People of a certain age can’t help but be reminded of the scene in the 1977 James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me when the hero drives his sports car off of a pier and the car turns into a submarine. This concept vehicle, the Volkswagen Aqua, is meant to stay above water. The hovercraft reaches 100 kilometers per hour over land, water, and ice.
Photo: Solent News/Rex Features/AP Photo
When the Black Eyed Peas took to the stage at the Stade de France in Paris last month, Fergie and two of her bandmates were instantly transformed from pop stars to performance artists. Their costumes were studded with organic light-emitting diode panels controlled wirelessly by software that caused the lights to flash in time with the stage lighting and the group’s pulsating music.
Want to know what it’s like to take to the sky with a personal jetpack? Now you can. A company called Jetpack Adventures, in Key West, Fla., is offering tourists a chance to fly on a contraption that generates thrust by shooting seawater from twin nozzles. The US $250 fee includes a one-hour lesson and a half hour of flight time.
Photo: Rob O’Neal/Reuters
In the wake of a disaster, potable water and electricity to power telecommunications equipment are often in short supply. But Japanese electronics firm TES NewEnergy has solved both problems at once with a pot featuring a thermoelectric device that can deliver a 5-volt DC, 400-milliamp current while water is boiling.
Photo: JIJI Press/AFP/Getty Images
It’s time to check out of your hotel, but your flight does not take off for a few hours and you want to do a bit more shopping or sightseeing before you leave. If you’re staying at New York City’s Yotel, you can pass your bags to Yobot, the world’s first luggage robot. The giant robotic arm will stow your goods in a locker without expecting a tip.
Photo: Frank Franklin II/AP Photo
This is not a video camera. Instead of recording what the user sees through the viewer, the device looks into the eye, using a beam to detect cataracts. The gadget, called Catra, clips onto a smartphone, which stores data on the position, size, and shape of the cloudy patches that can cause blindness.
Photo: Erick Passos/MIT
In the year 2050, according to French aircraft maker Airbus, the in-flight entertainment on a cross-continental airline flight will cover all of the cabin walls. Or, as this rendering shows, the interactive membrane could be made transparent to give passengers a truly bird’s eye view of the nighttime sky.
This artist’s rendering is not a depiction of a futuristic crop circle. It is what SolarReserve’s 50-megawatt solar thermal plant—to be built in Alcazar de San Juan, Spain—will look like. Molten salt absorbs thermal energy from the array of solar collectors during the day and releases it for electricity generation at night.
Illustration: SolarReserve/AP Photo
Workers are shown assembling and testing the second P2 Pelamis wave energy converter, which is scheduled to start generating up to 750 kilowatts when it is moored off northern Scotland’s Orkney Islands. The 180-meter-long, 4-meter-diameter articulated tube flexes in two directions, pushing fluid that turns onboard motor-generators.
Photo: Mike Wilkinson/Bloomberg/Getty Images
The people of Payatas, Philippines, have no access to the electrical grid. And solar panels are a luxury they may never be able to afford. To provide light for such communities, MIT students created inexpensive—and startlingly effective—solar bulbs from discarded plastic bottles filled with a solution of water and bleach. Photo Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images