Hello all! My top engineering technology picks of the week include motion sensing wall art, spray that makes almost anything indestructible and how you can ride a bike from Tron. Have a great weekend!
- Huge motion-sensing building installation is off-the-wall
- This spray makes things almost indestructible
- Waterloo company creates world’s 1st microscopic microscope
- What if you could insulate your house with toast?
- The hubless, carbon-fiber Cyclotron bike looks straight out of ‘Tron’
Bored of the corporate white walls in many office buildings? One design firm could help reduce the monotony. The Terrell Place in Washington, DC now has interactive media displays that react to activity within the building. This creates a sense of connection throughout the building’s common areas by merging the walls into a single media canvas with almost floor-to-ceiling displays. Fourteen infrared cameras detect activity and changed the “ebb and flow” of the displays based on the activity, such as the morning rush or the afternoon lull. Audio is projected through hidden speakers in the walls and ceilings. I’m thinking that the “space” graphic around the minute mark of the video below would have me walking through thinking that I was entering Lightspeed!
This spray makes things almost indestructible
Stuff breaks. You could argue some things are designed to break after x number of uses or hours so you have to buy a new one. However, one company wants to ensure that some items never break. Specifically designed as a spray coating for vehicles to stop scratches, Line-X is also being used on the walls of the Pentagon to reduce the damage of a bombing. The video below shows some of the incredible tests that have been conducted with the spray lining, including making a plastic cup strong enough to stand on or hitting a vehicle with a baseball bat and chipping the bat.
The article headline says it all. The power microscope is smaller than the one on the defunct Canadian penny. It can be used to view things such as carbon nanotubes, DNA and proteins — items you can’t see with the naked eye and are smaller than the wavelength of light. This impressive device is also extremely affordable and easy to operate. Costing around $5,000, it is nearly 100 times less expensive than large tabletop microscopes. A primary focus is to get these microscopes into the hands of universities and researchers as it would be a convenient tool to help students learn on their computer screens.
What if you could insulate your house with toast?
A team of scientists believe they have found an incredible use for burnt toast: carbon foam. Carbon foam is a lightweight material widely used as an insulator or to dampen impacts with applications in the aerospace industry. However, the foam needs to be created for each specific use, making it difficult to work with, costly and time consuming. From initial reports, by “baking” the bread in argon gas, scientists were able to created different foams with different sized air pockets from the bread. By altering the temperature and the amount of yeast, it could produce more holes and a more porous foam.
It only took 30 years after the original Tron movie, but your “Light Cycle” is almost available. The Cyclotron bicycle mimics the design with two illuminated, spokeless wheels. The light activates in low-light conditions, adding extra safety for riders for up to eight hours on battery life. The Cyclotron features a few models, from the manual 12-speed to the top-of-the-line electronic gearbox that can shift in under a fifth of a second. The tires require no air and are estimated to last over 6,000 miles. The frame design uses “space-grade” carbon-fiber composite to produce a 26-pound bike. Of course, engineers and designers incorporated many smart devices and sensors, including Bluetooth and GPS for navigation, anti-theft and autonomous accident reporting service.