Elon Musk Revolutionizing 3D Design With Hand Gesture Technology

Hand Gesture Technology

Elon Musk is trying to revolutionize large and small scale manufacturing and design through cutting edge hand gesture and 3D printing technologies.

I believe we’re on the verge of a major breakthrough in design and manufacturing… in being able to take the concept of something from your mind, and translate that into a 3D object really intuitively on the computer.

Musk and SpaceX are partnering with companies like Leap Motion for hand gesture technology that may one day even be used with Oculus Rift virtual reality systemsOculus Rift to develop realistic 3D virtual models.

 

3D printing has gained popularity recently as the cost and time saving potential is being realized by individuals and companies alike.

Musk is joining the likes of NASA in utilizing 3D printing technology and reaping the benefits. NASA who has been printing rocket engines cheaper and faster than ever is among the technology’s biggest proponents.

Let’s hope this trend continues to push the technology to new heights and the cost to new lows.

 

Personal Jetpacks Approved for Manned Testflights

Anyone who has seen The Jetson’s has dreamed about having their own personal jetpack. New Zealand based company Martin Aircraft is looking to turn that dream into a reality as they begin test flying their personal jetpack with real-life human pilots.

Recently the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand (CAA) granted the company a special permit allowing them to begin manned test flights, although they “may not be flown more than 20 feet above the ground or 25 feet above water.”

The video below shows a higher altitude test flight done via remote control with a dummy pilot. The test was to demonstrate the emergency ballistic parachute safety system.

“For us it’s a very important step because it moves it out of what I call a dream into something which I believe we’re now in a position to commercialize and take forward very quickly.” – Peter Coker, CEO of Martin Aircraft.

The ultimate goal for the company is to begin commercial sales as early as mid 2015 at a projected starting price of around $100,000.Martin Aircraft Jetpack You may actually begin seeing these as early as 2014 as there has been strong interest to utilize these for first-responder and military missions.

There has been a lot of work being done in the future of personal and public transportation. Elon Musk recently revealed details for his supersonic hyperloop concept as an alternative to the high-speed rail project in California, and even NASA has joined the game working with California-based company, Skytran to construct the first magnetically levitating public transport system

Elon Musk Unveils Details for 800 MPH Hyperloop Super “Train”

Hyperloop Concept

It’s been sometime since Elon Musk first made mention of the hyperloop. The announcement of the 800 mph ultra high-speed super “train” made big news last year when Musk first mentioned the concept, but we haven’t heard any more details since then. That is until yesterday when Musk released the details of his futuristic concept that cover some of the questions concerning the proposed system.

The key advantages of a tube vs. a railway track are that it can be built above the ground on pylons and it can be built in prefabricated sections that are dropped in place and joined with an orbital seam welder. By building it on pylons, you can almost entirely avoid the need to buy land by following alongside the mostly very straight California Interstate 5 highway, with only minor deviations when the highway makes a sharp turn.

Hyperloop Passenger CapsuleThe comparison made to rail is important to note. This concept only began in the first place as a response to California’ s proposed high-speed rail system. Musk believes the project to be among the most costly and least efficient high-speed transport system, and not innovative enough to represent the silicon valley region.

When the California “high speed” rail was approved, I was quite disappointed, as I know many others were too. How could it be that the home of Silicon Valley and JPL – doing incredible things like indexing all the world’s knowledge and putting rovers on Mars – would build a bullet train that is both one of the most expensive per mile and one of the slowest in the world?

Hyperloop-Alpha

The rail system being referenced is estimated to reach over $100 billion in total cost, meaning that the solar-powered hyperloop would be four times as fast and ten times cheaper than this proposal. One innovation will make this even simpler to use than any currently proposed public transport systems, and that is the ability to also transport personal cars. With this idea, a passenger would simply drive their car into the large pod and drive off at the destination, no messing with rental cars or buses.

There must however, be a downside to every story, and this one is no different. With his time being absorbed by CEO duties at both Tesla Motors and SpaceX, Musk has noted it is unlikely that he will be able to build the system himself. By releasing these plans to the public, he hopes that someone with the resources and know-how will be able to carry the idea forward. In a brief glimpse of hope, Musk hinted that if the idea is not picked up initially, he may build a prototype in the 3-5 year range more than likely.

What is the future of public, high-speed transportation?  Do you think we’ll ever see a hypertube type system in place?

Solar Powered Airplane Flies Flies Across the Country

solar-impulse

Fueled only by the power of the sun, Solar Impulse has just recently finished it’s first cross-country flight. This flight had many stops, and was very slow-going (about two months total), but also set three world records for manned solar-powered flight in the process, including the highest flight (30,300 ft), the longest flight (26 hours), and the farthest flight (693 miles).

There are those who see this and immediately blast it for not being applicable for real-life scenarios due to lacking power, speed, and durability. The thing to keep in mind is that this flight is symbolic of the future potential of solar-powered flight in the same way the the first Wright-brothers flight was symbolic of the future of manned airplane flights.

“Our airplane is not designed to carry passengers, but to carry a message.”  Bertrand Piccard

I believe the message that is send is one of possibility, one that states the future is here and let’s embrace it.

The plane is powered by solar cells that are not necessarily the most efficient, however, they have the best efficiency to weight ratio which is important to getting the most distance from each kWH of energy. The long-term goal is to eventually be capable of perpetual flight without the need of fuel. A worthy goal, but not one that will be attained before the plane’s next adventure to traverse the globe in 2015.

The application of this type of transport in the future is unknown exactly… With high speed rail, hyperloop, and other technologies coming forward, who knows what the future of transportation will be?

 

 

4,000 MPH Hyperloop Super “Train” – NY to LA in 30 Minutes

Hyperloop

With this new Hyperloop super “train”, you’ll be able to get from NY to LA in about the time you can get a pizza delivered.

Now, as someone who studied logistics and transportation, I feel strongly that the U.S. transportation infrastructure is in need of drastic change.

We are already far behind other developed countries, a lot of which are geographically smaller. For Instance, France’s TGV consistently hits 201 mph (322 kmh), Korea’s KTX marks up at 218 mph (350 kmh), and the UK  is developing High Speed 2 planned at up to 250 mph (402 kmh). These are just a three of the thirteen countries that currently have high-speed rail in operation.

It seems Elon Musk, South African-American entrepreneur, and a Colorado company called ET3 believe this as well. The founder of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, is touting the idea of a high-speed tube transport system that he calls a Hyperloop.

…an elevated tube system with a magnetic levitation system similar to high-speed bullet trains. The kicker would be the enclosed tube, which would provide a nearly friction-less surface for individual capsules to travel in.

The 4,000 mph estimate is for long trips cross-country, or inter-continental. That’s one of the best parts, these tubes will be able to be constructed underwater. Connecting Alaska, Hawaii, and even other continents together could perhaps eliminate the need of, or at least severely decongest air travel.

Whether Musk is working with ET3 isn’t specified, but ET3 is referring to their system as the ETT, or Evacuated Tube Transport, not the Hyperloop. Their claim is that construction would be significantly cheaper than freeway and rail, resulting in an estimated $100 fare for a trip from NY to LA… in an hour. *Nice*