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.
In my work I rely on many pieces of test and measurement equipment just as much as my hand tools. Although I can accomplish a surprising amount with just a hammer, I can't complete any of my mechanical or electronics projects without being able to reliably quantify things like length and voltage. Here are the gadgets I use in my shop the most.
The winners from the PopSci/InnoCentive challenge--check out these amazing classes any middle-school kid would love to take
By Popular Science EditorsPosted 08.14.2012 at 11:54 am 4 Comments
A year ago, our Popular Science/InnoCentive challenge here on PopSci asked for lesson plans that could be used at the middle-school level in each of five areas of science that will be vital in the future. Materials couldn't cost more than $50, and the lesson needed to fit into no more than three 50-minute classes. Here, we proudly announce the winners and runners-up.
FIRST PLACE Name: Lisa Schmidt, Australia Lesson: Study models of animal bone to understand how to engineer stronger building materials
By Adam DachisPosted 08.13.2012 at 10:14 am 2 Comments
Jailbreaking—altering an iPhone or iPad's firmware to access unlicensed apps—became less useful as Apple released more feature-rich iOS updates. But now developers have come up with a new reason to jailbreak iDevices: They've enabled users to add settings, music controls and more to Notification Center, iOS 5's drop-down information panel. That puts a huge amount of functionality in one convenient location, with only a five-minute tweak. Here's a look at the best new features and how to get them.
Microryza.com connects scientists with donors who can potentially fund their research. The Seattle-based staff screens proposed projects for feasibility and novelty and runs checks on applicants to prevent fraud. Once approved, researchers post videos and a Q&A about their projects on the site. As with Kickstarter, visitors can back the project of their choice.
In July, we partnered with Red Bull on the Creation event, in which teams of makers competed to build, well, great stuff. To get in on the action, they had to create an Arduino-based project. (And if that term doesn't mean anything to you, here's our video explaining what an Arduino is.)
Winners were crowned in July—including Missouri's Hack A Day team, with its dueling labyrinth tables, a sort of booby-trap pinball—and now we're spending the summer with Red Bull, as they profile other great creators from around the country, beginning with this portrait of Detroit-based builder and destroyer Ryan Doyle.
It can be satisfying to build something yourself, making careful measurements and ensuring your carefully routed wood slats fit together perfectly. Except when your measurements are off by a few microns and nothing fits. Some MIT students decided that a smart machine could help matters, and designed a re-routing router that automatically cuts the right shape.
Even do-it-yourself work often requires the resources of more than one person. CollabFinder.com connects DIYers with developers, designers and other creative types who have complementary skills needed to handle complex tasks and finish projects. Users can register for free on Facebook and search for a potential collaborator by skill, location or interest—for example, a documentary editor in Cleveland focused on environmental issues—or even assemble a team.
South Korean artist Song Ho-jun has spent years working on his very own DIY sputnik, a homemade satellite cobbled together from electronics store parts. It might be the first satellite completely built by an individual. Now, later this year, it'll launch.
Song started the "Open Satellite Initiative," an idea he came up with as an intern at a satellite company, and sought experts and information he'd need for the launch. Meanwhile, he ran a small electronics business and got help from his parents.
My second grade teacher had a pair of supermagnets. She wowed us with them one day, lifting a metal barstool by just holding onto the tiny silver nub. We were allowed to play with them only when closely supervised. Apparently, a couple years back, a girl had pointed one magnet at the other from across a table, and it had zipped up and hit her in the face.