This is the third video in our series of maker profiles shot as part of the Red Bull Creation competition. Here, you'll meet the puckish tinkerers behind Virginia-based North Street Labs, who favor the type of project that "makes you laugh, makes you scared, or make you laugh at the person who's scared," to quote one member. They've built everything from a motorized hammock to a game that replicates the g-forces of a Top Fuel Dragster. Warning: Dizzying footage ahead.
By The EditorsPosted 08.21.2012 at 1:26 pm 2 Comments
Here's the second video in our series of maker profiles as part of the Red Bull Creation competition. In this installment, you'll meet Greg Needel, mechanical engineer, combat roboticist and toymaker. For last year's program he built a beer tap that senses the size of a glass and pours the perfect brew, and then went on to create a swingset-powered vehicle. This year, he continued the party theme with a robotic cooler. Bravo, Greg. Enjoy.
The big rockets of our day get all of the fanfare during a launch, but often they're accompanied by tiny stowaways known as CubeSats, which hitch a ride and drop into orbit. They're convenient and able to get us into space cheaply, roughly the size of a Rubik's Cube and weigh only three pounds.
The majority of engineers are men. The majority of U.S. Army soldiers are also men. So when a new piece of equipment is being designed--equipment that could change the outcome of a life or death situation--it's made with men in mind. Then, if women need it, they might just have to shoehorn themselves into the male variety, as is currently the case with body armor. But the Army recently announced it'll try to change that by testing new body armor built for women.
Even if they can be a major disaster for people nearby them, volcanoes do one good thing: helping to cool the planet by sending sun-reflecting chemicals into the stratosphere. Now two Harvard engineers are trying to replicate the better part of the volcanic process on a small scale by spraying thousands of tons of sulfate aerosols into the atmosphere above New Mexico.
Handed an assignment to design a water bottle for the human race if it were on the brink of extinction, Japanese design studio Takram instead did something else: planned a set of robotic "organs" that could keep people alive on 32 milliliters of water a day.
New kinds of coatings and sensors that can help engineers detect stress or deformation in structures abound, but most are limited by the scope of deformation they can detect and the need to be physically connected to an output device. Researchers at Rice University may have overcome these obstacles with a new kind of nanotube-packed “strain paint” that alerts engineers to compression and stress in an underlying structure by glowing under near-infrared light.
It sounds like the new 50 gigapixel camera from engineers at Duke University and the University of Arizona was a simple, intuitive, Lego-inspired idea: stack 98 cameras on top of each other to make one big camera. That's the main idea, anyway. What's tough is taking the information from those 98 flashes and organizing it without the camera going up in smoke. That's why it uses about 3 percent of its hardware to do actual camera stuff, while the rest of it goes to wiring that takes the info and gets it to make sense.