Most musicians can tune their instruments whenever they like. The exception is the pianist, who typically isn't trained to tune the piano's 200-plus strings. Instead, both amateur and professional piano players must hire a technician to get their instrument in shape. But Don Gilmore has accomplished an engineering feat that he says could do away with the need for tuners: a self-tuning piano.
By Spencer WoodmanPosted 06.21.2012 at 3:35 pm 0 Comments
One of the most vexing problems that confronted surgeons after they completed the first successful human organ transplant, in 1954, was: Where would they get more organs? Medical researchers have since figured out how to transplant hearts, eyes and even entire faces. But half a century later, they still struggle to keep up with the demand for parts. For example, in the U.S., every year 1,400 people die awaiting livers and 4,500 more awaiting kidneys.
Internships more often than not are mindless, coffee-fetching black holes of boredom. But not at Syyn Labs, a Los Angeles collective that creates unusual interactive art and science projects for commercials and music videos. Last summer, student interns Hoon Oh, Robb Godshaw and Jisu Choi took it upon themselves to reinvent the sport of table tennis. Their project could pass for an extra in Transformers: It’s part ping-pong table, part machine, and so difficult to play that it reduces pros to the level of rank amateurs.
By Peter Diamandis and Steven KotlerPosted 06.20.2012 at 10:14 am 5 Comments
The barriers to individual invention are falling away. Amateur scientists and inventors now have access to tools exponentially more powerful and affordable than those a generation ago. They can transform ideas into physical products in a matter of days. And they can directly distribute those innovations—whether a new engine or an entirely new form of life—to a market of billions. The days of dreaming big are over and the era of doing big has just begun.
By Ian Chant, Sarah Fecht, Amanda SchupakPosted 06.19.2012 at 10:02 am 1 Comment
The first true Goods roundup of the summer is full of things you can do outside. Go skateboarding...on an electric skateboard! Head outside and shoot the skies with an astronomy-focused DSLR! Play baseball with a crazy angled ball that enables massive curveballs!
We've had dozens of Invention Award winners over the years, and we found ourselves wondering: what's going on with some of those past winners? We tracked down five of our favorites to find out their current statuses.
A step-by-step guide to becoming a successful inventor
By Katherine E. BagleyPosted 06.18.2012 at 10:50 am 7 Comments
The path to becoming a successful inventor is easier than ever--but there are also a surplus of options, and it can be difficult to know where to start. Here's a step-by-step plan to inventing your own anything.
An insole restores communication between the brain and injured feet
By Becky FerreiraPosted 06.18.2012 at 10:08 am 1 Comment
Long before he became an inventor, Jon Christiansen was a sea captain. In 1985 he was hired to sail a replica of the Godspeed, the ship that landed at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607, in a reenactment of the original voyage. One day while he was cleaning the ship's hull, someone spun the wheel, trapping Christiansen's leg between the rudder and a support post. The accident severed or damaged most of the nerves below his left knee. Doctors told him he would never have feeling in his left foot again.
A sound-activated device that gives you more freedom than any store-bought clapper could wish for
By Pete Mills as told to Amanda SchupakPosted 06.15.2012 at 12:15 pm 8 Comments
One night, I was trying to draw a circuit on a chalkboard, but it became too dark to see. The next day I bought a new lamp, only to find that the board gave off too much glare. I needed a light I could easily adjust. I could have just installed a dimmer, but where’s the fun in that? As an engineer, I like to do projects that use a little electronics, a bit of mechanics and some software.
When James O'Neill, a retired marketing executive, first learned how helicopter powertrains worked a decade ago, he immediately started redesigning them. Most helicopters have a huge transmission that reduces the engine's high speed to a level more fit for the main propeller and turns the tail rotor to keep the aircraft from corkscrewing out of control. Engineers had found a way to get rid of the tail rotor years ago: Place a coaxial propeller on the main propeller, and spin it in the opposite direction. But doing so still required a complicated assembly to achieve the proper speed and to create spin in opposite directions. O'Neill realized that a cam engine, which trades a crankshaft for a series of lobed cams, could power both propellers at the right speed without the need for a weighty, maintenance-heavy gearbox. If he could just design a cam system that produced counter-rotational force, he'd have a new kind of helicopter that was simpler and lighter.