D-Dalus - an entirely new genre of aircraft arrives
By Mike Hanlon
11:27 June 21, 2011
Austrian research company IAT21 has presented a new type of aircraft at the Paris Air Show which has the potential to become aviation's first disruptive technology since the jet engine.
The D-Dalus (a play on Daedalus from Greek mythology) is neither fixed wing or rotor craft and uses four, mechanically-linked, contra-rotating cylindrical turbines, each running at the same 2200 rpm, for its propulsion.
The key to the D-Dalus' extreme maneuverability is the facility to alter the angle of the blades (using servos) to vector the forces, meaning that the thrust can be delivered in your choice of 360 degrees around any of the three axes. Hence D-Dalus can launch vertically, hover perfectly still and move in any direction, and that's just the start of the story.
Like most cars and aircraft these days, it sounds very complex but it's all controlled by computer algorithms, so it's simple joystick control for the user, and far less exacting than a helicopter to fly.
Existing rotary wing aircraft offer VTOL capabilities but have vulnerabilities which make them unsuitable for many applications. They are challenged in bad weather, at long ranges, at high speed and in operating to and from lurching platforms, such as boats in rough weather.
By contrast, D-Dalus is particularly suited for such conditions and can thrust upwards and hence "glue down" on landing, which it can also do on a moving vehicle. Indeed, landing on a moving vehicle is one of the D-Dalus' many party tricks, and it's a natural for landing on watercraft. Not surprisingly, since it initially broke cover at the Royal Aeronautical Society conference a few days ago, it has already attracted a lot of interest from military quarters.
The D-Dalus is also near-silent, and has the dynamic stability to enter buildings and handle rough weather with ease - things which existing rotorcraft simply cannot achieve. The aircraft also has a sense-and-avoid system which, in conjunction with its complete lack of vulnerable external parts (such as rotors), means it can hover in very close proximity to vertical rock faces and walls, making it suitable for search-and-rescue operations, as a surveillance drone with hover-and-stare capabilities and as a proactive tool for urban battlefield situational awareness.
Wow! That's just... Wow!!!:)
Gibbs unveils two new "Amphitrucks"
By Ben Coxworth
13:18 February 8, 2012
The folks at Detroit's Gibbs Technologies are no strangers to aquatic vehicles. In the past several years, they have brought us the zippy Aquada sports car, the QuadskiATV/personal watercraft hybrid, and the four-wheel-drive Humdinga SUV concept. Yesterday, they announced the addition of another two vehicles to their fleet - the Phibian and Humdinga II high-speed Amphitrucks.
The mostly carbon fiber-constructed 4WD Phibian is capable of highway speeds when traveling on land, thanks to its twin turbo diesel engines - looking like it does, it would also presumably be capable of turning quite a few heads while heading down the road. When it enters the water, its wheels retract and its dual jet drives kick in. This is done with the touch of a button, and takes about ten seconds. Once on the water, it can reportedly attain speeds over 30 mph (48 km/h).
Well, a kid can dream, can't he!;)
DoubleBack adds a sliding pod to VW's Transporter van
By Ben Coxworth
13:36 February 9, 2012
It was over thirty years ago that Volkswagen first started offering "pop tops" on its camper vans. In the years since, the soft-sided interior height-extenders have become a common sight on VW vans parked in campgrounds all over the world. Now, Welsh company Overlander Motorhomes is offering what it sees as the logical compliment to the pop top - it's the DoubleBack, a sliding insulated pod that extends the interior length of Volkwagen's T5 Transporter van.
The company starts with a stock 2.0TDI 140PS Long Wheelbase T5 van, then adds its patented DoubleBack pod package. When on the road, the pod stays tucked up inside the back of the vehicle. Once the driver stops and decides they'd like to settle down someplace, however, it electrically extends out of the rear in under 45 seconds, adding approximately two meters (6.5 feet) of useable interior space. Two legs also fold out from the bottom of the pod, which allow it to support up 600 kilograms (1,323 lbs), and to self-level on uneven terrain.
I want this for my 1983 Dodge Van!
ICON Aircraft unveils fold-up amphibious sports plane
17:32 June 15, 2008
A recurring theme at Gizmag in recent times has been the growing accessibility of the recreational sports aircraft, with the manufacturers responding to the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) 2004 introduction of Sport Pilot Licensing and the Light Sport Aircraft category by offering increasingly versatile and user-friendly designs combined with falling price points. Like the Cessna SkyCatcher, the ICON A5, which was officially unveiled this week in Los Angeles, is a case in point. Powered by a 100hp Rotax 912 ULS engine achieving an estimated maximum speed of 105 kts (120 mph) and a range of 300 nm, the amphibious, two-seat, composite carbon fiber plane features a sportscar inspired cockpit and retractable landing gear for flying off land and water, but the standout element is the folding wing design which allows the plane to be towed on the road like a speed boat and stored at home rather than paying for space at an airport.
ICON Aircraft was founded out of Stanford Graduate School of Business former U.S. Air Force F-16 pilot Kirk Hawkins, who brought together a team made up of former top engineers at Scaled Composites (think Voyager, GlobalFlyer and SpaceShipOne) to realize the design of its first first model, the ICON A5. Apart from being able to keep it in the garage (though granted you will need a space 28 foot long x 8.5 feet wide), the sleek plane's versatility is enhanced by a short take off and landing distance of 750 ft on both land and water, the ability to run on both auto and aviation gasoline, tie down points for easy handling, plus the inclusion of a Seawing designed to improved stability on water, docking and ease of entry. The wing-folding mechanism can be operated by a single person and there is even an option to activate the mechanism from the cockpit while taxiing.
I really need this!;)
Raytheon XOS 2: second generation exoskeleton
By Mike Hanlon
13:04 September 28, 2010
The widespread usage of exoskeletal robotics to augment human beings moved a step closer this week when Raytheon demonstrated its second generation Exoskeleton, the XOS 2. The new robotic suit (think of it as wearable robot guided by a human brain) is lighter, faster and stronger than the original proof-of-concept XOS 1, yet uses half the power. While Raytheon's development is primarily focused on military usage, exoskeletons for the mobility-impaired are already at market and industrial exoskeletons from Japan, Korea and Isreal are not far behind. One day in the not-too-distant future, one of these suits will enable us all to have superhuman strength, speed and endurance.
The XOS 2 enables its wearer to easily lift 200 pounds several hundred times without tiring and repeatedly punch through three inches of wood. Yet, the suit, which was developed for the U.S. Army, is also agile and graceful enough to let its wearer kick a soccer ball, punch a speed bag or climb stairs and ramps with ease.
The XOS 2 robotics suit is being designed to help with the many logistics challenges faced by the military both on and off the battlefield. The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has long harboured a desire to extend the human capabilities of soldiers through wearable robot exoskeletons to create superhuman strength, speed and stamina.
I've see quite a few different designs for Exoskelitons on YouTube. And I really need one of these! So, that I can handle all of the Fun I will be having with my new Toys!;) No, really... I do!
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