Posts belonging to Category Inventions Edison Would Love



Thomas Edison Salutes the Right Stuff – Astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly

The Kelly brothers, Scott and Mark are West Orange bred, and like Thomas Edison who spent the majority of his life in West Orange, they have the “right stuff”. The only twins ever to serve as NASA astronauts, the Kelly’s know how to adapt and survive in rapidly changing conditions, and fly by the seat of their pants if necessary—exactly the kind of fellows Edison would have hired.

A proud Town of West Orange celebrated their life work, renaming their old elementary school, formerly known as Pleasantdale Elementary to Kelly Elementary. In March 2016, Scott Kelly returned to earth after 340 days on the International Space Station. Brother Mark Kelly is married to former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona. Scott and Mark are now retired.

Brothers Scott and Mark Kelly [L-R] at the re-naming of their elementary school in their honor

Brothers Scott and Mark Kelly [L-R] at the re-naming of their elementary school in their honor


In his book, Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery, Scott explains the physical impacts of prolonged spaceflight, the impacts on his body as he re-adjusted to normal gravity upon returning to his native planet. An excellent and dramatic re-counting of this is found in a recent Smithsonian article, “The Man Who Fell to Earth”, September, 2017. From this perspective, how will today’s aspiring commercial space entrepreneurs deal with what pioneer Scott Kelly went through? NASA has been dealing with space concerns since the early 1960s; and all that knowledge was focused on getting Kelly safely into space and back again—a huge commitment of resources and experiential knowledge gained over six decades. In fact, Kelly’s long stay in space was designed to gather even more data about the physiological, and mental impacts of humans in space. While Scott Kelly was in great physical shape, he experienced difficult physical readjustments upon his return. What of space travelers on commercial flights?

Scott Kelly with weightless fruits and vegetables aboard the International Space Station

Scott Kelly with weightless fruits and vegetables aboard the International Space Station

Imagine what Scott also experienced, the stress he felt while circling the earth with his fellow astronauts. He describes navigating the extreme challenge of long-term spaceflight; the isolation from everyone he loves and the comforts of Earth; the pressures of constant close cohabitation; the catastrophic risks of depressurization or colliding with space junk, and the still more haunting threat of being unable to help should tragedy strike at home.

West Orange school district science teachers welcome Scott Kelly home

West Orange school district science teachers welcome Scott Kelly home

Scott Kelly has a message of hope for the future that will inspire us nationally like that wonderful feeling as we aimed for the moon in the 1960s. His story is a triumph of imagination and human will, against the unending wonder of space. Mars for Scott is our next logical step.

Editor’s Deep Dive on Scott Kelly:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Kelly_(astronaut)
https://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/kellysj.pdf
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hH8fdKP2hzo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YfyvA8AxLw

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Thomas Edison had a fascination with space as well. His Tasimeter invention was designed to measure the heat of the sun’s corona during the great eclipse of 1878; and his idea for measuring radio waves from the sun in 1890 was a very early concept for what later would become radio astronomy. He and the Kelly brothers would have much to talk about!

Thomas Edison said, “I never did a day’s work in my life, it was all fun.”

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

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Thomas Edison Would Recognize Roosevelt Island Tech Center

When Thomas Edison established his legendary West Orange Labs, everything was focused around team-based solution of problems, and making the invention process easy and conducive, with plenty of intellectual and physical resources co-located for convenience. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg has a similar philosophy in mind, and just recently, September 13, 2017, a new high-tech birthing place was dedicated on Roosevelt Island.

To anticipate a future New York City where small, nimble, high tech companies would be based in the heart of the city, back in 2010 Bloomberg invited top-flight universities to compete to open an applied-science graduate center. Cornell University and its partner, the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, were declared the winners and awarded $100 million along with a stretch of city-owned land on iconic and historic Roosevelt Island. Bloomberg’s business model for this was Silicon Valley where founders of great companies often did so in the shadow of the schools they attended. Today, the first residents of this vision have arrived on this unique campus.

Cornell Tech campus in architectural rendering

Cornell Tech campus in architectural rendering

The tech center campus is comprised of three buildings: the Academic Building–a contemporary office structure; the House, a high-rise that will be a mix of graduate student and faculty housing; and the Bridge, will host work spaces and classrooms for Cornell Tech in about 30 percent of the building, while the rest will be leased to companies by the building’s owner, Forest City New York. The buildings incorporate ample energy efficiency considerations and alternate energy technologies. Through his charitable organization, Bloomberg has given an additional $100 million to this project, re-naming the Academic Building the Emma and Georgina Bloomberg Center, in honor of his daughters.

First phase of Cornell Tech nears completion

First phase of Cornell Tech nears completion

Daniel Huttenlocher, the dean and vice provost of Cornell Tech, described the Bridge as the physical embodiment of the institution’s goal of bringing together academia and industry. “Academic excellence here is necessary, but not sufficient,” Dr. Huttenlocher said. “You also need to be engaged with the commercial or societal aspect of your work.”

Though the campus is only about one-third built — two other major phases of construction are to follow by the year 2037, by agreement with the city — it has the nascent feel of its own little community, as well as a grassy green where students can sprawl, amid impressive views.

Thomas Edison said, “I find out what the world needs. Then I go ahead and try to invent it.”

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

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Hyperloop Revisited — the Edison Spirit Alive and Well

Prologue
Almost exactly four years ago, we ran a story about Elon Musk’s Hyperloop concept, a pod based, rapid transit system to traverse long distances. Original literature discussed being able to traverse Los Angeles to San Francisco in about 30 minutes. The article below updates our readers on the significant advances since then.

Original concept drawing for a Hyperloop pod

Original concept drawing for a Hyperloop pod

Imagine a pod that will someday carry human passengers and probably freight too, something that resembles a bus with 16 retractable wheels….perhaps 28 feet long, pointed at the business end, composed of aluminum and fiber composites. Load this structure into a an 11 foot concrete test tube evacuated of air, and shoot it down the track using an electromagnetic propulsion system –think magnetic levitation (Mag-Lev)- and record the results. How about 192 mph in about 5 seconds!

Hyperloop test pod

Hyperloop test pod

Check-out a recent test of the pod and test track:
https://www.teslarati.com/hyperloop-one-192-mph-test-video/

All this work adds up to what engineers call a “proof of concept”; and now the details get filled in to make it practical…and that means lots of hard core engineering tempered with tough-minded business analysis. There will be lots of coordination with safety and environmental agencies, and discussions and analyses to determine where to locate such facilities, the location of station stops, the ergonomics of passenger travel and lots more.

Maybe we shall see these lines located along established high voltage power line rights of way. It makes sense. Those lines move “electrons” (electricity) between populations centers, so why not move people and freight the same way? Perhaps such lines can parallel roads or railroad rights of way too. No doubt there will be very many interesting questions and points of view to be addressed and various constraints to be dealt with.

Thomas Edison would applaud the work done so far and anxiously await more progress!

Thomas Edison said, “If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves …”

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

Left: Intel-Edison module now available world-wide for developers. Right: The “Tommy” award given by the Edison Innovation Foundation.

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