Submitted by Richard Smith on January 8, 2008 - 10:33
Some may remember the 1980s for its over-the-top fashion (think big shoulder pads), even bigger hair styles, action movies (who can forget The Terminator?) and the Gordon Gekkogreed is good mantra. Others will remember the introduction of personal computers - a "dent in the universe" to quote Steve Jobs of Apple. A few may even remember that the origins of the commercial Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software industry can be traced to a small number of pioneers in the 1980s. If you are one of the few then maybe you'll find this post on the origins of commercial CFD will stir a few fond memories.
Submitted by Richard Smith on January 1, 2008 - 16:45
2007 was quite a ride. Looking through my posts you'll find a veritable mystery tour from Turbulence to Skydiving Without a Parachute. Various themes emerged without warning - there was no master plan - I just went where the wind blew and the water ran.
Submitted by Richard Smith on December 16, 2007 - 20:22
The rise of the MicroISV - small (sometimes a single person) independent software vendor - might be the jolt that the Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) analysis industry needs to break free of the current trend of ever more expensive tools offered by established CAE vendors. Just as the Google Lunar XPrize attempts to jumpstart a new outer space industry, MicroISVs have the potential to forge a brave new software frontier.
Submitted by Richard Smith on December 10, 2007 - 14:39
Rather than a personal jetpack that is limited to flights (or more accurately hops) of 30-50 seconds duration, how about a Personal Air Vehicle (PAV) with a range of 700 miles? Now you are talking – welcome to NASA's vision for a versatile vehicle to alleviate congestion on roads.
Submitted by Richard Smith on December 4, 2007 - 15:17
Spinning wind turbines in various configurations – horizontal or vertical axis, massive or micro, even flying – dominate the environmentally friendly electricity generation scene. However, what if you wanted an electricity source to power a small light? Spinning wind turbines are too costly. A second option is batteries (recharged by solar panels maybe). But now there is a third – the Wind Belt can convert wind energy into electricity, without spinning components, suitable for low-power appliances such as small lights.
Submitted by Richard Smith on November 26, 2007 - 20:23
As with paper airplanes, we have Chinese inventiveness to thank for another wildly popular aerodynamic device – the kite. Kites have evolved over millennia to the extent that they can now provide useful motive forces to aid ships to cross oceans. However, their ability to thrill children (and those young at heart) with their grace and aerobatics remains intact.
Submitted by Richard Smith on November 19, 2007 - 20:12
Steady progress in zero emissions, solar-powered airplanes recently culminated in an unofficial endurance record of 54 hours by a remote-controlled airplane called Zephyr, built by Qinetiq. Another solar-powered airplane, the Solar Impulse, hit the headlines recently when the team building the airplane announced the launch of their prototype that will, they hope, carry a pilot around the globe in a series of flights.
Submitted by Richard Smith on November 13, 2007 - 15:24
3D printers and other types of rapid prototyping machines are the latest innovation in manufacturing where components are built by depositing material (usually plastic) layer by layer. Until recently the cheapest machines were still expensive (in the $10,000s range). Not anymore – now there are freely available plans for fabricators (fabs or fabbers as they are known) that are well within the price range and capabilities (assembly required) of hobbyists.