Topic: ideas

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Automata artist Matt Smith and his Curious Contraptions

Born in 1965, Matt Smith spent about six weeks at the Falmouth School of Art before deciding he would rather spend his time "making silly things." He began making automata in 1980 and, in 1986, formed the Fourteen Bal...

How A Children’s Toy Led To An Essential Medical Device

"We were out in a primary health center talking to health care workers [in Uganda] and we found a centrifuge used as a doorstop because there's no electricity." The workers said that they really needed a powerful cent...

How a kingfisher, an owl, & a penguin helped redesign Japan’s Shinkansen

How is Japan’s Shinkansen, a long-nosed bullet train that travels up to 240–320 km/h (150–200 mph), like a kingfisher? Or an owl? Or an Adélie penguin? In this video from Vox and 99% Invisible, we see how these three ...

How a failed invention lead to a potentially life-saving new idea

Inventor Hahna Alexander spent years developing an idea that people said they really liked: Shoes that generate power as you walk, making it possible to charge a battery with them. But after starting a company and tes...

How to draw a circle without a compass

Gather three sharpened pencils, three rubber bands, a few paper clips, some cardboard, a push pin, some string, and some paper to try these five solutions: How to draw a circle without a compass. Don't have that much ...

What does the wheelchair symbol actually mean?

Some of the world’s most recognizable symbols exist to sell products. Others, to steer traffic or advance political causes. But there’s one whose main purpose is to help people. You may know it as the wheelchair symbo...

How To Forgive – The School of Life

How can we bring ourselves to forgive someone who has been wrong, mean, or thoughtless to us? The School of Life explores How To Forgive, an animated video that aims to change our perspective, and help us come around ...

Marta Minujín’s ‘Parthenon’ of Banned Books in Kassel

In Kassel, Germany, at the very site where Nazis once burned over 2,000 books by Jewish and Marxist writers, one artist has built a colossal tribute to free speech. The “Parthenon of Books” is a giant temporary replic...

Where do new words come from? – TED Ed

There are over 170,000 words currently in use in the English language. Yet every year, about a thousand new words are added to the Oxford English Dictionary. Where do they come from, and how do they make it into our e...

Autonomous Machines: Creating patterns with mechanical objects

A DIY drawing idea from graphic designer Echo Yang: Make art with a wind-up toy. While attending Design Academy Eindhoven, Yang created a series called Autonomous Machines, pattern painting projects implemented with m...

Unendurable line – Design Ah!

Consider this line and its corresponding chorus as they graph and reflect the variables of different objects. It's a visual and aural experiment that can be created for anything... toast in the toaster, the wind in th...

A glow-in-the-dark bug puppet by Barnaby Dixon

Puppeteer Barnaby Dixon designs puppets that move with a combination of his practiced finger work and the puppet's internal mechanisms. They can pick things up, scratch their heads, dance, tumble, fly, and more. This ...

What does the word ‘theory’ mean in science?

There’s an important difference between a scientific theory and the fanciful theories of an imaginative raconteur, and this quirk of semantics can lead to an all-too-common misconception. In general conversation, a ‘t...

Silly Robots by YLLW

Silly Robots is a fast-paced, delightful animation exercise that's composed of 50 looping gifs. It was created by London-based studio YLLW as a fun daily project: We wanted each ‘Silly Robot’ to be different from o...

Catching fog to help combat Peru’s water shortage

Along the foggy coasts of Peru, where millions of people don't have access to clean water, Abel Cruz Gutiérrez helps catch 200 to 350 liters (around 50 to 100 gallons) of water per day with each 'fog catcher' he sets ...

The power of creative constraints – TED Ed

Imagine you were asked to invent something new. It could be whatever you want, made from anything you choose, in any shape or size. That kind of creative freedom sounds so liberating, doesn’t it? Or ... does it? if yo...

Why don’t perpetual motion machines ever work?

Perpetual motion machines — devices that can do work indefinitely without any external energy source — have captured many inventors’ imaginations because they could totally transform our relationship with energy. Ther...

Bouquet, a device that translates colors into fragrances

Point the cone at a patch of blue and sniff the other end. An ocean scent wafts through the nozzle and into your nose. The Bouquet color-to-smell translator was created in just one week by Erika Marthins, Arthur Mosca...

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