Roboticists make robots out of all kinds of things, but Aaron Ohta at the University of Hawaii at Manoa makes them out of thin air. While we usually think of robots as mechanical, Ohta’s lab has devised a way to make robots out of bubbles of air powered by lasers, IEEE Spectrum reports.
By Nicholas Money, as told to Flora LichtmanPosted 06.06.2011 at 10:53 am 3 Comments
We know of at least 70,000 species of fungi, but we don’t know how most of them get their spores airborne. That’s what we’re trying to find out. Fungi are spectacularly mobile, especially when they’re launching spores, and that is a tremendous biomechanical feat. For microscopic things, air represents a significant obstacle.
America's beloved Bubble Wrap turns 50 today, proving that even ephemeral plastic bubbles can morph into a timeless invention. But consider that if the original inventors had their way, people would have used "Air Cap" as wallpaper -- a concept that would have undoubtedly proved as fulfilling as the prototype model future homes of the 1950s.
The problem with working for a magazine about the future is that things don’t always—in fact, rarely—happen as you say they’re going to, and readers let you know. The call I’ve been getting harassed about for almost four years now: colored bubbles that don't leave stains.
Living in the Midwest, where heating homes with propane is common, I periodically see reports in the local paper that yet another unoccupied house has exploded. They often note that the roof was found in the basement, while the walls were spread some distance into the neighboring fields.
Chemical burns, ruined clothes, 11 years, half a million dollars-it's not easy to improve the world's most popular toy. Yet the success of one inventor's quest to dye a simple soap bubble may change the way the world uses color
By Mike HaneyPosted 11.18.2005 at 2:00 am 7 Comments
Tim Kehoe has stained the whites of his eyes deep blue. He's also stained his face, his car, several bathtubs and a few dozen children. He's had to evacuate his family because he filled the house with noxious fumes. He's ruined every kitchen he's ever had. Kehoe, a 35-year-old toy inventor from St. Paul, Minnesota, has done all this in an effort to make real an idea he had more than 10 years ago, one he's been told repeatedly cannot be realized: a colored bubble.
Pumping beer too quickly leads to excess foam, so bar patron turned inventor Matt Younkle designed the TurboTap to reduce the turbulence of fast-flowing beer. The tap's tapered interior limits the beer's acceleration, and an internal diverter sprays it across the bottom of the glass. The result-now available at ballparks and bars-is a perfect pour in half
the time. $100
It looks like Bubble Wrap, but BlastWrap isn't for cushioning eBay shipments. A BlastWrap-lined garbage can will dissipate a backpack-size-bomb blast in less than one thousandth of a second. The wrap's 2.75-inch compartments are stuffed with heat-treated perlite (the foamy pellets found in potting soil), a volcanic glass. The beads have a strong internal structure of sealed, air-filled cells. When a blast occurs, the cells are crushed one by one, minimizing damage to the surrounding area, while fire extinguishants snuff the fireball.