July 27, 2005

LED Array Calculator

LED series parallel array wizard

If you ever need to build an array of LEDs and don't feel like calculating the load resistors, this handy little program will do the work for you.

Posted by answerguru at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)

Spoke P.O.V.

Ian's Spoke POV

POV = Persistence of Vision. I actually designed a basic POV unit in college (back in the day), but it was for a digital design class, so used only discrete logic. These days a small embedded processor would do the trick with more finesse and flexibility....just like the little clocks that are popular these days.

Regardless, this is a POV unit that fits inside the spokes of a bicycle, with a sensor that detects the speed of rotation. The LEDs are turned on accordingly and provide a nice image as you cycle along.

Posted by answerguru at 11:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 24, 2005

What the Mac Mini is REALLY for...

PBS | I, Cringely . Mac Mini

I can't say it better than Cringely did, but I'll sum it up. The Mac Mini is about HD movie distribution....read on for his clever analysis.

Posted by answerguru at 11:15 AM | Comments (0)

January 17, 2005

3D Flash Engine

::: illogicz.com > 3D Engine for Flash MX

Nice 3D Flash engine that allows custom worlds to come to life, utilizing the drawing features within Flash. Haven't used it for a project yet, but looks to have a nice set of classes that can take the drudgery out of 3D world presentation.

Posted by answerguru at 11:47 AM | Comments (0)

January 13, 2005

Lossless Audio Compression Overview

Sudhian Media

This article presents a nice overview of lossless audio compression (WMA, FLAC, Shorten, Monkeys Audio) along with a primer on sampling rates, Nyquist, etc. A quick read that will help you backup your compression method of choice.

Posted by answerguru at 01:17 PM | Comments (0)

January 11, 2005

Guide for Linux Migration

IBM Redbooks | Linux Client Migration Cookbook A Practical Planning and Implementation Guide for Migrating to Desktop Linux

The goal of this IBM Redbook is to provide a technical planning reference for IT organizations large or small that are now considering a migration to Linux-based personal computers. For Linux, there is a tremendous amount of “how to” information available online that addresses specific and very technical operating system configuration issues, platform-specific installation methods, user interface customizations, etc. This book includes some technical “how to” as well, but the overall focus of the content in this book is to walk the reader through some of the important considerations and planning issues you could encounter during a migration project.

Posted by answerguru at 11:01 AM | Comments (0)

Digital Bubble Art

Liquid Sculpture

What do you get after you interface 100 gallons of high viscosity liquid, 249 electrovalves, a compressor, and an iMac? Very cool, 3-D bubble art of course!

The artists quote could not be more appropriate: "Analog expression with Digital technology, Digital expression with Analog elements”

Posted by answerguru at 09:24 AM | Comments (0)

December 20, 2004

Subsumption Architecture

Robot Subsumption DLC.pdf (application/pdf Object)

Brief article explaining Subsumption Architecture on a small-scale, robotic application. This architecture was originally designed by Rodney Brooks (MIT Robotics / iRobot fame) and used in many of groundbreaking studies.

What is it? Basically, it's a method of programming that uses a series of finite state machines (FSMs) to exhibit higher level behavior from very simple behaviors. The more important behaviors subsume the lower ones.

Posted by answerguru at 08:41 AM | Comments (0)

November 12, 2004

How It Works: The Computer

How It Works...The Computer

An online (scanned) copy of both the 1971 and the 1971 edition of How It Works: The Computer. Watch in amazement as it describes the inner workings of the Magnetic Drum (for storage), the original punchcard systems, and more!

Posted by answerguru at 08:28 AM | Comments (0)

November 08, 2004


Features - features.engadget.com

Engadget features a solid eclectic and modern range of tech gadgets, musical equipment from the past, and other odd pieces of tech voodoo. One thing that caught my eye, was the Fairlight CMI Synthesizer, circa mid 1980s(?) - a $50,000 programmable keyboard that was lightyears ahead of its time.

Also of note is the Nixie tube wristwatch which is built by one of the guys on the Nixie list that I'm a part of...cool!

Posted by answerguru at 09:15 AM | Comments (0)

November 05, 2004

More Robotic Art

Carl Pisaturo

A nice selection of robotic / computer controlled pieces of artwork. One of the most interesting is his complex method of actuation using fine steel cable assemblies that are routed through joints and rotational assemblies.

Posted by answerguru at 03:56 PM | Comments (0)

October 07, 2004

3D LED Display

JAMES CLAR - Interactive Lighting Design and Retail Environments.

Another unique lighting display...this one actually takes an idea I had some years ago and brings it to life! 1000 LEDs in a three dimensional grid are controlled via computer to display various animations, graphs, and other eye-benders.

Unfortunately, I think his design (as evidenced by the previous versions) leaves something to be desired from a technical standpoint. A mess of cables is surely *not* the elegant solution to making this a really functional or ultimately expandable piece.

I envision a group of multiplexed microcontrollers addressing the array via a serial bus (CAN / SPI / I2C)....

Posted by answerguru at 09:03 AM | Comments (0)

October 02, 2004

David Merrill's Handy References

David Merrill

Handy page of "science meets art" references. A personal favorite is Tim Hunkin's page where he has built some really fun coin-op amusement booths.

Posted by answerguru at 07:49 PM | Comments (0)

September 22, 2004

High Tech Practical Jokes?

Evil Genius Hoaxes

Tech pranks and other theoretical, humorous musings. I think it may be a good idea to look into a few of these for further investigation. Just keep it safe folks, just keep it safe.

Posted by answerguru at 08:13 PM

More Propeller Clocks

My Blick Propeller Clock Design

After seeing the original propeller clocks a few years ago, I was happy to see some folks taking it to the next level...check out the links at the bottom of the page!

(and I promise more great posts soon!)

Posted by answerguru at 09:52 AM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2004

Klein Bottles

Acme Klein Bottle

Ok, so a lack of posts recently is finally over...check out the very nice klein bottles for purchase here. What's a Klein bottle? Well, if you have to ask it probably isn't all that interesting for you. Suffice it to say that it has to do with building a one sided object in four dimensions or something like that.

Most notable is the significant effort to create the Giant Klein bottle.

Posted by answerguru at 08:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 14, 2004

Phoebe's Surprise

Cassini-Huygens Home

Well the first pics are in from the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and Titan...and they are really amazing. Currently the mission is in it's beginning phases of exploration and has just sent back pictures from Phoebe as well as data from all 11 scientific instruments.

"With the Phoebe accomplished, Cassini is on course for Saturn. A trajectory correction maneuver is scheduled for June 16. Cassini will conduct a critical 96-minute burn before going into orbit around Saturn on June 30 (July 1 Universal Time). During Cassini's planned four-year tour it will conduct 76 orbits around the Saturn system and execute 52 close encounters with seven of Saturn's 31 known moons."

Some info on the Cassini-Hurgen spacecraft and another article with background on its mission.

Posted by answerguru at 11:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 04, 2004

Curta Calculators

The CURTA Calculator Page

Well, I've found a new item to lust after - the Curta Calculator. These amazing, mechanical items were envisioned by a prisoner of a Nazi concentration camp and then brought to life after he was released.

What is it? A mechanical, hand-cranked calculator that is very compact and quite a piece of wizardry inside - and was covered by around 16 distinct patents.

How complicated? See the dissassembly of one into it's 605 parts. Mind you, the Curta is about 2.5" in diameter and only 4" tall.

They were made from the 1940s through the 1970s and are really a high quality item....apparently the designer kept extremely high manufacturing standards. I believe they contain no? plastic and all non-ferrous parts.

Accordingly, they fetch quite a pretty penny these days - I've seen prices ranging from $500 to over a $1000. I'll be keeping my eyes open for a seller that will unknowingly give me a deal of the century....

The operating manual and a Flash Curta simulator along with another Curta simulator.

Let me know if you come across one or have ever used one....

Posted by answerguru at 09:31 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 07, 2004

Flash Art and Interaction

Liquid Journey

This site is a brilliant exploration of (often) interactive computer art using Flash. Areas of interest include clever mouse trailers, fractal art and tree generation, and AI "animals" that interact with the mouse / cursor.

All of the source files are free for download and modification with a quick registration.

Posted by answerguru at 09:13 AM | Comments (0)

May 02, 2004

Icon Overview

300 Images From 1800 Sites

A collection of icons and images from a variety of mainstream sites that portray a nice range of graphic styles for:

- arrows
- posts
- comments
- mail
- bullets
- print
- carts and bags

Useful reference for any graphic interface.

Posted by answerguru at 03:48 PM | Comments (0)

April 30, 2004

The Geek's Geek

phillip m. torrone | flashenabled.com | ...the best way to predict the future is to invent it

Phillip Torrone.....lots of interesting "new tech" experiments and thoughts on his side. Definitely worth a look.

Posted by answerguru at 04:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 19, 2004

Profitable Inventing

Sparking the Fire of Invention

MIT Tech Review article details various startups that are "invention only" firms.....that aren't mired in the red tape of corporate R&D. Profiled is Invention Science which was recently started by Nathan Myhrvold - former head of Microsoft Research Technology.

Also mentioned:

Walker Digital
Invent Resources
Generics Group
Sarcos Research
Deka Research and Development

Posted by answerguru at 08:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 07, 2004

Funker Hearse

Funker Hearse

So, I saw this hearse during the Manitou Springs, Coffin Races Parade. (which is a whole other story) Just recently it came into discussion, and I received a link with all of these great photos, flamethrowe, body armor and all.

Posted by answerguru at 10:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 29, 2004

Art meets Technology: again

Art projects

Another creative venture that explores how technology can be designed into a fine piece of art - and an interactive one at that. Danial Rozin has created a series of pieces, two of which I find really intriguing - Shiny Balls Mirror and Wooden Mirror.

Both of these projects utilize a video camera which images anything in front of the "mirror" and then via computation reduces the size to an appropriate number of pixels and grayscale values. This data is then represented in a unique fashion.....in the case of the Wooden Mirror via a grid of actuated wooden tiles that reflect light at various intensities thereby replicating the image in front of it. (hence the mirror) With the Shiny Balls Mirror a grid of chrome balls are slid in and out of tubes to create a similar, but very unique effect.

Posted by answerguru at 09:11 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 10, 2004

Berkeley Robotics Lab

UC Berkeley Human Engineering Laboratory

Lots of great robotics going on here....robots that help the human body, unique methods of locomotion, novel power devices, etc.

Posted by answerguru at 06:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 08, 2004

World of Physics

Eric Weisstein's World of Physics

Nice physics reference site.....you know that one formula is out there, but you just can't remember it. No longer.

Posted by answerguru at 02:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 04, 2004

Bubble Fusion


Can nuclear fusion happen with the aid of some ultrasonic bubbles? RPI, Oak Ridge National Labs, and the Russian Academy of Science think they've already concluded its presence in their experiments.

Wil it hold up to the test of peer review or will it go the way of cold fusion? Stay tuned....

Posted by answerguru at 10:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 03, 2004

Micro Piezo Gyros

DPRG: Low Cost Gyro-Accelerometer Combo Sensor

While the Quad-Copter project is always in the back of my mind, I ran across an article detailing how a guy from DPRG built his own gyro / accelerometer board to interface directly with a microcontroller. Nice work....except I would need to expand it to cover 3 axes.

Posted by answerguru at 10:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 02, 2004

Broadband from your Electric Outlet

Cinergy plugs in as Web provider

Cinergy, the electric company for an area of Ohio, is the first to rollout Internet access over your existing household electric system. By just plugging your adapter into the nearest wall outlet, upload and download speeds of 1 megabit per second can be attained. Plus, it's only $29.99 per month!

I'm just hoping this could force the DSL and cable monopolies of the world to drop their prices as well.

Posted by answerguru at 04:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 01, 2004

Micro Helicopter


Pixelito is a 6.9 GRAM micro helicopter, hand built by this guy in Europe. Very nice work.

Posted by answerguru at 08:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 26, 2004

Future of Prototyping

ONE PAS, INC.: Welcome

One Pas has introduced a patented line of really cool prototyping boards. I've recently been through the hassle of prototyping a circuit I drew up - I wish I had known about these! Instead of the standard grid format, One Pas has staggered the layout giving us an easier way to place components in a logical fashion.

Can't wait to try them out on my next project.

Posted by answerguru at 01:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Forth: Learning an old Language


Some of the original works on Forth, presented here on the web. I'm working with a Mini-Pod from New Micros that is very powerful but I need to learn more about Forth....which is what their IsoMax language is based on.

Posted by answerguru at 11:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 17, 2004

DIY Camcorder Housing

Low Income Housing - Build Your Own Waterproof Camcorder Housing

Very nice article on building your own waterproof camcorder housing. I've looked into these previously and have found that they are quite expensive.....this particular one would work for most wet situations, but I'm not sure how well it would work for a caving situation. The advantage of the factory made PVC bag-types is the ease of manipulation of all camcorder controls. With this model you only have control of the features that you build specialized actuators for.

Still, a very nice design that seems quite functional. For around $60 too.

Posted by answerguru at 08:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 29, 2004

Robotic Graffiti: Brilliant


Hektor is a robotic spray paint graffiti artist that is capable of huge mural-sized paintings. The premise is simple, as it uses only 2 motors and lines to control the 2 dimensional motion of the spray can....lots of pictures, a very well written PDF on it's design, and a movie clip of it in action.

Nicely done.

Posted by answerguru at 01:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 28, 2004

Serpentine Robotic Arm

Macro Snake Projects | Sensor Based Planning

Multi-joint articulated arm. How many Degrees of Freedom does this thing have?

Also some nice videos of it in action.

Posted by answerguru at 10:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 04, 2004

Pic Projects: Sample set of fun stuff

Electronics projects with PIC, sensors, LCD, USB, US , IR & wireless radio modules.

Wireless Data modules
Mini-graphics LCD
Ultrasonic Rangefinder
Real Time clock
Electronic Compass

Posted by answerguru at 10:57 PM | Comments (0)

DIY Portable MP3


The title says it all.

Posted by answerguru at 10:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 03, 2004

DIY Scanning Electron Microscope

Schüler STM

Build your own SEM / STM! Full plans and design notes in an open-source-ish format to build a Scanning Tunneling Microscope. I'd like to sit down and do a quick cost estimate - just to know how much it would realistically take.

Posted by answerguru at 10:55 PM | Comments (0)

Spirit Landing Reports

Spaceflight Now | Destination Mars | Mission Status Center

Follow along with a minute by minute description of the Spirit (Mar's explorer mission). Reading makes me think of old coverage of lunar missions....

The following is an excerpt that highlights the very important landing sequence - you'll surely be sitting on the edge of your seat.

(well, ok, maybe not exactly, but it's still cool)

Read from the bottom up for the best effect!

0453 GMT (11:53 p.m. EST)
The Mission Control room is a wild place at the moment with handshakes, screams and some very happy tears.

0452 GMT (11:52 p.m. EST)
SPIRIT IS ALIVE ON MARS! A "very strong signal" is now being received from the Spirit rover from the Gusev Crater on the surface of the Red Planet!

0451 GMT (11:51 p.m. EST)
The radio telescope at Stanford University reports it may have received signal from the lander at the time it would have been on the surface.

0450 GMT (11:50 p.m. EST)
Meanwhile, the controllers for the Mars Global Surveyor orbiter report they may have received data from Spirit after the planned landing time. The orbiter was flying over the landing site at the time of descent and touchdown.

0448 GMT (11:48 p.m. EST)
Spirit is scheduled to begin transmitting tones from the surface in one minute.

0445 GMT (11:45 p.m. EST)
Now 10 minutes after the touchdown on Mars, officials are still waiting for some signal from Spirit. The lander should have rolled to a stop by now.

0440 GMT (11:40 p.m. EST)
The wait is underway at the control center to hear further information from Spirit to confirm it has survived all of the bounces and come to a safe position on Mars.

0437 GMT (11:37 p.m. EST)
Now there is no signal from Spirit. Controllers received an initial indication that the craft was on the surface and bouncing. But that link has now been lost.

The bounces will continue for a few minutes and then the craft will roll up to a kilometer from its initial touch down point before coming to rest.

0436 GMT (11:36 p.m. EST)
Mission Control has received indications from the spacecraft that it is bouncing on the surface inside its airbags.

0436 GMT (11:36 p.m. EST)

0435 GMT (11:35 p.m. EST)
Spirit should have inflated its airbags and fired retrorockets before impacting the Martian surface.

Airbags will cushion the landing that occurs at any moment.

"This is the fun part," Manning says. "The vehicle is designed for bouncing. The airbags do a great job of protecting the vehicle, coconing it over lots of complicated surfaces -- complicates rocks and terrain shapes. We are very confident these airbags will do a great job."

0434 GMT (11:34 p.m. EST)
"The heat shield has protected us but now we don't need it," Manning says "We have to undress ourselves. So the lander is now free to rappel down a 20-meter bridle. Once we are in this configuration, this is a great configuration to be in for the lander to both see the surface with a camera and to use a radar to detect its altitude.

"When we get to the right altitude, the airbags are inflated. Now we are ready to fire the retrorockets to bring the system to a dead stop from about 180 mph to zero about 12 meters above the ground.

"At this point we bounce and bounce and bounce. Just like Pathfinder, we will bounce maybe as much as a kilometer or more from where we let go of the bridle."

0434 GMT (11:34 p.m. EST)
No longer needed, the heat shield has been jettisoned, exposing the lander inside the descent module.

0434 GMT (11:34 p.m. EST)
Chute is out! Mission Control has detected indication of parachute deployment.

0433 GMT (11:33 p.m. EST)
Having slowed to 1,000 mph, the spacecraft will deploy its supersonic parachute at this point in the descent.

0431 GMT (11:31 p.m. EST)
Deceleration continues as the spacecraft plunges through the atmosphere.

0431 GMT (11:31 p.m. EST)
"The temperature just outside the heat shield gets very close, if not more, than the temperature of the surface of the Sun. It is very hot! Inside it stays relatively cool, it barely gets above room temperature," Rob Manning says of what the spacecraft should be experiencing during the entry.

0431 GMT (11:31 p.m. EST)
The Spirit lander is now transmitting a tone that tells Mission Control is it decelerating at one-to-three g's.

0430 GMT (11:30 p.m. EST)
Entry is a bit shallow, Mission Control reports. But that is "nominal."

0430 GMT (11:30 p.m. EST)
The navigation team reports they detect entry into the atmosphere. Altitude is 46 miles, traveling at Mach 27 at 12,175 mph.

Posted by answerguru at 10:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 29, 2003

More Art Robots and Machines

SRL - Survival Research Labs

Some more terrific exploitations of "big science" by "Survival Research Labs". In particular, they have attempted to create a Flame Hurricane with a five (150 lbs thrust) pulsejets and a gasoline injection of 1.5 gpm at 1000 psi.

Also, a Pitching Machine that hurls 6 foot 2 X 4s at 120 mph, powered by a 500 cubic inch engine.

Finally, how about rebuilding a V-1. Yes that V-1 rocket / missile which the Germans built during WW2.

Posted by answerguru at 08:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


WONDERMAGNET.COM - NdFeB Magnets, Magnet Wire, Books, Weird Science, Needful Things

A ferrofluid is a stable colloidal suspension of sub-domain magnetic particles in a liquid carrier....basically it's a magnetic liquid. When it's exposed to a magnetic field the very small particles within it take the shape of the magnetic field. Accordingly, the fluid becomes more dense as the flux increases and vice versa.

Also used as a dampener, often in loudspeakers and on CD / DVD laser heads.

They also have it for purchase.

Posted by answerguru at 01:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 26, 2003

Hacking OnStar

Access your Onstar

With these instructions, you can be on your way to OnStar freedom! No more $400 a year fees, just unfettered access to the GPS signal and the mapping software of your choice. I always assumed that this was possible....just never did any research into it.

Posted by answerguru at 02:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 21, 2003

High Altitude Robotic Glider

High Altitude Glider Project

Home built, high altitude robotic glider -- ascend to 75,000 feet (via helium balloon), release, glide down (via computer control), taking photos and sending back telemetry data. When it hits 500 feet or so, pop a shoot and land safely....

Nice work - except he recently lost it on the latest flight (high winds, mountains, etc).

Posted by answerguru at 11:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 20, 2003

Atomic Zombie: Extreme Machines

AtomicZombie - Extreme Machines!!

This guy has worked on some great projects...I personally like his bicycle work the best. He's built the worlds tallest bicycle (Guinness Book certified) at 15 feet tall, a really nice recumbent style, and some other crazy bike inventions. More importantly, he's published a book about how you can do it too!

Regarding his "robots" - not really my style of things. They are nicely built and heavy duty, but appear to lack the intelligence / programming aspect of real robotics. Basically, well crafted remote controlled beasts.

Posted by answerguru at 06:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 18, 2003

Sony QRIO Robot

The new QRIO Robot from Sony has really made some amazing strides.

First, it can walk and "run" (more like a slow jog) with dynamic walking motion - which means it's center of gravity is not restricted to a safe zone within it's footprint. Basically, it walks much more fluidly like a human than like a typically robot (with a static based walking program).

Second, it's able to respond intelligently to being pushed or having the surface under it's feet uneven. If you give it a push, it will take a step in the same direction to counteract the force. If you push it too hard, it will sense an impending fall and immediately switch to a safe mode so it can fall in a controlled (safe) fashion. It will then right itself back to a standing position.

Third, it can go up and down stairs. Granted since the little guy isn't so big, the stairs can't be that big...but still another nice *step* forward.

I think you'll see more intricate robots of this nature in the next few years....

Posted by answerguru at 08:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 03, 2003

Rodent Power

Hamster-Powered Night Light

Fun report on how to build a low RPM alternator so your hamster / mouse / rodent can power little lights all by himself...

Posted by answerguru at 06:39 AM | Comments (0)

November 19, 2003

False Gods : Techno Art

False Gods Productions

Some really excellent technology-art...I personally like the BucketHead and WaterBoy displays the best.

Also a list of art and robotics artists....highlighting such artists as:

Amorphic Robot Works

and Beatriz da Costa

Posted by answerguru at 11:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 17, 2003

CryptoGuru: Bruce Schneier


Bruce Schneier is what The Economist calls a "security guru" and is the author of Applied Cyptography, Secrets and Lies, and his recent book Beyond Fear which tackles the problem of security both personal and national.

He also publishes the very interesting free e-newsletter Crypto-Gram. After a few minutes of reading I found how to fly on someone elses plane ticket and that it's cheap and easy to fool fingerprint readers (scroll down to the letter by Ton can der Putte). Lots of quality info....

My personal favorite? An article detailing how to run a real life Denial of Service with the US Postal Service for free. Even funnier, is that it was done spam king Alan Ralsky courtesy of some /. folks.

Posted by answerguru at 08:37 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Unique ID....really?

Unique ID - The numbers that control your life

Alan De Smet wrote a nice article detailing how they generate some of the "unique numbers" that control your life. He decodes 7 state driver's licenses and what kind of data is included within your ID number....

Also links on using an algorithm to validate a credit card number.

Posted by answerguru at 08:21 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 10, 2003

The Art of Burning Man

Burning Man

I've had a long time fascination with large art installments, especially if they are technology oriented. The Art of Burning Man provides a look into some of the more interesting, self-funded group toys and experiments recently created.

Spin is a technology that I did experiments and designs with while getting my BSEE degree.

Lights 2000 worked with a large array of 2000 orange pods that users could control through a remote panel to form huge displays.

Dr. MegaVolt is performance art with Tesla coils and a wire mesh bodysuit.

Beaming Man is a 4000 foot tall body projection that used 3 green lasers totally 13 Watts of projection power.

Telestereoscope is one of my favorite ideas and utilizes a set of mirrors and optics to simulate vision if your eyes were 3 meters apart instead of 2 inches.

Posted by answerguru at 07:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 05, 2003

Homebrow Robotics Notebook

Chuck's Robotics Notebook

Chuck McMannis is the President of the Silicon Valley Homebrew Robotics Club. Cool. He also has a great webpage on robotics with some interesting projects, asides, and other notes. Also some good info on casting plastics with Alumilite.

Good info on Wheel Encoders , quadrature, and feedback for robotics as well.

Posted by answerguru at 02:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 24, 2003

Invention Contest: Staples

Staples Invention Quest

Staples (yes, the office warehouse) is running an Invention Quest for new office products. Grand Prize: $25,000 plus a trip for 2 to the finals in NY plus an option for royalties from selling the idea as a Staples exclusive. (for 1 year) 11 Finalists also receive $5,000 and a trip for 2 to the finals.

Entries must be postmarked by 11/21/03 and received by 11/28/03. All faxed entries must be received by 11:59:59 PM ET on 11/21/03.


We welcome ideas in the following categories:
- Adhesives, clamps/clips, staplers
- Binders, clipboards
- Computer accessories
- Cutting instruments (scissors, punches, etc.)
- Day planners, calendars
- Desktop accessories
- Envelopes, packaging, shippers
- File folders, pockets
- Labels, label makers
- Paper, note & message pads, cards
- Presentation & planning boards
- Storage & organization
- Telephone accessories
- Writing & drawing instruments and accessories

For the purposes of this contest, Staples is NOT interested in books, business machines (faxes, photocopiers, shredders, etc.), calculators, computers (except accessories), electronic media (videos, DVDs, CDs, etc.), food items, furniture (desks, chairs, file cabinets, shelves, etc.), janitorial products, heating and cooling products, PDAs, software, and telephones (except accessories). Inventions that fall into these categories will be disqualified. Invention ideas that fall into other office supply categories not specifically included or excluded above will be considered at the sole discretion of the judges.

Posted by answerguru at 01:31 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Robotics and Controllers

I've been thinking about robotics quite a bit recently, no thanks to Flesh and Machines by MITs Rodney Brooks and a link about BEAM robots sent to me from Audoen.

Now I've found lots of other interesting stuff including:

Single Board Computers & Peripherals These look like terrific, prebuilt controllers with some specialized software on them. They have the option of running IsoMAX a high level, concurrent process OS and a version of FORTH which has been used in robotics for some time.

In particular, check out the CANipede which uses 6 of their modules. Unfortunately, the modules aren't cheap but they very well could save you a large amount of development time (and we all know tha Time is Money).

Finally the HOAP-2 from Fujitsu Automation does some pretty amazing things. Check out the movie clips they have.

Posted by answerguru at 11:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 23, 2003

DraganFlyer Update

Well the guys at RCToys have updated the specs on the Draganflyer - it's now the Draganflyer IV. The flight time is up to 15-20 minutes which they achieved by using lithium-polymer batteries and some optimized rotors.

There was some research done with version III to demonstrate automated flight patterns.

Also a mention of a robotics guy who built a handmade prototype for a Draganflyer (November 2002 - Dallas Personal Robotics Group)

Posted by answerguru at 04:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 17, 2003

Nixie Clocks - Retro-Cool-Fun

Nixie Clock gallery

Great link to a gallery of "Nixie Clocks". What's a Nixie you ask? They are neon-filled numeric displays, also known as 'numicators', with 10 cathodes shaped like numbers. Think of it like an old transistor tube with number-shaped neon lights inside. They were popular in equipment in the late 60s and early 70s.

I'll put this project in burner for a future build. They would make a great gift....

Great source for nixie tubes

Posted by answerguru at 12:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 28, 2003

DIY Segway

Building a Balancing Scooter

As an engineer, I find the beautifully made Segway very catchy as both a design piece and as a fine piece of engineering. Well this engineer has built his own model, for about $2K. It isn't as pretty as the Segway, nor quite as user friendly, but as a functional examination it does a great job.

His company also looks mildly interesting, but it has a great list of robotics links.

Posted by answerguru at 10:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 24, 2003

Automated Parking Garage

Space-Age Garages That Save Space

This is a great idea that's taken far too long to come to the US - especially in cramped places like Manhattan. I've parked my car in one two many tight garages with bad attendants and lines of cars, etc....

Posted by answerguru at 08:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 19, 2003

Class Action Lawsuit against Hard Disc Drives

Yahoo! News - Computer Makers Sued Over Hard-Drive Size Claims

Hehe....someone finally is suing over something that's obvious to us geeks out there. ie 20GB drives can only hold 18GB and 150GB drives can only hold 140GB. (approximately)

Call them on the carpet about their decimal and binary conversions....

Posted by answerguru at 03:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 10, 2003

Andrew Glassner: Graphics Genius at Work

Andrew Glassner's Home Page

Just a quick link for now, more thoughts later on why I think this guy is cool.

Posted by answerguru at 07:13 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 30, 2003

To See after 43 Years of Blindness

Mike May regains his sight after 43 years of blindness

Mike May has had an experience that very few people ever will....regaining some of his vision after being blind since the age of three. What follows is a journal account of how his vision has improved, how his brain has "learned" to see again, and how vision plays (or doesn't play) a role in everyday life.

For more accounts of this amazing story, see his full journal at Mike May's website, where his company also produces GPS and other technology aids for the blind.

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August 25, 2003

X-Inventions: High powered Toys

X I N V E N T I O N S . C O M

This guy (kid? - he *is* in college) has made some serious upgrades to toys I used to build....in particular the spud gun. His latest model is semi-automatic with a bolt-action style loader and removable CO2 tank for power.

Posted by answerguru at 09:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 24, 2003

Collection of Science Toys ~fUn~

SCIENCE HOBBYIST: Interesting Toys

This is a nice list of some recent tech / science / cool toys including:

- Airzooka (fires an invisible air ring)
- Coffee Cup Stirling Engine
- Smoke ring launcher
- Intel Video Microscope (only $50)


Posted by answerguru at 10:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 13, 2003

Home Audio Server: Your Jukebox

This guy surely has the right idea, building a Wireless Audio Jukebox that can serve his CDs wirelessly throughout his house. Not only that, he can control the playlist from ANY PC in his house, stream from ANY PC in the house, and have separate playlists for different areas. Pretty cool....now if I only find the time to set this up.

Posted by answerguru at 07:46 AM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2003

MIT Courses for the Masses

MIT OpenCourseWare | OCW Home

Kudos to MIT! First open-source OS, then open-source programs, now OPEN-SOURCE MIT COURSES!! I read a nice article about this in Wired...folks from all over the world are logging on to "take" these MIT courses for free....they call it OpenCourseWare.

From the article, it seems that a number of students from universities around the world are using them as an adjunct to their curriculum - and it's really helping them excel. I'm definitely going to investigate what they are offering and take a few myself.....

One of the most noted ones is a EE and CS core course, called 6.170 Laboratory in Software Engineering. Seems it really helps lots of folks write better code....hmm....maybe it would help me write better code....

Posted by answerguru at 02:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 07, 2003

Ornithopter Flight

The O-Zone Ornithopters

Full page on various research into ornithopter (or flapping wing) flight. Also includes live video and some free plans for building your own working models.

Posted by answerguru at 11:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Color Photos: Circa 1900?

Some really stunning color photos from the very early 1900s. What, there was no color film back then....you are correct! However, the brilliant Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii developed a method for color slides projections that involved three negatives, each using a separate red/blue/green filter. Through modern day digichromatography they have been presented in full color for our viewing - for the first time to the public by the Library of Congress.

Pretty cool seeing color photos of things we have only seen in black and white previously.

Some background

All the Color Images

All Images

Posted by answerguru at 11:40 AM | Comments (0)

June 05, 2003

DIY Cruise Missile

Interesting Projects

This amateur inventor/builder in New Zealand had written an article on building a Do-It-Yourself Cruise Missile from "off the shelf" parts on a limited budget. People said it couldn't be done....so he set out to build one on his own, on a $5,000 budget.

I'll be following along to see if he is successful...

Posted by answerguru at 04:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 20, 2003

Digital Rights Management

Digital Rights Management: For Better Or For Worse?

Nice article profiling the current state of Digital Rights Management (DRM). Dr. Stamp discusses the current state of DRM usage (and non-usage) and where it is appropriate. He also touches on hardware methods for DRM and how they are also likely to fail. Finally, and in my opinion most importantly, he looks at the business models that can sustain DRM in a real world.

Unfortunately, the RIAA and MPAA don't think they live in the real world.

Posted by answerguru at 01:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 19, 2003

Extreme Tech: A Website

ExtremeTech - Deep technology for enthusiasts and professionals

After reading a few articles (Future of 3D Graphics, among others), this site really delivered when it came to the technical description and analysis of the topic at hand. I'll definitely be checking back from time to time for updates, and I'll be using it as a reference for future tech searches.

Posted by answerguru at 12:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 08, 2003

E-Nose to Sniff out Lung Cancer

Electronic nose sniffs out cancer'

In a test group of 60 patients, half with lung cancer, this electronic nose was able to indentify every patient by a simple breath exhalation and analysis test. This could make a great screening test, if nothing else....the real question is how much cancer must there be before it is able to detect it?

Also: Dogs Sniffing Prostate Cancer

Posted by answerguru at 10:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Behind the Special Effects of Matrix Reloaded

Taking 'Matrix' to the next FX level - May. 8, 2003

Nice article detailing some of the work behind the special effects for the upcoming "Matrix Reloaded" and "Matrix Revolution" sequals to be released this year.

Also, another Matrix Reloaded article

Posted by answerguru at 09:46 AM | Comments (2)

since when

...are rebelays and knots considered "technical difficulties"?

the imo website today made me want to cry or laugh, i'm not sure which. and why does it come with two non-locking carabiners? for me the longe lunga gets attached straight to the ascender, and locked...

see the ad for GGG cowtails, about halfway down the page. then tell me that when cavers expect newbies to negotiate rebelays on their third cave trip ever, they're just a technical difficulty. ahh, american rope techniques...

Posted by mrenwick at 04:12 AM | Comments (2)

May 07, 2003

A Legendary Ad from Honda

Lights! Camera! Retake!

Can you imagine shooting 606 takes for a car commercial? Neither can I, but take at look at this amazing ad for the Honda Accord.

No special effects tricks were used...this is a real life Rube Goldberg setup that is truly amazing in its execution. The related article describes some of the madness that went into it - including the huge budget of about $4 million.

"The bigshots at Honda's world headquarters in Japan, when shown Cog for the first time, replied that yes, it was very clever, and how impressive trick photography was these days. When told that it was all real, they were astonished."

Posted by answerguru at 11:20 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 24, 2003

GPS Jammer: Build your own


Little article on how to build your own GPS jamming device: component source and schematics.

Also, here's an article that discusses whether this is a problem or not.....hehe.

For all those comments looking for the schematic, just read the article first! It's there, but you have to do a little work to extract it. People are so lazy sometimes, I can't stand it.

Posted by answerguru at 04:48 PM | Comments (7)

April 18, 2003

BioBlocs: Build an AI Walking Machine

___ www.bioBloc.net ___

Brilliant Java Applet that lets you construct your own 3D "creature" and then using neural networks and learning algorithms it will learn to walk, turn left, turn right, etc.


One note, he's a French guy so the English translation isnt' too good.

Posted by answerguru at 06:14 PM | Comments (0)

Rocket Guy: inventor and more

Brian Walker, Rocket Guy: Project R.U.S.H., Inventions, Toys, Pioneer

Personal website for the "Rocket Guy" who is seriously building a personal rocket that will launch him into space (30 miles up). He's been working on the project for a number of years and the progress he's made looks quite good.

In addition, he has apparently made some serious money as a toy designer since this is how he's been funding the project. If you look on the Toys page you'll find he built such items as the:

Air Bazooka
Light Chaser (popular at Disney)
(among other things)

Sounds like a great gig to me.

Posted by answerguru at 05:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 16, 2003

2003 Webby Award Nominees

The Webby Awards: 2003 Nominees

Pretty much the all around best and most influential sites out on the web right now.

Posted by answerguru at 08:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

SodaPlay: Still one of THE best Flash Concepts


SodaPlay is an interactive soda-straw constructive design interface where you can play with other constructions, build your own constructions, and more.

The models have fixed nodes, movable nodes, elasticity / muscle struts, and more.

A true time waster for the engineer, builder, and child within each of us.

More detailed entry to follow....visit the site!

Posted by answerguru at 08:12 PM | Comments (0)

April 14, 2003

Solar Future?

CNN.com - Solar cells less pricey, more efficient - Apr. 14, 2003

Every minute, the sun bombards Earth with enough energy to supply its power needs for a year. Yet only two one-hundredths of a percent of all the electricity fed into the U.S. grid originates from sunlight.

Now wouldn't it be nice to harness that power for everyday use....granted it might not work in Seattle, but plenty of the US gets ample sunlight...

Posted by answerguru at 10:59 AM | Comments (0)

March 31, 2003

Recording Streaming Audio

TechTV | Capture Internet Audio Streams

So, a few months ago there was a concert streaming on the net that I wanted to record -- nothing illegal with that, as band encourages people to tape their shows....I just happened to be in another state. I checked around the web and finally came up with a solution....it worked, but the software was kind of lame, namely the user interface.

This link however, gives you a full range of solutions. Record ON!

Posted by answerguru at 05:28 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 28, 2003

New Sky Survey Online


The 2MASS (Two Micron All Sky Survey) was recently completed and more than 4 million pictures have been put online for public use. To achieve these goals, 2MASS has uniformly scanned the entire sky in three near-infrared bands to detect and characterize point sources brighter than about 1 mJy in each band, with signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) greater than 10, using a pixel size of 2.0". This has achieved an 80,000-fold improvement in sensitivity relative to earlier surveys.

2MASS used two highly-automated 1.3-m telescopes, one at Mt. Hopkins, AZ, and one at CTIO, Chile. Each telescope was equipped with a three-channel camera, each channel consisting of a 256×256 array of HgCdTe detectors, capable of observing the sky simultaneously at J (1.25 microns), H (1.65 microns), and Ks (2.17 microns).

The Data Produced

1. A digital atlas of the sky comprising approximately 4 million 8´ × 16´ Atlas Images, having about 4´´ spatial resolution in each of the three wavelength bands.

2. A point source catalog containing accurate positions and fluxes for ~300 million stars and other unresolved objects.

3. An extended source catalog containing positions and total magnitudes for more than 1,000,000 galaxies and other nebulae.

Posted by answerguru at 10:38 AM | Comments (0)

March 19, 2003

Tetris AI via WebCam


So this guy, Colin Fahey, first wrote a 56 page research paper at MIT describing how to program some AI intelligent enough to win the computer game, Tetris.

Now he is running it on a PC that is "watching" another PC with Tetris on the monitor by using a webcam and having the AI software press the keys to play the game. (ok, in fact he just sends electrical signals through the keyboard, but pressing the keys would be a trivial matter mechanical matter)

Too much time on his hands? You tell me. As an engineer, I find it pretty cool.

Posted by answerguru at 09:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Super-Kamiokande

The Super-Kamiokande neutrino detector

Big name I know. Just read this description, then click on the link to see a crazy photograph. Then think about what you are seeing and what they are trying to do.

"The Super-Kamiokande neutrino detector is a large water Cerenkov detector for cosmic particles. The detector is a 50,000 ton tank of highly purified water, located about 1000 meters underground in a mine. Faint flashes of light given off by the neutrino interactions in the tank are detected by more than 13,000 photomultiplier tubes. The inside is shown here during filling, with boats used to clean the photomultiplier tubes.

Kamioka Observatory, ICRR (Institute for Cosmic Ray Research), The University of Tokyo"

Posted by answerguru at 09:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Geometric Constructions Part 1


Knowing my fascination with geometric constructions, this will be part of a project to catalog many of those sites. Eventually this will be on a permanent page of it's own....

First, a guy who has been at this far longer than I, George Hart.

George W. Hart --- Index

Then we have the Zome Construction Kits. I'm looking into purchasing (or getting as a gift, *wink wink*), the Advanced Math Kit. I've seen the complete kit with the Zone Geometry book on Ebay for $159ish.

More to come as I review my Favorites list...

Posted by answerguru at 01:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Superhero "Jumping" Boots

Powerisers: Bionic Leg Stilts

Strap a pair of these on and jump 6 feet in the air and take 9 foot running strides! They basically add a huge Achilles Tendon to your leg...every time you take a stride/jump you store more energy in the spring -- launching you further each time. Just like gaining more and more height on a trampoline.

That reminds me, one of my favorite screensavers.

I'm buying a pair of these as soon as I come up with the extra cash....lots of fun - just imagine "jogging" around the local running track. Whee!

Posted by answerguru at 01:01 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 18, 2003

Imac Vision Evaporates

Think Discontinued: Apple Retires Its Original IMac Line (TechNews.com)

The Imac day is over according to Apple. Seems that the computer was no longer pulling in the numbers and it has been discontinued. Apple sold an estimated 10 million units during its day.

I think that the Imac definitely sparked a positive change in computer design, even if it was mostly from a visual design standpoint. Just look around at many of the PCs for sale today - all trying to look suave and curvy, sometimes even futuristic. The tan box of yesteryear is history thanks to Apple.

Posted by answerguru at 11:29 PM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2003

MySQL: Company on the Rise

CNN.com - MySQL: A threat to bigwigs? - Mar. 12, 2003

MySQL is a database server on the rise - I already use it for a number of websites and really appreciate it's stability and simplicity. Look out Oracle....

Posted by answerguru at 08:30 AM | Comments (0)

March 14, 2003

Everything I Know: Buckminster Fuller


Everything I Know Introduction

I just stumbled across an amazing artifact on the web - the complete transcription of R. Buckminster Fullers lectures entitled "Everything I Know". These lectures were recorded over two week period and total 42 (yes, FOURTY-TWO) hours of audio material. It's presented here in text format as well as Real Audio for your listening pleasure.

Apparently around 1975, Fuller made a statement (or claim as it were) that he could explain everything he knew in 45-50 hours. Well, here it is.

After reading the first few pages, I found myself completely immersed in this genius mind....exploring concepts, ways of thoughts, and complex concepts in ways I had never imagined. Despite his unique style of presentation, his real message comes through strong. I think this has reignited some of my younger passion for his work and hope to do some more research into his life, ideas, and principles.

Unfortunately, there is no MP3 format for his lectures - I would love to burn them to a CD for listening in the car. The only copy that they have available is on audio tape. Oh man!

Posted by answerguru at 02:06 PM | Comments (0)

March 12, 2003

Name that Tune - Humming Query

Wired News: Song Search: A Real Humdinger

Ever have a tune in your head but just can't come up with the name?

What about that annoying category on Cranium called Humdingers where you have to hum a tune for your partner to guess?

Well, the creaters of the MP3 audio format have some software for you. Hum the tune and it will tell you what tune it is. Hmmmm.

At a tradeshow:

"One hummed John Holt's "The Tide Is High," popularized by Blondie and more recently Atomic Kitten.

The correct song title and artist appeared second from the top in a list of 10 possibilities, a good result considering that the software still needs tweaking and that the hummer warned in advance he could not carry a tune. "

Posted by answerguru at 02:39 PM | Comments (0)

March 05, 2003

Crazy Case Mods

HiTechMODS: Crazy Plexi Electroluminescent Case

This guy has way too much time on his hands, that's all I can say. Craziness.

Posted by answerguru at 06:45 PM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2003

Cheap Lake Methane for Rwanda?

New Scientist

Very interesting article about a new power source for the heavily logged Rwanda. Apparently a Lake Kivu has large amounts of dissolved gases in it - one of them being methane. The plan they have for extracting the gas is actually quite clever, involving a long pipe going into the deep water and then using the natural gas expansion near the surface to bring out the methane. Just redissolve unwanted gases into fresh water and you're left with 85% methane.

Also interesting, another lake in the region, Lake Nyos, killed about 1000 people when it released a huge carbon dioxide cloud back in 1986 and suffocated them all!

Posted by answerguru at 06:22 PM | Comments (0)

February 27, 2003

DayPop: Weblog Search Engine

Daypop - a current events/weblog/news search engine

Nice easy site that performs searches on Weblogs and News sites....if you want the late breaking stuff, this is definitely one way to find it. Often weblogs contain things long before it hits the major sources.

Rated one of the top five alternative search engines.

Posted by answerguru at 06:24 PM | Comments (0)

February 18, 2003

Shape Memory Alloys hit the Toy Market

ABCNEWS.com : Move Over Motors, Here Come Mini-Muscles

Finally in a mainstream product!

Posted by answerguru at 11:10 AM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2003

Brilliance in Tiling Patterns


The worlds foremost maze designer has broken some barriers and introduced a set of 11 unique tiles that can fill any area with stunning designs with no overlapping or cutting. The possibilities are far reaching and should be cropping up soon in places we don't expect....

Posted by answerguru at 05:57 PM | Comments (0)

Low flying GigaPlane

Wired 11.01: START

How about we design a plane with a wingspan of 600 feet, huge payload, and fly it at an elevation of TWENTY FEET over the ocean.....crazy? Read on.

Posted by answerguru at 05:35 PM | Comments (0)

February 10, 2003

Photos: High Speed / Phoenix Process / etc

Photographs by Andrew Davidhazy

Nice collection of photos using obscure or scientific photographic techniques. From high speed, flow visualization, and stroboscope, to the stranger Phoenix Process and circular panoramics this guy covers some interesting territory.

I always just like seeing fruit as it explodes from a high speed impact. *grin*

Posted by answerguru at 10:41 PM | Comments (0)

February 06, 2003

Tracking User Activity: Visually / Audibly

moock>> unity>> about Ambient User Sound

The author, Colin Moock, is a highly respected Flash and web programmer who does a lot of work pushing the boundries of these mediums. This article is a brief experiment / investigation on a novel way to represent peoples movements and habits on a web page, much the same way you can see people move around a bookstore as they're "browsing".

Definitely a fascinating idea that could add a whole new layer websites, especially web portals and communities.

Posted by answerguru at 06:39 PM | Comments (0)

February 04, 2003

Steam powered water jet

New Scientist

Take steam. Inject it around a cylinder of water and blammo it shoots out the back with great force. Considering that current 2-stroke jet skis dump some 27,000 gallons of unburned fuel into Lake Mead every year, this invention could be a good thing.

But the real benefits would be no moving parts (essentially), no props to kills the fishies, and no spewing of nasties into the big drink.

Posted by answerguru at 09:11 AM | Comments (0)

January 31, 2003

Matrix Reloaded: Superbowl Trailer!


Just watch the damn trailer already. You be the judge. Comments are encouraged.

I also found The Last Free City, a heavy duty Matrix fan site. You can probably find all the inside info here....

Posted by answerguru at 08:11 PM | Comments (0)

January 30, 2003

Build your own Propellor Clock

Propeller Clock

This project reminds me of something very similar I designed back in my Alfred days. Except mine was for a digital design class and utilized this massive array of hard wired flip-flops, counters, and other primitive components. Hah!

But building one of these would still be pretty fun...

Posted by answerguru at 12:52 PM | Comments (1)

3D Spatial Display

Actuality Systems

Nice idea....I'd really like to see one in person to gauge it's effectiveness though.

With 192 slices used and each slice at 768x768 pixels, the resolution isn't awesome, but it's definitely a few steps ahead of anything previously. This could be very useful for molecular visualization and other types of high-density data projection.

Posted by answerguru at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)

January 23, 2003

Ok, who's going to Ohio this summer?

Times Online

Bigger Faster Better Rollercoaster. Yay!

Posted by answerguru at 11:20 PM | Comments (0)

January 22, 2003

Bush For Mars Space Voyage?

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Nasa to go nuclear

Well, I would be terribly impressed if George Bush was intending to put this into effect - a proposal to use nuclear power to enable a space voyage to the Red Planet in the foreseeable future! Possible $ 1 billion over 5 years. Maybe on a short time schedule with a roundtrip taking on the order of 4 to 6 months! Far fewer than the years it would take using conventional (current) rocket power.

Posted by answerguru at 11:59 PM | Comments (1)

January 21, 2003

ZZZOnline - Daily Tech Musings...

ZZZ online | Number 157

This site is great! Lots of random science and tech inventions / thoughts. A small portion of it is annoying, but it's mostly pretty interesting.

Posted by answerguru at 12:00 PM | Comments (0)

January 15, 2003

Realtime Brain Scanner - I like it!

ABCNEWS.com : Imaging Device Detects Brain Functions

Scientists call it M.E.G. — short for Magnetoencephalography — a scanner capable, unlike any before it, of showing activity in the brain as it happens.


If this scanner works as well as they say, I think some brilliant things could come of it. I guess it all depends on the accuracy and sensitivity of the device.....

Posted by answerguru at 07:48 PM | Comments (0)

January 11, 2003

Vampire Bats Save Stroke Victims

ABCNEWS.com : Bat Saliva Treats Stroke Victims?

Research in this week's issue of Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association says a rare protein in the saliva of vampire bats appears promising in the treatment of acute ischemic stroke — the kind of stroke caused by a blood clot that blocks blood supply to the brain.


Bats are great.....as I always say, "Hamsters with wings".

Posted by answerguru at 11:01 AM | Comments (3)

January 10, 2003

Smaller and smaller we go....

ABCNEWS.com : Massive Data Storage in Tiny Devices

This only makes our life more fun!

Posted by answerguru at 09:45 AM | Comments (0)

January 08, 2003

Confirmed: Einsteins Speed of Gravity

ABCNEWS.com : Researchers: Gravity, Light Speed Match

Scientists confirmed the elusive speed of gravity with a unique test to see how light from a distant star was bent by the gravity of Jupiter.....

Posted by answerguru at 08:19 AM | Comments (2)

January 06, 2003

GM Shoots for the Big Gold American Stars

The Fast and the Luxurious

Wow! Definitely a good read concerning behind the scenes design of this insane future vehicle -- the Cadillac Sixteen.

Posted by answerguru at 12:08 AM | Comments (0)

January 05, 2003

Another View of Dean Kamen

ABCNEWS.com : Inventor Dean Kamen

"Segway Inventor Dean Kamen Says He's no Genius"

This was a bio on some of the thoughts on inventing and technology by Dean Kamen. It reads better than most of the ones I had seen up until now...

Posted by answerguru at 11:42 PM | Comments (0)

December 20, 2002

DraganFlyer III : This would be a ton of fun!

RCTOYS.COM // Draganflyer III Gyro Stabilized Helicopter

Saw this on a TV show tonight....lots of fun! The only real drawback is the flying time -- only 5 minutes per charge. Oh, and the price is a bit high too.

I think that we could easily manufacture a similar gas model to give it some real punch, and then sell it like mad bandits!

It uses 3 separate piezo/solid-state gyros to watch the yaw/pitch/attitude. Probably a simple microprocessor with some clever code in it controls the 4 motors to keep it stable. Any added input from the remote control just tweaks these numbers for a stable flying pattern.

Is it patented? Hrm.....

Posted by answerguru at 02:12 AM | Comments (2)

Robotic Surgical System: I Should Work for Them

Computer Motion Inc. - The Leader in Medical Robotics

This is one of 2 robotic systems out there that I know of. If I remember right the other one is called Da Vinci...?

Honestly, this stuff will really revolutionze surgery...and already has. Some time ago I watched an operation on Discover Health that was a heart valve replacement - and they performed the surgery through 3 or 4, one inch incisions! Normally this surgery would require a 12" cut and cutting open of the breastbone....revolutionary.

Anyway, I think I should check this company out and see if they need any whiz-bang biomedical engineers to fix this stuff or to build their training/service program. With my background, I'd fit right in....

Posted by answerguru at 01:55 AM | Comments (0)

December 18, 2002

Hubble Space Telescope Photos

Hubble Space Telescope Public Pictures

Take a look at a large collection of some superb images from Hubble, provided by the Space Telescope Science Institute.

Best surfing probably comes via the "Pictures Organized by Subject" link....

Posted by answerguru at 10:04 AM | Comments (0)

December 17, 2002

Firewire Drives and more

Little Big Hard Drives (TechNews.com)

Fun stuff! Western Digital's less-than-creatively-named External Hard Drive 200GB outstrips even most internal hard drives....around $400!

And I like this feature:

Better yet, the 5000DV (and other 5000-series external drives) includes a small blue button on the front to back up your data. Install the bundled Retrospect Express backup software for Windows or Mac and you can launch the backup process with a tap of that button.

This seemed like a gimmick, but it actually worked for us. The presence of the button on top of the PC kept inviting a press and got us to save our data regularly, just as we've been telling everybody else to do for years.


Nice. Way better than backing up to CD-RW...

Posted by answerguru at 10:38 AM | Comments (0)

November 25, 2002

Virtual Keyboards are Approaching Reality

Virtual Keyboards Approach Reality

Now this article is even better! Can't wait to try one of these out....

Virtual keyboards may change all that. Three competing companies—VKB of Jerusalem, Israel, Canesta of San Jose, CA, and Virtual Devices of Pittsburgh, PA—are selling products that use lasers to project an image of a full-sized QWERTY keyboard on a flat surface. Optical sensors then track the user’s finger movements and translate them into keystrokes on a screen. The owner of a mobile gadgets equipped with such a keyboard....

Read the rest!

Posted by answerguru at 11:19 PM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2002

Bigger Hard Drives yet...

Maxtor Corp. upped PC storage with a 250 gigabyte hard drive that offers 33 percent faster data transfer than current drives. The $400 device can store 62,500 songs, 250 hours of compressed video or 250,000 digital pictures.

What was that you said 15 years ago? What will we *ever* do with 20mb of storage?!

Posted by answerguru at 10:33 AM | Comments (0)

November 20, 2002

Gene Scientists Kick it up a Notch...

Scientists in Rockville are to announce this morning that they plan to create a new form of life in a laboratory dish, a project that raises ethical and safety issues but also promises to illuminate the fundamental mechanics of living organisms.

J. Craig Venter, the gene scientist with a history of pulling off unlikely successes, and Hamilton O. Smith, a Nobel laureate, are behind the plan. Their intent is to create a single-celled, partially man-made organism with the minimum number of genes necessary to sustain life. If the experiment works, the microscopic man-made cell will begin feeding and dividing to create a population of cells unlike any previously known to exist.

Full Articlea>

November 19, 2002

advice needed

What's everybody's favorite remedy for a sore throat?

Posted by mrenwick at 08:11 AM | Comments (2)

November 18, 2002

Order your Segway at Amazon!

Amazon.com: Segway Human Transporter -- First come, first served for delivery starting March 2003

Order your Segway now from Amazon! Who will be the first kid on the block to get one? It'd be a lotta fun.....

Posted by answerguru at 09:57 AM | Comments (1)

Meteor Showers Tonight

ABCNEWS.com : Leonid Meteor Shower to Be Last for Century

If it's clear in your area tonight, step outside and take a look! It may be the last great show until 2099!!

Posted by answerguru at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2002

Hypersonic Sound "Flashlight"

WOW! Woody Norris and American Technology have introduced a device called Hypersonic Sound.

Purpose: To deliver sound to a certain location....kind of like a focused speaker. Apparently he can point the device at you from up to 150 yards away and transmit the sound to you, but if you step out of the beam, you won't hear a thing. Amazing.

How does it work? A piezoelectric transducer (read fancy speaker) emits sounds at very high frequencies - about the 20khz that we can hear. These high frequencies don't spread out as they travel through the air. Yet, they still interact with the air to induce a set of ultrasonic waves - that combine with the original waves and make an audible signal. All focused into a beam.

Current price: $600

Stock quote: ATCO

Longer article at Popular Science

Posted by answerguru at 12:51 PM | Comments (3)

Virtual Keyboard?

Check this out, VKB has introduced a "virtual keyboard".

Basically it's a small gum-pack sized device that projects a laser-light keyboard outline onto any flat service. When you type on it, it senses your hands and the keystrokes. Sweet for any small or portable device....PDA, Cellphone, Tablet PC, etc. Should be integrated into products at around $150.

View image of the device

The owners said that over the last 30+ years, technology has been improving at an insane rate....except for the input devices we use. Keyboards are virtually unchanged. So why not apply some of this new tech to and old technology -- pretty cool. I'm seeing visions of Minority Report type controls here.

Posted by answerguru at 12:42 PM | Comments (0)