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Popular Science May - June 2016

This is the most exciting time to be alive in history. Get Popular Science digital magazine subscription today and see why. By taking an upbeat, solutions-oriented look at today's most audacious science and revolutionary technology, we forecast what tomorrow will be like. We deliver the future now.

United States
Camden Media Inc.
4 Issues

in this issue

2 min
history favors the bold

At Popular Science, we talk about inventors the way sportswriters talk about pitchers or quarterbacks. Because of that, the question “Who is your favorite inventor?” is one I get just about every week. my answer is always the same: nikola Tesla. I pretty much idolize the guy. In just a few decades, the man developed an induction motor, the modern system of electrical distribution, remote control, and the basis for radio communications. The power in our homes, the radios in our cars, and the phones in our pockets all owe their existence in part to Tesla. (He also may have burned down a building with artificial lightning and was rumored to be working on a death beam— but, hey, no one bats 1,000.) When not working, Tesla loved to give audacious…

1 min
another year older

Hail science! The winners of our 2016 Science Visualization contest (the Vizzies), will be on display at the Chicago Science Festival May 28-31 in honor of the 2,600th anniversary of the founding of science (thanks ancient Greek guy). Go to nmhmchicago.org to fi nd out more. PopScion Video Want a small dose of PopSci between in-depth articles? We’re producing video shorts on a broad range of topics. We’ve got DIY tutorials like how to turn a smartphone into a scanner; we tackle health topics like the Zika virus; we even debunk the myriad scientifi c claims made in the crazy world of politics. Like us on Facebook to see these videos in your daily stream. Corrections At Popular Science, we always strive for flawless presentation, but occasionally mistakes slip through. On page 33 of…

2 min
grill smarter

BOB GRILLSON PREMIUM $5,000 If you can hail a cab from a smartphone, you should be able to cook a steak from one too. That’s the lazy-man genius behind the Bob Grillson smart grill. This 44,000 BTU burner is app enabled, letting you grill, smoke, or cook a pizza—all while you kick back indoors in the comfort of your air conditioning. And its brushed-steel curves tell your barbecue guests you have fiery taste. CHILL BETTER 2 LILY CAMERA DRONE $899 This is the future; we don’t take selfies. Our drones do that for us. Toss the Lily Camera into the air, and it grabs 1080p video and 12-megapixel stills of your party. Now you can get back to what’s important: hanging with friends. 3 OM SOUND SYSTEM SPEAKER $1,595 Left the stereo outside after the…

2 min
hit list

1 STARRY STATION Wi-Fi routers are finally cool. Starry Station’s touchscreen shows your gadgets in a galaxy of orbs, depicting which devices use the most data, and letting you cut the kiddies’ connection at bedtime. The best feature: displaying your way-too-complicated Wi-Fi password. $350 2 FIX IT STICKS Midcommute bike repairs are no fun. And few of us carry the tools needed for a quick fix. Fix It Sticks are a tiny multitool with various-size screwdriver bits. And a foldable T-shaped handle fits in your pocket, so you’ll never get stuck again. $30 3 AMAZON ECHO DOT Amazon’s Echo the size of a hockey puck: That’s Echo Dot. The voice-activated assistant still answers queries, spins Spotify, and summons your Uber. But it’s got a new trick: support for wired or Bluetooth speakers.…

3 min
the guy who made us speak in gifs

If you’ve ever shared a GIF—those brief video loops of movie scenes and cooking tutorials—you’ve used the future’s most effective communication tool. At least that’s what Giphy, the three-year-old indexing platform for GIFs, is telling us. In a busy world, where even tweeting takes too much time, the highlight clip has become our go-to lexicon. More than 65 million people a month use Giphy to search and share GIFs. But for company founder Alex Chung, our global chatter will soon be a lot more than just piano-playing cats and Beyoncé moves. Why do we need a search engine for GIFs? No one searches Google for self-expression. When was the last time you searched “happy” or “sad”? You would just get antidepressant pills or it would be the Wikipedia page for what sad…

1 min
game changer

In the race for virtual-reality dominance, Sony’s PlayStation is about to win a critical lap: In October 2016, its VR headset will be the first tied to a video-game console. That’s important because the PS VR, as it’s known, can take advantage of the 36 million PS4 consoles already in homes across the planet. And, for those starting from scratch, the $400 price tag of the PlayStation 4 is far less than the $900-plus PC required to run competing products. It’s VR gaming made easy. Like other virtual-reality headsets, the PS VR helmet tracks head position: Look left, right, up, and down to fully take in a video game’s world. Not being able to walk in VR by physically moving forward, as with HTC’s Vive or the Oculus Rift, is a…