Lightsaber Turns 50 – GE Engineer Explains How It Could Not Possibly Work

Lightsaber-diagram

Lightsaber diagram

Okay, folks, make sure you have some tissues handy because GE engineer Matt Gluesenkamp is about to break a lot of hearts. The laser just turned 50, and that got Gluesenkamp thinking about one of the most iconic representations of the technology: the lightsaber. He analyzes the tech it’d take to make them real. Is it possible? In a word, no.

 

 

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A Disturbance In The (Burger) Force

burger chain dominance chart

Channeling a Star Wars metaphor, Stephen Van Worley imagined a McDonald’s empire in black with pockets of rebellion within by its seven largest competitors:

By far, the largest pocket of resistance is Sonic Drive-In’s south-central stronghold: more than 900 restaurants packed into the state of Texas alone. Sheer density is the key to victory!

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The Jedi Mind Control Game

jedi-force-trainer-288x300

My Mind Is Stronger Than Your Mind!

This is the Star Wars Jedi game that requires you to bring to bear all of your latent telekinetic powers of the Force in order to keep a ball levitating. Similar to EEG technology that reads the alpha and beta waves created by your brain, the game comes with a headset equipped with forehead and ear sensors that translate your brain’s energy into a wireless signal that is sent to the game’s base station. The station has a tube with a ball inside (resembling the Jedi training remote Luke Skywalker used on the Millennium Falcon) that is kept levitating by a flow of air; your steady concentration adjusts the air fan’s speed, causing the ball to rise and fall…

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Invisibility Cloaks Could Take the Sting out of Hurricanes

Invisibility Cloaks Could Take the Sting out of Hurricanes

Protection comes in many forms

Invisibility cloaks that are able to steer light around two dimensional objects have become reality in the last few years. But the first real-world application of the theories that made them possible could be in hiding vulnerable coastlines and offshore platforms from destructive hurricanes and tsunamis.

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China Building Reactionless Space Thruster

China Building Reactionless Space Thruster 

While NASA is having problems reaching milestones for their new Ares rockets-the conventional rocket that will get the US to the Moon and Mars-China is actually trying to build a reactionless space thruster like the ones used by Cylon Basestars. Yes, that’s science fiction, but the engine is theoretically possible. And I don’t know about you, but anything that looks this cool and says “Magnetron” on its plans is good enough for me:

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Hurricane Simulators

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GchYChDfx5k[/youtube]

Hurricane simulator – University of Florida

Essentially, this is a portable wind tunnel with water. They move it in front of a house and test whether the house is strong enough to withstand the force of a hurricane. More videos after the jump.

 

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