Sadly, this is yet another example of a cool concept that isn't going to get very far (no pun intended) due to the lack of the über power supply. At best, multirotor helicopters with any sort of payload have an endurance of about 15 minutes. Until that number gets well above the 60 minute threshold, this is all drawing-board stuff. And I'm talking about 60 minutes of on-mission performance which doesn't include getting to and from base camp. You're really going to need some sort of ultra-capacitor or fuel cell.
"Aww, jeez, Officer, I shorted out the IMU and all the magic smoke leaked out."
Wouldn't this be similar to black holes in that although you can't see them, behavior of stars around them and energy emanating from them suggest that they are there?
I happen to be a search & rescue volunteer here in the southwestern US. (As a matter of interest, we are all 100% volunteers. We don't get paid for anything except fuel when we're on a search. We buy all of our own equipment and devote a lot of our own time to train regularly.) Recently, we were approached by some university students who built an inexpensive UAV ($3000) specifically for SAR uses. I personally though their platform had a lot of merit. It's a low-cost foam airplane that uses a customized version of Ardupilot to take photos regularly while flying a pattern over a designated region. They can photograph a square mile in about 30 minutes. You then have a couple of people do a photo analysis of the results. The photos are all geotagged so you can pull a coordinate off the photo for some object of interest. Sadly, the political climate is such that the tin-foil hat types have scared the county board of supervisors and the local Sheriff's office away from even trying the platform out on some training exercises. What's worse is that even though our SAR organization is an independent 501(c)3 and not part of any law-enforcement agency, the managers still won't try out the concept. I wonder how people would feel if some child died of exposure because we didn't have this tool in the toolbox.
This platform is also an order of magnitude cheaper than a DraganFlyer and can cover a hell of a lot more ground without changing out the battery. 15 minutes of air time isn't nearly enough.
I'm not talking about blocking. I want to eliminate those channels from the guide completely never to be seen again. Furthermore, surfing is impractical because the refresh rates are so slow.
So let me get this straight: This project won an award yet set-top-box delivery UI's still suck the big one. (Here's a big hint: prevent all the channels I don't ever want to see again from being seen e.g. the 36 friggin' shopping/infomercial channels) Makes you wonder what problems the other entrants attempted to solve.
The Machine was stored there but now it's just a big empty warehouse.
And another one for detonating the little explosives. (Obligatory "The Living Daylights" reference)
Kick-ass concept (I have two close relatives who are Type 1 and on insulin pumps). But this seems to be only half the solution. You still have to monitor your levels to be absolutely sure and currently this is still an invasive albeit simple process. When a non-invasive measurement method that fits in a wristwatch arrives, then it will be a lot better form of treatment. You'll probably still have to keep insulin pens around for emergencies though.
This reminds me of the patent that was granted (and later revoked) for the method of swinging on a swing. http://www.google.com/patents/US6368227
So I'm forced to ask the obvious. How is virtual page turning novel and unique compared to doing it with paper?
How ironic that last night I was exploring 3D printer choices. This thing sounds interesting but A) no prices anywhere and B) cartridges? Really? How much material do they hold? Right now, 1kg of filament from Makerbot is about $40. Are these cartridges going to be competitively priced or is the company attempting to repurpose the inkjet printer business model (aka the razor blade model)? Aside from these obvious issues, I'm forces to ask what practical uses are there for full color other than printing out characters or possibly vehicles that require no painting. I'm still wondering if I can print production-quality parts. Here's a real world example. I currently use some custom electronics enclosures that I have CNC milled out of aluminum. They are about 8" x 6" x 4" overall size and they are made for me by a machine shop. I worked out the numbers and I figure that I can print them out of ABS for about $20 versus $170 and it would take about 5+ hours to print one versus 6-8 weeks lead time for 10 pieces. So in theory, the machine is starting to make sense. Printing one-off parts seems to be what people use these machines for and therefor they don't really care if they have to toss some failures or how long it takes to print. I'd be interested to hear peoples experiences.
Or lack thereof. All of these recent robot and UAV developments are cool and potentially useful but we still keep missing the boat on the über power source. Lots of law enforcement agencies bought into the quadcopter UAV concept spending tens of thousands of dollars on them only to discover that the flight times are really short. They were expecting to be able to keep them aloft for hours. (Never mind the social issues.) The same thing applies to the snake robot. What's going to happen when the battery dies under a pile of rubble? And if you hard wire it, how is that going to limit its performance given that it has to pull an increasingly heavy cable thought non-smooth environments?
On the one hand, yes, the lawyer goes a bit overboard. But on the other, let's consider this: http://www.google.com/patents/US6368227 Aside from other strange patents, the swinging method patent illustrates a couple of problems. First, regardless of the current state of validity of the patent, the fact that it was granted in the first place shows that prior art doesn't mean what a lot of people think it means. Apparently, to the patent office, it means "we have nothing on file" as opposed to "kids have been doing this since the swing was invented". Second, the patent was granted and then later revoked. That means that examiners time was spent looking at it, then granting it, then subsequently looking at it and revoking it. It should come as no surprise that it takes so long to get a patent seriously looked at when stuff like this is in the pile.
On a related note, I'm not convinced that the new "first to file" rule is a good thing. Suppose you spend years working on an invention and somebody breaks into your offices, copies all the application documents, and then mails them in. How then can you get back what was stolen?
Everyone seems to be missing a key issue here. Everyone is constantly complaining about the high costs of everything. Gasoline? Too expensive. Food? Too expensive. Healthcare? Too expensive. Satellite TV? Too expensive. And on, and on, and on. Why the hell isn't government too expensive? If I have to make do with less, then so does the government.
Most people have never run a business selling something and therefore have no clue how much time it takes to deal with sales taxes. In most states, even if you have no sales in any given month, you still have to file the paperwork. Proponents of this tax keep saying that it will "level the playing field for brick&mortar stores". Bzzzt. Wrong. A mom & pop brick & mortar store only sells locally therefore they don't have to deal with the out-of-state sales taxes. That effectively gives them an advantage rather than leveling the playing field. Furthermore, big box stores such as Wal-mart don't give a damn because they already have an army of accountants to deal with the paperwork.
And then who in each local state government is going to process the paperwork suddenly coming in from 49 other states? Oh, well, gee whiz, we don't have enough bureaucrats to deal with it so we'll have to hire more...and pay them...and give them benefits...and a pension...all at taxpayer expense. But wait, this tax was supposed to close budget shortfalls. Oops. Now you've compounded them.
And ultimately, this will lead to only one thing: inflation. Because nobody is going to take the extra costs up the a$$. They are going to pass it on to the consumer. A VAT tax won't solve this either. In fact it will make it worse because invariably there are sticky fingers all along the government food chain.