Last Hurrah for Banned Bulbs

A little shop in New York City celebrates the glory of the lightbulb in the waning days of incandescence

1 min read
Opening photo for this feature article.
Photo: Randi Silberman Klett

This article originally appeared in print as “Bright Lights, Big City.”

For the back story to this slide show, read: “For the Love of Lightbulbs.”

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Video Friday: TurtleBot 4

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

4 min read

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We'll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here's what we have so far (send us your events!):

Silicon Valley Robot Block Party – October 23, 2021 – Oakland, CA, USA
SSRR 2021 – October 25-27, 2021 – New York, NY, USA

Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today's videos.

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Air Taxis Are Safe—According to the Manufacturers

But what keeps an eVTOL aloft when things go wrong?

6 min read

Joby Aviation is planning for a 240-kilometer range with its piloted aircraft, carrying up to four passengers.

Joby Aviation

Electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for urban commuting are currently under development by more than a dozen different companies. These concepts and prototypes, representing well over a billion dollars of venture capital investment in 2020 alone, promise that sometime in the near future, point-to-point travel between suburbs and urban centers will happen by air using innovative new flying vehicles that are fast, quiet, clean, and far more affordable than a helicopter. United Airlines has ordered 200 eVTOLs. American Airlines has ordered 250, with an option for 100 more. But none of these eVTOL platforms are yet certified to carry passengers, and as a fundamentally different approach to flight, there are still open questions about safety.

A significant difference in safety that separates many eVTOL designs from traditional aircraft (namely, airplanes and helicopters) is that eVTOLs often don't have a good way of passively generating lift in the event of a power system failure. An airplane can rely on its wings to provide lift even if it has no operational engines, and in several cases large passenger airliners with multiple engine failures have been able to make controlled long-distance glides to land safely. Similarly, helicopters can autorotate, using the unpowered rotor to generate enough lift to make a controlled descent and landing.

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Safety in the Spotlight: Hendrix Covered Conductors

Safety-related contact currents for humans touching tedium voltage covered conductors

1 min read
Hendrix Aerial Cable Systems

This white paper explores what happens when humans come into physical contact with medium voltage covered conductors under a range of conditions. Safety thresholds, lab tests of charging currents, and CEATI testing of covered conductors are discussed. Authored by experts at Hendrix Aerial Cable Systems.

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