We spend hundreds of hours on board a variety of airplanes each year, most often en-route to a trade show or product launch event, but occasionally we have a rare opportunity to hop on board military aircraft, to test out unrelated products, or, even more unusually, to take a seat behind the yoke. Sadly that’s not what we’re doing today — well, not exactly. We are taking a closer look at the F-35 fighter jet at Lockheed Martin’s Fighter Demonstration Center just outside our nation’s capital, but, being in the middle of a corporate complex, there’s no actual Lightning II on hand. We were able to take a simulated ride, however — this isn’t your ordinary 4D sickness-inducing amusement park thrill. The F-35 is by far the most advanced Lockheed jet to date, with updated radar, all-internal weapons, improved tracking systems, 360-degree infrared coverage with a visor readout, and a full-stealth design, not to mention the incredibly capable glass cockpit powered by more than 9.3 million lines of software code, and an overall smoother experience for pilots that could end up spending shifts of 12 hours or longer in flight.
The F-35 has already seen plenty of time in the field in the US, with more than 500 flights already in 2012, and it’s set to make its way to the UK armed forces next week and the Netherlands later this year, but while the aircraft is quite familiar to the pilots tasked with flying it, the public hasn’t had an opportunity to experience Lockheed’s latest airborne warrior. We flew a simulated mission within a grounded duplicate of the flyable F-35 cockpit, and the capabilities and improvements are quite clear — you definitely don’t want to encounter an F-35 from a previous-generation aircraft. The dual 8 x 10-inch touch-enabled displays combine to give you 8 x 20 inches of real estate, with dedicated modules for the weapons systems, targeting, and navigation easily accessible — you can also move them to different panels depending on your current objective. A pair of joysticks at the left and right side provide direct access, letting you move a cursor to track enemy crafts or ground-based targets as well, and a very slick heads-up-display mounted in the helmet provides infrared mapping and instrument readouts. Overall, it seems to be an incredibly powerful system. Unfortunately, the mock-up on display here isn’t accessible to the public, but you can join us for a behind-the-scenes look just after the break.
Well folks, the Space Shuttle Discovery felt the wild blue yonder for the last time today, making a low-altitude flight over Washington DC atop it’s special 747 shuttle carrier on the way from Florida to its final resting place at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. It’s been real, outerspace.
Space Shuttle Discovery, the eldest of NASA’s surviving space-worthy orbiters, helped build the ISS and carried the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit. It was brought into service after the tragedies that claimed Challenger and Columbia, and went on to complete 39 missions during which it logged 365 days in space, 5,830 orbits around the Earth and 148,221,675 miles traveled. Discovery completed its final mission on March 9…
Hit the jump for a couple shots of the shuttle cruising around DC today, but be sure to check out the link to National Geographic for interactive panoramas of the shuttle’s cockpit, mid-deck, and shitter. Soooooo many buttons to push! When the shuttle is at the Smithsonian will visitors be allowed to sit in it push them all? Because I’ll blog from there if we are. Or from the space-shitter, I don’t care — I just want to pretend I’m an astronaut and sign autographs.
GW to space command — am I clear to post? Over. “This is space command, you are free to post, GW. Over.” Copy that, space command, posting in 5…4… “Just a heads up GW: we have a field trip of kids coming in about a half hour, so nothing about your wiener this time.” ABORT! ABORT! ABORT!
Hit the jump for the last flight pics and link to National Geographic’s panoramas.Related Posts:
The Robocalypse is near: Osaka-based Hajime Research Institute is working on a humanoid that will stand 13 feet (4m) tall, which is much taller than most other existing robots of its kind (the latest version of Honda’s Asimo, for example, is just 130cm high). It will also sport a built-in cockpit.
Hajime Sakamoto, president of the institute, is on a mission. After having successfully developed a 7-foot robot in 2009 (pictured above), the plan is to build the aforementioned giant robot next, before following up with humanoids that are 26 and 59 feet tall after that.
Needless to say, the 13-foot version would be the tallest humanoid out there. Sakamoto is currently trying to find more contractors and sponsors to finish the project, for example by posting videos on YouTube, setting up a Facebook page, or running a blog (all in Japanese).
Sakamoto doesn’t say how long it will take to build the robot, but this picture from Monday shows him standing him next to a completed leg:
Via Plastic Pals
Sure, we may not see flying cars in our lifetime, but a mainstream digital dash is a definite possibility. The all-glass vehicle dashboard has been conceptualized by other manufacturers in the past, but this year it’s Panasonic’s turn to try its hand at building a multi-display system. The electronics maker brought its Cockpit prototype to the CEATEC floor, causing quite a stir among passersby. The dash itself was little more than a semi-functional mockup, presenting recorded rendered video on the main 20-inch LCD and dual 10.4-inch secondary displays. The main display’s current objective appears to be improving safety, using a series of cameras to eliminate blind spots and alert drivers to other road hazards. Real-time driving stats are displayed atop a video feed, either from the rear camera (when in reverse), or one up front.
We spent a few minutes behind the wheel of Panasonic’s mockup, which consisted only of a pair of (rather comfortable) leather seats, along with a trio of LCDs, which the company claims are currently based on panels used in other Panasonic products, but may eventually utilize custom displays. This wasn’t an actual vehicle prototype — only the “cockpit” was on hand. The main display will (hopefully) focus the driver’s attention away from distractions on those two smaller screens — the one in the center can be used to control standard vehicle settings like climate and entertainment, while a second display positioned directly in front of the passenger seat can play movies and other content.
Are we there yet? No, so you better get comfortable for the long drive ahead. Overall the setup looked like it could have potential, though Panasonic warned us not to expect anything final until the end of the decade (2018 at the earliest). Jump past the break for a Cockpit drive-by.
Gallery: Panasonic Cockpit LCD Dash hands-on
Continue reading Panasonic Cockpit digital dash prototype hands-on (video)
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Continue reading Visualized: classic biplane gets a glass cockpit
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Thrustmaster has introduced its newest high-end gaming accessory, a new racing wheel designed to put PlayStation 3 and PC gamers in the game and in the poor house. The Ferrari Wireless GT Cockpit 430 Scuderia Edition is a complete wireless cockpit rig which weighs 23 pounds.
Looking like a complete tool in your living room? Priceless. The wheel measures 11-inches in diameter, and it’s said to be an exact replica of the Ferrari 430 Scuderia, complete with all-metal pedals. It will arrive in June if you really want to convince her to divorce you.
Props to SlipperyBrick.comRelated Posts: