Assorted Cool Technology - 2012-05-25

Posted on May 25, 2012

Space, the last frontier.
It seems we are about to start a new chapter on space exploration, with the process of america opening it up to private initiative clipping along.
This week we saw a major milestone being achieved when SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launched into space, carrying an unmaned Dragon 9 capsule–the spaceship proper–into a test flight and rendez-vous with the International Space station.
The mission will last for 10 days, with multiple stages occurring before success can be declared, but up until now all things are going well.
This mission is basically a test for what amounts to a space-trucking (pun intended) contract.
Now granted, there’s not much glamour in hauling cargo (and eventually people) to and from the ISS, but this is just the first part of what SpaceX promises will be a long and successful foray into space. After all, Elon Musk seemed to be serious when he famously said he is planing on retiring to Mars

Meanwhile, down here on earth…
Trying to solve a slightly less challenging problem, Lit Motors is trying to build a special kind of motorcycle-car hybrid that can stand upright by itself and correct for whatever external factors try to push it into falling over–the C-1.
They have a partial prototype that shows their gyroscopically stabilized solution works as advertised, but I think there is no evidence of a full-on prototype available. You can watch the pitch, along with a rather short clip of the existing prototype here.

And as for gadgety stuff, prepare for the arrival of the Leap Motion’s The Leap.
Apparently this little piece of tech outperforms Microsoft Kinect in many important features, while being smaller and substantially cheaper.
Check out some videos demoing the device and notice it’s definition and responsiveness.
Evolution, that’s the name of the game here. The Kinect is amazing, but this is clearly one step ahead.