technology: September 2010 Archives

275x250.jpg Boffins in Canada have created the first aircraft which flies by flapping its wings like a bird and is powered by a pilot pedalling.

The 'Snowbird' HPO (Human-powered Ornithopter) has become the first man-powered aircraft with flapping wings to fly continuously.

It was developed by a team at the University of Toronto, who were determined to create the device first imagined by Leonardo da Vinci in his 1485 sketches.

After being pulled by a car and launched into the air, the pilot then pumps a set of pedals which are attached to pulleys causing the wings to flap and keep the craft in the sky… until he gets tired.

Pigeon vs Broadband: Which is the fastest?

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The chances are you're reading this via a broadband connection and not having had it delivered by a carrier pigeon… but if you were, you might have received it faster.

Broadband campaigners recently pitched the humble carrier pigeon against the latest tech in a bid to highlight connectivity problems in rural areas.

A race was organised to send a five minute video from a Yorkshire farm to a destination in Skegness 120km away and see which was quickest, rural broadband or pigeon.

Ten birds were released with USB sticks at the same time as someone started uploading the 300MB file via a 200 Kbps broadband connection.

By the time the pigeons arrived at their destination only 24% of a 300MB file had uploaded… which is all well and good, but you try giving your digital camera to a pigeon along with directions to YouTube.

275x250.jpgExperts claim action computer games can help make players better at making quick and accurate decisions in the real world.

Researchers from the University of Rochester tested their idea by getting a sample of gamers and non-gamers to complete a series of decision tasks.

They were presented with images of dots and asked to identify the direction of the dots' motion.

It was discovered people who regularly played action computer games were able to complete the tasks faster and more accurately than non-gamers.

Please feel free to print this article out and hand it over to your mother when she tells you playing Halo: Reach for 18 hours per day will rot your mind.

DTV Shredder: The motorised skateboard-tank

A motorised skateboard which looks like a ride-on tank could be the next military must-have, claim army experts.

The DTV Shredder can reach 30mph, travel across any kind of terrain and even be equipped with a machine-gun and other weaponry.

It is the creation of Canadian firm BPG Werks and makers say it's ideally suited to military tasks such as reconnaissance, rescue/recovery and mobile surveillance.

The device, which is powered by a Honda 200cc engine and has a turning radius of four feet, recently went on show at Military Vehicles conference in Detroit.

It's not known if the U.S. Army have already placed an order… but you should expect some pretty cool YouTube clips from Iraq if they have.




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