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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Amazing Special Shape on Buildings - Homes

a symphony of angles, glass walls and exposed steel, with a dramatic inverted roof.

This handout computer graphic image by designer Koki-woong shows a toilet-shaped house in Suwon, 40 kilometers south of Seoul. The house owned by South Korean sanitation activist Sim Jae-Duck will be open on November 11 to mark the launch of the World Toilet Association.(AFP/HO/Str.)

Buckinghamshire-the inverted-roof house

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Future Airplane - Terrafugia's Transition: An Airplane-Car

Future Airplane - Terrafugia's Transition: An Airplane-Car

Terrafugia (Latin for "escape from the world") is a company founded by graduates (Lemelson-MIT Student Prize winner Carl Dietrich and colleagues) of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT who have made it their mission to develop "the expansion of personal mobility through the practical integration of land and air travel." Their vehicle, the Transition (shown above), is part car, part aircraft "that will be able to land at the airport, fold up its wings, and drive on the road."
Carl Dietrich

The Transition is designed for 100- to 500-mile jumps. It will carry two people and luggage on a single tank of premium unleaded gas. It will also come with an electric calculator (to help fine-tune weight distribution), airbags, aerodynamic bumpers and of course a GPS (Global Positioning System) navigation unit.

The company hopes to eventually have the vehicle classified so that it can be piloted with a light sport aircraft license.
No complete prototype exists yet, but the company has a one-fifth scale wind tunnel model (along with computer simulations) and will use the $30,000 from the Lemelson prize to build something to show off at the Oshkosh show. A fully operational prototype is expected to come out in 2008 or earlier, according to the company, while Transition vehicles are expected to hit the road, and the sky, by 2009 or 2010.

"We have a lot of confidence that if the interest is there, we can deliver this product," Dietrich said. "There is a huge amount of general interest, but the question is, is there a market for it?"
Building retractable wings won't be the major challenge: F-18s and even some World War II era planes have folding wings. Instead, one of the biggest challenges will be creating enough cargo room to satisfy customers. The planes, which will cruise up to 12,000 feet, will probably use an off-the-shelf engine, he added.

In the past few years, the skies have become a new frontier for entrepreneurs and academics. The chase for the X Prize led entrepreneur Richard Branson and others to begin to contemplate space tourism. PayPal founder Elon Musk, meanwhile, has started SpaceX, a private company that hopes to launch rockets for satellite deployment, similar to the more heavily funded Sea Launch venture. Stanford University professors teach a course on do-it-yourself satellites.
Short-range aircraft and flight start-ups have sprung up as well. Citrix founder Ed Iacobucci has launched DayJet, which plans on buying a fleet of Eclipse planes for on-demand travel between regional hubs. People Airlines founder has a similar company based on the small, lightweight Eclipse. (Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is an investor in Eclipse.)
And for backyard adventurers, Elwood "Woody" Norris has the AirScooter, a personal helicopter. Graduate students at Stanford also have hatched a secretive start-up geared at recreational flyers, according to sources familiar with their plans.
Flying cars are technically feasible; Terrafugia points out that inventor Molt Taylor built prototypes in the 1950s and 1960s--but they haven't been practical from an economic perspective.

The picture has changed, however, with the development of lighter and stronger construction materials and more efficient engines. Terrafugia is aiming to build a vehicle that will fly at 120 miles per hour and get 30 miles a gallon in the air. (It will also get 40 miles per gallon on the freeway and 30 in the city).
The Transition vehicle will carry a payload of only 430 pounds, far less than cars, but how many cars can take flight after 1,500 feet of takeoff space?
Want your own? They're currently taking reservations. For $7,400 (5% of the expected sticker price of $148,000), you can make sure you're the first one on the block with a flying car. Completed crafts are expected to ship in 2009. More pictures after the jump
Artciles from :, official websites.

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