Tag Archives | Inventions

Invisibility Cloak Could Be Coming Soon With The Use Of ‘Metamaterial’

cloak_1466279cWith the invention of the iPad and driverless cars, technology has begun mimicking the images of old “futuristic” sci-fi films. Now our future may hold some inventions influenced by “magical” films, such as the Harry Potter series. BBC News reports:

Scientists in the UK have demonstrated a flexible film that represents a big step toward the “invisibility cloak” made famous by Harry Potter.

The film contains tiny structures that together form a “metamaterial”, which can, among other tricks, manipulate light to render objects invisible. Flexible metamaterials have been made before, but only work for light of a colour far beyond that which we see.

Physicists have hailed the approach a “huge step forward”. The bendy approach for visible light is reported in the New Journal of Physics.

Metamaterials work by interrupting and channelling the flow of light at a fundamental level; in a sense they can be seen as bouncing light waves around in a prescribed fashion to achieve a particular result.

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2010 Ig Nobel Prizes: Whale Snot, Socks Over Shoes, And Scientists’ Beards

4367365253_b7f9705610The 2010 Ig Nobel Prize winners (like the Nobels but better) have been announced in various categories of science. These amazing discoveries are the reason we are living in the most exciting of times. ABC News reports the results:

ENGINEERING: Karina Acevedo-Whitehouse, Agnes Rocha-Gosselin and Diane Gendron for developing a method to collect whale snot using a remote control helicopter.

TRANSPORTATION PLANNING: Toshiyuki Nakagaki, Atsushi Tero, Seiji Takagi, Tetsu Saigusa, Kentaro Ito, Kenji Yumiki, Ryo Kobayashi, Dan Bebber, Mark Fricker for using slime mold to determine the optimal routes for railroad tracks.

PHYSICS: Lianne Parkin, Sheila Williams and Patricia Priest for demonstrating that wearing socks on the outside of your shoes helps prevent slipping on ice.

PEACE: Richard Stephens, John Atkins and Andrew Kingston for confirming that swearing helps relieve pain.

PUBLIC HEALTH: Manuel Barbeito, Charles Mathews and Larry Taylor for determining that microbes cling to bearded scientists.

MANAGEMENT: Alessandro Pluchino, Andrea Rapisarda and Cesare Garofalo for demonstrating mathematically that organizations would become more efficient if promotions were made at random.

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Canadian Automaker Develops Car Made Of Hemp

weedA group of Canadian companies have come together to design an electric car, dubbed the Kestrel, with a body sculpted from a super-tough composite produced from mats of hemp. A prototype is being tested, and the first 20 Kestrel cars will be delivered next year. No word on what sort of fumes are emitted by the tailpipe. Via CBC News:

Automotive pioneer Henry Ford first built a car made of hemp fibre and resin more than half a century ago. “It’s not an original idea,” Motive Industries president Nathan Armstrong said.

The Kestrel will be prototyped and tested later in August by Calgary-based Motive Industries Inc., a vehicle development firm focused on advanced materials and technologies, the company announced.

The compact car, which will hold a driver and up to three passengers, will have a top speed of 90 kilometres per hour and a range of 40 to 160 kilometers before needing to be recharged.

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Patients Can Now Sniff-Control Wheelchairs

Paralyzed patients can now sniff out a discussion online or play a game of solitaire on the computer. A device connected to the nose allows a person to control keyboards and wheelchairs by sniffing. The National Geographic reports:

People who are paralyzed from the neck down might soon be leading themselves around by the nose—literally. A new electric wheelchair allows the severely disabled to guide their movements by sniffing into tubes.

Sniffing depends on highly coordinated motions of the back of the roof of the mouth, aka the soft palate. This region receives signals from several nerves that are often unaffected by paralytic injuries and disorders.

That means some patients with disabilities ranging from quadriplegia to “locked-in syndrome”—where a person is completely paralyzed, save for eyeblinks—retain the ability to sniff with precision.

Based on this idea, scientists with the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, devised a new sniff controller, which uses tubes placed up the nose to measure sniff-triggered changes in nasal air pressure.

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The World’s Top Inventor: Dr. NakaMats

Yoshiro "Dr. NakaMats" Nakamatsu is very well known in Japan. With more than 3300 patents he is the world record holder of patents (more than Thomas Edison, he boasts). He is about to celebrate his 80th birthday, but feels younger than ever with an enormous energy. In fact he is certain that he will live to at least 144 years old. But how will Dr. NakaMats accomplish this? The documentary film “The Invention of Dr. NakaMats” follows this extraordinary Japanese celebrity on his mission to elongate life. All the while he is creating new inventions (he says he invented floppy discs, the CD, the DVD, the karaoke machine, and lots more. Is he for real?
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Terrible Inventions Of The 1950s and ’60s

America today may resemble a turtle retreating into its shell, but the mid-twentieth century was a bolder, better time, when the U.S. was on top of the world. Life has a series of 30 misguided, disturbing, and just plain dumb inventions from this era, gadgets and gizmos which foretold a future that never came. Why didn’t the portable sauna ever catch on?

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