Weapon Wednesday – General Atomics/Boeing Laser Weapon

The laser weapon system is designed to be mounted on a variety of platforms
The laser weapon system is designed to be mounted on a variety of platforms
General Atomics

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) and Boeing have entered into a partnership to develop a scalable 100 kW to 250 kW-class High Energy Laser (HEL) weapon system for air and missile defenses. read more

Old Cooking Oil Makes BioDiesel?

A closeup view of the micron-sized sponge
A closeup view of the micron-sized sponge
RMIT University

Scientists at Australia’s RMIT have developed a tiny sponge with big potential, and say the micron-sized material can be used to convert discarded cooking oil into biodiesel in a very cost-effective manner. And the catalyst is no one-trick pony, with the ability to also turn other waste products into valuable building blocks for a range of materials. read more

A Quicker Commute to Mars?

The concept engine is twice as efficient as chemical rockets
The concept engine is twice as efficient as chemical rockets
USNC-Tech

Seattle-based Ultra Safe Nuclear Technologies (USNC-Tech) has developed a concept for a new Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) engine and delivered it to NASA. Claimed to be safer and more reliable than previous NTP designs and with far greater efficiency than a chemical rocket, the concept could help realize the goal of using nuclear propulsion to revolutionize deep space travel, reducing Earth-Mars travel time to just three months

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Rotterdam’s Dumpster Campsite

Little Pea is made from discarded animal feed silos and was originally meant to be attached to a pickup truck. The shelter is one of many that form the Culture Campsite in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and was designed by MUD Projects
Little Pea is made from discarded animal feed silos and was originally meant to be attached to a pickup truck. The shelter is one of many that form the Culture Campsite in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and was designed by MUD Projects
Heeman Fotografi/Culture Campsite

If you’ve ever wanted to spend a night inside a dumpster – but without the accompanying smell – then Culture Campsite may be of interest. Situated on a former parking lot in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, it features an eclectic mix of micro-shelters made from recycled materials and objects including farm equipment, feed silos, and more. read more

The Firenze Lanciare Flying Hypercar

The Firenze Lanciare flying car would use jet engines and large fuel supplies to make long-range, high-speed air travel possible
The Firenze Lanciare’s jet engines and large fuel supplies make long-range, high-speed air travel possible
Firenze (Background: jedgcomb/Depositphotos)

People’s concept of the flying car has shifted over the last five years or so as electric VTOL designs have started to receive a ton of money and attention. But some remain unconvinced, and Greg Brown is vehemently among them. eVTOLs, Brown reckons, will be little more than short-range, low-speed helicopter replacements in the near future. read more

ANYmal Quadruped Robot gets a set of Wheels

This experimental version of the ANYmal robot has both legs and wheels
This experimental version of the ANYmal robot has both legs and wheels
ETH Zurich

Walking, legged robots may excel at climbing over obstacles, but wheels are still more efficient for travelling over smooth ground. That’s why engineers at ETH Zurich have added powered wheels to their existing ANYmal quadruped robot.

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New WhiteShark Underwater Scooter

The WhiteShark Tini (pictured here with the floater attached) is presently on Kickstarter
The WhiteShark Tini (pictured here with the floater attached) is presently on Kickstarter
Sublue

When it comes to underwater scooters, there are smaller, less powerful single-motor models, or larger, faster dual-motor units. The new WhiteShark Tini, however, can be used in either configuration. read more

Tumbling Microbots deliver Meds Through the Colon

The tiny magnetic robot developed at Purdue University, seen beneath the "U" on this US penny
The magnetic robot developed at Purdue University, seen beneath the “U” on this US penny
Purdue University/Georges Adam

Using tiny robots to deliver drugs is promising pathway when it comes to limiting side effects and increasing effectiveness, and some take a more theatrical approach than others. Scientists at Purdue University have come to the party with a back-flipping microbot that can tumble its way through the colon to release its payload when desired, all while being controlled externally by a magnetic field.

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Nireeka’s New E-Fatbike

The Nireeka Prime: a (relatively) affordable high-powered ebike with a very stylish carbon fiber frame
The Nireeka Prime: a (relatively) affordable high-powered ebike with a very stylish carbon fiber frame
Loz Blain/New Atlas

There’s really nobody in the ebike world I can think of that makes bikes like Nireeka. These guys aren’t interested in stealth, or retro, or making bikes that look like anyone else’s. They work exclusively with their own carbon-fiber frames, which feature strangely flowing sci-fi designs with twisting edges and curves and angles in a style of their very own.

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Weapon Wednesday – AeroVironment Switchblade 600 Drone

The Switchblade 600 is based on the 300 before it, but is larger, faster and more capable
The Switchblade 600 is based on the 300 before it, but is larger, faster and more capable
AeroVironment

AeroVironment has unveiled its latest loitering missile unmanned aircraft system for the US Army and other customers. Based on the Switchblade 300, which was deployed with US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2011, the Switchblade 600 is larger with increased capabilities.

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