OpenROV, how to explore the depths with an open source submarine

openROVMany people owe their passion for the seabed to the documentaries of oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, but times change, and watching documentaries is no longer enough. In the era of ‘makers’, the next star of the depths may well be OpenROV, the open source underwater robot accessible to all.

Diving is an amazing activity – have you seen the DIY submarine built by eighteen-year-old Justin Beckerman yet? But sometimes it can be better to rely on a remote-controlled robot when exploring wrecks or a hazardous seabed. And this is where OpenROV comes onto the scene. It was designed by NASA engineer Eric Stackpole (@Eerrp), and was the 2012 winner in a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter worth over one hundred thousand dollars. (more…)

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Lattinoir: how to launch a can into space

lattinoirIt’s a foggy corner in the suburbs and we see two really bizarre characters: a can and a rubbish bin. Believe it or not, they really are the characters in Lattinoir, the short film presented at the Giffoni Film Festival on 26 July. Their story is about how easy it is to take a can up there in space.

You won’t see any rockets or spaceships, as everything goes through the recycling of aluminium. That’s right, the can featuring in Lattinoir can’t wait to be recycled and get transformed into something wonderful. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy. (more…)

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GlassKap, 8 DIY accessories designed for use with Google Glass

glasskapGoogle Glass has only just landed with a group of explorers circling the globe, and already some people are wondering how it can be personalised from top to bottom. Nothing could be simpler! Have a look, for example, at GlassKap: a set of clips printed in 3D and created by Todd Blatt. The idea arrived on Kickstarter with a $2000 crowdfunding campaign, achieving considerable success.

The idea behind the project is simple: if Google Glass changes our way of experiencing privacy (the Mountain View glasses can record everything we look at), then we should also change the external look of the device. Sometimes a lens-cover is enough to reassure people that we are not filming them. But there’s also room for some more bizarre ideas, like a little flower-pot and a disturbing gun-sight. (more…)

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The makers behind the incredible Comic-Con 2013 robot

Wired MechIf you come across a robot weighing 400 pounds and nearly nine feet tall, you’re probably at Comic-Con in San Diego, California. Or in some not too distant future. Let’s forget about science fiction, because as Wired US says, there really was a piece of armour technology that bewitched all the visitors at the international convention on comics and every kind of imagination. Do you know who built it?

The robot presented at Comic-Con is the result of the hard work of Stan Winston School and Legacy Effects, two studios that really know their stuff when it comes to special effects and animatronics. Perhaps the question that you’re all asking is, how can a giant like this move? There is a trick of course, but it’s well hidden. Any ideas? (more…)

Mind Over Mechanics: here’s who controls the drones with their mind

mind over mechanicsThe invasion of domestic drones in our lives has been going on for a few years. We know that it is possible to transform a bicycle wheel into a radio-controlled flying machine (read here), but what would you say if moving the flying machine were your brain waves? This is exactly what the Mind Over Mechanics project at the University of Minnesota is; mind control for flying robots that leaves you breathless.

To control the drone all you need is the helmet which transforms signals from the brain into flight controls. Although it seems a simple hobby technology long neuroscience studies were carried out for Mind Over Mechanics. Online you can find further information on a scientific article published in creative commons in the Journal of Neural Engineering by the neuroscientist Bin He and his team. But just how does it work? (more…)

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