How a retractable ballpoint pen works


Click, point goes out. Click, point goes in. Click. Click. Click. (Engineerguy)

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Inspiring and gorgeous patent drawings

Inventions are exciting, but the best ones are art.
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WATCH: NASA JPL tests gecko-inspired grippers in zero gravity


NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory just released a video of their latest adhesion technologies designed for use in space. Read the rest

WATCH: crazy cute jerboas and the hopping robot they inspired

Jerboas, tiny desert rodents that move like kangaroos, are notoriously hard to film. BBC Earth was able to film a jerboa's escape from a fox, and its unique shape has now inspired a robot:

Jerboas use their long tails to transfer energy to their legs, allowing them to hop many times their body length. It turns out the hair on the bottoms of their their feet also serves a number of purposes, including insulation, traction, and stealth on the sand.

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Watch: Tiny floating robot can jump from water's surface


Researchers led by Je-Sung Koh created a biomimetic robot that floats using surface tension and can jump from the surface of water like a water strider insect. Read the rest

Women engineers refute sexism with #iLookLikeAnEngineer campaign


After Engineer Isis Wenger at OneLogin appeared in a recruiting ad, sexist comments about her appearance (e.g., "you don't look like an engineer") inspired the hashtag #iLookLikeAnEngineer. Read the rest

Soylent's new liquid form is kind of spermy, and the guy behind it is sort of creepy

“The first space colonies will have no coal power plants,” says Rob Rhinehart. “I am ready.”
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3D printing blends rigid and soft to improve robot performance

Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences released an interesting demo of blending rigid and soft materials during 3D printing to create hybrid robots with enhanced performance for tasks like jumping and landing. Read the rest

WATCH: Bricklaying robot ushers in semi-automated masonry

Construction Robotics developed this bricklaying robot SAM (Semi-Automated Mason) after addressing two key challenges: mortar application and onsite variables that can hinder precision. Read the rest

Researchers developing tiny robots to travel through body and fire projectiles


Researchers demonstrated an early proof-of-concept system in which tiny robots inside your body, controlled by an MRI machine, could self-assemble into a Gauss gun and fire projectiles to clear blockages or deliver drugs. Video below. Read the rest

Engineers mimic owl wings to reduce wind turbine noise

tim-lenz -seabamirum

Aeroacoustics expert Nigel Peake of Cambridge University leads a group of engineers mimicking owl wing feathers to reduce noise on wind turbines. Read the rest

WATCH: Matchstick rockets in super slo-mo


The Slow Mo Guys did a King of Random crossover episode, launching Grant's matchstick rockets recorded on their Phantom. Read the rest

Eiffel Tower's magician of light, Fernand Jacopozzi


The Eiffel Tower opened to the public on this day in 1899, but it was described as "a simple and useless dark peak in the Paris night sky" until the owners hired engineer Fernand Jacopozzi to light it in spectacular fashion in 1925. Read the rest

It's back: looping water slide returns to New Jersey

The Cannonball Loop originally opened at New Jersey's Action Park in 1985, but then shuttered after a week amid safety concerns (caution trolling more likely). This image is of a 90-foot prototype in testing in Missouri.

"The central challenge facing any vertical looping water slide design is friction - caused by skin, bathing suits or riders who slow themselves down with their hands or feet. Without enough speed, you won’t make it through the loop.

Sky Turtle solved the friction problem by eliminating the human variable. Riders are enclosed inside an aluminum alloy-framed capsule that maintains constant contact with the flume via replaceable foam runners."

The 1985 loop:

Vertical looping water slide, long thought impossible, in test phase [LA Times]

via Seth Porges (@sethporges) Read the rest

Watch Beachbot make large-scale sand drawings


Disney Research teamed with ETH Zürich students to create Beachbot, a robot that creates pre-programmed sand drawing. Read the rest

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