Author Archives: Gianluca Moneta

“Boom Supersonic”: a promise that is turning into reality at a speed of 1451 mph.

“Think about for a moment the families that are separated because of the long flights. Think about the trips not taken because when you add up the lost hours, the trip just doesn’t feel worth it.”

“That’s where we come in. We are a team of engineers and technologists, brought together for the sole purpose of making our world dramatically more accessible. You won’t have to be on the Forbes’ list to be able to fly, it will cost about the same as flying business class today. The ultimate goal is to make supersonic affordable for anyone who flies.”
This is what has been declared by Blake Scholl, CEO and Founder of Boom Technology, the company that is making the theme of the supersonic travel again current.

Obviously it seems obvious to say that the advantages that “Boom” could provide would be enormous, especially in terms of saved time.

Just to give few examples, some of the 500 possible air routes that will be covered by the supersonic flight have already been announced: so it will be possible to fly from San Francisco to Tokyo in just 5 hours and from Los Angeles to Sydney in just 6 hours but with the only half of this time you can get to New York directly from London.

I know it sounds like a dream but it’s almost a reality. 

As said, “Boom” will fly at speeds not comparable with those we are used to but it is probably wrong to compare this jetliner with the common airliners, in fact perhaps the distant relative of “Boom” has been “Concorde” produced by the Anglo-French consortium formed by British Aerospace and Aérospatiale.  “Concorde” that flew for the first time in March 1969 reaching a maximum speed of 1350 miles per hour was an incredible invention but destined for an inglorious ending. In fact, “ Concorde” was declared out of service by flying last time on October 24th, 2003. The reasons were plural but among them stood out the exaggerated prices that made it an instrument suitable for a few people and above all the problem of noisiness when the jet broke the sound barrier producing a huge outroar. 

The strength of this American startup is right here, in fact “Boom Technology” not only proposes to overcome” Concorde “in performance, but also tries to do it by solving the problems that led the Anglo-French jet to failure.

At this point, having increased expectations, it is time to get to know “Boom” in more detail. How can all this be possible? 

The question is not simple but without going into very technical reasonings that would end up boring, we can try to unveil the most important secrets of the success of this impressive project.

The first big strength of “Boom” will be in aerodynamics. There are three changes that allow the aircraft to reach a level of efficiency never seen before: an area-ruled fuselage, a chine, and a refined delta wing. This type of modification will allow the pilot to have excellent control of the jet even at supersonic speed.

The second fundamental aspect concerns the materials used to assemble it. In fact, almost all the materials used were not known 50 years ago when “Concorde” was still a project.
In fact, on the official website of the company it is possible to read: “Compared to aluminum, carbon composites can be manufactured efficiently in almost any shape, allowing us to implement the ideal aerodynamic design in a strong, lightweight structure. Furthermore, composites handle the heat and stresses of supersonic flight better than aluminum. At Mach 2.2 (1,451mph), the nose and leading edges of our aircraft reach 307°F (345°F on a hot day). Concorde, built from aluminum, grew about 15″ in length due to the heat of supersonic flight. Composites expand much less with heat, allowing a simplified and lighter design.”

In addition to this, the most superficial Components also receive a layer of copper mesh, providing lightning strike protection.

As for the propulsion, “Boom” will be equipped with three General Electric J85-21 turbojet engines, while the normal airliners are usually equipped with a turbofan motor with a medium bypass to achieve greater quietness .

Other fundamental innovations have been planned for flight control systems and fuel management. 

By the way of the cabin, this will be very comfortable; there will be no beds (in order to reduce the weight of the aircraft) but there will be two business class single-seat rows  very comfortable, divided by a corridor. In this way each passenger will have on a side the window and from the other the access to the corridor. 

In addition, the company has done a great job of marketing as can be seen from the video below, convincing anyone to be able to get on board one of these supesonic jets in a few years.

There was also the interest and support (also financial) of some big companies such as “Virgin group” in the person of Richard Branson, who has always been a supporter of supersonic flight. Moreover it is a news of a few days ago that Boom Technologies has obtained an investment of 10 million dollars also from Japan Airlines. So Virgin Group and Japan Airlaines are, so far, the only two known investors but the American startup recently declared they already have 76 aircraft ordered by companies that preferred to remain anonymous. 

In short, the promise was made: by 2023 Boom Technologies will bring to market the new supersonic jet that will serve commercial flights at a price more or less in line with the prices of a normal business class ticket, but drastically reducing flight times. To minimize the travel time “Boom” will fly at only 60000 feet in height and when it will exceed the speed of sound the noise produced will be at least 10 times lower than that of the “Concorde”.

In my opinion it would be an extraordinary goal. It is obviously necessary to reach the appropriate safety and performance standards. The imperative must be: don’t be afraid to change when the change is evolutionary. Having had a previous point of reference was certainly helpful, but they should not be content with exceeding the limits of “Concorde”.For example, I wonder if it would have been better to settle for a slightly lower speed to ensure a higher number of passengers on board ( the “Concorde” transported up to 120 passengers at a time, however, reaching a speed of 1350mph). In this way I believe that the process of massification of supersonic flights would have been faster and in a second moment they could have improved further the flight performance.

 

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Tesla, the company defined by Forbes as the most innovative in the world, is ready to transform our homes into small, autonomous power plants.

Tesla, the company founded in 2003 by Elon Musk and JB Straubel together with Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning and operating until just a few months ago, exclusively in the sector of high performance electric vehicles, is experiencing an exponential growth so much that it has been praised by Forbes , already in 2015, as the most innovative company in the world. Just in recent months, the company is entering a decisive  and revolutionary way in the field of electrical engineering and renewable energy, especially the solar one. The story began towards the end of last year, when Tesla announced that it will collaborate with Panasonic for the production of solar panels and modules. The two companies signed a so-called “non-binding letter of intent” under which they will collaborate in the production of photovoltaic cells (PV), located in Tesla plant in Buffalo, New York. Shortly after, on June 28, 2016, during an event on a movie set of Universal Studios in Los Angeles, Tesla and SolarCity (a company purchased by Tesla in the next few days for $ 2.6 billion) jointly presented their amazing innovation: an integrated system of photovoltaic tiles, connected to the new “Powerwall 2” battery, capable of producing domestic electricity and recharging the car, thus leveraging 100% renewable energy in short, a solar roof that will revolutionize the entire market.

As usual, the event is redundant, thrilling, scenic, as in the usual style of Elon Musk.The International Renewable Energy Agency produced a report earlier this year that predicted up to 13 per cent of the electricity generated around the world could be done by 2030 through solar power. In addition to this, if you want to look for a replacement product, you will probably never find it, except if we want to be generous of Bicocca’s photovoltaic windows, a 2015 project, rewarded in 2016 and (almost) ready for marketing.At this point, it’s clear that the roof and battery technology could potentially open a whole new market for the company, making solar power a key component for new and existing houses. Mainly this invention aims to solve the aesthetic problem of the bulky solar panels used yet today  to produce solar energy.In order to do it they are using a high-efficiency solar cell manufactured by Panasonic and covered with a “color louver film”, which allows cells to blend into the roof while exposing them to the sun above, and finally a tempered glass on top for durability.
The company believes so much in the resistance of its product that Tesla tempered glass tiles are sold with endless guarantee: “These are three times more resistant than classic tiles. We are ready to offer the best guarantee possible: forever, as long as the house is standing! “says the company’s website. The animation next to it, taken at 2,500 frames per second, is part of a quality test: at the time of impact, the 5cm hail travels at 160 kms.

 The endless guarantee is a necessary plus considering what has been said in a recent interview by Elon Musk. According to Tesla CEO, in fact, the Solar Roof, on balance, would be cheaper than traditional solar panels and even normal roof tiles, considering  the enormous savings in electricity over the years.In this regard, the company has set up a calculator on its website providing a more or less detailed estimate of the costs to be incurred and of the achievable savings. In any case, Tesla suggests that between purchase and installation costs, cost of energy saved, and any incentives, the expense would be zeroed even earning a few thousand euros, after 30 years (15-20 years is the average life span of a standard cover of solar panels).

 From May 10, 2017, Tesla tiles can be ordered from many countries around the world, this is what the company announced in a tweet the night before the official launch on the market. Until that moment, exactly as it happened before the official launch of the “Model 3” electric car launched by Tesla only a few weeks before, the first and only customers were the employees of the company. The launch price is $42 for square foot of roof covering, which may vary according to the specificity of each single case. The success was instantaneous and the sales of the first two weeks were enough to fill the installations calendar until 2018.Returning to the technical characteristics of the tiles, first of all it should be said that these have a optimal  functionality / aesthetics ratio, in fact they look the same as normal high-end coverage materials, but they still absorb sunlight and turn it into energy through solar cells.In this way, the energy accumulated during the day is stored in the “Powerwall” battery pack that the system must be equipped with, so as to provide the required energy and the right voltage, to avoid waste of money and technology.In short, our home would become a real small power plant able to function in a completely autonomous way.The product is offered in 4 different styles: Textured Glass Tile, Slate Glass Tile, Tuscan Glass Tile, and Smooth Glass Tile.

In addition to this, each roof is completely customizable since tiles with solar cells can be fitted jointly with plain tiles that are absolutely identical to each other.At last we must remember that Tesla tiles measure half the weight of the common tiles and do not degrade over time like asphalt or cement: the Tesla solar roof would seem to be the most durable and innovative roof available today on the market.There is really need for inventions of this kind in order to be able to exploit more and more renewable energies and Tesla is the best interpreter for this role. Surely it will be necessary to monitor the evolution of the solar roof over time, but all the indications are that this amazing company has revolutionized another  new sector in which it is entered.In short, Elon Musk never stops to astonish and Tesla is ready to take us in the future!

 

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“Triton” & “Airbuddy”. Two projects with the common dream of rewriting the rules of diving.

For many people, there’s no better feeling than that of diving into the ocean without a care in the world and swimming with some of the most beautiful creatures on the planet. Some of the views you get when diving are absolutely spectacular and like nothing else, you will ever experience.  But, for some people, it’s the thought of having to put on all the gear and lug the equipment around with you that takes some of the fun away and inevitably puts some of them off before they’ve even tried it. However, that could all change very soon.

In 2014, Jeabyun Yeon, a designer from South Korea, Saeed Khademi, a former account, marketing and sale manager and his broter John Khademi, a marketing expert, real-estates agent launched an ambitious project that would allow people to spend up to 45 minutes underwater without ever coming back and, above all, without the unconfortable sub-equipment.
It is a particular respirator,  very compact, called Triton. Essentially, Triton would be able to extract oxygen from sea water allowing us to go underwater without cylinders as if we had gills. A dream that is hard to resist.

Indeed, four years after the initial idea, and despite the over $ 800,000 collected on Indiegogo, the enthusiasm around the project has disappeared and even sometimes has been labeled as fraudulent. 

This is because the team had several problems in the implementation phase.

In fact theoretically the mechanism of Triton is really possible and perhaps genial. This respirator uses two specialized filters to extract oxygen from water. Allegedly, these filters use microporous hollow fiber, a (real) material comprised of billions of super-small holes that are “smaller than water molecules, so they keep water out and let oxygen in,” according to Triton. From there, a “micro compressor then extracts and stores the oxygen,” allowing users to breathe naturally and remain underwater for about 45 minutes. In theory, this is totally possible. The question is whether or not such a small device would be able to extract enough oxygen to keep a human being alive under water.

One of the most thorough estimates found that the Triton mask would need to filter about 90 liters per minute (about 24 gallons) to keep someone alive under water, and doing so would require a fairly large pump — one that’s far too big to fit inside such a compact mask.

Next is the issue of storing the gas in a chamber – this would require a compressor and battery “order of magnitude more efficient than anything on the market today.Let’s say they’ve managed to crack those two issues the next one is the ability to deliver the oxygen to you in the right amount at the right pressure to be able to breathe.  This is possible as we see it in some particolar diving equipment but  again, there is no technology on the market right now that can achieve such a feat in such a small design.

Lastly, the company has never provided sufficient evidences to suggest a positive evolution of the product, and even the three founders have always avoided interviews justifying their behavior by not having received any patent that could protect them from any competitors.In this climate of mistrust of the Triton project, the video published by the company with which the respirator was promoted has also been criticized.

In fact on close inspection you can see that it is made up of several short clips where the person seems to be getting progressively more negatively buoyant (probably due to expelling air from their lungs to create the “bubbles” from the device) and no clip ever shows a person underwater for longer than one minute.

There has been no progress in recent years and perhaps the  encountered problems by society are impossible to solve.

After a couple of years of inactivity in this industry, it was another company trying to overthrow the world of diving. This is an Australian company founded in 2013 by a group of friends and has taken the same name as the amazing product it is about to launch into the market: Airbuddy. The founders have a lot of “water-love” between them. Managing director Jan Kadlec is a regular diver and marketing manager Lucy Palusovais an underwater enthusiast. Mechanical engineer Juraj Kadlec and manufacturing professional Ivan Maturkanic have a lot of snorkeling experience.
Airbuddy is a small floating electric compressor that can pump air up to a depth of 12 meters (one dispenser) or 6 meters (two dispensers) for 45 minutes. This means that the user – and this is especially true for two users at the same time – always takes a dive abundantly within the so-called safety curve, that is, the time / depth ratio within which you can trace the surface without having to make decompression stages.

The weight of the entire complex (9.5 kg that is up to 75% less than standard diving equipment) and the dimensions (407 x 540 x 315 mm) allow you to carry the AirBuddy in a normal traveling suitcase, which, being not a container under pressure, can be safely carried in the hold of an airplane. Also Airbuddy will be easy to use, just recharge the batteries that power the compressor for about 3.5 hours using a charger similar to that of a laptop.

This system will not replace scuba diving in any form, it won’t offer the same control, precision, and depth you get with scuba diving, it will offer a solution that’s much more convenient and flexible in shallow waters. 

In diving all takes time and costs money. So a simple 45min fun dive can easily turn into a half day, $50 activity. AirBuddy was created to eliminate all these hassles.

Currently Airbuddy is still a prototype but has already passed all the tests of functionality and security and the company that in the Kickstarter campaign had claimed $ 169,000 has even raised $ 200,000 in just 22 days and so the release in the market is scheduled for June 2018 (it will be sold at $ 1,600).

In conclusion, to immerse ourselves we still have to rely on the classic uncomfortable cylinders  but perhaps this time we are close to a futuristic innovation. We just have to hope it’s the right time.

Let’s hold the breath.

 

REFERENCES:

  • https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/triton-scuba-mask-indiegogo-possibly-hoax/
  • https://www.deeperblue.com/triton-underwater-breathing-gill-scam/
  • http://www.airbuddy.net/about.html
  • https://www.businessinsider.com.au/an-australian-invented-underwater-diving-system-just-raised-200000-on-kickstarter-2017-5

 

From today Google brings you around the galaxy! The new features of Google Maps.

You’ve probably used Google Maps to preview vacation destinations on this planet, but the newest locales added take you on an out-of-this-world escape.

Maybe you’d rather visit frozen Enceladus than stay at a ski resort. The methane waters beneath Titan’s thick clouds are certainly a change from your typical beach weekend. If you prefer to venture into the eldritch darkness, go on a virtual expedition to Pluto’s Chtulhu region, a shadow land whose icy wastes and menacing craters make it appropriately intriguing.

For those looking for something a little less exotic, there’s always the moon.

A few years ago, Google gave people the ability to freely explore objects in space — but that experience was mostly locked up in “Google Earth”, the company’s 3D-mapping software.

Just in the last few days, however, the company announced that users will be able to benefit from a new Google Maps feature, called “planets”, and this will refines their knowledge of the solar system.

Infact, Google announced  it partnered with NASA and the European Space Agency to be able to generate the new detailed maps of Venus, Pluto, and many of Saturn’s moons. To be exact There are now 17 different planetary maps to look through.

It’s finally possible  to across the galaxy in a few seconds and directly from your pc to discover planets, moons, dwarf planets and on top of that  virtually visit the international space station from which you can admire the space just as as a real astronaut could see it.

Just to give an idea and to increase readers’ curiosity, some of the planetary bodies that you could “visit” are: ·

  • Earth’s moon                         

Up to this point is the most visited, since it is the one that has the highest number of high quality images.

If you know where to look you can even track down moon landing sites, like this one of Apollo 15.

  • Mars                                          

Peppered with volcanoes, deep canyons, and robotic probes, the red planet is easily the most fun to explore in Google Maps.

The canyons are the deepest in the solar system. And if Elon Musk and SpaceX have their way, we may someday be able to explore them for real.

  • Enceladus                                 

This ice ball that orbits Saturn looks unassuming, but it is one of the most exciting destinations in the solar system right now.

NASA has repeatedly photographed and flown through water jets shooting out of these “tiger stripe” features on Enceladus’ south pole.

That warm, salty water indicates the moon has an ocean that might be habitable to alien life. 

  • Pluto                                              

Until July 2015, no one knew what Pluto actually looked like. But the New Horizons mission changed all of that with a high-speed flyby — and discovered the distant, icy world even has an ocean hiding below its surface.

Visuals of the terrain are available along with labeled craters, mountains or plains. Pluto is the one with the smallest amount of information, with about a third of yhe surface missing of any identifier or display.

In this way, while you obsess over how unearthly things like this actually exist, you might also geek out about how many distant moons and planets take their names from mythical entities. Just click on any name to see its origin as you explore space from your laptop. The Rusalka region of Titan is named for the undead water nymphs of Slavic folklore that was have believed to drown people in despair who got too close to a river or lake. Mimas is a crater-covered storybook of names from Arthurian legend, and Europa’s Annwn region is named for the Otherworld in Welsh mythology. No one can guarantee eternal youth if you stare at Annwn long enough, but it definitely is otherworldly.

Though the project hasn’t yet evolved into something like Google Earth, which lets you see any location in the world in exact detail (and is admittedly sort of creepy), the project is evolving very quickly thanks to the hard work of the google staff. To be precise, all this was possible thanks to half a million images taken by spacecrafts including the Cassini probe, as well as those provided by astronomical artist Björn Jónsson, along with photographs from NASA and the European Space Agency and this this is why the announcement by the company came on the occasion of the twenty-year of Cassini mission to Saturn.If we want to find the weak point of the project, which is still in the process of being perfected, we can say that the mechanism is not very clear and simple to use, infact There’s no search box within “Planets,” so it’s difficult to, say, find the Apollo mission landing site on Earth’s moon. The maps also restrict the degree to which you can both rotate and zoom in on a world, especially at the poles.Furthermore this new feature can be difficult to find if you do not have a direct connection. You have to go to Google Maps and use the zoom (clicking the less sign) until you can see the entire Earth planet in space. Switch to “satellite view” in the left corner. A list of planets and moons that you can explore at this point should automatically appear on the left side of the screen.The feeling is that the company has placed a lot of ambition in this project and will continue to perfect it over time, serving users a sensational instrument and, until a few months ago, unimaginable.

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It’s all true! Amazon will launch soon its drone delivery project, “prime air”.

Amazon has done a lot recently to speed up its shipping services. It has algorithms that anticipate your orders, ultra-efficient robots that pick items from warehouses, and even a service (Prime Now) that delivers certain items to your doorstep just hours after you order them.

The only problem? Right now, this super-fast shipping service depends on delivery trucks, and only works if you live fairly close to one of Amazon’s warehouses. This puts limits on not only the number of people who can use the service, but also the selection of items available to prospective buyers.

That’s where Amazon’s efforts to introduce drone delivery come in. The company first announced its project — appropriately dubbed Prime Air — in late-2013,
and the statement was welcomed with much skepticism. Since then, the project has overcome numerous hurdles, and while it’s not quite ready for primetime quite yet, every month it inches closer toward launch. At the time, Bezos suggested that the company would begin delivery in 2018,the latest limited trials suggest that Amazon still intends to hit that 2018 target, but, being realistic, it looks like we will have to wait until as late as 2020, if not later, for large-scale availability.

Amazon says it has successfully trialled its Prime Air drone delivery service in Cambridge, UK, by delivering a TV streaming stick and bag of popcorn directly to the garden of a nearby customer.

The breakthrough suggests that autonomous aerial delivery could become a viable business sooner than thought, albeit only for customers with huge gardens, who live close to the delivery depot, and want items weighing less than 2.6kg.

Additionally, while deliveries will be available seven days a week, the drones can only fly in daylight hours and clement weather.

Moreover, the company claims that it has recently carried out a delivery using a drone capable of flying independently, with no human pilot involved in the process. The success was announced by Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos.

Amazon has big plans for Prime Air, and the company claims that o

ne day seeing Amazon drones will be as normal as seeing mail trucks.

Here’s how Amazon describes the Prime Air program: “a delivery system from Amazon designed to safely get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less using unmanned aerial vehicles, also called drones. Prime Air has great potential to enhance the services we already provide to millions of customers by providing rapid parcel delivery that will also increase the overall safety and efficiency of the transportation system.”

Amazon isn’t alone in the field: Google’s experimental sibling, X, has a long-running drone delivery project of its own, Project Wing. Its prototypes use a fixed-wing drone, and are aimed at deliveries to particularly isolated rural customers.

The world is evolving very quickly and only those who can accept and exploit these changes will be able to take advantages.

Right from the beginning, one of the best peculiarities of amazon was to be able to progress ahead of others, getting advantage of technology, taking on the role of first-

mover and becoming the technological leader.

This is one of the major aspects that has differentiated amazon from its competitors and has allowed it to become quickly leader in its industry. In fact today, Amazon is definitely the first company in the e-commerce world ranking.

Certainly there are still many problems to be solved before that we can receive what we order directly in our garden or balcony thanks to the delivery with drone,  related for example to the safety of both the flight and the shipment, the permits it will have to get official start of the project, the maintenance costs of drones and the maximum flight times and maximum distances from the warehouse.

Fortunately amazon is a serious company with a highly qualified staff and probably in a few years, if not months, it will be able to make “prime air” a standard delivery mode. After all Amazon is at a good point in the course and in 2013 no one really believed that today the drone delivery is almost possible.

 

 

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