Topic: engineering

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The Archaeology of Crossrail and the history of London

The construction of London’s newest railway, which will be known as the Elizabeth line when services begin in 2018, has given archaeologists a unique chance to explore some of the city’s most historically important si...

Diffusion Choir, a flock of 400 kinetic origami elements

Four hundred motorized origami elements echo the movement of an invisible flock of birds. The piece, titled Diffusion Choir, is made from Tyvek fabric hexagons that furl and unfurl like umbrella canopies around 1800 t...

Building a Volcano-bot | How She Works

Volcanologist Carolyn Parcheta builds and tests Volcano bots, sturdy and compact robots that can explore inside volcanoes. Her team is developing these two-wheeled explorers to learn more about how magma moves and how...

What’s inside a tape measure?

It's useful for measuring, fun to extend out as far as possible, and when its rocker is unlocked, the long metal measuring blade snaps quickly back inside of its shell. But how? What's inside a tape measure? In th...

How to make Leonardo da Vinci’s self-supporting bridge

With a series of wooden poles and beams, "Stick-Boy" shows his Dad how to build Leonardo da Vinci's self-supporting arch bridge, also known as the emergency bridge. No nails, screws, rope, glues, notches, or other fas...

A Fold Apart: Origamist Robert Lang’s Incredible Paper Creations

Twenty five years ago, physicist Robert Lang worked at NASA, where he researched lasers. He has also garnered 46 patents on optoelectronics and even wrote a Ph.D. thesis called "Semiconductor Lasers: New Geometries an...

Seashell inspiration: Growing cement bricks with bacteria

Imagine an 8-year-old girl studying a seashell on the sand in Gulf Shores, Alabama in 1985. It's her first trip to the beach and it's a moment that will set the course of her career: “The 8-year-old version of mys...

Handle, Boston Dynamics’ robot on wheels

Balancing on two legs with wheels for feet, Boston Dynamics' Handle robot looks a bit like it's rollerblading in a science fiction movie. Watch it roll down stairs, carry 45kg of stuff, and leap over hurdles. Yes, it ...

Erie Type A and B Steam Shovels from over 100 years ago

Watch a 1915 Erie Type A Steam Shovel working at the Welland Country Fair, filmed in the summer of 2016. The coal-fired Erie type A and B were created by The Ball Engine Company, an industrial steam engine company fou...

The animatronic animals of Spy in the Wild

Over 30 animatronic creatures were created for Spy in the Wild, the PBS and BBC co-produced wild animal mini-series, including a sloth, a warthog, a squirrel, an otter, a cobra, and an orangutan. Designer John Nolan g...

Designing solar panel walls that can recycle & heat greywater

What if the walls of your house could recycle the wastewater from your sinks, showers, baths, and washing machine? Architect Maria Paz Gutierrez is working with environmental engineer Slav Hermanowicz and bioengineer ...

Rainbow Wave LEGO Great Ball Contraption

Featuring a 38 color rainbow of LEGO bricks, this Rainbow Wave LEGO Great Ball Contraption (GBC) was built in over 100 hours by Berthil van Beek. It's his first GBC build. Watch as tiny soccer balls and basketballs mo...

A tiny balloon-powered organ made from paper & cardboard

With the exception of a piece of plastic that allows a peek at its inner workings, and a large balloon that provides required wind through its pipes, this tiny pipe organ is made out of paper and cardboard. It was des...

Almost-invisible hydrogel robots that can grab quickly

These almost-invisible robot hands can grab things quickly. MIT engineers have been working to create a durable gel formula that can be 3-D printed and laser cut into soft robotic parts, like flapping fish fins or gen...

A 3D-printed candy sorting machine

This machine sorts small candies (M&Ms and Skittles) by color. It was designed and built by Netherlands-based New Zealander Willem Pennings, who is studying Mechanical Engineering at Eindhoven University of Technology...

An Automaton of Marie Antoinette, The Dulcimer Player

From the 2012 exhibition Extravagant Inventions: The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, take a closer look at a unique piece of automata: David Roentgen's Automaton of Queen Marie A...

The 1,000 year old windmills of Nashtifan

In the small village of Nashtifan, Iran, some of the oldest windmills in the world, with what may be the earliest windmill design in the world, still spin. From National Geographic: Made of natural clay, straw, an...

An origami-inspired model for reconfigurable materials

Metamaterials — materials whose function is determined by structure, not composition — have been designed to bend light and sound, transform from soft to stiff, and even dampen seismic waves from earthquakes. But each...