Sunday, December 22, 2013

Industrial Internet Revolution

As explained in this Ted Talk by Marco Annunziata, the Internet of Things is ushering in the next social-economic-cultural revolution where not just intelligent machines, but brilliant machines will communicate to revolutionize the world in the same way that the Industrial and Digital revolutions changed society.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Imagine if you were toy-sized

Red Bull and street trials rider Danny MacAskill spent a couple of years making this video of Danny's skills as he rides inside his imagination. Check out the behind the scenes website.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

For the MuzGadget sisters

Here's a Rube Goldberg machine for all the MuzGadget sisters and nieces and anyone like my daughter who doesn't like pink.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Dynamic Remote 3D Shape Display

A team from the Tangible Media Group at MIT are working on the inFORM system, a Dynamic Shape Display that can render 3D content physically using Microsoft Kinects and a matrix of actuators. The system allows video conference participants to physically interact remotely.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Watching pitch drop

For the past few days I have been participating in the world's longest running laboratory experiment. Started in 1927, the Pitch Drop experiment observes the properties of pitch, a derivative of tar, that appears solid at room temperature but is actually a fluid. After heating the pitch, Professor Parnell and the University of Queensland left the pitch to settle in glass funnel with a sealed stem and then in 1930, cut the sealed stem.

Since then the pitch has very slowly formed drops and these have fallen approximately every decade, however no one has actually observed any of the previous eight drops falling. In 1988 the 7th drop fell while the custodian was having a five minute break. In November, 2000, a webcam malfunctioned and missed capturing the 8th drop falling.

As shown in this time lapse video of the last 18 months, the drop changes very slowly.

My own observations, measuring the size of the drop with a screen ruler over the last few days show that it has grown less than a pixel in diameter.

Watch the pitch live below, or join the experiment at

Friday, October 18, 2013

Amazing expanding table

One of the MuzGadget sisters is impressed with this unique Fletcher Capstan Table renowned British luxury furniture makers Fletcher Burwell-Taylor Ltd.

The Fletcher Capstan Table from Morph Studio on Vimeo.

The table remains truly circular as it transforms to double the seating with either a manual or electronic rotation. Based on a 19th century design by Robert Jupe, the current improved design has been worked on by designer David Fletcher since 1997 and has a smooth mechanism and hides the expansion leaves inside the table.

Priced comparable to a luxury sports car, the table is custom made for each customer (often superyacht owners), and is crafted from thousands of parts. David usually personally installs each table.

He describes the process that goes into The Making of The Fletcher Capstan Table. More information at Fletcher Tables.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The ProTravel Carry-on bag to beat travel drag

My family traveled to Paris in July with just carry on. Our apartment in Paris was up a narrow spiral staircase and lugging the bags up and down would have been easier if they were backpacks. That is why this Kickstarter project to launch the ProTravel Carry-on Bag from Minaar is so interesting. Designed by Kiwi travel junkies, Doug and Jimmy, the bag is packed with features for reducing travel drag.

Check out more about the bag you don't need to check-in on Kickstarter and

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Is string theory right? Is it just fantasy?

Tim Blais and A Capella Science have created Bohemian Gravity, a string theory and quantum physics version of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody.  

Friday, September 6, 2013

Using destructive lasers to make beautiful art

Artist, Bathsheba Grossman is making some amazing works with 3D printing and laser etching.

Using custom software and high frequency lasers, she creates beautiful crystal paperweights and keyrings displaying data with models of galaxies, molecules and biology, physics and mathematical structures inside.

Globular Cluster
Illuminated DNA Keychain
Her 3D printed metal sculptures and jewelry are fascinating too.


Hypercube Pendant (Gold plate finish)
Discover more in Bathsheba's shop and gallery on her website. She explains the process of making the laser etched crystals and how the 3D printed sculptures are made and even has some downloadable objects you can 3D print yourself.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Best science museum visit yet: Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, Paris

In July we spent 10 nights in Paris and visited many of the touristic sites as well as sites that our science loving kids would enjoy. The Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie (City of Science and Industry) was so amazing and so big that we spent two full days there.

Full of interactive exhibits on: Mathematics, Sounds, Space Travel, Communication, Genetics, Light, Images, Energy, Design and Innovation, Transportation, the Universe as well as temporary exhibits: Economics, Futurotextiles, Housing for tomorrow, and Leonaro da Vinci's projects, designs and machines; the Cité des Sciences is the largest science museum in Europe and France's fifth most popular museum.

All of the exhibits were top quality. Almost all were in multiple languages (including Braille). The depth of science was amazing - nothing was dumbed down and with so many exhibits there was something for everyone. I was impressed by the use of four synchronized projectors on a hanging sphere in an Earthwatch: the satellite revolution exhibit that gave a realistic impression of the revolving and changing world while the story of the exhibit was being told.

Our children enjoyed the 5-12 years activity area which featured a TV studio, an ant colony, communication, fun with water and a factory - they produced their own robot cut personalized cardboard boxes.

Outside, we visited the Argonaute submarine that hunted submarines in the 1950s and watched a 3D movie about dragons at the Geode hemispherical cinema.

Futurotextiles was closed and being packed up on our second visit. We didn't have time to see the Multimedia Library or the Planetarium and the Aquarium was under renovation. Perhaps next time!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Cortex: 3D printed exoskeleton to replace plaster and resin casts.

Victoria University (New Zealand) graduate Jake Evill has designed a revolutionary 3D printed injury-localized exoskeleton to help the healing of broken bones. Using x-rays and a hacked together 3D scanner the lightweight but strong cast is custom printed and snaps together to provide support for the fracture.

Images: Jake Evill

The Cortex cast is waterproof and has higher density printing to provide extra support where it is needed.

Jake is seeking partners to continue development of the technology. More info at

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Project Loon - balloon powered internet for everyone

In a few hours time, thirty balloons will launch from the South Island in New Zealand as the pilot of Google's Project Loon.

The balloons are equipped with solar powered transceivers that communicate with each other and the ground to provide a network in the sky.

New Zealanders can join the pilot project. Learn more at

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Music that is out of this world

Commander Chris Hadfield recently returned from 6 months aboard the International Space Station. An astronaut and guitarist, just before returning to earth, he made this amazing music video with his version of David Bowie's Space Oddity:

Chris also explains some of the challenges in playing a guitar in space:

And here is Jewel in the Night, an original Christmas carol written by Chris and recorded on the space station:

Friday, May 3, 2013

Happy birthday WWW

To celebrate the WWW turning 20 years old on Tuesday 30 April, CERN republished the first website. See it at and learn more about the restoration project at

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


I am starting another Coursera course: TechniCity

This 4 week course explores how sensors and networks are transforming our cities, how to engage in city building through social networking and crowdsourcing platforms, some experiments with analyzing city data and how open data initiatives, hack-a-thons, and urban prototyping festivals are creatively innovating our cities.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Just the other day I was imagining what an Apple designed car would look like. This week Volkswagen is showing off their new iBeetle at the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show. 

Available in 2014 as Coupe and Convertible models in various iPhone inspired color schemes, the iBeetle integrates with the iPhone for navigation, hands-free calling, listening to music and location based applications  and more both wirelessly or through the docking station.

The iBeetle is first Volkswagen with newly developed docking station and a special iPhone® application

I was expecting a little bit more from Apple. Where is the aluminum unibody chassis? Slide to unlock? Still has windows. Will it be available in the iStore?

Read more at Volkswagen.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Visionary projects

Engineer and entrepreneur, Elon Musk is building electric cars, ubiquitous solar and reuseable rockets. See more in this engaging video.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Good bugs

The first computer bug was a moth trapped in a relay. In this video, Snapdragon harnesses the energy of some bugs to power something useful.

Spotted by MuzGadgets Bro Nigel.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Happy Shrove Tuesday

Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, the start of the season of Lent is traditionally the day to make pancakes. Enjoy these pancake inspired gadget videos:

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Impressive braking system

Volvo Trucks is introducing a collision warning with emergency brake system.

If the system detects an imminent collision situation it will alert the driver and if there is no response automatically apply the emergency brakes to avoid a crash. It combines a radar and a camera that work together to identify and monitor vehicles in front. The system is designed to deal with both stationary and moving vehicles and can prevent a collision with a moving target at relative speeds of up to 70 km/h. When the system detects a vehicle that the truck will hit at its current speed, the warning system activates a constant red light in the windscreen in order to bring the driver's attention back to the road.

If the truck fails to detect any reaction from the driver, such as steering or braking, the system upgrades to a flashing red light and a beeping sound. If there is still no reaction, the system applies the brakes gently. When all this fails, the system activates the emergency braking system and does everything possible to bring the truck to a complete stop.

Further info on Volvo Trucks website.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Super Simple Raspberry Pi Case

My Raspberry Pi arrived from RS in a pink plastic box. After some simple measuring and cutting with a craft knife, it provides a great semi permanent case for the Raspberry Pi. I initially cut a trapezoid for the HDMI port, but the connection was a little loose so I enlarged this to snugly fit the rectangular part of the HDMI plug. If I need to plug in GPIO, video, sound or ethernet I can cut more holes. With the Pi running at 100% CPU the case is not noticeably warm but if overheating becomes a problem I can add some more holes for airflow.

Box with holes cut for power, USB and HDMI
The Pi fits snugly in the plastic molding
Closed case with HDMI connected

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Xi3: Ushering In the post PC Era

Two things I like in the design of computers: small form factor and multiple configurations/expandability. The new Xi3 modular computers do really well at this with a small robust strong chassis that is configurable with different swappable modules. Learn more about these innovative computers in the following video and on the Xi3 website.