Weird Tech: Man crosses Channel on jet-propelled wing
26th Sep 2008 | 16:20
Plus: Bomb squad called in for suspicious packages and Queen buys world's largest windmill
Breaking news: A Swiss adventurer has become the first human being to fly solo across the English Channel using a single jet-propelled wing. Yves Rossy, aka Fusionman, fell over 8,100 feet from an aircraft over the French coast, before soaring across the Channel.
Powered by four jets on his homemade wing, Rossy reached speeds of over 100mph during the flight, Sky news reports. He traced the route of French aviation hero Louis Bleriot who, 99 years ago, became the first person to cross the Channel in a plane.
In other news from the last seven days, it seems that rendering safe sophisticated explosive devices isn't all the bomb squad gets up to. Fans were evacuated and several suspicious packages detonated by disposal technicians at a stadium in Philadelphia this week – only for officials to discover the box was full of hotdogs.
Police called in the unit after a number of boxes wrapped tightly in duct tape were found outside the building's ticket office during a game. "Officials didn't want to take any chances," reported the Metro, "and the hot dogs were detonated."
An officer investigating the incident said: "I don't see many hotdogs sold here with duct tape. We just did what we felt was appropriate."
This week's announcement of the lie-detecting headband makes it two-nil to the thought police, following last week's brain scanner news. According to Crave, a new kind of lie-detector test could "skip the psychophysiological gauges and head straight to the brain for answers on a subject's veracity". Yikes.
Using an infrared light-based method, the device would send infrared light into your brain. The amount reflected back indicates oxygen levels – which vary depending on brain activity – and, apparently, give "a detailed picture of real-time activity within the brain that can be used to determine whether the subject is lying". All the usual suspects (US Office of Naval Research and the Department of Homeland Security) have reportedly shown interest in the research.
Speaking of Orwellian practices, Britain's four-million-strong network of CCTV cameras was put to the test on Wednesday by Undercurrents, who, to mark the 10th anniversary of CCTV cameras in Britain, decided to test police – by parading around in an 8-foot alien costume. Law enforcement responded to the creature surprisingly quickly; catch the video here.
This week's tireless quest for the best brilliantly pointless gadgets out there brought us the R2-D2 watch (digital watch complete with small infra-red remote-controlled R2D2 attached to the strap – one for the office, we assume), the portable BoomCooler sound system/cool box, and even the world's most powerful torch. At 4,100 lumens it's pretty bright. Nay – reportedly able to light fires and fry eggs, it's super bright. Sadly, after only minutes it becomes too hot to hold, and battery life leaves a lot to be desired too.
According to reports, the Queen has bought the world's largest wind turbine. (And with a wingspan of over two football fields, suffice to say it wasn't given the title lightly.) Her Royal Highness has really taken one for the team here, with the windmill expected to light up thousands of British homes from 2012.