For the better part of Frank Will’s life, he has been consumed with improving engine performance. He started racing motorcycles as a teenager in Germany in the 1970s, winning a world championship race in 1991, and later became an automotive engineer at Ford in Australia. When he left his job in 2008, he applied his passion to a new endeavor: Over7, a system that by redirecting and then heating an engine’s oil, cuts gas consumption by 7 percent and emissions by up to 30 percent.
By Rena Marie PacellaPosted 06.08.2012 at 10:26 am 11 Comments
Taking a shower draws more water and more energy than any other daily household activity. Low-flow showerheads save only a little of both, typically at the expense of comfort. That’s because they let the hot water—and all the heat energy it contains—go down the drain.
Spring-loaded skates that give hockey players a boost
By Bjorn CareyPosted 06.07.2012 at 11:00 am 0 Comments
David Blois manages condominium properties near Toronto, but at any given time he's usually also working on several inventions—a solar-powered smoke detector, say, or an age-spot-erasing skin cream. In 1998 he was ice skating at his local rink when an idea popped into his head: a hockey skate that used springs to harness a skater's kinetic energy. "It's really hard to invent something new," Blois says. "As I researched patents, I got more excited. No one had ever tried this before."
During a regular fishing season, most lobstermen can afford to check and rebait their traps only every three or four days. Each run to the traps can cost as much as $600 for fuel and take 18 hours of work. But three or four days can be more than enough time for lobsters to eat the chunks of herring or mackerel that serve as bait. With no bait left, lobsters don't enter the trap and fishermen are left with a smaller catch. Thus, the millions of traps that dot the Atlantic from Newfoundland to North Carolina remain empty about half the time.
Vince Stuart, the owner of a Nova Scotia company that makes winches, gantries and other fishing-boat rigging, first heard about the lobstermen's problem from his clients on the docks in 2003. He soon began building the Bait Savour, a device that would release an extra supply of lobster bait a few days after a trap was laid. It allows the lobstermen to check their traps less frequently (about once every five days instead of every three or four), saving time, labor and fuel.
By Andrew RosenblumPosted 06.05.2012 at 5:22 pm 3 Comments
While experimenting with new applications for Kinect’s real-time, 3-D imaging capability, San Francisco freelance coder Robert Hodgin discovered a way to make people’s bodies appear puffy and grotesque onscreen. The Kinect uses a near-infrared camera and sensors to produce a 3-D depth map that indicates a person’s spatial location. Its depth camera is offset from the camera that collects color data, which causes the depth map to produce shadows on the sides of the person in view.
Do you have a fickle father? Do you cringe when thinking about trying to find the right Father's Day gift? Well, thanks to the folks at Stanley those days are over!
The Stanley tool lineup looks better than ever and each tool makes an outstanding Father's Day gift!
The 3-in-1 Tripod LED Flashlight is perfect for shedding light on the hardest to reach places and the hands-free design ensures that dad will be free to work on mom's to-do list. And speaking of that to do list...dad will need plenty of tools to get it done.
When Kelly Anderson shed her arm cast two months after a wrist operation, her joints were so stiff she couldn't turn a doorknob. She didn't fully recover for another four months. Daniel Amante suffered similar post-cast complications after he injured his knee; Amanda Harton watched her soccer teammates struggle following various injuries; and Clara Tran saw even greater suffering among the frail patients in the nursing home where she volunteered.
A set of contact lenses that turns the wearer's field of vision into a screen
By Joseph A. BernsteinPosted 06.05.2012 at 10:03 am 12 Comments
After two decades as an electrical engineer, Randy Sprague quit his job in 2008 to start a solar power company. He had been planning the venture for years, saving up, getting his wife's blessing. But then one morning while taking a shower, he had a brainstorm for an entirely different idea: contact lenses that could act as part of a wearable display. Users could instantly augment their view with information—say, the price of an antique in a store or the species of a tree in the forest—or transform their field of vision into a virtual videogame screen.
By Kaitlin MillerPosted 06.01.2012 at 2:08 pm 17 Comments
Inspired by the iconic look of time bombs in old movies, software engineer Michael Krumpus set out to build an alarm clock that would make his mornings more action-packed. When the alarm goes off in defuse mode, the clock starts a 10-second countdown; the correct wire, which is randomly assigned each day, has to be cut or pulled out to stop the detonation, or the clock will "explode" with noise and flashing LEDs.
One month from today--July 1st, 2012--is the deadline for the newest InnoCentive challenge. We're looking for suggestions for new applications of a brand-new, unique material, a cementitious calcium carbonate that is remarkably strong and easy to use. It's got some great potential in architecture, ceramics, physical sciences, life sciences, and pharmaceuticals. There's a guaranteed award on this one, which is great--the best suggestion will receive a prize of $7,000. It's a great challenge, and one really well-suited for you guys--we know there are some great brains out there reading this, and we'd love to see some killer PopSci entries. Read more about it over at InnoCentive.