Archive for the ‘Engineering’ Category

The Endless Runway

October 26, 2017

Henk Hesselink of the Netherlands Aerospace Centre believes circular runways could be the future of air travel. More information here and here.

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ATMs

October 24, 2017

After you insert your bank card and enter your PIN, how does the ATM know how to give you the right number of bills?

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GMO Foods

September 25, 2017

GMO foods explained, by Kurzgesagt (German for “in a nutshell”).

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Amtrak Avelia

August 31, 2017

Amtrak will begin to introduce new Alstom Avelia trains to Acela routes in the Northeast corridor in 2021. High-speed rail is the prefered mode of travel for the faceless wraiths of the future, judging by the video (they should have used this song). Read more here.

Video by Meconopsis.

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Ikutaro Kakehashi, 1930 – 2017

June 1, 2017

Ikutaro Kakehashi, 1930 – 2017

Ikutaro Kakehashi, Roland corporation founder and electronic music pioneer died earlier this year. He was 87. His TR-808 Rhythm Composer drum machine and the sounds it generates seem to be immortal.

“Everybody getting’ down make no mistake
Nothing sounds quite like an 8-0-8”
— Beastie Boys, “Super Disco Breakin’”

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NASA Wants Better Astronaut Diapers

January 19, 2017

NASA Wants Better Astronaut Diapers

NASA scientists are good at … well rocket science, but t here’s one problem that has them stumped: how to handle space suit poop. The agency issued the Space Poop Challenge late last year, and is currently judging the entries. The winner will get $30,000.

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Snooker-Playing Robot

November 27, 2016

Robots won’t just take your job, they’ll beat you at billiards. This ABB robot cheats at snooker, then does a victory dance. Twice.

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UK: Drink Tea, for the Love of God!

October 14, 2016

Mark Rittman of Hove, East Sussex, spent 11 hours trying to make his morning cuppa with a Wi-Fi tea kettle, live-tweeting his ordeal because of course he would. As an Englishman, he required his morning tea; as a 21st-century man, he wanted to brew it by voice command through his Amazon Echo and iPhone.

Mr. Rittman is a data specialist and not unfamiliar with things digital, but the “Internet of Things” needs work. The connection between the kettle and the Wi-fi base station was problematic; a“mandatory recalibration” caused the iWifi base-station to reset; the Hadoop cluster in the garage went barmy, saturating the network and blocking MQTT integration with the Amazon Echo. Or something. He finally boiled water in a saucepan and made tea by hand before writing code to integrate and debug the system.

Video: “Drink Tea (for the Love of God!)” by  Kula Shaker, 2008. George Orwell narrates. Animation by Model Robot.

Kula Shaker website

Related:

Tea Making Tips,” 1941 (i.e. wartime) film by the Empire Tea Bureau (10:00).

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German Robot Grills Sausage

August 2, 2016

German Robot Grills Sausage
German engineers have built a robot that grills brätwurst because of course they would. The FZI Research Center for IT at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology hooked a robotic arm to a laptop to create BratWurst Bot, which grills, flips, and plates sausages.
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Hyperloop One Open Air Test

May 13, 2016

Hyperloop One let the public watch a test of its propulsion system on Wednesday. The sled, powered by a linear induction motor, only traveled a half mile on the North Las Vegas test track, but it did that in 2 seconds. The plan is to use this technology to propel passengers and freight, in vehicles suspended over tracks by passive magnetic levitation, through sealed low-pressure tubes at 750 mph (1,207 kph). That’s San Francisco to Los Angeles in 30 minutes, theoretically.

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