Did you know that the smartphone in your pocket has moving parts inside of it? Devices such as accelerometers use a hybrid of mechanical and electronic mechanisms known as MEMS. New Mind puts this fascinating and complex tech under the microscope to explain how they work, and how they’re made.
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Electron Dust shows off a nifty machine that can bounce a ping pong ball, while keeping it balanced and centered on its moving platform. It uses combination of open-source image processing software and Arduino-controlled stepper motors to work its magic. More build details here.
Over the years, we’ve broken at least a couple of those oscillating fans, but could never figure out how to fix them. Jared Owen’s insightful 3D animation could have been a big help, as he shows us exactly how its mechanisms work to keep it moving from side to side.
As long as we’re not carrying a heavy suitcase, we generally take the stairs when given a choice. But for those times when you feel like giving your legs a break, the escalator is quite the invention. Jared Owen provides an animated explanation of the inner workings of this engineering marvel that dates back to the mid-19th century.
Taking obvious inspiration from artist Theo Jansen’s Strandbeests and CARV’s earlier efforts, maker The Q fabricated himself a crazy bicycle which has no rear wheel, and instead can walk across the ground. This design appears much smoother than the one we previously saw, but by no means the fastest way to ride a bicycle.
Innfos‘ modular desktop robot is designed for scientists and hobbyists alike. Configurable with up to six axes, this robotic arm has extremely dexterous and smooth actuators can be used can be used to pick up objects up to 1kg (2.2lb), hold machining tools, or to perform other precision tasks.
Sending cargo and ships into space is extremely expensive and resource-intensive. But there’s an idea that’s been bandied about that would use endlessly-moving tethers to catapult ships into space from Earth’s orbit. Kurzgesagt explains how this relatively simple concept could dramatically improve space travel.
Smart guys Mark Rober and James Bruton show us how to game the system with engineering know-how. They recently collaborated on a special bowling ball that can consistently bowl strikes by simply leaning in the direction you want it to go after you release it down the alley.
While you might think that origami was exclusively an art form, engineers are taking inspiration from the paper-folding craft to create innovative designs that can shape-shift to fit objects to into smaller spaces, and enable compact mechanisms, while decreasing the number of parts used. Veritasium explains.
If you’ve ever been on a boat in choppy seas, you know how stomach-churning it can be. Nauti-Craft has developed an active suspension system similar to the one used to smooth out cars and trucks on bumpy rides. While it can’t totally cancel out waves, it does dramatically mitigate them.
While most airports have designed their runways to take advantage of wind patterns, some have less than optimal layouts for efficiency and safety. Real Engineering takes out a clean sheet of paper to explain what he thinks the ideal runway setup might look like.
Inspired by the ProPILOT 2.0 driver assistance tech coming to some of its cars, Nissan engineered a golf ball that drives itself to the hole once on the putting green. The ball has an internal motor and works with an overhead camera and sensors to make its way to the cup regardless of how the player hits the ball.
With the advent of pay stations and mobile parking apps, meters are becoming a rare sight. But these coin-collecting dinosaurs still have some neat mechanical bits worth exploring inside of them, as Rescue & Restore shows when he tears down a 1960s Duncan meter and makes it like new again. That shiny red coat is a thing of beauty.
Musician Jonathan Spangler and luthier Joe Glaser developed this innovative electric guitar that features a folding neck. Thanks to its ingenious mechanism, it can fit under an airplane seat, but still offers performance-quality play when unfolded. Register your interest in buying one on the Ciari website.
From the looks of things, musician, and instrument designer Wintergatan has nearly completed the build of his long-in-progress follow up to his original marble machine. After showing us the amazing marble elevator, he’s ready to play some percussion with the intricate contraption.
The Engineer Guy explains how droplets form. It happens when fluid is allowed to drip such that it takes a form with the smallest surface area – a sphere. By vibrating the fluid’s container, one can control how fast droplets form. This knowledge is used in printing, painting, and even medical applications.
One of the more dangerous jobs in the world is that of a highway construction worker, so anything that can improve their safety is worth a look. The BarrelMover 5000 is an ingeniously simple invention, capable of moving barrels while keeping workers safely inside a vehicle.
A wonderfully satisfying bit of engineering wizardry. What you’re looking at is a specialized industrial machine which spins a roll of plastic wrap around a freshly-milled steel coil until it’s fully protected for shipment. Here’s a slightly more sleepy look at a similar machine.
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