From powerful lasers to a robotic snake to a streetlamp that’ll keep you dry in the rain, today’s Tech Today has it all. What will they think of next?
Lasers are nothing new to these pages, but this is something special. This is the world’s most powerful laser shot, a one-time firing of 192 lasers at one point that was only 2mm wide. Why do this? Well, it all has a purpose. The idea is to use the 500 trillion watts of energy to start a nuclear reaction, igniting hydrogen fusion fuel which will in turn produce up to 100 times the energy of the lasers. So that’s all good then, it’s just that the initial laser produces 1000 times more power than the US uses at any one point in time, and if it was pointed the wrong way…
How about a robotic snake that climbs a pole (and a guy’s arm) without a problem?
Developed to access confined spaces unreachable by humans, this snake could potentially have a whole variety of uses, like crawling through rubble or sneaking into buildings. The way it adapted to the different diametres of pipe (and arm) in the demo shows that it can change its behaviour and keep going without being remotely controlled. But the slightly crazed look on the guy’s face before he stopped the experiment said to me that he wasn’t entirely comfortable with it crawling up his arm, and perhaps he had a vision of it taking over his lab in the near future.
Gene Kelly made a song and dance about it, but it’s never pleasant to be caught out in the rain (believe me, last week it happened far too often). Also, there never seems to be enough shelter, so wouldn’t it be wonderful to be near a street light that automatically deploys an umbrella when it feels rain?
The inspiration apparently came from watching people run for cover, and while inventor Mikhail Belyaev says the lampbrella is not in production yet, he’s had a lot of positive feedback. Hopefully the street lamp will be more careful with the umbrella spikes near people’s eyes than a lot of brolly-wielders tend to be. Oh, and don’t tell Rihanna…
Well, as a famous rabbit once said, that’s all folks! More tomorrow, so tune in then. If you see anything tech-related that you’d like to see included, let us know in the comments, or drop us a line on Twitter.