Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Amazing build of a model V-12 engine

Perhaps the world's smallest motor of its type, this hand crafted V-12 air injection engine is constructed from stainless steel, aluminium and bronze. It has 12 cc displacement with a cylinder bore of 11.3mm and piston stroke of 10mm. Created by Patelo from Spain, it is dedicated to his four oldest grandchildren and not for sale.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cotton Candy (prototype) - a sweet little computer

This USB memory stick sized device contains a dual-core computer with a pre-loaded Android Operating System (and Ubuntu and embedded virtualization client for Windows, Linux, Mac).

Named Cotton Candy after its 21g weight, the device is powered from the USB port, outputs to screens via  HDMI, has Wifi and Bluetooth for connecting to networks and devices and uses the internal 1GB memory or up to 64GB on a microSD card for storage.

Designed for "Any Screen Ccomputing", it turns a TV, monitor, laptop, tablet or phone into a dumb-terminal device capable of browsing the web, running apps and even playing streamed HD video. When plugging the Cotton Candy into another computer it is recognized as a USB drive and starting the virtualization software opens a secure computing environment. Files can be transferred between the computers by drag and drop. This could be a useful environment for Android app developers - writing code on a desktop/laptop and testing it in another window on the Cotton Candy.

Read a full review at http://blog.laptopmag.com/usb-stick-contains-dual-core-computer-turns-any-screen-into-an-android-station and find out more about the device at Cotton Candy (prototype) « FXITech.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Two incredible nanotechology advances

Watch liquids just pour off this superhydrophobic coating:


The world's lightest metal has been developed by a team of researchers from Univeristy of California,  Irvine HRL Laboratories and the California Institute of Technology. The material is about 100 times lighter than styrofoam and could be useful for battery electrodes and acoustic or vibration absorption.
"so light that it can sit atop dandelion fluff without damaging it"
Photo by Dan Little, HRL Laboratories LLC


Read more at http://today.uci.edu/news/2011/11/nr_lightmetal_111117.php


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Flying motorcycle

My friend John alerted us to the work being done by Samson Motorworks on a very nicely designed flying motorcycle.

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Roadable Aircraft

An update on the Transition Flying Car from Terrafugia.



I like how Anna Mracek Dietrich, one of the Transtion's creators says:
As a multi-purpose passenger vehicle, it is now officially "designed for occasional off-road use."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Remembering Turbo Pascal

I stumbled on this post about the history of computing.


Things That Turbo Pascal is Smaller Than
Turbo Pascal 3 for MS-DOS was released in September 1986. Being version 3, there were lesser releases prior to it and flashier ones after, but 3 was a solid representation of the Turbo Pascal experience: a full Pascal compiler, including extensions that it made it practical for commercial use, tightly integrated with an editor. And the whole thing was lightning fast, orders of magnitude faster at building projects than Microsoft's compilers. 
The entire Turbo Pascal 3.02 executable--the compiler and IDE--was 39,731 bytes. How does that stack up in 2011 terms? Here are some things that Turbo Pascal is smaller than, as of October 30, 2011: 
The minified version of jquery 1.6 (90,518 bytes). 
The yahoo.com home page (219,583 bytes). 
The image of the white iPhone 4S at apple.com (190,157 bytes). 
zlib.h in the Mac OS X Lion SDK (80,504 bytes). 
The touch command under OS X Lion (44,016 bytes). 
Various vim quick reference cards as PDFs. (This one is 47,508 bytes.) 
The compiled code for the Erlang R14B02 parser (erl_parse.beam, 286,324 bytes). 
The Wikipedia page for C++ (214,251 bytes).

This reminded me of the Turbo Pascal programming I learnt in 1987 and later actually used when I was working in a medical laboratory in the late 80s to early 90's. All of the lab's patient and test results data was stored on a Unisys mainframe (the original machine filled a room and had a tape deck taller than me). As the lab technology developed, they bought new analysis machines and to get data from them into the mainframe, we installed several DOS PCs and I wrote the various data capture and interface programs in Pascal.
   

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Amazing Steve Jobs Tribute

AzRmusic has put together this amazing video tribute to Steve Jobs using only sounds from Apple products and Steve's own words from his famous 2005 Stanford commencement speech.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Happy Programmers' Day

Today (13 September) is the 256th day of the year and is the unofficial international holiday, Programmers' Day.

Programmers celebrate the day (chosen because 256 is the number of distinct values represented by a 8-bit byte) by wearing white (because it represents the largest value 0xFFFFFF in the RGB colorspace).

As 2012 is a leap year, Programmers' Day will be celebrated next year on 12 September.

Some gift ideas from ThinkGeek for the friendly programmer in your life:
Glowing Keyboard Stickers
Glowing Keyboard StickersStory time: one day a monkey was told by his boss that he was getting a new laptop. "It will have everything," the boss said, "including a fingerprint scanner and light up keys." Then the monkey got the laptop. Sure it was super fast, but did it have a fingerprint scanner? No. And did the keys light up? No. The monkey was sad. Then he found these Glowing Keyboard Stickers. He tried them out, and was happy. Yay! The Glowing Keyboard Stickers are not "glow in the dark." Instead, they are made of a high quality fluorescent print that reflects any ambient source of light. Sure they take a little while to put on, but not that long. And sure they don't work in complete darkness without any ambient light to reflect, but give them some light and watch them shine (literally). The goal of the Glowing Keyboard Stickers is to offer you an inexpensive way to make your computer keyboard as cool as the more expensive light up ones, all the while adding a bit extra reflective illumination to your key caps. 'But how do we know they really work?' you ask. Well, that's easy. The proof that the Glowing Keyboard Stickers really work is all the words you just read above. This product description was written in a dim room on that very same laptop mentioned in the first paragraph - surprise twist ending! Glowing Keyboard Stickers High quality fluorescent print reflects any ambient source. Eases eye fatigue while typing in lower-light levels. Matte surface that is pleasant to touch. Easy to apply - just peel and stick (yet allows for a clean full removal with no sticky residue). Can be trimmed to fit non-standard keyboards. Dimensions: (full sticker sheet) - 9.5" x 4"


USB Memory Brick Thumbdrives
USB Memory Brick Thumbdrives
Just about every geek out there spent his formative years building things with simple nubby plastic building bricks. They may later graduate to Erector sets, but then they branch out - carpentry, metal working, advanced nanorobotics using photolithography or positional diamondoid molecular manufacturing… but they almost always start with these venerable old bricks. Even so-called grown-ups, though, never give up on their love of these little blocks. Something about the bright primary colors, or the satisfying snap they give when piecing them together. You can build almost anything with a complete set of bricks, but now we've extended their capabilities beyond just building cool yet blocky robots, cars, planes and houses. Now, with these USB Memory Brick Thumbdrives, we've taken a regular brick and inserted a 4 Gigabyte piece of USB flash memory. Now you can store millions of pages of text, thousands of images, hundreds of songs, or 10 hours of movies. Then, when you're done with your file storage, build it into your robot, and watch as he stomps Tokyo! Rrraaarrrr!!! Ok, maybe not so much with the Tokyo stompage, but still! How cool!


BODY tag T-Shirt
BODY tag T-Shirt
Sometimes simpler is better. No need for funny one-liners or obscure and geeky references here. Just a simple homage to the markup language that makes the web go 'round. Charcoal grey 100% cotton heavyweight t-shirt with printed on the front and on the back in white ink.



Monday, September 12, 2011

Clear glass circuit boards

Here is a fascinating touch-sensitive, clear glass printed circuit board made by Charles Lohr.
And in this video he shows the process he used to make the clear glass printed circuit board.
As seen on Adafruit Industries Blog

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Seamless computing

Dr Neil Roodyn from nsquared demonstrates seamlessly computing an architect might use between devices in this demo. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cool jobs

Learn about the cool jobs some people have in these Yahoo Second Act videos:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Live Flight Tracking

A Massey University alumnus, James McCarthy has invented an aircraft locator system that tracks flights in real-time. Called Spider, the portable device that plugs into a lighter socket, relays the aircraft’s GPS position to the internet through an Iridium satellite network modem.

In the event of crash, the impact can cause standard locator devices to fail, minimizing the chances of rescue. Powering on at take-off, the Spider sends its location every two minutes - a more effective system for not just aircraft, but usable in vehicles and boats too.

See the SpiderTracks website for more info.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Beautiful midi keyboard design

Here is a beautiful midi keyboard design by Bård Edlund.

MIDI keyboard design by Bård Edlund from Bard Edlund on Vimeo.
Most MIDI keyboards look like cheap toy spaceships from 1982. But music production is now a home activity. Here's a keyboard you'd be proud to have around.

See more about the design on EDLUNDART.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Where's WALL-E?

Can you find WALL-E in this artwork by Richard Sargent?

How many of these robots from movies, television and popular culture can you name? The entry that identifies the most characters correctly by 31 August 2011, will win a signed poster print. See Hopewell Studio news and events for details.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Universe Sandbox

I stumbled upon this amazing universe simulator software the other day - Universe Sandbox. Some especially cool features include 3D viewing and fictional orbits like the Death Star around Endor.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Street legal dodgems


Tom Wright rescued some vintage bumper car bodies from the Long Beach Pike amusement park and after experimenting with two cylinder Harley Davidson Motorcycle engines he built seven of these amazing street legal cars based on four cylinder Honda or Kawasaki 750 engines. Top speed 250 K/h!


See more on What Do You Do With Old Bumper Cars?

System Administrator Appreciation Day

Computer users should appreciate System Administrators every day, but today is a special day for really appreciating the System Administrators in your life.
Friday, July 29, 2011, is the 12th annual System Administrator Appreciation Day. On this special international day, give your System Administrator something that shows that you truly appreciate their hard work and dedication. (All day Friday, 24 hours, your own local time-zone).
Let's face it, System Administrators get no respect 364 days a year. This is the day that all fellow System Administrators across the globe, will be showered with expensive sports cars and large piles of cash in appreciation of their diligent work. But seriously, we are asking for a nice token gift and some public acknowledgement. It's the least you could do.
Consider all the daunting tasks and long hours (weekends too.) Let's be honest, sometimes we don't know our System Administrators as well as they know us. Remember this is one day to recognize your System Administrator for their workplace contributions and to promote professional excellence. Thank them for all the things they do for you and your business.
http://www.sysadminday.com/ 


Monday, July 25, 2011

Fast robot hand

I am amazed at what the robot hand in this video can do and how fast it can do it. I can't even do some of those things with only three fingers.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Indoor Synchronized Skydiving

Spotted on Laughing Squid is this incredible video of a 4-way skydive dance routine at the opening of the Prague Skydive Arena .



Using 4 high efficiency vertical axial fans, the air in the flying chamber reaches speeds over 200 km/h. This video shows some of the technology involved.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Final shuttle launch today

In just under 4 hours the Final Mission of the Space Shuttle STS-135 will launch. You can follow it live on the Nasa website.

As a child, I remember waiting up really, really late to watch one of the first shuttle launches (STS-2) only to have it delayed.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Nexus Contraptions

To promote the new Android Nexus S phones, Google have released an addictive contraption game where you bounce, bubble and blast Google apps into the phone.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Smart lighting

NXP Semiconductors has developed wifi technology for lightbulbs allowing them to be controlled from any internet connected device.




As seen on Springwise.

After seeing one of the MuzGadget bro's remote controlled light switch, I had ideas about smart lighting similar to this about 10 years ago, but without the electronics and engineering skills I was unable to do anything about it.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Farewell Craig Harding

Craig "Horse" Harding, Head of PostProduction for Outpost Digital Media passed away on Tuesday after a battle with cancer. He was almost 42.

I remember Craig from our high school years when he was involved in scouts, shared some of the best games in the Apple IIe lab at school and was the DJ for the lunchtime school radio station. An early adopter of anything technical, Craig was a pioneer of the internet society in New Zealand.

Working together with one of the MuzGadget brothers for more than 15 years, they formed Outpost in 1997. He says "Craig was a very talented man, turning his hand to any role, be it technician, editor, audio engineer, cameraman, writer, director, voice over artist, computer geek...".

World of Warcraft gamer, motorbiker, sci-fi and fantasy enthusiast, band manager, all round top bloke. We will miss you Craig. Ride on triumphantly.

The power of the sun

Watch these 2 amazing videos of Markus Kayser, who uses the sun to cut and print in 3D. 



Markus Kayser - Sun Cutter Project from Markus Kayser on Vimeo.
The sun cutter project explores the potential of harnessing sunlight directly to produce objects. The machine is a low-tech, low energy version of a laser cutter. It uses pure sunlight, focused by a ball lens, to repeatedly cut programmed shapes in up to 0.4mm thick plywood as well as paper and card. 
The project also explores the merit of analogue mechanized production that draws on the machine technology found in pre-digital machinery and automaton. It uses a cam system, moving an x & y- board to control the shape of the cut. the cams are set into synchronized motion by a small solar-powered motor driving a timing belt. 
Each pair of sunglasses made, even though very similar in shape, is still unique, creating a juxtaposition between the machine-made, repetitive and individual, unique object.


Markus Kayser - Solar Sinter Project from Markus Kayser on Vimeo.

In a world increasingly concerned with questions of energy production and raw material shortages, this project explores the potential of desert manufacturing, where energy and material occur in abundance. 
In this experiment sunlight and sand are used as raw energy and material to produce glass objects using a 3D printing process, that combines natural energy and material with high-tech production technology. 
Solar-sintering aims to raise questions about the future of manufacturing and trigger dreams of the full utilisation of the production potential of the world's most efficient energy resource - the sun. Whilst not providing definitive answers this experiment aims to provide a point of departure for fresh thinking.
www.markuskayser.com

Monday, June 27, 2011

Steampunk Exo Legs get international attention

Professor Damotimus Tipotus (Damien McNamara) of the Libratory Steampunk Art Gallery in Oamaru, New Zealand has gained international attention after his Exo Legs were placed first in Inventor / Scientist category of the 2011 Steampunk Fashion Show.


Some of the technology behind the legs is revealed in this video:


A Candian TV/web production company is keen to use the legs for the pilot of an upcoming series, and American film makers are interested in Damien's skills in weapons design. (See how to punk a Nerf gun!)

Read more about the Steampunk fashion show and the opportunities this has opened up for Damien on Stuff.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Meet the Elements

At his school's end of year talent quest today, my son sung Tom Lehrer's The Elements. 

Watch the original song with animation and learn more about the elements of the Periodic Table on my latest Squidoo Lens: Meet the Elements.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Speed reading gadget

I stumbled upon this gadget from Eyercize that helps you to learn how to read faster.


The reading pacer tool highlights the text so your eyes focus on what you are reading and scrolls at the speed you set. The controls include the number of words per minute, words per fixation (point where your eyes should look) and fixations per line as well as font size and spacing.

You can practice speed reading some of Abbott A Edwin's Flatland in the library, or use the bookmarklet to speed read any text you highlight on a webpage.

At the end of your reading you will get a statistical summary of the time it took for the number of words you read and how much faster than average you read them.

Try it at http://www.eyercize.com/practice/paste_read

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Growing nanotechnology like nature does

In this TED talk, Angela Belcher describes programming bacteria and viruses to grow batteries, solar cells and other nano technology at room temperature and pressure. Emulating the way abalone and other animals create shells using calcium, carbonate and proteins, the different virus-infected bacteria can produce nano structures and join them together.







This talk reminds me of this part in the Life, The Universe and Everything:The Cosmic Conclusion to The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams:

It was a large mattress, and probably one of quite high quality. Very few things actually get manufactured these days, because in an infinitely large Universe such as, for instance, the one in which we live, most things one could possibly imagine, and a lot of things one would rather not, grow somewhere. A forest was discovered recently in which most of the trees grew ratchet screwdrivers as fruit. The life cycle of ratchet screwdriver fruit it quite interesting. Once picked it needs a dark dusty drawer in which it can lie undisturbed for years. Then one night it suddenly hatches, discards its outer skin which crumbles into dust, and emerges as a totally unidentifiable little metal object with flanges at both ends and a sort of ridge and a sort of hole for a screw. This, when found, will get thrown away. No one knows what it is supposed to gain from this. Nature, in her infinite wisdom, is presumably working on it.
No one really knows what mattresses are meant to gain from their lives either. They are large, friendly, pocket-sprung creatures which live quiet private lives in the marshes of Squornshellous Zeta. Many of them get caught, slaughtered, dried out, shipped out and slept on. None of them seem to mind and all of them are called Zem. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Open source hardware

Marcin Jakubowski talks about creating the Global Village Construction Set, a wiki of 3D designs for 50 different industrial machines for a self sufficient economy.


More at http://opensourceecology.org.nyud.net/index.php

Monday, April 4, 2011

Electric Extinguisher

Zapping out a fire with blasts of electricity is one of the latest discoveries in firefighting. Scientists at Harvard University observing how electric fields interact with flames have discovered a way to direct an amplified electrical "beam" to snuff out fires. Read the full story at ACS Chemistry for Life.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A robot that balances on a ball

This ball balancing bot can move in any direction without changing its orientation, making it very useful in situations where a small footprint is needed. 


Read more about this at ieee spectrum.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Underwater Car

A self-driving car that goes underwater too! The sQuba, to be launched at the Geneva Motor Show in March, features an on-board, self-contained, fresh air breathing system so the driver and passenger can dive down to 10 meters.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Why I want a 3D Printer

This amazing video of 10-year-old Schulyer makes me want to get (or make) a Makerbot 3D printer.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Cheap telepresence robot

This Low-Cost Video Chat Robot made by Johnny Chung Lee can remotely move around to follow the conversation in different rooms.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

24 hours of sky

This amazing photo by Chris Kotsiopoulos of a Twenty Four Hour View of the Sky would make an awesome face  for a 24 hour analog clock.

Twenty Four Hour View of the Sky

Read how Chris created this amazing photo.

Monday, January 17, 2011

An apple gadget

I saw an interesting apple gadget during the week. Not an electronic gadget from Apple, but a gadget for use with the apple (fruit). A friend had this peeler, corer, slicer machine.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Slightly old technology

The students in this video are investigating technology that we had when we were kids. [French with English subtitles]

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

DSLR iPad Monitor & Control

I would not be surprised if at least one of the MuzGadget Bros has already tried controlling cameras from their iPad.