Pies in the sky: fast-food deliveries by drone are taking off

Maron kristófersson is looking forward to the completion of a new roof on his office in downtown Reykjavik. It is not that the old roof leaked, but rather that the new one will be heated. Mr Kristófersson is the boss of aha, which delivers on behalf of restaurants and shops in Iceland’s capital. The heated […]

Helicopters of the future will fly in new ways. Pilots will be optional

UNLIKE a helicopter, aeroplanes are inclined to fly, Harry Reasoner, a veteran American newsman, wryly observed after watching choppers in action during the Vietnam war. He wrote: A helicopter does not want to fly. It is maintained in the air by a variety of forces and controls working in opposition to each other, and if […]

Welcome to the wingbot

JULY 16th sees the opening of the Farnborough air show. Plane spotters attending the show, which by entente cordiale alternates annually with that in Paris, will be hoping for an appearance by one of the F-35 Lightning fighters delivered recently to Britain’s air force and navy. The F-35 represents the best that the present has […]

Rise of the robochef

CREATOR, a new hamburger joint in San Francisco, claims to deliver a burger worth $18 for $6—in other words, to provide the quality associated with posh restaurants at a fast-food price. The substance behind this claim is that its chef-de-cuisine is a robot. Until recently, catering robots have been gimmicks. “Flippy”, a robotic arm that […]

3D printing the factory of the future

SLOWLY but surely the sole of a shoe emerges from a bowl of liquid resin, as Excalibur rose from the enchanted lake. And, just as Excalibur was no ordinary sword, this is no ordinary sole. It is light and flexible, with an intricate internal structure, the better to help it support the wearer’s foot. Paired […]

Adidas’s high-tech factory brings production back to Germany and America

BEHIND closed doors in the Bavarian town of Ansbach a new factory is taking shape. That it will use robots and novel production techniques such as additive manufacturing (known as 3D printing) is not surprising for Germany, which has maintained its manufacturing base through innovative engineering. What is unique about this factory is that it […]

3D printing magnets

Magnetic moments A CLASSIC experiment beloved of scientifically inclined children is to cover a magnet with a piece of paper and sprinkle iron filings onto the paper. This reveals the field lines that connect the magnet’s north and south poles. Try something similar with some of the new types of magnets now being made using […]