By now surely everyone has heard that SpaceX has accepted
“significant deposits” from two private citizens
trip around the moon, using SpaceX's Dragon capsule and Falcon
Heavy rocket. The video above is some lovely footage from the last
SpaceX mission, showing their reusable booster returning to a
landing pad at Cape Canaveral.
Not to be outdone, Blue Origin have
units of its new BE-4 engine, intended for their own orbital
New Glenn platform.
startup Hypersuit is
developing a virtual reality platform that the user lies down on,
simulating bird-like flight, spacewalks, swimming, etc. I’ve got a
personal story to tell about this. The first time I tried a
development version of Oculus Rift with my friends Antonio Haley
and Jon Lusk, one of the demos was a 360 degree video of a
wingsuit flight from a cliff in some impressively vertiginous
fjord someplace, probably Norway. After trying it standing up, my
first instinct was to run to our warehouse area and bring over a
furniture dolly (a sort of wheeled platform for moving cargo
around) to lie on, belly-down as wingsuit flyers do. One of my
comrades brought over a desk fan to add something to the
simulation. Obviously I looked ridiculous. But I’m glad someone
did something serious along these lines!
And another wacky idea
from France: a fleet of autonomous personal hydrofoils
for urban river transport? It looks cool enough but I'm skeptical
of this one; it's a bit too TED-friendly if you take my meaning.
The port of Rotterdam has been operating
some aquatic robots designed to collect floating trash. I’ve
considered building something like this. In coastal south Florida
there are many marine canals in residential backyards and there’s
quite a bit of trash in those canals, to the point that real
estate agents know that lots at the end of those canals, where
trash accumulates, are less desirable. To my mind, the dealbreaker
with selling a trash-collecting skimmer robot is the prosaic part
of frequently having to lift a heap of gathered trash from some
sort of bin in the robot, four feet up from the water surface, to
the homeowner’s dock for disposal. But we’ll see what operational
experience in Rotterdam reveals!
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