Some parents volunteer at their childrens’ school. Some spend hours on the floor building Lego towers. Others turn their garages into veritable robot factories for their precocious daughters.
OK, I only know of one family that’s done the latter: the Beatty clan in Asheville, NC. Father Robert and his two daughters (Camille, 13, and Genevieve, 11) are self-taught robotics engineers who began tinkering in the garage a few years ago. Now, they’ve built some replicas of NASA’s rovers that are landing in science museums. Continue reading
Malta architect William Bondin has come up with a prototype sculpture that could turn public art into malleable, moving “organisms” that respond to their environment as they change shape and position. The scaffolding-like structures would use solar energy to power light and moisture sensors that would help guide the structures as they changed position — a concept that is both delightful and unnerving. Continue reading
I’m warm all the time. It doesn’t matter how hot or cold it is inside or out, I throw off heat like an aging, leaky furnace. A few MIT engineering students apparently know how uncomfortable this can be, so they’ve developed a wrist-worn device that can regulate your body temperature using thermal pulses.
When I was a kid my parents were fairly liberal about the kinds of toys I could have, with one big constraint: whatever I got had to fit in my very small bedroom. So the massive super toys built as part of Southern Methodist University’s challenge to design the world’s tallest toy would have definitely been off limits.
When construction and maintenance crews head out to sea to work on offshore oil drilling rigs, their living quarters have to float in sometimes choppy waters. Designers and researchers at Marintek (a division of SINTEF) are testing a ship technology that can generate waves inside its own hull in order to stabilize the vessel while docked next to a rig, providing a mobile and more stable living quarters for crews. Continue reading