Oct 02, 2014

Tiny orbiting planets tell the time on this solar system clock

posted by Larra Morris

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We usually measure the time it takes for a planet in our solar system to orbit the sun in months and years. But given the compact scale of this desktop solar system, the anodized aluminium balls can instead be used to measure seconds, minutes, and hours.

The balls appear to magically circle the central gold sphere without any apparent forces acting upon them. But like with our own solar system, it's what you don't see that's keeping everything running. Inside the $33 clock's housing is a set of moving magnets that drag the balls around on the surface.
via Gizmodo

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Oct 02, 2014

Old shopping carts made into stylish chairs

posted by Larra Morris

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A well-maintained shopping cart can last a decade before it's worn out and no longer serviceable. But it can still be useful if it's repurposed. Designer Xavier Degueldre remade several into chairs. You can view more photos of them at Design Boom.

Degueldre added padded seats to some of the chairs, which is no doubt more comfortable than bare metal.
via Neatorama

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Oct 02, 2014

PrintAlive 3D bioprinter creates on-demand skin grafts for burn victims

posted by Larra Morris

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While most are familiar with the potential for 3D printers to pump out plastic odds and ends for around the home, the technology also has far-reaching applications in the medical field. Research is already underway to develop 3D bioprinters able to create things as complex as human organs, and now engineering students in Canada have created a 3D printer that produces skin grafts for burn victims.
via Gizmag

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Oct 01, 2014

This clock saws itself in half when you're not looking

posted by Larra Morris

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For his senior project at Bauhaus University Weimar, Weng Xinyu designed several household objects that activate when you're not using them. The title of the collection is "Good Medicine Tastes Bitter," which is a proverb by Confucius.

Xinyu askes, "Do products always have to satisfy the users?" I'm inclined to think so, provided that you want to sell those products. But Xinyu wanted to design household goods that frustratingly send moral messages to owners.

For example, this clock has a motorized saw blade inside. There's a motion sensor in the front of the clock. When there's no one in front of the clock, the saw blade activates, cutting away at the clock and symbolically cutting away at the limited time that we have in life.
via Neatorama

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Oct 01, 2014

Scientists plan on turning the Moon into a giant particle detector

posted by Laura Domela

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What is the Moon good for? Aside from inspiring poets, helping you see at night, and giving Neil Armstrong some place for a stroll, what can you do with it? If you ask scientists at the University of Southampton, they’ll tell you that it makes a cracking particle detector. With the help of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope, the team hopes to use the mass of the satellite to detect the most energetic particles known; Ultra-High-Energy (UHE) cosmic rays.

For all the advances of science over the past century, the universe still throws some major mysteries our way. One of the biggest of these is UHE cosmic rays. The particles that make up UHE cosmic rays have a kinetic energy many orders of magnitude greater than that of other cosmic ray particles, measuring over 1018 eV. One particle, called the Oh-My-God particle, was detected in 1961 with an energy of 3×1020 eV, which is the equivalent of a baseball traveling at 62 mph (100 km/h) – an alarming amount of energy to stuff into a subatomic particle. What particularly intrigues physicists about these rays is that they must be relatively young, otherwise their energy would have dissipated due to photon scattering, so where they come from is a major question mark in modern cosmology.
via Gizmag

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Oct 01, 2014

Robotic birds are the (ridiculously expensive) modern-day scarecrows

posted by Larra Morris

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At the Sydney Opera House, seagulls are a bigger nuisance than pitchy tenors. Management is desperate to keep the ravenous sky rats away, so much that they've installed a large robotic bird of prey as a modern-day scarecrow.

They say it costs $6500. Which seems like a large sum for a bird-scaring machine... but compared to the $16000 mechanical falcons put up by Scotland's Network Rail to freak out pigeons and other pesky avians at Edinburgh's main train station, it's a bargain.

And these scarecrowbots aren't a novelty: They're a burgeoning industry. The robot birds at the Sydney Opera House and Edinburgh came from Robop, a Scottish bird-scaring robot maker, has over 70 clients, including Wimbledon, the US Navy, and Johnson & Johnson.
via Gizmodo

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Sep 30, 2014

Thailand built a robot to taste-test authentic dishes

posted by Larra Morris

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Thailand, as you're likely aware, is home to some delicious food, and the government now wants to make sure that its most popular dishes are being represented well. To do so, "e-Delicious," a robot capable of tasting food and making sure it meets various quality standards, was built. The idea came from Thailand's Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, as she became interested in fighting against bad Thai food in Thailand and elsewhere across the world.

This new machine is equipped with 10 sensors capable of tasting and smelling food, which then uses gathered data to compare it against a "government-approved" grade from a dish of the same type. And just like that, it's able to determine how authentic the Thai food you made is -- anything above an 80 percent match is deemed a hit.
via Engadget

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Image: Shutterstock/zmkstudio 

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