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The March of Technology
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Electric_MonkOffline
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PostPosted: 05-03-2012 19:48    Post subject: Reply with quote

rynner2 wrote:
Browsing through a recent Readers Digest I found an article about the FanWing, which I'd never heard of before.


I heard of it years and years ago, it's quite an interesting idea, but considering he appears to have made no progress with his design since I last heard about it, I'm guessing nobody is very interested Sad I note he mentions he was on Tomorrow's World, which was cancelled almost 10 years ago now...
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MythopoeikaOffline
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PostPosted: 05-03-2012 20:15    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw the FanWing on telly years ago, and I thought that there was no real benefit to it at all. Also, I thought that it might be inefficient, because the fan in each wing is so huge - it must take a lot of fuel to turn it.
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rynner2Online
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PostPosted: 05-03-2012 20:22    Post subject: Reply with quote

Electric_Monk wrote:
rynner2 wrote:
Browsing through a recent Readers Digest I found an article about the FanWing, which I'd never heard of before.

I heard of it years and years ago, it's quite an interesting idea, but considering he appears to have made no progress with his design since I last heard about it, I'm guessing nobody is very interested Sad I note he mentions he was on Tomorrow's World, which was cancelled almost 10 years ago now...

No, there have been developments since then.
George R Seyfang (Formerly Principal Concepts Engineer ~ BAE Systems) supports the project, and has produced this summary:

Recent Developments of the FanWing Aircraft

http://fanwing.com/CEAS.pdf

There are many parameters that can still be tweaked, but it seems that FanWing could already collar a corner of the aviation market.

Many original ideas have a long gestation period: the steam engine, the internal combustion engine, the jet engine - none of these sprang perfectly formed from the void, but underwent a long process of testing and improvement before they became practical and everyday machines.
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rynner2Online
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PostPosted: 05-03-2012 20:29    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mythopoeika wrote:
I saw the FanWing on telly years ago, and I thought that there was no real benefit to it at all. Also, I thought that it might be inefficient, because the fan in each wing is so huge - it must take a lot of fuel to turn it.

No, it's actually very efficient - it just distributes the power over the whole of the wing.

Read Seyfang's summary (link above) for performance figures, etc.

There's also the advantage that it's much quieter than both helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.
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KondoruOffline
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PostPosted: 05-03-2012 20:40    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ive been trying to get my father to buy a Lytros, as hes looking for a new camera, but no luck so far.
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MythopoeikaOffline
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PostPosted: 07-03-2012 10:14    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is so cool. A little pointless, but cool:

http://www.engadget.com/2012/03/04/mercedes-f-cell-gets-led-camouflage/
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SHAYBARSABEOffline
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PostPosted: 07-03-2012 17:14    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mythopoeika wrote:
This is so cool. A little pointless, but cool:

http://www.engadget.com/2012/03/04/mercedes-f-cell-gets-led-camouflage/



Ohhhh. Good one! Thank you.
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rynner2Online
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PostPosted: 09-03-2012 07:50    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Celebrating Colossus, the codebreaking computer
By Mark Ward, Technology correspondent, BBC News

Testimonials from the last living engineers who worked on the wartime code-cracking machine Colossus have been gathered for a film celebrating their work.
The codes cracked by the device helped ensure the success of the Normandy invasion that led to the Allied victory in World War II.

Colossus is regarded as being the world's first digital, electronic computer but the story of its creation is not widely known because it was broken up after the war.
...
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-17237494


Tony Sale: Computer restoration memorial prize launched

The life of pioneering computer conservationist Tony Sale is to be commemorated with an award for the best computer restoration project.

Mr Sale is best known for the mammoth project that resulted in the re-creation of the Colossus computer.
At Bletchley Park, the original Colossus cracked messages sent by Hitler's generals during World War II.

The award will recognise the project that has made a singular engineering achievement in restoration.
Overseen by the Computer Conservation Society (CCS) and backed by Google, the award will seek out those projects carried out in the same spirit that Tony Sale brought to his work, said David Hartley, chairman of the CCS.
Dr Hartley said the idea for the award emerged soon after Mr Sale's unexpected death in August 2011.
"This has all been stimulated by Tony Sale," he said. "We hope it will be a fitting tribute to him."

Prior to embarking on the Colossus rebuild, Mr Sale worked at the Science Museum and, with Doron Swade, drove the recreation of other pioneering computers and helped found the CCS. He was also involved in the campaign to save Bletchley Park and was one of the founders of the National Museum of Computing.

To be considered for the award, a restoration project would have to demonstrate how it advanced understanding of how older machines were built and worked, said Kevin Murrell, secretary of the CCS.
"Computer history gets lost very quickly and it can be a very forensic job to piece all the information together," he said.
The design process and inner workings of relatively modern machines and game consoles were often not well known, he said.

"Tony Sale would expect to see good research and the understanding of the machine as well as a working replica built in either software or hardware," he said.
Potential candidates for the award are the restoration of the PDP 1 at the Computer History Museum or the recreation of Konrad Zuse's Z1.
The closing date for nominations is 31 July.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-17954701


Last edited by rynner2 on 08-05-2012 06:50; edited 1 time in total
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rynner2Online
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PostPosted: 23-04-2012 06:34    Post subject: Reply with quote

...and celebrating something less colossal (but still important in its day):

ZX Spectrum's chief designers reunited 30 years on
By Leo Kelion, Technology reporter

The ZX Spectrum is 30 years old. The successor to Sir Clive Sinclair's ZX81 - at the time the world's best selling consumer computer - it introduced colour "high resolution" graphics and sound.
It also offered an extended version of Sinclair Basic, a computer language with which hundreds of thousands of users were already familiar.

The thin Bauhaus-inspired design was sleeker than anything else on the market, but what was more impressive was its price: £125 for the basic model with 16 kilobytes of RAM, or £175 for the 48k model.
That allowed adverts at the time to boast: "Less than half the price of its nearest competitor- and more powerful".

Sir Clive believed hitting the low price points was crucial.
Rival Acorn Computers had beaten him to a contract to build a tie-in computer for an educational BBC television series which started in January 1982.
It seemed the best way to overcome that promotional advantage was to undercut the BBC Micro's £299/£399 charge - and the strategy worked.

It also protected the Spectrum from the higher-specced, but more expensive, Commodore 64 which was unable to dislodge Sir Clive's computers from being the UK's number one selling computer.

Although some bad business decisions forced the sale of Sinclair Research's computer business to Lord Alan Sugar's Amstrad in 1986, the Spectrum remains a 1980s icon.

Sir Clive was the face of the company, but credit is also due to the original ZX Spectrum's engineer, Richard Altwasser, and its industrial designer Rick Dickinson.
The BBC reunited the two men about 25 years after they last spoke to discuss their work's legacy:

Q. How much of an effect did hitting Sir Clive's price target have on the design?

Dickinson: Cost has always been very high on the agenda with all Sinclair products no matter how far back you go and Clive knew exactly where a product had to be priced.

Literally every penny was driven out where possible. So one of the consequences was that we would very rarely take an existing technology and simply mimic or buy it, but instead would engineer another way of doing it.

So for example with the Spectrum keyboard we minimised it from several hundred components in a conventional moving keyboard to maybe four or five moving parts using a new technology.

Altwasser: On the electronics side we needed to keep the silicon real estate as small as possible and continued to use the very cost effective ZX80 processor. Much of that was achieved by having a very good BASIC interpreter design that could be kept in very little ROM memory space.

Q. Demand was phenomenal - within three months there was a 30,000-strong backlog of orders despite it initially being restricted to mail order. Was the scale of its popularity a surprise?

Dickinson: No matter how much history one might have with successful products like the ZX80 and 81 there is always a niggling doubt in one's mind that to come out with something new and significantly different is a risk. I think that we were all overwhelmed by the demand and the number of products that were sold.

Altwasser: I think with hindsight the BBC did an awful lot to popularise the use of micro-computers, and if we consider the fact the Spectrum was selling for half the price of the BBC Micro we shouldn't be surprised it was very successful.

I clearly recall having discussions that a time would come when every home would have a computer. We could see the applications and uses for everyday purposes.
We'd have these discussions with friends and family and people outside the computer club in Cambridge and people would scoff and say: 'Why on earth would a family want a computer in the home?' Cool The success was I think beyond anyone's expectation. But perhaps with hindsight it wasn't totally unpredictable.

etc...

Sir Clive declined to take part in the conversation.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-17776666
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gncxxOffline
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PostPosted: 23-04-2012 15:18    Post subject: Reply with quote

We bought a 16k ZX Spectrum and it turned out to be a 48k Spectrum in the wrong box. Bargain.
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rynner2Online
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PostPosted: 27-04-2012 16:53    Post subject: Reply with quote

rynner2 wrote:
UK Skylon spaceplane passes key review
By Jonathan Amos, Science correspondent, BBC News

A revolutionary UK spaceplane concept has been boosted by the conclusions of an important technical review.
The proposed Skylon vehicle would do the job of a big rocket but operate like an airliner, taking off and landing at a conventional runway.

...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13506289

Key tests for Skylon spaceplane project

UK engineers have begun critical tests on a new engine technology designed to lift a spaceplane into orbit.
The proposed Skylon vehicle would operate like an airliner, taking off and landing at a conventional runway.
Its major innovation is the Sabre engine, which can breathe air like a jet at lower speeds but switch to a rocket mode in the high atmosphere.

Reaction Engines Limited (REL) believes the test campaign will prove the readiness of Sabre's key elements.
This being so, the firm would then approach investors to raise the £250m needed to take the project into the final design phase.

"We intend to go to the Farnborough International Air Show in July with a clear message," explained REL managing director Alan Bond.
"The message is that Britain has the next step beyond the jet engine; that we can reduce the world to four hours - the maximum time it would take to go anywhere. And that it also gives us aircraft that can go into space, replacing all the expendable rockets we use today." Cool

To have a chance of delivering this message, REL's engineers will need a flawless performance in the experiments now being run on a rig at their headquarters in Culham, Oxfordshire.
The test stand will not validate the full Sabre propulsion system, but simply its enabling technology - a special type of pre-cooler heat exchanger.

Sabre is part jet engine, part rocket engine. It burns hydrogen and oxygen to provide thrust - but in the lower atmosphere this oxygen is taken from the atmosphere.
The approach should save weight and allow Skylon to go straight to orbit without the need for the multiple propellant stages seen in today's throw-away rockets.

But it is a challenging prospect. At high speeds, the Sabre engines must cope with 1,000-degree gases entering their intakes. These need to be cooled prior to being compressed and burnt with the hydrogen.

Reaction Engines' breakthrough is a module containing arrays of extremely fine piping that can extract the heat and plunge the intake gases to minus 140C in just 1/100th of a second.
Ordinarily, the moisture in the air would be expected to freeze out rapidly, covering the pre-cooler's pipes in a blanket of frost and compromising their operation.

But the REL team has also devised a means to stop this happening, permitting Sabre to run in jet mode for as long as is needed before making the transition to a booster rocket.

etc...

(long article, with diags, etc.)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17864782

And with a single bound, Britain takes the lead in the space race... smokin

...I hope!
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MythopoeikaOffline
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PostPosted: 27-04-2012 19:42    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really exciting if they make it work and then make it commercially viable.
I hope it doesn't go the same way as HOTOL.
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KondoruOffline
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PostPosted: 27-04-2012 20:58    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hurrah!
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rynner2Online
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PostPosted: 28-04-2012 07:03    Post subject: Reply with quote

Skylon test: video report:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17874276
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CavynautOffline
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PostPosted: 29-04-2012 00:43    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think Skylon is a tremendous project...but I'll bet a pound to a penny that it'll get fully developed somewhere other than the UK. We just don't do this kind of thing anymore. Sad
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