At the recent CEATEC 2010 in Japan, Nissan used the
opportunity to show off its latest EPORO in its demo of their
39 ft tall solar tree — a charger that generates 20 k W of power.
The robotic car is rigged with a wireless power system and can
recharge itself on the tree, as well as charging lanes on the road.
Don't get too excited, though. Nissan is targeting 2030 as the year
the system becomes commonplace.
Solar trees can be used individually as small-scale charging
stations in urban areas or they can be grouped into forests to
produce energy on the scale of power plants. According to
Nissan's design, a forest of 1,000 solar trees will be able to
provide electricity for 7,000 households.
In addition to providing power, solar trees can provide some
relief from the heat in summer. The translucent solar panels offer
protection from UV light, while fine mist emitted from the edges
of the panels works to reduce the temperature in the immediate
IT’S A BIRD! IT’S A PLANE! NO, IT’S A ...
This is an honest to goodness, real, working, commercially-available
jetpack. Don’t get too excited here either. Yep. The Martin Jetpack is
now robotic and has no use for humans. Damn, that one piece of the
future that would have been totally awesome has just passed us by.
Martin Aircraft Company has actually been working on a practical jetpack for years now. The lowdown is that the jetpack
uses two huge ducted fans that you wear kinda like a backpack and it will propel you 8,000 feet up at 60 miles an hour for
30 minutes. It runs on the same gas your car does, doesn’t require a pilot’s license, and includes a ballistic parachute (that
works at low altitudes) — just in case.
From the beginning, Martin had autonomy in mind for their jetpack for one simple reason: Nobody really wanted to be the
first guy who had to strap it on and see how fast it would go, or who had to check if the emergency parachute system worked.
So, it was a natural step to turn the robotic testing system into a totally robotic flying system. Martin is hoping that their
‘Skyhook’ will be able to fill a niche between man-portable reconnaissance UAVs and larger, infrastructure-dependent drones
like Predators. Skyhook can take off and land vertically while carrying up to 100 kilos of payload which would be ideal for local
resupplying of isolated units.
SERVO 12.2010 25