Programmable thermostats help save money by resetting the temperature when homeowners are asleep or away. But setting them up can be painstaking, and 89 percent of users never get them out of manual mode. The Nest thermostat requires almost no setup and teaches itself when to adjust the temperature.
Most people probably don’t think of Corning as a crime fighting company, but when it sold its Pyrex brand to World Kitchen in 1998, the company accidentally made the illegal manufacture of crack cocaine more difficult—a fascinating example of unintended consequences.
Ordinary glass shatters if it’s heated too quickly: Pour boiling water into a common flintglass tumbler, and it’s likely to fall apart seconds later. The glass on the inside expands when it gets hot, putting stress on the cold glass on the outside. When the stress gets too great, it cracks.
First we got wireless video game controls, then motion sensing controllers, and now even a controller-free video game interface. But the next stage of human-computer interaction could be controllers that add hot and cold sensations to users’ simulated experiences.
Everyone's talking about sous vide, the scientific cooking method that's making its way from the lab to the home kitchen. The Sous Vide Supreme, which we reviewed earlier this week, is the first turnkey sous vide setup for home cooks. But we DIY kitchen nerds haven't been idly waiting for an off-the-shelf solution: We cobbled together our own sous vide setups years ago. It can be done by piecing together a few readily available components -- or even, for more intrepid tinkerers, by soldering together some less readily available ones. Here's how.
The last time I tried making beer, we were up until 3AM standing in a kitchen that looked like tornado had struck. My last wine-making attempts ended in grape-flavored vinegar. Even PopSci staff photographer John Carnett (or rather, his wife) endured a wort explosion the first time he tested his prototype DIY all-in-one brewing machine. Clearly, adult-beverage-making benefits from precise control and automation. Check out a few of my favorite electronic brewing projects after the jump.
It's an everyday irritation: Your coffee's too hot to sip, so you dump in some milk and set it aside for a minute while you answer just one email. Turn back to the coffee, and now it's tepid and unappetizing.
The geniuses at the Fraunhofer Institute, just like us regular folks, are fed up with such nonsense. Unlike us, though, they're German engineers, so they've created the Perfect Coffee Mug to extirpate imperfect coffee once and for all.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.