Archive for the ‘Invention’ Category

Because the Ocean isn’t Scary Enough…Robosquid

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

Robots. We just can’t stop building them even though countless movies tell us where it’s all headed. Not only can we not stop trying to emulate ourselves mechanically, a small portion of the robotics community can’t stop trying to emulate creatures from the animal world.

One of the latest creations by a group called FORTH (Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas) is a tiny little robot trying to emulate the natural actions of octopi and squid.

The video above showcases the features and development of the robot as it goes from having bare legs to more efficient webbed legs to carrying an object in a couple of its legs (check out the little yellow ball it’s carrying) to going for a swim out among more natural life in the actual ocean.

It’s fascinating and almost relaxing to watch as it pulses through the water.

Relaxing until someone attaches tiny laser-guided torpedoes to it.

[Spectrum IEEE]

Scientists Create Material That Absorbs All the Light

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Using nanotubes, British scientists have created a material called VantaBlack that acts like a bunch of very, very tiny blackhole when it comes to light.

The material is so black that our eyes can’t discern any type of edges or features an object covered in the material might have.

We’ll leave the explanation to the scientists in the above video.

To get a quick grasp of just how light-sucking and black this material is? Take a look at the piece of aluminum in the photo below. The black portion of the foil is just as crinkled as the silver portion. Think about that.

And then think about what you might cover in VantaBlack…

Or what a top-secret government agency might cover in VantaBlack…

Or how many ninja might begin using VantaBlack.


Your Smartphone Can Now Emit Fragrances

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Since who-knows-when, people have been trying to recreate the smells of places and things. Because of our emotional ties to the way things smell, like your favorite grandmother’s perfume, companies around the world have been trying to create things that produce those scents on command. It’s a powerful selling tool. Theme parks regularly use ‘scent cannons’ to manipulate you into buying food or enhancing their artificial environments.

Now a company is producing a much smaller version of these ‘scent cannons’ that attaches to the audio jack of your smartphone. Using the company’s app your phone can now basically fart on command.

Sure it’s more of a novelty than anything right now because the attached devices can’t produce just any smell on command (they only produce one scent like a home air freshener) it doesn’t mean that eventually science won’t allow us to create ANY scent using just one device.

Science keeps trying to make it happen and eventually, just like everything else, it will.

For now you’ll have to settle for your smartphone either looking like it’s passing gas or that you can now embarrassingly appear to be ‘vaping’ through your phone.

[AWEtv YouTube Channel]

Russian Team Creates Cheap, DIY Ostrich Mech – Future Armies Will Look Terrifyingly Ridiculous!

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

Russia is a unique place. They drive a little differently there, meteors land there and now they’ve decided to tackle robotics…in the form a creepy walking robot disguised as a cute (but threateningly non-cute and blankly-staring) ostrich-walker.

Like the love-child of an AT-ST from the Star Wars universe and the little robots from the classic sci-fi film Silent Running, this attempt at making roaming ‘bots cute just ends up making it all that much creepier.

Why an ostrich? Only the group of four Russians calling themselves the Konstantin Ivanov could answer that question.

Using parts you might find at home and your local Radio Shack, the team set out to contstruct a walking robot on an extremely limited budget as a way of showing what they might be capable of if someone actually opened their wallet for Team Ivanov.

Total cost of Ostrich Mech? $1,500…

Expressions of horror from anyone who sees this thing marching toward them on the street?


[Konstantin Ivanov YouTube]

Real Cloak of Invisibility? Company Develops Stealth Material!

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Harry Potter had one. Frodo Baggins had one. Even Max from Disney Channel’s Wizards of Waverly Place had one.

In fact, just about every single geek on the planet at some point in their life has probably hypothesized about how cool it would be to have some kind of a cape or blanket that you could cover yourself in and become instantly invisible.


Well that might soon become a reality.

While we’re still going to have to keep to our hypothetical invisible scenarios in our grinning heads, it won’t be long until soldiers, special ops agents and even….uh…submarines…begin using something called ‘Quantum Stealth’ to get all Predator-like.

Guy Cramer, the president and CEO of Hyperstealth Biotechnology in Canada, is vaguely but loudly declaring that he’s developed an invisibility cloak-like material!

After checking his site and looking at the ‘mock-up’ photos on display, we’re secretly hoping this is a serious technology that’s about to put old-school camouflage in the closet. Poking around online to see if there was ANY hint at what Cramer is developing turned up nothing that actually shows off the technology. He’s claiming that if a soldier were wearing his top secret material you wouldn’t know he was there until you tripped over him.

Pretty bold claims considering we’ve seen this kind of promise before.

But if we know our audience? We’re guessing you’re all crossing your fingers, doing some kind of little victory dance and hoping it’s true too.


“Transformers! Roll Out!” Life-Saving, Wind-Powered Landmine Destroyer!

Friday, October 19th, 2012

The Mine Kafon (teaser) from Callum Cooper on Vimeo.

Looking like a cross between a Transformer sea anemone robot and a giant 1960s-styled light fixture in some swank space-lounge of that era, this strange-looking object is set to save a lot of lives on the battlefield.

What you’re looking at is the Mine Kafon. Created by Massoud Hassani, the Kafon is made to do something that, if we didn’t tease it in the headline for this article, you wouldn’t expect…it’s a landmine clearer.

Powered by the wind, the Kafon can take quite a bit of punishment before being retired. In the center of the porcupine-like ball is a small core ball containing a GPS sensor to track the Kafon’s whereabouts.

Designed to clear up to up to 4 landmines, Hassani is looking to begin mass-producing the Kafon once a contract is approved. Before that begins, Hassani is about to open a KickStarter to help move production of the Kafon forward. Currently it costs about $1200 (USD) to get rid of a single landmine. The cost of the Mine Kafon? Just shy of $90!

The cost of saving civilians and soldiers’ lives? Priceless.


Sperm-Extracting Machine Comes to Chinese Hospitals!

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

Because some people just can’t get the job done while locked in a room by themselves with some fun magazines or just some mental photography, some genius in China has developed something to help those people out…

The lonely Chinese scientist who created this was probably suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and couldn’t even hold a tablet that was playing his favorite movies any longer without discomfort.

(Insert your sad-face pervy scientist emoticon here)

Now this once-sad scienstist has solved ALL of his problems! This thing even has adjustable controls and a built-in dvd player so you can watch your favorite ‘films’.

Like the krill in Finding Nemo, there’s nowhere for your little swimming future-yous to go but in the perpetually slurping maw of a robot that looks like the original Pong arcade game’s second-cousin from the hills.

Clicking play on that video above will either bring laughter, what some like to call ‘cringy-I-smelled-poop’ face or a look of awe and wonder and possibilities to your precious little faces.

The director of the urology department at Zhengzhou Central Hospital said the machine was being used by infertility patients who are finding it difficult to retrieve sperm the old fashioned way.
A website which is selling the machine for $2,800 promoting it stating ‘it can give patients very comfortable feeling.’

Is this the end of prostitution? As newer versions of this machine hit the market, will the older ones find their way into dark alleys and those fun-smelling booths in the back of porn shops or will they start showing up in brothels to replace human workers as the recession keeps taking a chunk from EVERYONE’S budget?

Only time and enough oddly satisfied customers will tell.

[DailyMail UK]

Crazy Civil War Secret – The Coal Torpedo!

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

When you think of something called a torpedo, you generally think of something that looks like a missile…but in the water.

The word torpedo has morphed over the years. During the Civil War most booby traps or incendiary devices were called a torpedo….even the lumpy, meteorite-looking thing in this picture.

Surprise! That’s not actually a meteorite. It’s a coal torpedo…used by the…get ready for awesomely potential book material…Civil War Secret Service!

The thing is actually a hollow iron ball filled with gun powder, musket balls then its hole is sealed with beeswax and the entire thing is covered in coal dust. In order to sabotage the enemy’s steam-powered boats, trains and other vehicles that would make current steampunks grin like children at Willy Wonka’s place, operatives would sneak this primitive IED into the coalbox of those particular vehicles. Once shoveled into the boiler, it was only a minute or two before the explosives hidden inside ignited and things got ugly.

These things were apparently no joke when they went off either. The equivalent of four Civil War-era hand grenades, these deadly 4 inch balls of unhappiness contained around 24 musket balls nestled in gunpowder. When it went off, the shell of the coal torpedo would become deadly flying shrapnel as well. Secondary explosions caused by these things were even more disastrous once the boiler blew.

Because of their camouflaged appearance and the resulting damage caused to the original torpedo, evidence of what caused an incident completely disappeared.


Glasses Allow You to See Your Veins!

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Tech-heavy eyewear has always been something that seems like too good-to-be-true science fiction. Various accessories promising amazing visuals for your peepers have included everything from those vintage ads in comic books for X-Ray Specs to the recently buzzing Google Glasses to quantum HUD display mechanics contained in a single drop of saline dripped onto a contact lens.

Currently in their testing phase, 2AI Labs is developing a pair of glasses that allows you to see what early testers are having a hard time believing until they actually put these things on…and see their veins glowing.

The O2Amp glasses are the creation of neurobiologist Mark Changizi who came up with the idea while studying the development of color vision in primates at CalTech.

So how does this work exactly? Bionics? Special computer-controlled lenses? By bellowing latin phrases and waving a wooden stick?

Nope. Our eyes, using certain filters, are able to do this all on their own. Turns out we just have to amplify the process.

Changizi explains “that color vision evolved to sense oxygenation modulations in the hemoglobin under the skin. Once one understands the connection between our color vision and blood physiology, it’s possible to build filters that further amplify our perception of the blood and the signals it provides. ”

There are currently three different filters for the glasses:

– A vein-finder, or oxygenation-isolator, that amplifies perception of oxygenation modulations under the skin (and eliminates perception of variations in the concentration of hemoglobin),
– A trauma-detector, or hemoglobin-concentration-isolator, that amplifies perception of hemoglobin concentrations under the skin (and eliminates perception of variations in oxygenation), and
– A general clinical enhancer, or oxygenation-amplifier, that combines the best features of the first two; it eliminates neither signal (i.e., it retains perception of both variation in Hemoglobin oxygenation and concentration), and only amplifies perception of oxygenation.

Unlike Google’s somewhat infamous video of promises regarding its magical glasses, these amazing goggles are already out in the world, mainly in the medical field, and being tested by real people working in a real evironment.

The results and feedback from those that’ve worn them? Most are ready to order.

[Changizi Blog]

This Ugly Blob is the Future of New Materials

Monday, June 11th, 2012

That thing pictured over there to the right? That thing that looks like hair from your shower drain or a Giger-inspired coffee mug? It’s a living organism that just might be the future of how we harvest material for all of our tech needs.


That weird-looking thing is actually a genetically engineered living thing that, depending on the materials used to create it, produces various types of material including fiberglass and even magnetic nanoparticles.

Scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara are continually tweaking the original DNA combinations used in these things to produce not only materials which we are currently using but to produce new types of materials that hadn’t even existed before.

Remember when your grandma would crochet a sweater for you that you’d never wear? In about ten years time you’ll be crocheting a Kevlar-like sweater for your grandchildren except that instead of rolls of yarn? You’ll have a bunch of THESE things producing all your Kevlar in different colors sitting in an adorable little basket covered in holograms of geese wearing bonnets.


Man Builds Motorcycle from Car, MacGyver-Style

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

If Elon Musk and MacGyver had a love child its name would be Emile LeRay.

Emile had left Morrocco and was going to drive across the Sahara in a specially prepared Citreon. His plans came to a grinding halt when he came across a military outpost that would not allow him to continue on. He was then told that he’d have to take someone (military personel) back to the nearby city of Tam Tam to ensure he followed their orders. LeRay states that a provision in his insurance doesn’t allow for him to have passengers. He turns the Citreon around and speeds off back the way he came as fast as he could get the car to go to avoid being followed by the military.

Determined to cross the Sahara, LeRay, now out of site of the outpost and the military, heads the car in large arc back toward the Sahara and around the outpost. On his way back to the road beyond the outpost, the Citreon encountered some serious terrain. Hours and miles later, the Citreon breaks down in the middle of the Sahara.

Calling upon his inner MacGyver, LeRay formulates a plan and begins breaking apart the Citreon.

Over the course of the next twelve days LeRay transforms the Citreon into a motorcycle straight from an apocalyptic future where salvaging is the new couture.

With only a small amount of water left, LeRay’s ‘Desert Camel’ (what the bike’s been nick named) sputtered to life and, after almost two weeks living in the shelled body of the Citreon, Emile continued on his adventure.

Ironically, Emile was pulled over by the military as he neared civilization.

And not for running a military outpost…

But for driving an illegal vehicle.


Harry Potter Diary Inspired Bloody Invention that Could Save Your Life

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012
self writing diary harry potter blood invention.jpg

harry potter.jpg

You are involved in horrible car accident. Paramedics buzz around to make sure you make it to the hospital alive. You’re losing blood. If you don’t get more of the right time in you soon, things could take a turn for the worse.

But the on-the-scene help is panicked. Many are new. They have to determine your blood type in the field, a life or death decision.

Which is where Harry Potter comes in.

A brand new invention, inspired by the young wizard’s tales. It’s a piece of paper that which reveals what blood type it has come in contact with. Instant, easy to decipher and creepy as all get out.

The device consists of a sensor made from a tiny piece of paper, coated with a hydrophobic, water-repellent, layer, but four “windows” are left without it, making them prone to absorb liquid.

Each area is shaped differently; for instance, one has the shape of the letter A, another – the shape of the letter B.

These areas are filled with antibodies that interact with red blood cells, making them clump together, or agglutinate, depending on the blood type.

Not to be a picky muggle, I think they mean the inspiration for this would be Tom Riddle’s diary from Chamber of Secret, which wrote back to someone writing in it or possibly the Marauder’s Map which laid invisible until the right unlocking spell was cast.


Hedy Lamarr: How A Golden Age Movie Star’s Amateur Invention Paved The Way For Cellular Calling, Wi-Fi

Thursday, December 8th, 2011


A new biography about the remarkable life of film star and inventor Hedy Lamarr tells the story behind her idea that revolutionized the way we communicate today.

Lamarr became focused on defense innovation when a German U-Boat sank a ship of German refugees. Married to a munitions supplier to the Nazis before coming to America, she was well aware of the challenges associated with guiding torpedos to hit enemy targets using radio.

And so, the idea for how to create a more accurate signal that could not be interfered with was hatched.

Her insight was that you could protect wireless communication from jamming by varying the frequency at which radio signals were transmitted: if the channel was switched unpredictably, the enemy wouldn’t know which bands to block.

She later went on to develop the technology with fellow amateur inventor George Antheil. Although it was never utilized by the United States military for its intended purpose, the idea itself has become the bedrock for so many of our most cherished devices. Chiefly, Wi-Fi and cellular calling.

Hedy Lamarr = Awesome.

[New Scientist]