Awesome Engineering

Voice-Controlled Vehicle

Voice-Controlled Vehicle

Driving a car typically requires a mix of motor skills to steer the wheel and push the pedals. Engineer James Bruton wanted to see if he could make a vehicle that was controlled by voice. The Deepgram speech recognition API and James’ electronic circuits are fairly responsive, but the lag is enough to make for a harrowing ride.

Piano Key Testing Rig

Piano Key Testing Rig

Pianos must be able to play hundreds of thousands or possibly millions of notes during their lifetimes. This fascinating video shows how one piano manufacturer tests their mechanisms while loosening up any stiff parts before delivery. The machine has 88 “fingers” that each strike a key in rapid succession.

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Manual Typewriter Typing Robot

Manual Typewriter Typing Robot

If you’ve ever played with a vintage manual typewriter, you know how hard it can be just to hit those mechanical keys with enough force. JBV Creative built a custom robot that uses 3D-printed “fingers” and servo motors to type text and ASCII art on an old Remington Rand Office Riter. Money shot at 15:34.

Tightrope Balancing Machine

Tightrope Balancing Machine

After building several self-balancing machines, engineer James Bruton wanted to see if he could make one that could help him walk across a narrow beam. It uses a large motorized wheel that changes direction based on the angle detected by a sensor. The trick is not letting his body compensate too much for its motion.

Unmissable Basketball Hoop 4.0

Unmissable Basketball Hoop 4.0

A couple of years back, Stuff Made Here created a basketball hoop that was always in the right place to catch the ball. Now he’s back with an upgraded, cable-driven robot with six degrees of freedom so it can catch balls thrown long or short or off-axis. Like all good engineering projects, it required lots of failures along the way.

Package Tying Machine

Package Tying Machine

We always enjoy seeing how industrial machines are engineered. In this video from author and maker of things Theodore Gray, he shows off a 1963 Bunn packaging machine that was designed to quickly wrap items with string. What makes it really interesting is how it ties a knot and cuts the twine perfectly every time.

Making an Omni-Sphere Vehicle

Making an Omni-Sphere Vehicle

Engineer James Bruton is fascinated with omni-directional wheels. For this video, he set out to make a vehicle that rolls on three split-hemisphere balls which can move in any direction. He’s since added a seat to it, resulting in what is basically the world’s most powerful office chair.

Omni-Wheel Bicycle

Omni-Wheel Bicycle

An omni-wheel is a unique kind of wheel that can roll backwards, forwards, and slide side-to-side thanks to its multiple smaller wheels. Engineer James Bruton modified a bicycle that Colin Furze had previously hacked and installed a self-balancing omni-wheel on its front fork to see how it handled.

Sandwich Assembly Robot

Sandwich Assembly Robot

Mechanical engineer Kuroki Yuto and his collaborators came up with a novel use for a 3D printer mechanism – using the 3-axis machine to manipulate and assemble parts. In this video, they show how the system can be used to put together a sandwich. They used the same technique to assemble a toy car and to fold a shirt.

High-Jumping Robot

High-Jumping Robot

This 12″ tall robot can launch itself more than 100 feet into the air, making it the highest jumping robot. It stores up energy using a tiny motor and a fishing line to compress its springy legs before launch. Its lightweight feet efficiently transmit energy to the ground, and its dart-like shape once airborne helps it cut through the air.

Paper-Thin Speaker

Paper-Thin Speaker

Engineers from MIT have developed an incredibly thin and lightweight speaker that flexes like a sheet of paper. The piezoelectric speaker’s volume increases when it comes into contact with other surfaces, so theoretically, it could be used to turn entire walls into immersive, room-size loudspeakers.

Robot Mouse Aimbot

Robot Mouse Aimbot

Do you suck at first-person shooters? Kamal Carter might have the solution. He built a servo-controlled robotic rig that moves a mouse exactly where targets are by scanning the screen for specific colors. It cheats quite well in the FPS trainer AimLab, but it’ll need more work to be accurate in a real game.

Nested Circle Clock

Nested Circle Clock

Thanks to his Swiss heritage, Alexandre Chappel felt obligated to build a timepiece of some sort. So he set about making a unique tabletop clock that tells time on a series of nested circles. He used a CNC machine to cut all of the wooden gears. He should probably add a pointer, so you know where to look for the time.

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Magnetic Slime Robot

Magnetic Slime Robot

This yucky blob looks like something your dog might leave on the grass, but it’s actually a liquid robot that can be controlled by a human. AsapSCIENCE speaks with Professor Li Zhang to learn about his team’s so-called slime robot, how it works, and its potentially life-saving applications.

Carbon Fiber Strength Comparison

Carbon Fiber Strength Comparison

Carbon fiber is an amazing material, combining strength and weight efficiency. When set into resin and woven properly, it can be used to build airplanes and cars. But this clip from JPRC shows the dramatic difference in strength that carbon fiber exhibits when its fibers are pulled in a straight line versus tied into a knot.

Robot Penguins Jump Rope

Robot Penguins Jump Rope

Ricoh’s unusual Penta-X robot set a new world record for the most robot jumps in one minute. This waddle of five of conjoined penguinbots jumped rope 170 times in a row, and charmed their way into our hearts at the same time. Of course they have a long way to go to beat this human.

Tunable Chainmail

Tunable Chainmail

We’ve always been fascinated by the properties of chainmail armor and how it can flex around a body while still offering protection. Now, researchers at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University and Caltech have come up with a new kind of fabric that can be tuned from a flexible to a rigid form in an instant.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ultra Watch

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Ultra Watch

Priced at over $400,000, Bulgari’s Octo Finissimo claims the tile of the world’s thinnest mechanical watch. It measures just 1.8 mm thick, with its extremely flat mechanism set into a 40mm sandblasted titanium case. It features three subdials, a visible movement, and flat horizontal knobs for winding and setting the time.

Wall-Climbing LEGO Cars

Wall-Climbing LEGO Cars

Inspired by the LEGO car builds on the Brick Experiment Channel, the guys at Brick Technology wanted to see if they could create a motorized LEGO vehicle that could drive over a wall. It took quite a bit of trial-and-error to come up with a design that could scale even a fairly short wall, and the final vehicle is a bit of a cheat.

Chopstix: The Talking Piano

Chopstix: The Talking Piano

Engineer Mark Rober takes a look at a very special piano that can transform speech into music. Known as Chopstix, the Edelweiss player piano was modified so it can play all of its keys simultaneously. It feeds on a steady diet of MIDI files which it can play at incredibly fast speeds. It can even perform Rush E.

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LEGO Automated Toilet Paper Dispenser

LEGO Automated Toilet Paper Dispenser

Smoothly dispensing toilet paper is definitely a first-world problem. In fact, we’re not even sure it’s a problem that needs to be solved at all. But that didn’t stop LEGO maker Technic Brick from engineering a solution using a variety of gears, connectors, a motor, an ultrasonic sensor, and an Arduino controller.

Train Changes Gauges

Train Changes Gauges

You might not know it, but depending on the location, trains might roll on different gauges of tracks. That normally means railroad engines and cars can only roll on compatible width tracks. But this ingenious rail car has an undercarriage that automatically adjusts its width to adapt between 1-meter-wide and 1.43-meter-wide tracks in Switzerland.

LEGO Technic Table Saw

LEGO Technic Table Saw

It’s possible to make saw blades out of materials other than metal. GazR’s Extreme Brick Machines not only built a saw blade out of LEGO Technic parts, but an entire working table saw. It uses 14 motors to cut through objects and is definitely not something you’d want to stick your finger into. Here it is using a skinnier blade.

Bottle Cap Making Machine

Bottle Cap Making Machine

In this video from Sumitomo (SHI) Demag, they show how their El-Exis SP injection molding machine makes plastic bottle caps. Each time its molds fill with plastic, it stamps out 96 identical bottle caps, repeating the process every 1.9 seconds. We love that top-down view of all the caps falling to the production line below.

Robotic Wheelchair Lifter Arm

Robotic Wheelchair Lifter Arm

Getting around in a wheelchair poses its challenges, especially when it comes to putting your chair away after sitting in a car. The AbiLoader by AbiliQuip can lift up a wheelchair parked next to the driver’s door and stow or retrieve it from the trunk in just 25 seconds.

The Corporate Ping Pong Machine

The Corporate Ping Pong Machine

JBV Creative loves to engineer kinetic sculptures and machines using 3D-printed parts. For this interactive piece, he created a wall-mounted mechanism that represents the slow, repetitive churning of the corporate machine. It launches ping pong balls into the air and catches them in a funnel to repeat the process endlessly.

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