In the meantime it is quite safe to predict that parachute delivery will sometime become the rule. Tomorrow's farmer, if a diorama at the New York World's Fair prophesies are right, will be rather a radio navigator and dispatcher than a tiller of the soil. The diorama depicts the farm engineer seated in his glass-enclosed radio tower, manipulating switches that transmit radio signals to the robot machines that sow and cultivate, irrigate, harvest, sort and can, freeze and pack the crop, all by remote control.
Radio delivery of facsimile newspapers directly into the home may be a reality in the near future. Only perfection of certain technical details stand in its way, according to radio experts. The perfected system will permit reception of the newspaper on a machine during the night. Present equipment transmits and receives pages the size of the standard letterhead. The next morning, the owner takes the sheets out and reads his newspaper. Give them a few years and the magicians of RCA and General Electric and DuMont and the rest will produce a television projector matching today's movies in clarity on a six-foot home screen or a 15 by 20 foot theater screen.
The American appetite wants nothing less than today's ball game thrown on the playroom screen as large as life and as noisy. General Electric scientists predict your TV-picture screen in may be so thin that it can be hung like a painting on the wall or mounted like a vanity mirror in a table model. FACT: Today's LCDs hang on walls around the country, but in , the first plasma displays were just beginning to be developed, and still encased in unwieldy boxes.
To discern every expression on the face of the one you are talking with, to hear his voice and feel the pressure of his hand, when separated by hundreds of miles, is the ambitious prediction of French scientists. Under such circumstances the physician could safely prescribe for a patient in another city. Waltham engineers foresee this exciting possibility: "Wristwatches in the year will be used for more than time measurement.
They will be total communications centers, containing devices not only for accurate timing but also for voice and vision communication and recording—they'll even contain simple miniaturized computers. But with the latest medical findings computer-stored at your doctor's fingertips, you can do nothing but get well faster! Readout of diagnosis, flashed on the screen, is almost instantaneous.
American scientists have discovered that the ultraviolet rays from the sun can cure children of rickets. Artificial sunshine lamps in clinics will help dull, stunted boys and girls put on weight, straighten up and become quick and intelligent in their movements. FACT: Children still get rickets, especially in developing countries, and sunbathing—in natural or artificial sunlight—combined with vitamin D and calcium supplementation will cure them.
The Pacific hagfish has three hearts, one of which has no nerve connections to the body. David Jensen discovered that this nerveless heart is kept beating by a powerful biochemical pacemaker, eptatretin, which may replace implanted electronic pacemakers as a treatment to regularize the heartbeat of people with faulty cardiac nerves. Ten years or more may be added to man's life by drinking heavy water, predicts Dr. James E. Kendall, head of the chemistry department at Edinburgh University, in Scotland. Heavy water, containing the heavy hydrogen atom, has the same effect on the body as lowering its temperature without actually doing so.
It would slow functional processes, reducing bodily wear and tear without appreciably impairing man's faculties. Kendall believes persons over sixty soon will drink heavy water to slow the pace of life and to prolong it. This simple, practical, foolproof personal helicopter coupe is big enough to carry two people and small enough to land on your lawn.
It has no carburetor to ice up, no ignition system to fall apart or misfire: instead, quiet, efficient ramjets keep the rotors moving, burning any kind of fuel from dime-a-gallon stove oil or kerosene up to aviation gasoline. You enter a car at this end, stow your suitcase in the rack overhead and settle down comfortably with a magazine. You have been reading scarcely an hour when the vehicle stops.
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An escalator carries you back to the street level and you greet the light of day once more—in San Francisco! Sounds like something out of pseudo-science fiction, doesn't it? Yet it's the idea of one of America's most practical scientist-executives, General Electric's noted physicist, Dr. Irving Langmuir. The Pacific coast might be only an hour away from the Atlantic. Outstandingly different will be the motor car of the future—a future that is not far distant.
It will carry its engine in the rear, where the engine has belonged all along, and will offer entirely new concepts of comfort—"living room luxury"—with new spaciousness, radically changed seating arrangements, complete summer and winter air-conditioning system, and many other innovations. The body of the car of the future, even to its windshields and windows, will be of new synthetic materials, probably some forms of molded plastics. In this car will be found the last word in devices that will make for the safety of driver and passengers—windows and windshields of clear, transparent substances, which neither shatter nor fly under impact and thus do not cut, and which also admit the healthful ultraviolet rays of sunlight and exclude the infrared; airplane-type "crash pads" designed right into the interior to protect occupants from hard bumps in road accidents; a strong, spring-mounted bumper, running entirely around the body; and an integral and pleasing part of the over-all design, capable of absorbing far more of the shattering force of collisions than bumpers do now.
FACT: Automobile glass today is designed to come apart into safe, jigsaw-puzzle-like pieces, and other tremendous strides have been made in the engineering of automobile bodies that will keep passengers safe in an accident. Driving through the crowded streets of the future, autoists will stop, wait for cross traffic to clear, then start again without the aid of today's signal post on the corner. Stop-and-go light signals, installed on the automobile dash, will control tomorrow's traffic.
A glance at his instruments will show the driver whether the way is open long before he reaches the next street intersection.
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The car of the future, by virtue of its greater roominess, can be made literally a luxurious "home on wheels. In a twinkling, a portable table can be set up. There will be plenty of convenient storage places, even little refrigerated cupboards for foods and drinks. What will cars be like in ? The Automobile Club of Michigan, this year celebrating its 50th anniversary, wondered about this recently and approached widely publicized seer Jeane Dixon, asked her to gaze into her crystal ball and come up with a few answers. Fifty years from now, Miss Dixon predicted, cars will flit back and forth on cushions of air, the wheels retracting upon starting.
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They will be fueled by some exotic new compound yet to be developed; gasoline as we know it will have gone the way of the buggy whip. A radar-like device will guard against cars being involved in accidents. Consensus here is that Miss Dixon is on fairly safe ground as "studies" of such designs and gadgetry are already in the works, although a long, long way from fruition. Here is one conception of the car of the future, drawn especially for Popular Mechanics.
Note its circular lounge in the rear and the wide visibility offered by its transparent plastic roof. A Honeywell engineer predicts that by A. Family vehicles will need only a small amount of mobile power, since they will only have to get from the owner's home to a nearby tube. Then they will be pneumatically powered to any desired destination.
Pneumatic pockets will completely eliminate the possibility of crashes. Some day, you may even have the option of driving vehicles that require no highways. Ground-effect machines—or Hovercars—which ride on a friction-free cushion of air created by the downblast of powerful air jets, can go anywhere, even over water, as long as their air cushion is sustained. The "flying fan" vehicles of the future will be easier to fly than helicopters, and should cost a lot less.
A rough guess is that in about 10 years you'll be able to buy a four-place fan for the price of a good car. A new kind of flying machine is being designed that sounds like the answer to your desires for a personal aerial vehicle. It is almost like a flying carpet.
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A good name for it might be the "flying fan. Superficially this new machine, now being developed by Hiller Helicopters, will resemble an automobile although it will rest on short stilts. You'll be able to order a four-door model, a sports job, or even a light-truck configuration. There's no big thrashing rotor overhead, no churning propellers.
You ascend with no apparent effort. Air speed is up to 50 miles per hour. If you want to stop in mid-air, just move the lever back again.
All this sounds too easy to be true, but the designers say this description is about right. Probably the first flying fan will be in the form of an aerial Jeep, an aircraft in which the Army is greatly interested. Hiller Helicopters has submitted a proposal for a four-fan Jeep. Performance and costs have been closely estimated. This Jeep-of-the-air would be capable of every job that an ordinary Jeep can do, with the advantage that it could travel across country with no need for roads.
It would be able to land and take off from fairly steep hillsides. It could carry men and supplies, be used as an ambulance, or serve as a flying gun platform. For this kind of service the flying fan has several major advantages over an ordinary helicopter. It can operate close to buildings or other obstructions.
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A helicopter taking off from alongside a building gets a rebound of air from the building that makes it very hard to control. And the flying fan can be operated around people in safety, with no chance that someone might accidentally walk into the whirling overhead rotor. The Hiller engineers expect that eventually the ducted fan will become the basis for a whole family of special-purpose aircraft. In air travel, efforts to design and place in service a supersonic airliner by are well known.
Less familiar, however, is another development of almost equal significance, vertical takeoff and land planes VTOLS. Some, using jet engines, blow the air down for takeoff and landing, and rearward for forward cruise. Others, using props, tilt the engines or tilt the wings.