Roombas are cute and everything, but when they annoy you, they don’t respond well to being kicked in the side. Not so with Dust Ball, a new robotic vacuum cleaner concept designed by a Dutch engineer. Inspired by a hamster ball and resembling a pollen grain, Dust Ball can be pushed or kicked in any direction to clean.
It is often said that you can’t get something for nothing, but a handful of scientists from the University of Michigan would beg to differ. Theoretically speaking, they say, you can conjure particles from a vacuum under the right conditions. All you need is an ultra-high-intensity laser, a particle accelerator, and an open mind about what exactly “nothing” is (hint: it’s something).
Scientists at the University of Maryland at College Park have managed to clock a floating piece of graphene at an unbelievable 60 million rpm, far faster than any other macroscopic object yet measured. Even crazier: Given graphene's strength, one of the scientists says that may only be a thousandth of its possible top speed.
Meet your friendly neighborhood Spider-Kid! It's the stuff of childhood dreams, right? A boy in Cambridge, England, can climb the walls just like his favorite superhero.
OK, Vacuum-Boy's powers are slightly less subtle than Peter Parker's. But you have to love 13-year-old Hibiki Kono's creativity. He spent five months designing and building his Spider-Man gear from a pair of cheap 1,400-watt vacuums bought at Tesco (like a British Wal-Mart) and some suction pads.
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.
Vacuum's emptiness doesn't just pose a problem for space travelers -- a vacuum lining is also one of the best known insulators on Earth, and may help keep those holiday drinks and soups warm in your thermos. Now scientists have found that layering photonic crystals within the vacuum lining can even prevent heat loss from invisible infrared radiation.
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It looks like a toy sci-fi ray gun, but point at your target, squeeze the trigger and it…vacuums? At under three pounds, the Dyson DC31 handheld bagless vac is well balanced and ergonomically designed, making it easy to handle when doing a quick cleanup.
Glove designers walked away with a total of $400,000 in prize money at NASA's second Astronaut Glove Challenge yesterday. The U.S. space agency awarded the money because the private glove designs beat the in-house version, and NASA may incorporate the designs into the Constellation spacesuit intended for next-gen astronauts returning to the moon.
Nothing puts the DIY in climbing a building like a homemade pair of suction gloves. Inventor Jem Stansfield used his vacuum-powered device to clamber up the 120-foot aluminum wall of the White City building in London last week.
I think that everyone in New York City read last week's article by David Leite on the Quest for the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie. One of the main tricks from the article is to rest your dough for 36 hours before baking the cookies in order to improve the flavor. In my work as a chef I have often made cookie dough in advance and baked to order. I knew that refrigeration had beneficial effects although I had never tested the theory to the extent that David Leite did for the article.
The Roomba's new serial interface lets you use the little vacuum for any robotics task you like, controllable through preprogrammed instructions or over Bluetooth from a laptop. We wrote about some 'bots you could make with this in the January issue's How 2.0 section, but the obvious outcome was finally realized last night at ETech: Roomba cockfighting. More photos as well as videos (including some from the Roomba's point of view) here.
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.