R/C Water Gun Robot

Squirt is an autonomous robot which can communicate with an Android phone. Optionally, the phone can be used as a controller to drive the robot. Squirt’s purpose is to water plants and chase away raccoons. It’s also a technology demonstration to prove the feasibility of using a smart phone to control small irrigation and well systems… The water gun fires by using a relay to bypass the trigger circuit. A 3 color 1 watt LED has been mounted on the barrel to display status of the mood of the gun. Red, of course, means its upset and likely to fire shortly. Summary: Squirt demonstrates that a smart phone and a robot can work together to accomplish tasks. The next step is to design an simple irrigation system based on the technology, get philanthropic funding and hopefully help grow food.” w/ photos + videos

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Wisconsin’s Scrap Metal Park

“There is an astounding sculpture park that can be found along Highway 12 by Baraboo in Wisconsin that looks at first glance like the home of a scrap metal dealer on a high. But in fact, it houses many fabulous sculptures, including Forevertron, cited by the Guinness organization as the biggest scrap metal sculpture in the world. This monumental work, around 320 tons in weight, stands 120 ft wide, 60 ft deep and 50 ft high. Made almost entirely of metal scrap, it is both welded and bolted together, both to make it movable and to give it maximum stability.” w/ photos

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Typewriter Waffle Iron

“Chris Dimino focused his creative energy around one simple problem: Giving new life to an obsolete product. In this case, an old type writer. He came up with the brilliant idea of transforming and Corono Matic type writer into a waffle iron. Not just any waffle iron, mind you; one that makes key board shaped waffles!… From a food related angle, it is good to see that the ‘keys’ are so deep. I don’t consider myself a waffle fundi, but I do enjoy a good waffle every now and then, and even I can see that those keys are gonna be like little pockets of heaven. It all comes down to syrup retention… Nice deep pockets for syrup to accumulate in. Sure, the keyboard might look more realistic when flipped over, but we all know: waffles are all about how much syrup and cream or ice cream you can fit on it.” w/ photo

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Liquid Solar Power?

A new approach to the whole paradigm of solar energy is now being researched. An MIT research team has done some initial studies that could lead to an entirely new method for capturing and storing sunlight. It has the potential to make this renewable energy indefinitely storable and transportable. The research is based on a molecule called fulvalene diruthenium. When a fulvalene diruthenium molecule absorbs sunlight, it changes shape into a semi-stable, but perfectly safe, formation. The molecule can stay in the new form indefinitely, without deterioration. When combined with a catalyst, the fulvalene diruthenium molecule snaps back into its original form, releasing the heat. When the energy is released, it can be used to heat a home or made to power appliances. The research team believes there are many ways that fulvalene diruthenium could work at a systems level. One idea is that of a reusable liquid fuel. It could be placed in deep vats out in the sun and stirred, exposing as much of the liquid to solar heat as possible. Once charged it can be pumped and delivered through pipes, or by other means, to the point of use. Since energy in the fluid does not deteriorate, the point of use could be nearby or distant. Once used, the liquid can be recharged by the sun and reused. The process can be repeated over and over again without deterioration or loss of efficiency.” w/ photos

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The Joy Of Stats

“Hans Rosling’s famous lectures combine enormous quantities of public data with a sport’s commentator’s style to reveal the story of the world’s past, present and future development. Now he explores stats in a way he has never done before – using augmented reality animation. In this spectacular section of ‘The Joy of Stats’ he tells the story of the world in 200 countries over 200 years using 120,000 numbers – in just four minutes. Plotting life expectancy against income for every country since 1810, Hans shows how the world we live in is radically different from the world most of us imagine.” — BBC

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