Topic: ideas

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Sticky Actuator: Inflatable stick-on “pouch motors”

Here's an excellent idea for your DIY projects: Make sticky actuators! These particular actuators -- motors that convert energy into motion -- are small, inflatable pouches that are custom-printed in thermoplastic...

Hydrophobic metal made with laser-etched microscopic patterns

Scientists from the University of Rochester have created water-repelling metal by laser-etching nanostructures into the surface. Watch as water droplets bounce like water balloons off of the metal's super-hydrophobic ...

XCAR Films: How to drive the Ford Model T

"At one point, over half the cars in the U.S. were Model Ts. They were used for business, for pleasure, for everything really. Even in World War I, they were praised for their abilities. Ford's dream of freeing farmer...

Design Ah! (デザインあ) introduces kids to design concepts

In 2011, Japan's NHK television network began broadcasting Design Ah!, a Peabody award-winning children's educational program that explores different types of creative thinking for viewers of all ages. With an "Ah" th...

Janicki Omniprocessor: Turning human waste into drinking water

"The water tasted as good as any I’ve had out of a bottle. And having studied the engineering behind it, I would happily drink it every day. It’s that safe." This huge, potentially game-changing machine, invented ...

Fire & Ice: Mount Kenya’s Lost Glaciers, revisualized with fire

It was so cold, and the air so thin, on the mountain that even walking with his fire-rake for 20 minutes exhausted Norfolk completely. He was like a man lost on an island, pacing and waving a flame for help. But his c...

British birds created with LEGO (and made an official set)

Originally hand-crafted with bricks from a wide variety of LEGO sets, LEGO fan and bird enthusiast Thomas Poulsom pieced together a series of beautiful British birds as a tribute to the natural world that he wants to ...

Wangari Maathai: “I will be a hummingbird”

The Story of the Hummingbird, as told by celebrated Kenyan environmental activist, women's rights advocate, and 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Professor Wangari Maathai in this clip from Dirt! The Movie: We are co...

The Economist on entomophagy: Why eating insects makes sense

Healthier to eat, less expensive to produce, and more sustainable than traditional livestock, insects are a popular recommendation as a global food supply solution. Around two billion people eat bugs as a snack or as ...

This “snail shell spider” uses its web to hoist objects up high

From the BBC's Madagascar, narrated by David Attenborough, watch how the small and elusive Olios coenobitus spider uses its web threads like rope, hauling an empty snail shell into the island's native thorny succulent...

Fourth graders create a solar powered classroom

When Aaron Sebens started talking about renewable energy with his fourth grade class, they kept coming back to their excitement about solar power and making it a more hands-on learning experience. How might they move ...

Sixteen year old Elif Bilgin turned banana peels into a bioplastic

After two years of research, experiments, and failed trials, 16-year-old Elif Bilgin developed a new process for turning banana peels into a non-decaying bioplastic, a more eco-friendly alternative to petroleum-based ...

Self-Folding Crawler: A Transformer-style Origami Robot

From flat-packed to self-folding, Harvard graduate student Samuel Felton was inspired by origami when he created a laser-cut robot that could assemble itself and autonomously scurry away. The basic ingredients: two mo...

Sea Chair: Making a stool from plastic debris found in the open sea

Collecting plastic on the open sea and then making a small seat with it, all done from a fishing boat: Sea Chair, a project by Studio Swine and filmmaker Juriaan Booij, via Atlantic Video: When plastic debris break...

The Solar Do-Nothing Machine by Charles and Ray Eames

Designed by husband and wife team Charles and Ray Eames, this is the Solar Do-Nothing Machine, a whimsy-maker of sorts, but also "one of the first devices to convert solar energy to electricity. The Eames office asked...

Made with Code: Limor Fried and Erica Kochi

Adafruit's Limor Fried talks about why writing code is "like being able to write your own story in technology." As one of many women in science, tech, engineering, and math (STEM) careers, she's featured as a part of ...

Pass It On: Turning scraps into soccer balls for village children

In a village outside of Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, this Congolese gentleman crafts found scraps of garbage into a homemade soccer ball. Though the region has been plagued with war, terr...

Modular, self-assembling robots from EPFL and MIT

"Furniture that changes functionality completely depending on the needs of the person..." Like life-size LEGO pieces, these robot modules can gyrate and reconfigure in order to create furniture or move furniture in an...

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