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Submission + - 50-year-old anti-gravity device rediscovered (aardvark.co.nz) 2

NewtonsLaw writes: Today's Aardvark Daily rediscovers an article from an old edition of Popular Mechanics magazine which features a device seemingly capable of defeating the laws of Newtonian physics and even levitating solid objects by defeating gravity.

How could a venerable magazine like PM be duped by this story?

Or were they really duped? After all, there is a picture of the levitating device and diagrams that allegedly describe exactly how it works, using simple mechanical components and principles.

Could it be that the future of anti-gravity drives, the long-awaited flying-car, and space travel has been lurking in the archives of Popular Mechanics for 50 years all along? (Yeah, right).

Sometimes it's fun to look at the science/technology follies of half a century ago.

Comment Re:I've always wondered (Score 1) 132

3. have never been demonstrated to function in "jet pack-ish fashion"

Except for all those times that it HAS been demonstrated to function in a "jet pack-ish fashion"..... Videos are available on their website.

the martin approach doesn't work (yet?).

I think a few companies like Bell, Robinson, Eurocopter, Kaman, Sikorsky etc. would disagree. Rotary wing aircraft are quite common, and work well. This jetpack is just a small helicopter using ducted fans -- there is nothing particularly special about it. Again, it's just the control system that is innovative in that their aim is to allow a layman to fly it. If you want to argue that that aspect isn't possible, that's fine, maybe it wont be. But by arguing that the machine cannot fly to a reasonable height for a reasonable distance, you're essentially saying that helicopters don't work.

As for an emotional investment in the 'coolfactor' -- I don't think so. I don't actually think it has a 'coolfactor', it's a stupid machine that Martin has wasted a lot of time and money on, which he will likely never get back.... That doesn't change the fact that it works.

Comment Re:I've always wondered (Score 1) 132

OK, maybe I need to reiterate my statement that I know engineers working on the project, and have seem it fly with my own eyes. It could match the specs that you're talking about YEARS ago, but it didn't even have the ballistic parachute at that stage, so no one was stupid enough to actually TRY it just to make morons like you believe them. A large part of an engineers job (a professional engineer, not a fitter/turner...) is to determine the performance of something before a such a time that it can actually be demonstrated safely.

The fact is, that the part of the machine that determines these specs you are so hung up on is fairly conventional -- there is no aspect of it that you or anyone else couldn't prove to be incapable of achieving the stated specs if that were the case. It's just a small helicopter with two ducted fans instead of blades. Really a very basic machine. What makes it different is the CONTROL system, which enables people who are not expert helicopter pilots to safely fly the thing. This HAS been demonstrated -- they had a journalist flying it around a field after a couple hours instruction.

A healthy dose of skepticism is a great thing, but you're just being a bonehead.

Comment Re:I've always wondered (Score 1) 132

I hope you are intentionally pretending to be thick....

In case you aren't, the reason you can't see videos of people flying it at 8000 feet is that it has not completed all safety requirements yet, as I said in my first post. They don't hire expendable test pilots to fly the thing, they are professional engineers that don't really want to risk their lives any more than needed.

The machine itself is obviously capable of performing to those specifications -- it would be trivial to show otherwise on paper for what is at the heart a relatively simple device (it's the control systems that are the hard bit, and flying at four feet is just as difficult in this regard as flying at 8000 feet). All the technical specs are on the site -- thrust, fuel capacity, fuel consumption -- why don't you work it out for yourself?

Comment Re:I've always wondered (Score 1) 132

It exists, and it works very well. I know a few of the engineers/test pilots working on it. They even had a journalist flying it some six months ago or so. They're in the final stages of safety testing before it goes into production as I understand.

Comment Re:Huh? (Score 1) 175

Well, TFA is an amusing read, but it's hardly news.... It's not like we don't all know this is going on all around us. I guess it's a high quality article for Idle, but it'd be a pretty low quality news story...

Comment Re:Do not want. (Score 1) 497

Yes, I've always seen the benefit. Do you not see the benefit of the said device having the ability to accept other input devices? All it requires is a couple of USB plugs, it wouldn't hurt the portability of the device at all. When you don't want/need a mouse or keyboard, leave them behind!

Comment Re:Do not want. (Score 1) 497

Because the mouse offers a precise input method, useful (essential in a lot of cases) when drawing, and a real keyboard is easier to type on than a software one -- even drawings often have text in them. Unless you need to do your art while walking your dog, there is no downside to having additional input tools -- having a mouse and keyboard doesn't stop you from having a touch screen.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 0) 328

Maybe you haven't done much hunting or other outdoor activities, but anything that is not at least partially waterproof is utterly useless. Even sitting in your pack outside your tent/bivy overnight is enough to fill most devices with enough moisture to prevent them turning on in the morning -- and that's in good weather. They'll work fine once they've dried out (in most cases) but until then you're on your own.

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