Sony has taken eight promising high school students from across America, given them Vaio laptops, and challenged them to use the devices to build and launch a rocket. Sounds pretty cool, but why did Sony do this?
To answer a question that had never occurred to me until the press release hit my inbox: Can Vaio laptops (which, Sony reminds us, feature Intel processors) launch a rocket? Considering analog devices of 1960s could, we're betting on the "yes" end of the spectrum. But it's still fun to watch.
Intel i5-powered Z series Vaios were used to analyze the performance of the rocket, using simulations and virtual-reality models, before the real one was even built. In fact, the computers were used for "CAD, aerodynamic simulation, computational fluid dynamics, dispersion analysis, Monte Carlo simulation...and calculations for dispersion analysis, gas dynamics, aerodynamic stability, dynamic stability, structural loading, thermal heat transfer flux, fin flutter stability and much, much more." I'm guessing that means Rocketville on Facebook, too.
In addition, an i7-equipped F series will be used in the control room when the projectile is (hopefully) launched on Thursday in Nevada as per the plan. We're not sure what role the laptops have in actually launching the thing, though. A couple of weeks ago I launched many rockets with a Zippo. … Read more