Why We're Not Driving the Friendly Skies A number of us can thank a cartoon character from the future, George Jetson, for instilling our longing. Students of aviation history might look for inspiration to the Autoplane prototype built in 1917 by the flight pioneer Glenn Curtiss. And tens of millions of motorists who have been stuck in traffic jams stretching toward the horizon must also feel a need to know: Where are the flying cars?
Looking to print your own house, jewelry or dessert? Then check out Engadget's Consumer Guide to 3D printers.
Researchers have developed a backpack that generates building layout map in realtime. (yt) The prototype system automatically maps the wearer’s environment, recognizing movement between floors. It was designed at MIT to be used by emergency responders. Read more.
A newer, slightly more plausible flying car project. Some people take it more seriously than the king of vaporware skycars, whose designers are now working on a vaporware landspeeder(PDF). If you want something more available, keep your car and check out the Cessna SkyCatcher, no assembly required.
Bots've come a long way, baby. So everybody knows about Honda's flashy ASIMO, and the sadly canceled QRIO, but now Wakamaru, Mitsubishi's entry into the field, seems to have been first among semi-autonomous humanoid robots to find a job. I wish it luck, but it might need to grow up a little. Maybe it can learn from Domo, son of Cog, robot of yore.
Why yes, I WOULD like to ride a rocket into space, then jump out of it and free-float to an Earth re-entry. Columbia widower Jonathan Clark and X Prize launcher Rick Tumlinson want to redefine re-entry. Whether for fun or for survival, the two want to make it possible for you or me to survive the 150 mile, 18,000 MPH, 8.2G, 3,000°F fall back to Earth in the worlds first orbital life vest. [via]