Here is an interview with Steve Sammartino (Australia) and Raul Oaida (Romania) on their efforts to build the car. The project built a fullsize car out of lego ($60,000 worth of legos) with a lego engine that works on air. It really is an interesting interview.
Currently browsing the Engineering Category
US Fish and Wildlife Service Plans to Use Drones to Drop Vaccine Treats to Save Ferrets
Despite significant recovery successes, the black-footed ferret remains one of the most endangered animals in the world.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has developed a plan to use (UAS) to deliver prairie dog sylvatic plague vaccination.
The primary purpose in this proposal is to develop the equipment, protocols and experience in use of UAS (drones) to deliver oral sylvatic plague vaccine (SPV). It is anticipated that this approach, when fully developed, will offer the most efficient, effective, cost-conscious and environmentally friendly method to apply SPV annually over large areas of prairie dog colonies in support of black-footed ferret recovery.
Plague is a primary obstacle to black-footed ferret recovery. After more than 20 years of intensive reintroduction efforts across 27 reintroduction sites ranging from Mexico to Canada, approximately 300 ferrets were known to exist in the wild at the end of 2015. Ferrets are constantly threatened by plague outbreaks that affect both ferrets, and their primary prey and habitat provider, prairie dogs.
To date, SPV has been applied by hand with people walking pre-defined transects and uniformly dropping single SPV baits every 9-10 meters to achieve a deposition rate of 50 SPV doses per acre. Depending on vegetation and terrain, a single person walking can treat 3-6 acres per hour. All terrain vehicles (ATVs) have been considered but have various problems.
The bait treats are M&Ms smeared in vaccine-laden peanut butter.
Preliminary discussions with people experienced with UAS suggest an aerial vehicle travelling at a modest 9 meters per second could drop a single SPV bait once per second that would result in treating one acre every 50 seconds. If the equipment and expertise can be developed as proposed here, a single UAS operator could treat more than 60 acres per hour.
If the equipment can be developed to deposit 3 SPV doses simultaneously every second, as they envision is possible, some 200 acres per hour could be treated by a single operator. The idea is that the drone would fire the treats in 3 different directions to increase the spread of treats.
The areas to be treated are located in South Phillips County, Montana.
Related: Using Drones to Deliver Medical Supplies in Roadless Areas (2014) – The sub-$1,000 unpiloted aerial vehicles UAV Project (2007) – Autonomous Flying Vehicles (2006) – Cat Allergy Vaccine Created (2011) – AlienFly RC Mosquito Helicopter (2007)
Autonomous Delivery Robots Launched in Europe and USA
Starship Technologies is launching a fleet of autonomous delivery robots on the pavements of the United Kingdom, Germany and Switzerland as part of the testing program. A similar program will be announced for the United States shortly.
The largest European food delivery company Just Eat, leading German parcel delivery company Hermes, leading German retailer Metro Group, and innovative London food delivery startup Pronto will test the delivery robots developed by Starship Technologies, a company launched in 2014 by Skype co-founders.
As part of the program, dozens of robots will be deployed in five cities to run first test deliveries and introduce the innovative devices to the general public.
“By launching partnerships with major companies we will enter the next phase in our development. While Starship has been testing the robots in 12 countries in the last nine months, we will now develop know-how on running real robotic delivery services,” said Ahti Heinla, co-founder, CEO and CTO of Starship Technologies.
Robots developed by Starship Technologies are meant for delivering packages, groceries and food to consumers in a 2-3 mile radius. The robots can drive autonomously while being monitored by human operators in control centers. Introduced to European and American cities since the end of last year, the robots have already driven close to 5,000 miles and met over 400,000 people without a single accident.
Frank Rausch, CEO of Hermes Germany, said: “We are very proud to be Starship’s exclusive logistics partner in Germany. At Hermes we believe that parcel delivery’s main goal is to fully satisfy the customers’ needs in receiving their online shopping orders as fast and convenient as possible. Nobody likes to spend hours waiting for the courier just to have a parcel delivered. Therefore, individually scheduled delivery services will become increasingly important within the coming years.”
The test programs will run in London, Düsseldorf, Bern and another German city to start, before moving to several other European and American cities. Starship Technologies will also continue testing in Tallinn, Estonia where its R&D facilities are located.
Related: Using Drones to Deliver Medical Supplies in Roadless Areas (2014) – Self Driving Cars Have Huge Potential for Benefit to Society (2014) – Autonomous Helicopters Teach Themselves to Fly (2008) – Toyota Develops Thought-controlled Wheelchair (2009)
Backyard Wildlife: Great Tailed Grackle
I think this is a Great Tailed Grackle, please comment if you think I am wrong. This is taken in my backyard in Arlington, Virginia.
This shows a cool engineering innovation: canvas-like material that when it is saturated with water will set (over 5+ hours) into hard concrete. In this example a “tent” with regular doors is covered with water and inflated. After setting it hard enough to climb on top of.
The manufacturer’s site has move information.
Related: Concrete pre-fad Houses 1919 and 2007 – Easy to Assembly Off-the-grid Towns – Research on Ancient Roman Concrete Will Allow the Creation of More Durable and Environmentally Friendly Concrete – UW- Madison Wins 4th Concrete Canoe Competition
Bitbeam: Open Source Hardware Prototyping Platform
Bitbeam is an open source construction toy/hardware prototyping platform. A collection of LEGO Technic compatible parts (beams) which can be combined to construct whatever contraption the user has thought up.
The Bitbeam project aims to define a set of parts which the users themselves can produce using increasingly available technologies for local fabrication like 3D printers, laser cutters and CNC mills.
Tapster is a robot that automates mobile application checking on a smartphone. It is built using bitbeam.
The latest post on the Bitbeam web site is from 2013 but it seems it is still an active project (it would be nice if they update the site).
Please add a comment if you now of updated information or of similar open source projects.
Related: Open Source Ecology: Using Open Engineering to Create Economic Benefit – Arduino Introduction Video Tutorial – 3D Printing at Home: Today, Challenges and Opportunities – Introduction Video on 3D Printing – Lego Mindstorms Robots Solving: Sudoku and Rubik’s Cube (2009)
Google Cardboard 3d Viewer Helped Surgeons Save Baby’s Life
“It was mind-blowing,” says Cassidy Lexcen, the baby’s mother. “To see this little cardboard box and a phone, and to think this is what saved our daughter’s life.”
Google Cardboard is a virtual reality and augmented reality platform developed by Google for use with a head mount for smart phone. Just get a simple cardboard holder you wear like goggles and an app for Android or iOS and you can view cool 3d virtual realities.
Cleaning Up the Plastic Pollution in Our Oceans
This is an interesting talk on an important topic: cleaning up plastic in the ocean. ,a student from the Netherlands, looked to find a solution to a problem others said couldn’t be solved.
This is exactly the type of wonderful activity that inspired people can accomplish using science and engineering. He collected an understanding of the 50 issues that supposedly makes a solution impossible.
After getting funding (sparked by an explosion of viral social media) he worked on exploring the “insolvable” problems (having withdrawn from school to work on this problem). It is wonderful to see what we can do when inspired people use science and engineering to make the world a better place.
From their website, The Ocean Cleanup
The plastic will be stored in an internal buffer within the platform at the tip of the V-shaped array. The plastic in the buffer will regularly be emptied onto a vessel that comes to collect it for transport to land. This will occur approximately once every six weeks, depending on the size of the vessel.
Besides monetary support, your relevant knowledge and skills may be a very welcome addition to The Ocean Cleanup. Our work requires not only scientific and technical expertise, but also assistance with legal, commercial and policy matters. If you would like to get actively involved in our work, If you would like to get actively involved in our work, please visit the careers page.
They aim to put a full scale pilot project in place in 3 to 4 years.
Ancient Chinese Natural Gas Drilling Using Bamboo
This very interesting article is a great read about the history of Chinese bamboo drilling by Oliver Kuhn.
At some point around 2,000 years ago the leap from hand and shovel dug wells to percussively drilled ones was made. By the beginning of the 3rd century AD, wells were being drilled up to 140m deep. The drilling technique used can still be seen in China today, when rural farmers drill water wells. The drill bit is made of iron, the pipe bamboo. The rig is constructed from bamboo; one or more men stands on a wooden plank lever, much like a seesaw, and this lifts up the drill stem a metre or so. The pipe is allowed to drop, and the drill bit crashes down into the rock, pulverizing it. Inch by inch, month by month, the drilling slowly progresses.
A major breakthrough was achieved around 1050 AD, allowing deeper wells, when solid bamboo pipe was replaced by thin, light, flexible bamboo “cable”. This dramatically lowered the weight that needed to be lifted from the surface, a weight that increased with the depth being drilled. By the 1700s Sichuan wells were typically in the range of 300 – 400m deep
One bamboo pipe line would take away the brine, and others the gas. The 2,000 year plus Sichuan salt industry has drilled approximately 130,000 brine and gas wells, and 10% of those were in the immediate Zigong area. Zigong has a cumulative gas production over this period of over 30 billion cubic metres. The area continues to be a major salt producer, and many of the historical wells are still in production.
As recently as the 1950s there was still over 95km of bamboo pipeline in operation in the Zigong area.
Related: Research on Ancient Roman Concrete Will Allow the Creation of More Durable and Environmentally Friendly Concrete – Why did China’s Scientific Innovation Stop? – Hyperloop – Fast Transportation Using a Better Engineering Solution Than We Do Now
$1 Device To Give Throat Cancer Patients Their Voice Again
We need to keep developing cost effective solutions to provide for the needs of billions of people around the world. It is great to see appropriate technology solutions at work making people’s lives better.
Related: Appropriate Technology Health Care Solution Could Save 72,000 Lives a Year – Manufacturing Biological Sensors Using Silk and Looms – Pedal Powered Washing Machine – Appropriate Technology: Self Adjusting Glasses
20 Most Popular Post on Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog in 2015
These were the most popular (by number of page views) posts on our blog in 2015.
- Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel (2008)
- 3D Printing at Home: Today, Challenges and Opportunities (2015)
- Why is it Colder at Higher Elevations? (2008)
- Top Countries for Science and Math Education: Finland, Hong Kong and Korea (2010 – showing 2009 PISA results, related: Math Education Results Show China, Singapore, Korea and Japan Leading (2014 -showing 2012 PISA results)
- Nanotechnology Breakthroughs for Computer Chips (2007)
- Molten Salt Solar Reactor Approved by California (2010)
- Science Sort of Explains: Hiccups (2008)
- Science Toys You Can Make With Your Kids (2005)
- Albert Einstein, Marilyn Monroe Hybrid Image (2009)
- Loan Forgiveness Program for Engineering Students (2008)
- Science and Optical Illusions (2010)
- Ranking Countries by Scientific Publication Citations: USA, UK, Germany… (2015)
- S&P 500 CEO’s: Engineering is the Most Common Major (2009)
- 59 MPG Toyota iQ Diesel Available in Europe (2008)
- How Lysozyme Protein in Our Tear-Drops Kill Bacteria (2012)
- Home Halloween Engineering: Gaping Hole Costume (2010)
- 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry: the Structure and Function of the Ribosome (2009)
- Using Bacteria to Carry Nanoparticles Into Cells (2007)
- Underwater Pedestrian Walkway (2011)
- Lexus Has Built a Working Hoverboard (2015)
This list shows how popular old posts can remain over time. 12 of these were also in the top 20 in 2014, 8 are new to the list this year. 3 of those are 2015 posts, in 2014 1 post from 2014 made the top 20. The distribution over the years of publication of the posts in the list this year: