IDF transports of delight

Rather a lot of odd vehicles around at IDF this time around. There have been two motorbikes - one during Pat Gelsinger's keynote, one at the SSD briefing - and a BMW stuffed with gizmos, again at the keynote.

Rather a lot of odd vehicles around at IDF this time around. There have been two motorbikes - one during Pat Gelsinger's keynote, one at the SSD briefing - and a BMW stuffed with gizmos, again at the keynote. And parked in a corner of the third floor of the Moscone Center is a spaceship called Hermes.

It looks like a cross between a miniature Space Shuttle and a camper van. Intel engineer Morris Jarvis built it in his garage (presumably after emptying out the Heinlein) which is an admirable piece of private venturing, and fully intends to fly it. At the moment it lacks minor items such as an engine and a heat shield, mostly because Jarvis lacks minor items such as a million and a half dollars with which to finish it. However, it is going to take to the air; first tethered, then untethered, with Jarvis checking it out through a remote cockpit. Eventually, it'll be hauled up to 21 miles altitude by balloon and dropped. At some point, pilots will sit in on the fun.

Intel loves this, although that love doesn't quite amount to $1.5 million. It's donating publicity and various bits and pieces (a WiMAX sky-to-ground data link, of course), as are other companies. I would link to the project's site, but it's all spinny noisy hyperactive flash. You'll have to find it yourselves. That sin aside, it's a fantastic and very American story that deserves the best of luck.

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