This Huge Camera Rig Was the Howitzer of Early Action Photography

Photojournalism has come a long way in the last 65 years. Back in the first half of the 20th century, photographers looking to capture the fast action of car races and baseball games were forced to shoot with enormous camera contraptions like this Graflex "Big Bertha" large format press camera. But the pictures it… » 4/24/14 12:20pm Yesterday 12:20pm

This Utility Truck Can Exterminate a Pothole Every 120 Seconds

Getting crews out to patch roads is sometimes more trouble than its worth. It snarls traffic for hours at a time, costs counties and states hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, and typically only fixes the problem for a short time. But this gravel-blasting utility truck aims to make the permanent patch process… » 4/23/14 11:40am Wednesday 11:40am

This Sci-Fi Helmet Could Give Firefighters Predator Thermal Vision

When firefighters have to enter a burning building, much of their job still involves blindly feeling their way through dense plumes of toxic fumes in search of those trapped inside. However, a novel new helmet design could one day give firefighters the ability to see through the smoke and hear beyond the roar of the… » 4/22/14 11:40am Tuesday 11:40am

Beijing's Giant New Desalination Plant Will Give Water to the People

Beijing is one thirsty city. Its population of 22 million consumes barely 100 cubic meters of water per capita—one fifth the international water-shortage level—thanks to a chronic drought in the nation's north. But this massive desalination plant could help supply a third of the city's water singlehandedly. » 4/21/14 11:40am Monday 11:40am

This Bionic Ankle Walks Like It's Alive

The human lower leg is a marvel of biological engineering—it lets you have a long, strong stride while minimizing exertion and joint strain. But conventional spring and hydraulically-driven prosthesis worn by amputees offer no such benefit and can cause osteoarthritis-inducing skeletal strains. The BiOM T2 system aims… » 4/18/14 11:40am 4/18/14 11:40am

Northrop's Flying Ram Would Have Sliced Enemy Planes in Midair

War drives technological innovation like little else. No proposal is too ambitious, impractical, or downright foolhardy for consideration if it provides a strategic advantage. This school of thinking has led to atomic bombs, autonomous vehicles, and, in 1945, a short-lived fighter prototype that could cut through enemy … » 4/17/14 11:42am 4/17/14 11:42am

OSIRIS-REx Wants to Lasso an Asteroid to Explain Life on Earth

NASA has a plan to better explore how our own local star system, and life within it, got started. It wants to intercept, study, and sample a passing asteroid. The only thing more impressive than this mission's astronomical level of precision is how the space agency somehow shoehorned "Origins Spectral Interpretation… » 4/15/14 11:40am 4/15/14 11:40am

This Indigenous Iranian UAV Is the Poor Man's Predator Drone

Iran's previous attempts at creating an indigenous UAV fleet have been rather, well, comical. However, with recent sightings of a this medium-altitude, long-endurance flyer in the skies over Damascus, Iran's drone program may have finally reached the big time. » 4/14/14 11:40am 4/14/14 11:40am

Every Helicopter in the US Military Could Soon Be a Drone

The MQ-8 Fire Scout might be the US military's marquee pilotless helicopter, but it's not the only one. A pair of R/C Kaman K-Max K-1200 choppers have proven their value resupplying forward operating bases in Afghanistan and, now, the DoD is developing a system to turn any helicopter into a remotely operated whirley… » 4/09/14 11:45am 4/09/14 11:45am

How Armor Is Evolving to Beat Tank-Smashing RPGs

Like the AK-47, the Soviet RPG-7 rocket propelled grenade has become one of the most widely-distributed infantry weapons on Earth, used by everyone from E8 nations to guerrilla insurgency groups in every major conflict since Vietnam. But their ubiquitousness nature has kicked off a global race focused on how to beat… » 4/08/14 11:40am 4/08/14 11:40am

This Weedseeking Airport Tractor Spells Death for Dandelions

Weeds growing up through the cracks in airport tarmacs aren't just unsightly, they can create traction hazards for landing aircraft. But rather than rely on a squad of human herbicide applicators, one French airport is leaving the job to a single computerized spraying system. They call it "The Weedseeker." » 4/07/14 11:40am 4/07/14 11:40am

GE's Wind Turbine Tester Puts Gigantic Drivetrains Through Hell

Modern multi-megawatt wind turbines are downright gargantuan, standing more than 700 feet tall with 260-foot blades spinning 190 mph at the tip. To make sure that these monolithic machines are up for 20 years of energy production, GE has created a tortuous test bed capable of sucking 20 years of life from a turbine in… » 4/03/14 11:40am 4/03/14 11:40am

The USMC's Amphibious Tank Killer Gets a New Pop-up Missile Launcher

The US Marine Corps is the tip of America's spear—a fast-moving, flexible, forward operating force geared to take and hold territory quickly and efficiently. This flexibility is exemplified in the USMC's favorite armored troop carrier: the eight-wheeled, tank-hunting LAV-AT. The only thing it can't do is fly. » 4/02/14 11:40am 4/02/14 11:40am

Alvin Gets Back to Work After $42 Million Retrofit

Barely a week since successfully completing sea trials after a three year hiatus, the venerable research sub Alvin is already earning back the $42 million in hardware upgrades and engineering retrofits it's received—showing off its spacious new three-crew cabin with a quick dive to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. But … » 4/01/14 11:40am 4/01/14 11:40am

The Lick Observatory's Newest Telescope Is an Exoplanet Hunting Robot

Exoplanets—planets orbiting stars that aren't our Sun—seem to be popping out of the cosmic woodwork now that we know where and how to look for them. The Kepler mission alone has discovered 961 of them, and it's only looking at a tiny sliver of distant space. Just think of how many we'll find when the new James Lick… » 3/28/14 5:40pm 3/28/14 5:40pm