Boing Boing 

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.

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Researchers developing tiny robots to travel through body and fire projectiles

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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.

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Engineers mimic owl wings to reduce wind turbine noise

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

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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.

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Eiffel Tower's magician of light, Fernand Jacopozzi

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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.

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

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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:

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

via Seth Porges (@sethporges)

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.

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Giant underwater plug


This humongous power-plug is a MacArtney Wet Mate Connector that allows undersea cables for floating windmills to be connected below the water's surface.

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Build your own working tabletop V8 engine


The Haynes Build Your Own V8 Engine ($65.62) sounds fantastic -- the lengthy selection of positive reviews confirm the manufacturer's claim that a "talented 10 year old" could assemble it, and it can be disassembled and reassembled, which makes it great for classrooms, camps and studios. (via Red Ferret)

New kind of rotary engine - hypnotic!

Duke Engines demonstrate a new kind of internal combustion engine, based on a crazy, hypnotic, rotary system. I lack the mechanical engineering chops to know whether this is any good, but it's fun to watch. (via Sploid)

Newly declassified documents reveal flaws in nuclear weapon design

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This is a thermonuclear weapon, lodged in a field in North Carolina where it landed after falling from crashing B-52 on January 24, 1961. Some new documents detailing the history of the Goldsboro Incident were declassified this week.

Besides information the history of Goldsboro and several other near-disaster, the documents focus on problems with nuclear arsenal safety during the Cold War. The documents particularly focus on issues with weapons design. At Goldsboro, for instance, the weapons ended up armed (increasing the risk of an actual detonation) because the manual arming switch was designed in such a way as to allow it to turn itself on in response to the force of the plane crash.

The documents also discuss the risks of "sealed-pit" weapons, which were designed with the plutonium or uranium core already sealed into the warhead — unlike earlier designs that required operators to insert the nuclear material when the bombs were ready to be used. The sealed-pit design greatly increased the risks associated with lost or accidentally dropped bombs, as in the case of Goldsboro.

Rube Goldberg Machine Contest winners

The winners of Purdue University's Rube Goldberg Machine Contest show off their creations on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

The crazy CIA ship that became an engineering historical landmark

This is the Hughes Glomar Explorer, a ship that's as important to the history of engineering as it is to the history of insanely crazy Cold War CIA schemes.

In 1970s, the CIA used this ship to capture a sunken Russian nuclear submarine — i.e., lifting a 2000-ton object from a depth of three miles to the surface. It was the most expensive intelligence operation ever and it only kind of worked.

Robot cheetah demonstrates efficient new motors

MIT researchers built a 70-pound robot "cheetah" meant to demonstrate the high efficiency of a new electric motor design. Among other improvements, the design enables the impact energy of the robot's leg hitting the ground to be captured and fed into the robot's battery. Soon, they expect the motors to enable the cheetah-bot to gallop at 35 mph which, of course, is still just half the speed of a real cheetah. However, it will hit those speeds much more efficiently than other running robots.

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What Einstein and Szilard did in their spare time

Did you know that Albert Einstein and Leó Szilárd once invented a refrigerator? And a life-saving refrigerator, at that.

The tools of cocktail science and engineering

Popular Science has a great slideshow of tools used to make the sort of fancy, $15 cocktails that are served to you by gentlemen wearing handlebar mustaches. From CNC routers that carve ice, to drinks aged in sous-vide machines, to repurposed lab equipment like centrifuges and rotary evaporators, it's a cool behind-the-scenes view of the gadgets used by the modernist bartender. (Random shout-out to Peder at Marvel Bar!)

Empathy is a core engineering value

Bryan Cantrill from Joyent explains why the company expects engineers not to use gendered pronouns in documentation: "empathy is a core engineering value—and that an engineer that has so little empathy as to not understand why the use of gendered pronouns is a concern almost certainly makes poor technical decisions as well."