On Tuesday, October 22nd, members of Yale Aerospace attended the 2013 Breakthrough Awards in New York City, hosted by Popular Mechanics. The group attended a series of conferences where they learned about breakthroughs in technology firsthand from the technologies’ inventors. The topics ranged from the the building of the Mars Rover to autonomous cars and planes. The conferences culminated in a Q & A with Peter Diamandis who, among other things, is the founder and CEO of the XPRIZE Foundation. The XPRIZE Foundation holds competitions with cash prizes to provide an incentive for people to use technology to address the great problems of the world.
After the conference YUAA members were invited to a special press event where they got to try out some of the technologies discussed. Many members experienced a virtual roller coaster ride using the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset. They also learned about the autonomous quadcopters which Vijay Kumar’s lab at the University of Pennsylvania is working with and programming to coordinate with each other and fly in swarms. Jan Kolmas ’14 even got a chance to ask astronaut Tom Jones his opinion of the recent film, Gravity.