Sci-Tech: Electric 2-seat volocopter makes first test flights

The German e-volo company has now flown, in unmanned mode, its two seat electric volocopter.

The vehicle, inspired by the  multi-rotor scale model fliers like the popular RC quadcopters, has 18 independently powered rotors.

The maiden flight and first test flights were conducted in the dm-arena in Karlsruhe with the prototype of the 2-person VC200 on Sunday, November 17, 2013. Based on this model, it will be prepared for series production in the coming years.

With multiple flights lasting several minutes reaching the nearly 22 m high ceiling of the dm-arena, including a number of smooth takeoffs and landings, the Volocopter concept exceeded all expectations. “Rich and incredibly quiet sound, absolutely no noticeable vibrations in the flight, convincing structure with a great, new spring strut landing gear, and an extremely calm rotor plane,“ concluded the e-volo team.

Video: New trailer for “In Saturn’s Rings”

Here’s a new trailer for the In Saturn’s Rings film (see earlier post about their Kickstarter). Watch it in full screen mode:


Back our Kickstarter ( to help us get a full orchestral score, IMAX® mastering services & global music rights – music will be performed by my hometown Greensboro Symphony Orchestra.

This is the newest teaser for “In Saturn’s Rings”, a giant screen space film for IMAX®, giant screen and fulldome theaters distributed by BIG & Digital, coming summer 2014. This DIY, not-for-profit all-volunteer film is from Greensboro, NC, USA filmmaker Stephen van Vuuren with tons of help from volunteer image processors around the world.

Created entirely from real photographs using photoanimation and multiplane photoanimation. No computer-generated images, painting, cloning, tweening, morphing, texture maps, camera projection or 3D models used. Even the “stargate” titles are created using photos – an 8000 photo mosaic of all-sky zoomed really fast to give blurred appearance.

Music for teaser is stock music from Neumann Films but has been customized to fit. Please back our Kickstarter ( to help us get the music we need so it can be seen in the widest number of theaters.

To watch in 4K, choose “original” under quality settings (you need a fast computer and a 4K monitor to view it full rez).…

The film is 100% created using only flat 2D photographs (often hundreds or thousands per frame) stitched together for massive hundred megapixel+ resolutions that are scaled and zoomed using techniques developed by the filmmaker, based on Ken Burns and 2.5D photo animation processes.

A computer is actually not even required to do this – it could all be done exactly using photoanimation techniques from 100 years ago (…).

For booking/leasing info:

IMAX® is a registered trademark of IMAX® Inc.

Planetary Resources and NASA partnering to crowdsource asteroid detection

Planetary Resources “The Asteroid Mining Company” has announced a partnership with NASA

 to design and implement crowdsourcing algorithm challenges in the effort to detect, track and characterize near-Earth objects (NEOs).  All data compiled and used for these challenges will be open-sourced and publicly available.

Last summer PRI raised over $1.5M in a Kickstarter campaign to fund outreach programs, including a collaboration with the Zooniverse citizen science organization to create Asteroid Zoo. In Asteroid Zoo, volunteers via the web will scan a data set of over 3 million images obtained with the  Catalina Sky Survey to find and characterize near-earth objects.

The NASA partnership will build on this work:

Lindley Johnson, Program Executive of NASA’s near Earth object observation program, said, “This partnership uses NASA resources in innovative ways and takes advantage of public expertise to improve identification of potential threats to our planet.  This opportunity is one of many efforts we’re undertaking as part of our asteroid initiative.”

Today, there are approximately 620,000 asteroids that are tracked in our Solar System.  This number represents less than one percent of the estimated objects that orbit the Sun.  “While improving the algorithms to detect NEOs helps gain more data, additional surveys, telescopes and capability put to the search will also assist in completing the task of compiling a comprehensive open-sourced catalog,” continued Lewicki.

The Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival -Brooklyn, NY, Dec.6-8.2013

Two Surprise Films Added To The Second Annual
Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival In December

Festival Announces Full Schedule of Events For Over 30 Groundbreaking Films And Shorts

Brooklyn, N.Y. November 21, 2013 – The Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival  has added two films as part of the official selections and has announced the full schedule of events for its highly anticipated second annual event to honor one of the most revered writers within the literary world. The multi-day experience will launch in Williamsburg, Brooklyn from December 6-8, 2013 at the prestigious IndieScreen theater and will screen numerous innovative features and shorts which are adapted or inspired by the unprecedented works of Philip K. Dick. Each of the films capture the distinctive boldness of the the genre and bring forth some of the most riveting moments of science fiction cinema.

Among the two surprise films are Larry Fessenden’s exciting thriller Beneath (2013) which will screen on Friday, December 6. Written by Tony Daniel and Brian D. Smith the film stars Daniel Zovatto, Bonnie Dennison and Chris Conroy and follows six high schoolers struggling to survive against a vicious man-eating fish on the open seas. The following night Jessica Curtright and Santiago C. Tapia’s terrifying short Territorial (2013) will screen on Saturday, December 7. Produced by Napoleon Dynamite’s Efren Ramirez who stars alongside Brighid Fleming and John Gulager the film follows a person’s quiet yet horrifying weekend at home.

The finalists set to be screened as part of the festival’s full schedule include:

• The First Day: Directed by Nicholas Zafonte (7:00-7:13 PM)
• Ascendants: Directed by Don Schechter (7:14-7:22 PM)
• The Compositor: Directed by John Mattiuzzi (7:23-7:53 PM)
• The Crystal Crypt: Directed by Shahab Zargari (7:54-8:03 PM)
• Promised Land: Directed by Joe Turner Lin (8:04-8:32 PM)
• The Pod: Directed by Eric Pennycoff (8:23-8:44 PM)
• CyBelle Horizon: Directed by Rachael Reichert (8:44-8:52 PM)
• Deadstar: Directed by Brandon Wright (8:52-9:01 PM)
• Odessa: Directed by Cidney Hue (9:01-9:16 PM)
• Luv U: Directed by Ben Garchar (9:16-9:21 PM)
• Vessel: Directed by Adam Ciancio (9:30-11:00 PM)
• Beneath: Directed by Larry Fessenden (9:30-11:00 PM)
• Territorial: Directed by Jessica Curtright and Santiago C. Tapia (7:00-7:11 PM)
• Sulfuric: Directed by Jeffrey A. Brown (7:11-7:20 PM)
• The Session: Directed by Rick Craft (7:20-7:52 PM)
• Environmental Pressures and Species Adaptation: Directed by Jihyun Park (7:25-7:36 PM)
• Hide and Seek: Directed by Kayoko Asakura (7:36-7:52)
• Khoon Ltd.: Directed by Rahul Desai (7:52-8:10 PM)
• Honeymoon Suite: Directed by Zao Wang (8:20-8:35 PM)
• Adjust Your Tracking: The Untold Story of The VHS Collector: Directed by Dan M. Kinem and Levi Peretic (8:35-10:15 PM)
• Thanatomorphose: Directed by Éric Falardeau (10:15-11:45 PM)
• Emit: Directed by J.S. Mayank (6:00-6:09 PM)
• Exit: Directed by Michel Goossens (6:10-6:20 PM)
• Karon: Directed by Erez Avni and Itai Edry (6:20-6:40 PM)
• Biographer: Directed by Viktor Gorbachev (6:40-7:30 PM)
• Agophobia: Directed by Benjamin Ross Hayden (7:10-7:34 PM)
• All of Me: Directed by Susan Koenen (7:34-7:44 PM)
• 9 Minutes: Directed by P.J. Wolff (7:44-7:53 PM)
• Inside the Mind of the Alchemist: Directed by Kirk Zamieroski (7:53-7:58 PM)
• Escape: Directed by David Conte (7:58-8:26 PM)
• The Astronomer: Directed by Philip R. Garrett (8:36-8:41 PM)
• Son of Man: Directed by Janek Ambros (8:41-8:55 PM)
• Lv-225: Directed by Ettore Biondo (8:55-9:00 PM)
• The Final Equation: Daniel Abella (9:00-10:15 PM)
• Closing Ceremonies (10:15-10:30 PM)

As further details become available including scheduling times, film summaries and ticket sales the festival anticipates another successful event, further solidifying the city’s strong and endless appreciation for Philip K. Dick. The first New York City festival saw record crowds of over 1,000 participants for the exclusive screening of Radio Free Albemuth which was based on Dick’s 1985 novel posthumously published three years after his death. The festival’s recent event in Lille, France screened numerous films and enjoyed much success in its first global outings. The team behind the annual festivities continue to hold seasonal gatherings across the city and will also pioneer a Spring 2014 cyberpunk festival in Tokyo.

The Philip K. Dick Festival of Science Fiction, The Supernatural, Metaphysics and Drama will delight its attendees with its entertaining and visually captivating themes which have made the event a favorable and continued success. The event will take place at Williamsburg’s IndieScreen theater at 289 Kent Avenue at S. 2 Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211 from Friday, December 6 through Sunday, December 7, 2013. For more information please visit, the festival’s Facebook page at and Twitter page at