Welcome to What The Future.
On this week's show, flying motorcycles available for pre-order.
Robotic arms, creepier than ever.
And NASA, they let us in to see their giant crater-making gun, let's get right to it.
Your dream, okay, my dream of speeding around like Luke Skywalker may be closer than ever.
Jetpack aviation is taking pre orders for its flying motorcycle; coincidentally called the speeder.
Yes, this is just an animation, and no, we haven't seen a working prototype but JPA is commonly recognized as one of the leaders in the budding jetpack industry.
You've probably already seen videos of them at airshows over the last couple of years.
Now according to the company, the speeder can hit 150 mph and reach an altitude around 15,000 feet.
It's powered by four turbo jet engines.
And JPA says what's commonly known as a flyby wire control system.
Keeps the speeder stable.
Unlike most of the other wild transportation concepts we've seen, this one is not electric.
It runs on kerosene or diesel, and is said to get between ten and 20 minutes of flight time.
Now I know what you're saying, Andy I don't have a pilots license.
Well JPA has you covered.
The company plans to build two versions: an ultra-light model that would be classified as a recreational vehicle under FEA regulations, meaning no license required, and an experimental version that would require a pilot's license.
Now if you're saying, shut up and take my money, the Speeder starts at $380,000.
You can reserve one right now for 10,000 down.
But JPA only plans to build 20 for now, and have those ready by next year.
Beyond that, the company is dedicating production to a military version with extra lift And the capability of remote flying as a drone or a cargo carrier.
This robotic gripper may look like a failed art project, but it's got two attributes that rarely go hand in hand for grippers like these.
It's soft and strong.
It comes to us from MIT.
This cone-shaped origami structure collapses on an object, a lot like a venus flytrap.
This motion let's it grab a wider range of objects.
But here's the kicker, it can lift items as much as 100 times its weight.
Engineers say the design was inspired by the origami magic ball.
That orange cone is connected to a vacuum device wrapped in an airtight skin.
When the vaccuum is engaged, the skin contracts around the object.
Now during testss, the gripper was able to grasp and lift objects 70% of its own diameter including apples and bananas without causing damage.
See where this is going?
Imagine a robot sorting and picking you groceries.
Or in Amazon warehouse.
But you can probably see the limitations already.
The Gripper isn't so hot at picking up flat objects or getting at things from a different angle.
Scientists hope to address these issues by giving the robot computer vision so it can see an object and grab specific parts.
[SOUND] You don't wanna be on the wrong side of this We were invited to NASA Ames research center in Mountain View, California to see this massive crater causing gun.
It fires plastic projectiles at 16,000 miles per hour into this chamber.
That's about ten times faster than a typical gun.
NASA can simulate different environments inside the chamber by filling it with different gases or creating a vacuum.
High speed cameras inside capture the impacts, which helps scientists study how craters are formed.
And maybe more importantly, it helps them replicate different surfaces, like back in the 60s when NASA used them to replicate moon craters So they could better prepare for the first lunar landing.
That's gonna do it for What The Future this week.
I'm Andy Altman.
I'll see you in the future.