runway dues, etc. Luckily for us, there’s a company out there which designed a small airplane that’s cheap, easy to handle, and drives like a car. Meet the ICON A5.

Designed for the budding sport-flying enthusiast, the A5 is more affordable than most small aircraft (it will cost an estimated $139,000) and is incredibly easy to operate having taken much of its cockpit design from cars. Its carbon fiber body ensures that it will be lightweight, durable and corrosion resistant to water. The wings also fold back for easy transportation.

What does a product like this mean for me?

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Today's Luxury Interfaces Will Soon Be the Norm

August 19 2008 / by John Heylin / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: The Web   Year: General   Rating: 5

Is the computer of today, the traditional screen and keyboard, as far as we’re going to go in experiencing the Internet? Or is our involvement in actually “surfing” the web going to take on a more literal tone. Movies like The Matrix and Ghost in the Shell offer us a brief glimpse into a future where human interaction with the Internet is so complex that bodies must be modified in order to be a part of it. Simply put, the Internet gets so advanced that a monitor and keyboard just won’t be enough. In fact, it’s increasingly looking as if our future browsing experience will be one where entire walls of our homes are covered by screens, holographic images immerse us into the global web, and our slightest thought sends us soaring through a social network composed of billions of people, trillions of photos and unknown hours of video.

While the plug-in future of the Matrix is still decades off, what new products are transforming personalized workstations today?

First on the list is the Zero-Gee Ergonomic Workstation. While it’s a pretty simple design, it’s still a piece of furniture specifically designed for working on the computer. It’s ergonomic design allows the user to maintain good posture as well as giving them the ability to lie flat and work at the same time. Its single-seat design means it’s not going to replace the family desk, but more than likely be an addition to the home office environment. The slung-down feel of it, coupled with another screen, would make a gaming experience so intense you might have to shell out for some custom sweat-absorbing seat covers for those late-night gaming sessions.

Then there’s Digital Edge’s Gaming Table. This setup is specifically for the intense gamer — a person who lives and breathes flight simulators and the like. The controls are all placed in the most comfortable and ergonomic positions for easy access and ultimate handling. Throttle, joystick, steering wheel and an all-encompassing display is tempting for just about anyone craving the experience of mid-air dogfights and gut-wrenching car races. (Now if only they could cram this into an actual cockpit for a truly surreal experience.)

Looking like a Star Wars battle-droid is the Gravitonus. Designed partially with the disabled in mind, this ergonomic workstation has everything from a seat which adjusts to the Earth Gravitational Field vector for greater comfort, overhead LEDs for less glare on the four possible LCD screens, a ventilated seat with airflow fans, surround sound, an exoskeleton to take strain off of the users body, and a kitchen sink. Okay, not a kitchen sink, but you get the idea. If you’re looking for an amazing workstation (sans printer, drawers, etc) then this is your best bet. Now you just have to fork over the $7,000+ to get it made and shipped it from Moscow.

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Bat Drones to Aid US Military with Bat Vision

October 30 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Gadgets   Year: 2010   Rating: 2

The US Military is currently trying to obtain bat-sized drones capable of finding enemy combatants in rough terrain like tight streets or valleys. “Aurora Flight Sciences plans to demonstrate a vision-based guidance system that combines optical and sonar sensors and allows a micro air vehicle (MAV) to navigate through a cluttered urban environment.” Their goal over the next few years is to make it small enough (able to be stored in a 6 inch tube) so that soldiers can carry them around with them, able to deploy them whenever needed at the drop of a hat.

If you’re one of the two people who didn’t manage to see Dark Knight this year, you’re going to have a hard time conceptualizing what the display might look like. (Since we can’t display Dark Knight video without getting sued, here’s the next best thing I could find, go to the 1:00 minute mark)

As with all military technology, you wonder if there will be local uses for such a technology. Being able to tell exactly where in the room a hostage-taker is, searching for lost hikers in the wilderness, even finding the exact trajectory of baseballs for later analysis and perfected training.

Glowbots Learn What You Like, Use It to Overthrow the Human Race

November 12 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Technology   Year: 2009   Rating: 2

If there’s one thing scarier than a robot, it’s a robot that can adapt its design to be more appealing to people. Glowbots do just that.

These little guys go through various random images in order to attract a human to pick them up. When picked up and given a shake, they lock in that image and then spread the likable image to other Glowbots so they too can be attractive. If they run into another Glowbot that has a differing likable image, they meld the two together to create a totally different image that the user will hopefully like.

The scary thing about this is that if robots can learn our likes and dislikes, how will that affect our lives? Will animals give way to a smartphone Furby? Or maybe someone could use the data stored on your robot to know exactly what to get you for your birthday. In fact, you could connect it to your online profile, allowing people to see what restaurants you like, clothes you find attractive, even what you like to do in your spare time. And this is all done through a personal robot.

Do we need to worry about something like this? Probably not. Robots becoming more friendly is the way of the future (even deadly ones will seem friendly) and learning your habits is just part of the whole picture.

via CrunchGear