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Tag Archives: Science

Desktop Tornado Machine Sure Beats Lava Lamps

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There’s a number of things you can put on your desk to brighten up a crappy afternoon at the office. The Desktop Tornado machine is one such option, and we frankly like it more than may of the other alternatives out there.

A built-in atomizer turns water into a cloud of mist while a fan in the base creates the updraft. Six circulation manifolds generate convergence and rotation, creating a rapidly spinning vertical column of air—the hallmark of any tornado. Users can change the direction of the air circulating manifolds, adjust the speed of the updraft fan, or adjust the intake fan on top to change the funnel speed of the tornado.

Using the device is simple and assembly takes around 10 minutes. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to pay a whole lot more than you would for a lava lamp: $300. That’s a lot of dollars just to watch air swirling around on your desk.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ TheAwesomer ]

SCiO Thumb-Sized Scanner Tells You What’s In Everything

scio-scanner

Think of the SCiO thumb-sized scanner as a “Shazam for things”. Point it at any object, and its spectrometer will analyze its chemical composition, sending the object’s spectral signature to SCiO’s servers for analysis through your connected smartphone.

In practical terms for dieters, just pointing SCiO at food reveals its ripeness, number of calories and nutritional value. You’ll be able to scan plastics to ascertain their recyclability, home brewers will be able to more accurately monitor alcohol levels, detect what’s in that pill your doctor prescribed, what’s in those cosmetics, how healthy your plants or potting soil are, and discern the difference between a diamond and zirconium, fake from real leather, and real from counterfeit cash.

It’s the closest thing to a Star Trek-like tricorder, and there’s a working prototype already in existence. The company is doing the Kickstarter dance, where they’ve exceeded their goal by over million dollars. It’ll cost you $200 to own, but hurry up because they’re going to be sold out fairly soon.

scio-prototypes

[ Project Page ] VIA [ DVice ]

Thirsty? Eat This: Ooho Water Blobs

Ooho Water Blob

Water bottles add to the bulk of trash that’s already overflowing in most landfills. Thing is, people still need their hydration on the go and some just can’t be bothered with water jugs. The alternative? These edible blobs filled with water created up by three London-based industrial design students Rodrigo García González, Pierre Paslier, and Guillaume Couche.

It’s called the Ooho and it’s a membrane made up of a compound formed from brown algae and calcium chloride. The gel-like substance is able to hold water and eliminates the need for non-biodegradable containers because, as mentioned earlier, it’s edible.

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Science: What Does The Fox Really Say?

No, it’s not “Tchoff tchoff tchoff, tchoff tchoff tchoff tchoff, tchoff tchoff”!

Yes, we’re a few months late on the Ylvis craze, but in our defence, the above video from SciShow just came out. If the song left you wondering what a Fox actually says, the answer is 3 minutes away.

VIA [ GeeksAreSexy ]

This Is How You’re Supposed To Hold Your Burger

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Burgers, along with pizza, are quite probably the most versatile (and satisfying!) food items ever invented. But a burger can be challenging to eat if you’re doing it wrong. Tired of ending up with half the bottom bun contents being spilled while eating, producers at the Japanese TV show “Honma Dekka!? hired experts in fluid mechanics, engineering, and dentistry to determine the best way to hold a burger so that you don’t end up wearing most of it after one bite.” The results of their “research”? Well, hold your burger with three fingers on the top bun, and two on the bottom. Your thumb and pinky finger will serve to hold the bottom bun in place, while the top three fingers… prevent the top bun from flying away?

This editor prefers to up the ante and use three fingers on the bottom and two on top. This way the burger is carefully cradled and the toppings don’t even try to escape from the sides. One could even argue for a 4-1 configuration, but that may be living life too dangerously for some.

Alternatively, one can try the daring one-handed 3-2 hold, so as to free one hand for fry retrieval, but that too may require excessive amounts of coordination and dexterity.

[ Kotaku ] VIA [ ThatsNerdaLicious ]

Fun Experiment To Do At Home: Imploding Soda Can

imploding-soda-can

If you’re bored at home (or heck, even in the office), you could have a bit of fun imploding soda cans. It’s surprisingly easy, and requires absolutely no force. What you do is fill up an empty soda can with about 1 ounce of water, heat it up until it’s steaming, then turn it upside down and dunk it in ice water. As soon as it hits the water, the steam inside probably condenses immediately, creating a vacuum and allowing the outside air to crush the can. It’s not only fun to do, but also makes you aware that atmospheric air pressure is a real thing, even though we don’t “feel” anything. Could also be a cool trick to do in front of the kids.

VIA [ Sploid ]

This Is What Cellular Signals Would Look Like If You Could See Them With The Naked Eye

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The above is a visualization by Nickolay Lamm that shows us what Chicago would look like if cellular signals were visible with the naked eye. It’s trippy and fascinating, and above all it isn’t just a fanciful interpretation, but is based on some solid understanding of how our cellular infrastructure works. “Danilo Erricolo, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois at Chicago and Fran Harackiewicz, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Southern Illinois University Carbondale—who consulted on the psychedelic project—explain:”

A regular, hexagonal grid of cellular base-station sites is conceptualized for Chicago [above], with stations at the corners of the hexagons. The area within each sector antenna radiation pattern has different users being assigned different frequencies and their signals combine to form a single perceived color in that instant. Different channel combinations from sector to sector are indicated by different colors. The channel combinations shown are not static, but rather change rapidly in time as different users are assigned different channels. But, if you were to take a photo of these rapid changes, you’d likely see a wide array of colors as seen in the illustration. Near the downtown area more users are likely to be found and the hexagonal cells are smaller to serve approximately the same numbers of users found in larger cells elsewhere. Antenna signals extending beyond the original cells provide coverage over part of Lake Michigan.

We are surrounded by an always-on cacophony of electromagnetic radiation; it’s a blessing that our eyes are only able to see a small sliver of it. Visualizing it only serves as a fascinating reminder of this.

Hit the jump for a bunch more of these.

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SafeFlame Torch Uses Water As Fuel

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Propane or acetylene torches are essential tools for an almost endless list of tasks. And while they do their job quite well, they do present a small but not negligible risk since they require containers of highly flammable gas nearby. The SafeFlame torch uses plain water as its fuel instead, along with a healthy dose of electricity. The current electrolyses the water, separating it into oxygen and hydrogen. The system then takes the two gases and doses them in varying proportions to power your flame. This means that by controlling the current and the fuel mixture, the temperature and the length of the flame can be fined tuned to a high degree, ensuring that you never use more heat than is required for the job. Additionally you’ll never have to order, transport, and store flammable gases again, which is that much less to worry about.

Although the product is not on the market yet, it is currently being tested in Europe and should roll out “in the near future”. As for costs, none have been specified but the makers claim they’ve found a way to reduce the need for Platinum, the required catalyst, in order to keep costs down. Whether that means it’ll be affordable, rather than just “not outrageously expensive” remains to be seen.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Gizmag ]

High-Tech Beauty: Activate Gadgets With a Wink and a Smile

Conducive Makeup

How you control your devices might soon change, thanks in part to these developments by computer scientist Katia Vega. Instead of actually manipulating your device or using a remote control, Vega envisions that people–specifically those who wear makeup–will be able to unlock or activate their devices by moving a certain part of their face. Not just any part, but parts where specialized makeup has been applied.

Apparently, Vega was able to come up with a method to integrate sensors and conductive elements to makeup. For example, when eyeshadow is applied to both the top and bottom of the person’s eye where metalized lashes have also been affixed, then a longer-than-usual blink will allow the sensors in the eyeshadow and lashes to connect, completing the circuit.

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