This 10-meter-diameter ultrarugged aluminum sphere, the centerpiece of France’s Laser Mégajoule project, is just a fancy container. Inside it is the tiny deuterium-tritium target at which 240 high-powered lasers will fire beams to trigger a moment of nuclear fusion. Studying the result might eliminate the need for nuclear weapons testing.
Photo: D. Shin/Rice University
Most people are happy if their digital cameras can make up for their deficiencies as photographers by putting shots in focus and ridding them of jitter. But researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center demanded more. Using modified consumer-grade cameras, they have been able to detect the presence of cancerous cells inside the body and view them on the cameras’ LCD screens.
Photo: Clay Willis/The Post-Standard/Landov
Thought all wind turbines had the same three-white-blade configuration? Well, now you know better. The powAIR Sail vertical wind turbine is designed for urban areas where there isn’t enough room for freestanding windmills that require 20 meters or more of clearance.
Photo: Siemens AG
This aluminum sphere has been doped with fullerenes, soccer ball–shaped orbs comprising 60 carbon atoms. Fullerenes are but one example of the carbon nanoparticles Siemens researchers in Russia are using to make enhanced versions of everyday materials. The aluminum is nearly as strong as steel but still lightweight.
Photo: John Stillwell/ Press Association/AP Photo
Part of the reason custom-made garments cost so much is that tailors must spend hours taking a customer’s body measurements and creating paper patterns based on those numbers. But the process can now be automated with the Hometrica NX-16 3D whole-body scanner. Pulses of white light extract enough information to make tape measures obsolete.
Photo: Electronic Arts
As part of the prelaunch marketing push for the multiplayer video game APB: All Points Bulletin, game maker Electronic Arts recruited a 25-year-old actor to serve as a real-life human avatar. For his role as the game character, known as Freerunner Josh, the actor got a bright blue Mohawk and a nose piercing. The gamers had voted for the look online.
Photo:Image: USB Typewriter
Now you can enjoy the look and feel of an old-school manual typewriter without the hassle of ink ribbons, Wite-out, and having to start from scratch if you make a big blunder. Whatever you peck out on the USB Typewriter appears on your computer (or iPad) screen instead of a sheet of paper. Neat.
Photo:Image: Northeastern University/Reuters
These colorful blotches, which at first blush look like little clumps of potpourri, are the stuff of statisticians’ dreams. The overall shape of each clump is a rough approximation of the contours of the U.S. mainland. The colors correspond to the prevailing mood of the Twitter messages generated in a given hour, with green being happiest, red not so much.
Photo: Ruth Fremson/The New York Times/Redux
At Game Play, in Brooklyn, N.Y., gamers took their hobby to another level by presenting the games on a large screen using the techniques employed on the theater stage. This group is playing a mashup they dubbed “Grand Theft Ovid.” Imagine the Greek gods playing shoot-’em-up in an urban multiplayer game with good-versus-evil themes and dramatic subplots and you’ve got the idea.
Photo: Siemens AG
How do you ensure that blood has been transported and stored under the proper conditions so it can be safely transfused into the lucky recipient? Siemens and the Medical University of Graz, Austria, have developed an RFID chip that stores identifying data for a container of blood and has a temperature sensor that reports whether the blood has been properly preserved.