Saturday, December 10, 2011 2:45PM - By Chris Weiss
It looks like the job of mob goons is going to get much harder in the future. MIT has recently developed an experimental fabric that is capable of sensing and playing sound. The fabric is crafted from a conductive plastic ordinarily used for microphones. The fibers change shape when sound waves or electricity are applied and can be used to convert one to the other. The material can also work in reverse, creating electricity from fabric movement.
Monday, April 11, 2011 12:00PM - By danseitz
The Navy has been the butt of jokes for years, and the Village People didn’t help. But let’s not forget that when some pirates took Americans hostage a few years ago, the Navy simply brought in a few of their trained snipers, who shot them all in the head from hundreds of yards away on a ship going up and down at random intervals. Even the “sailors are gay” joke has been kind made bad-ass thanks to Shore Leave from the Venture Brothers.
And now the Navy has a death ray.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011 3:00PM - By danseitz
Prosthetic limbs have made incredible advances in the last twenty years. Ergonomics, new materials, and new technologies have combined to make athletes without human limbs better than those with, and to bring us limbs controlled by the mind.
One problem: the range of motion, especially in arms, can be limited, and installing these requires brain surgery. The whole process can be enormously expensive, to boot.
But maybe a lot less expensive, thanks to two undergraduates at Ryerson University in Toronto.
Thursday, March 31, 2011 3:00PM - By danseitz
Infrared light is neat. We all learn that when we go to the science museum as kids, or at least play with old-school remote controls or 16-bit video game systems (ahhhh, Super Scope, you were ridiculous but awesome). It’s a pretty standard medium for sending short-range communications signals.
It might also be the key to making the deaf hear more easily and clearly than ever before.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 7:54PM - By jasonholzberg
Unless you have been living under a rock avoiding reality this past month, you know about the catastrophic set of events going on in Japan. The Tsunami heard around the world, which has destroyed thousands of lives, has caused all sorts of questions & concerns regarding the nuclear reactors and the radiation is generates.
Monday, March 28, 2011 12:00PM - By danseitz
Scientists and engineers have been all crazy about graphene ever since it became practical to make the stuff. Graphene, for those not up on the latest hot science trends, is a one-atom-thick lattice of carbon atoms that looks like a honeycomb. You know it from pencils: sheets of graphene rub off onto paper in your average pencil lead. Graphene is incredibly light, absurdly strong, has electrical properties that make it ideal for semiconductors…in short, this is the stuff the future is made of.
Well, it was. Until big brother silicon got rearranged by some scientists into silicene, which didn’t really exist before last year.
Thursday, March 17, 2011 12:00PM - By danseitz
One of the problems with guns and shooting is that, if you’re trying to fire at somebody who is trying to kill you, it’s a bit difficult to determine their location. Fortunately, the Army is vividly aware of this particular problem and have developed a neat little iPod-sized gadget with a shoulder-mounted sensor to solve it. Now you don’t need to worry about where the lead is coming from; you can just duck and find out.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011 12:00PM - By danseitz
The Japanese earthquake and tsunami are enormous tragedies, and inevitably we’re forced to ask whether it would be possible to have seen the tsunami, at least, coming and saved more lives. The answer lies in how tsunamis are detected and warned.
Friday, March 11, 2011 12:00PM - By danseitz
What, you may ask, are these three hotties and that one guy doing holding what looks like a logic board? That would be the LockCracker, a robot designed to ensure no gym locker can stand in its way, and helping advance the arrival of our robot overlords just that little step closer.
Designed and built by Jessica Bethune, Aiswary Kolisetty, Jessica Noglows, and Rob Sobecki at The Olin College of Engineering, or Team JARJ as they call themselves, the LockCracker is pretty ingenious. Designed around Master Locks, the user inputs what they know of the combination into the computer, clicks the mouse, and the LockCracker takes care of the rest, physically running every possible combination if necessary to open the lock. As a nice bonus, it displays the combination to the user, so you don’t have to use the LockCracker twice.
It’s actually a pretty ingenious project, and believe it or not, it was done for class. They had to custom-engineer a mechanical system, design an electrical system around it, and code the software in C and Python.
No word on what the team will do next, or if the LockCracker has any future beyond a resume line, but we hope it enters production, if for no other reason than we’d really like to get our gym bag back. Check out their website for the project, and full details on how they built it, at the LockCracker official site.