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Weapon Wednesday – Alaskan First Defense Radar

AIR FORCE SPACE COMMAND

On a cold, windswept island in the remote Aleutian islands chain lies one of the largest radars ever built. At the farthest edge of the American frontier 1,455 miles west of Anchorage, Alaska, sits Eareckson Air Station, home of the radar code-named Cobra Dane. The radar, permanently facing westward, is a silent sentry against surprise missile attack. read more

Self-Balancing Electric Unicycle

John Dingley hasn't yet ridden his Mega Hub Motor Electric Unicycle at full power
John Dingley hasn’t yet ridden his Mega Hub Motor Electric Unicycle at full power(Credit: John Dingley)

John Dingley, the guy behind last year’s electric luge, has been in the workshop again. This time he’s been working on a new version of his self-balancing electric unicycle. Similar to the Ryno, but home built and using a brushless motor. read more

Surefly Flying Taxi

The Surefly takes to the air with a passenger for the first time
The Surefly takes to the air with a passenger for the first time(Credit: YouTube)

The flying taxi scene is now a bustling place, but some are moving faster than others. Where some startups have taken years to move past the prototype stage, others are launching right into things. Workhorse first unveiled its Surefly flying car at the Paris Air Show in June last year, and has now sent it into the air with a person inside for the first time. read more

BMW Shows Us Hyperloop Travel

A stunning Virgin Hyperloop One pod that could carry passengers at speeds of up to 760mph (1,200 kmh) when it launches in 2020 has been unveiled.

The prototype pod is equipped with luxury adjustable leather seats and built-in touchscreen displays that let passengers personalise their entertainment.

Floor lighting could help travellers to find their way around and there are also personally-controlled lights for reading.

The BMW-designed concept pods give a glimpse of the luxurious conditions inside the futuristic transport vehicles, which could launch in Dubai within the next two years. read more

Infinitely-Recyclable Plastics

A sample of the infinitely-recyclable polymer developed at Colorado State University
A sample of the infinitely-recyclable polymer developed at Colorado State University(Credit:Bill Cotton/Colorado State University)

As useful as it is, plastic isn’t the most environmentally-friendly material. Our constant use of the stuff has seen huge amounts of it lodged in Arctic sea ice, penetrating to the deepest parts of the ocean and even travelling up the food chain. read more

Weapon Wednesday – Quantum Radar Will Negate Stealth Technology

The new quantum radar would negate the near-invisibility of stealth aircraft like the B-2 Spirit bomber
The new quantum radar would negate the near-invisibility of stealth aircraft like the B-2 Spirit bomber(Credit: USAF)

Stealth technology may not be very stealthy in the future thanks to a US$2.7-million project by the Canadian Department of National Defence to develop a new quantum radar system. The project, led by Jonathan Baugh at the University of Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC), uses the phenomenon of quantum entanglement to eliminate heavy background noise, thereby defeating stealth anti-radar technologies to detect incoming aircraft and missiles with much greater accuracy. read more

Hologram Video Conferencing

TeleHuman 2 supports multiple viewers looking from any angle
TeleHuman 2 supports multiple viewers looking from any angle(Credit: Queen’s University)

Plain old video calls could soon be made to look very outdated, thanks to new research coming out of Queen’s University in Ontario. A team there has produced a 3D teleconferencing system called TeleHuman 2, which enables real-time holograms of people to appear in any location. read more

Floating Pyramid City

Wayaland would include houses, hotels, retail areas, and cinemas
Wayaland would include houses, hotels, retail areas, and cinemas(Credit: Pierpaolo Lazzarini)

Pierpaolo Lazzarini, the Italian designer behind the UFO 2.0 floating home, has conceived a floating community made up of solar-powered pyramid-shaped buildings. The Wayaland project is still very much in the concept stage at present, but Lazzarini is hoping to raise the funds necessary to begin construction on it with a crowdfunding campaign. read more

Origami Skyscraper for Disaster Zones

Designed by a group of Polish architects, the Skyshelter.zip concept could be packed into a box and carried underneath a helicopter to almost any site.

The structure of the skyscraper unfolds almost instantaneously thanks to a large load-bearing helium balloon placed within, which protects it from external forces.

The design recently won the annual Evolo competition and beat rival efforts from 525 other interesting architectural concepts, including honourable mentions for an Urban Lung that sequesters carbon in the air and a tower that uses the power of a waterfall to generate energy.

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Weapon Wednesday – Lockheed Hypersonic Missile

The X-51 hypersonic test vehicle
The X-51 hypersonic test vehicle(Credit: US Air Force)

It appears that the US Air Force is taking recent reports of Russian and Chinese hypersonic weapon systems seriously, as it’s upped its game by awarding Lockheed Martin a contract worth up to US$928 million to develop a conventional strike weapon capable of flying over five times the speed of sound. read more