THE BEST Engineering

Hurricane in a Box

Hurricane in a Box

The study of extreme weather like hurricanes can help save lives and property. The engineers at the University of Miami’s Surge Structure Atmosphere Interaction Facility (SUSTAIN) have built an system which allows them to simulate hurricane force winds and water.

PyroLance

PyroLance

The PyroLance allows firefighters to spray water into a burning structure without having to break down doors, walls, or ceilings. It uses extremely high pressure to drill a hole into an adjacent space, then sprays a fine mist on the other side to reduce the temperature.

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Magnetic Modular Drones

Magnetic Modular Drones

Engineers at UPenn’s ModLab developed a network of drones which are capable of joining together mid-flight to form meta-drones to perform tasks together. The prototypes appear to use static magnets, but electromagnets could allow them to detach easily.

The Boy Who Cried “Free Energy”

The Boy Who Cried “Free Energy”

Mehdi Sadaghdar puts on his superhero guise as “The Rectifier” to debunk another ridiculous claim of “free energy,” as he crushes the hopes and dreams of a young inventor who has been making the rounds with his supposed energy-harnessing machine.

How VTOL Airplanes Work

How VTOL Airplanes Work

Airplanes that can lift off vertically, then fly horizontally are quite fascinating, doing away with the need for long and tactically-vulnerable runways. Real Engineering takes a look at the history of Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft and how they work.

Zebra DelGuard Unbreakable Pencil

Zebra DelGuard Unbreakable Pencil

One of the most annoying things about mechanical pencils is how easy it is to crack their leads. The Zebra DelGuard uses a smartly-engineered tip that dramatically reduces the likelihood of a break, no matter how hard you might press down.

World’s Steepest Funicular

World’s Steepest Funicular

Take a ride on what is now the steepest funicular railway, a marvel of engineering which lifts passengers up a mountain in Stoos, Switzerland at a crazy 110% gradient. It lifts more than 89,000 pounds nearly 2500 feet in altitude along its 1.07 mile route.

Foldable Delivery Drone

Foldable Delivery Drone

Engineers from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have developed a novel drone which can be collapsed to 1/10th of its size, and unfolds to provide a cage for carrying small items, while also protecting recipients from its spinning blades.

Bonbon Flip Sofa Bunk Bed

Bonbon Flip Sofa Bunk Bed

The cushions seem a bit on the tall side when used as a couch, but we’re still impressed with the engineering behind Bonbon’s convertible piece of furniture that goes from sofa to bunk beds in just seconds.

Primer Origami Robots

Primer Origami Robots

Engineers from MIT’s CSAIL are showing off a fascinating new robot which can walk, roll, sail, and glide, by “wearing” tiny exoskeleton outfits which allow it to perform different tasks. Its skins can be shed by dissolving them in water when it wants to move on to a new activity.

Gyroscopic Grill

Gyroscopic Grill

We’re not sure that spinning around your food on multiple axes like this helps it cook any faster or more efficiently, but you’ve got to hand it to whoever built this crazy grill has a creative mind and masterful build skills. Video via Weber Foods.

Dual-Axis Tourbillon Watch

Dual-Axis Tourbillon Watch

Sped-up footage of the insanely complex Hautlence Moebius, a $250,000 timepiece that has a tourbillon movement that spins on a second axis as it moves. Hours are displayed on a turning chain, while minutes appear on the gauge at center. Here it is at normal speed.

MULTI Vertical/Horizontal Elevator

MULTI Vertical/Horizontal Elevator

Tom Scott traveled to ThyssenKrupp’s testing facility to check out MULTI, a rope-free elevator that not only can move upwards and downwards, but sideways to change which shaft its riding using rotating tracks and linear motors. It’s kind of like the Wonkavator IRL.

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World’s Tallest Outdoor Elevator

World’s Tallest Outdoor Elevator

Located in the Wulingyuan region of Zhangjiajie, China, the Bailong (aka “Hundred Dragons”) Elevator is a 1,070 foot-tall glass elevator. While some might question the impact it has on nature, it’s an incredible feat of engineering, and provides astounding views.

Scale Master Pro Digital Measure

Scale Master Pro Digital Measure

Ever needed to build something or estimate materials off of a set of blueprints? This useful measuring tool lets you quickly get accurate linear, area, and volume calculations by rolling it across prints, even if their scale has been thrown off via copying or faxing.

Crazyswarm

Crazyswarm

Engineers from USC’s ACTLab and RESL show off a slick system for controlling numerous drones. Crazyswarm currently operates 49 Crazyflie 2.0 nano-copters, and can create coordinated aerial displays, and dynamically adapt their flight path around a tracking device.

The Future of Supersonic Flight

The Future of Supersonic Flight

Real Engineering looks at the economic and physical challenges of supersonic flight, and how Boom, a high tech startup hoping to bring back these faster-than-sound planes as a method of rapid, luxury transcontinental flight.

Electrick Touch Sensing System

Electrick Touch Sensing System

Future Interfaces Group shows off Electrick, an intriguing way to convert virtually any sort of object into a touch-sensitive surface using conductive materials or sprays, and connecting an array of electrodes. It’s not as precise as a touchscreen, but it can sense X/Y positions.

Carbon Fiber Explained

Carbon Fiber Explained

Stuff built from carbon fiber looks cool, but what makes it so amazing is its incredible ability to be manipulated to serve a variety of lightweight structural needs. Real Engineering takes a look at this awesome woven material and explains what makes it so work so well.

The Paper Centrifuge

The Paper Centrifuge

It may look like a kid’s toy, but this simple contraption made from paper and string provides scientists in less developed areas with access to a critical piece of lab equipment at virtually no cost, and with no need for electricity.

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ChainFORM

ChainFORM

Engineers from MIT Media Lab’s Tangible Media Group developed a unique tangible interface – a modular system which can change shape and color, and detect inputs anywhere along its surfaces. If we ever need a robotic pet snake or caterpillar, we know who we’re calling.

Road Roller Safety System

Road Roller Safety System

Korean firm ETI Co Ltd. has developed a road barrier that could dramatically reduce the degree of injuries from collisions. The trick is that it helps disperse impacts into rotational energy along its conveyor-like rollers. Though it could send cars flying back into traffic.

How to Build Higher

How to Build Higher

Real Engineering explores the architecture and technology which have allowed for the construction of such mega skyscrapers as the 2716 foot-tall Burj Khalifa and the 1761 foot-tall Taipei 101, and how they resist massive forces from wind vortexes.

The World’s Largest Elevator

The World’s Largest Elevator

This marvel of modern engineering at China’s Three Gorges Dam is capable of lifting 6.7 million pounds of boats, water, and people to a height of over 34 stories. It takes 40 minutes to get to the top, shaving more than 2 hours off of the previous route over the dam.

LaserStacker

LaserStacker

Engineers from the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at Germany’s Hasso Plattner Institute demonstrate an innovative use for a laser cutter – to not just cut materials, but to use their heat to weld layers together, forming fully-assembled 3D objects in the process.

Gotthard 360°

Gotthard 360°

Start out with a 360º ride through Switzerland’s Gothard Base Tunnel, then take a tour of the myriad platforms, elevators, and walkways that surround the 35.5 mile long tunnel that runs through the base of the Alps. The video is narrated in German, but it’s self-explanatory.

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