Richard Smith's blog

Faceted Modeling

A vast army of 3D artists, initially led by movie and game animators, but more recently joined by students and hobbyists, have compiled an extensive archive of 3D faceted models. These models cover every imaginable item from the mundane, such as eating utensils, to the realms of pure fantasy, such as the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek.

57 Chevy Import1957 Chevy Model

Submersible Racecar

While on the surface it seems that submersibles and racecars share nothing in common – dive a little deeper and you'll see that they do. Racecar giants Lola and Cosworth are playing a major role in helping BAE Systems develop an Unmanned Underwater Vehicle known as Talisman.

Micro Air Vehicles

Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) are a relatively new class of flying craft that are attracting interest from a broad spectrum of users spanning soldiers to children.

Wasp Micro Air VehicleWasp Micro Air Vehicle


Microfluidic devices played a leading role in the sequencing of human DNA during the Human Genome Project, resulting in its completion ahead of initial estimates. They can also be found in most inkjet printers controlling the ink sprayed onto a page. Further advances in the design and manufacture of microfluidic devices, such as the so called lab-on-a-chip, show promise for a revolutionary range of applications.

Microfluidic DevicesMicrofluidic DevicesLicense: CC BY-SA 3.0, Richard Wheeler

Air Blowing Applications

When the naturally induced airflow over a moving aerodynamic device, such as a wing, just isn't enough to satisfy design requirements then strategic air or gas blowing is always an option to enhance the device's performance.

Brabham Fan Car BT46Brabham BT46 'Fan Car'License: CC BY 2.0, edvvc

Multi-Element Airfoils

Multi-element airfoils are used in a variety of aerodynamic devices from airplanes to bicycles. Let's take a brief tour through the applications of this versatile airfoil configuration.

Multi-Element Airfoil on Boeing 747-400Multi-Element Airfoil on Boeing 747-400Courtesy of Adrian Pingstone

Wing In Ground Effect

An announcement that Chinese researchers are investigating ground effect vehicles or wing in ground-effect (WIG) vehicles re-opens an interesting chapter in aerodynamics dating back to the very first powered flights.

Caspian Sea MonsterCaspian Sea Monster: Soviet KM Ekranoplan

Ionic Wind

A new concept design in electronics cooling exploits ionic wind, or, more formally, a corona discharge, to improve the efficiency of traditional cooling fans. The same effect is also able to propel a levitation device called an ionocraft, and was also incorporated in an air purifier.

Plasma LampPlasma Lamp: Showing blue/violet flares similar to corona dischargeLicense: CC BY 2.5, Luc Viatour

Just For Fun: The New Space Race

We are in the midst of a new space race. It isn't about proving national might, as the race to the moon was. No, this time it's just for fun.

Armadillo Aerospace's PixelArmadillo Aerospace's PixelLicense: GNU Free Documentation License, Armadillo Aerospace

Personal Jetpacks

Since the Wright brothers' first 12-second flight in 1903 we've seen impressive development of flying machines, from the helicopter to the Space Shuttle. However, a small, personal jetpack has proved both enticing and elusive.

Bell Rocket BeltBell Rocket BeltCourtesy of US Army Transport Museum

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