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Inventors and Remarkable People

Lyman Connor works on his bionic hand

It seems like hardly a month goes by without news reaching us of advances in the field of bionic hands. Unfortunately, however, these high-tech prostheses can be very costly to purchase, with prices ranging into the tens of thousands of dollars. This puts them out of reach of a large number of people, such as a boy that General Electric engineer Lyman Connor met last year. Connor proceeded to design and build a low-cost bionic hand in his home workshop, which he now hopes to make available to amputees-on-a-budget .... plus he hopes to get one to the boy, if only he can locate him.  Read More

Second Livestock: 'Cockulus Rift' project aims to improve the lives of battery hens using ...

Battery hens live pretty grim lives – but what if their lot could be improved with the use of virtual reality? Second Livestock is a project that envisions caged hens being fitted with VR goggles, microphones and movement sensors to give them the impression that they're out in the barnyard doing ... whatever it is chickens prefer to do all day. If the chickens themselves believe they're free and happy, does that mean they should get the free range stamp, even though they're cooped up?  Read More

The Strandbeest Plaudens Vela can walk in the wind at low speeds and avoid tumbling over i...

How many artificial animals can you encounter on a seaside walk? More than one if you frequent the Dutch coastline where Theo Jansen's moving artworks amble along with the help of their rudimentary senses. The complex wind-powered skeletal constructs that Jansen calls "Strandbeests," or beach beasts, are designed to stay on the beach and live off the sea breeze.  Read More

Artificial shells for hermit crabs by Aki Inomata (© AKI INOMATA)

About this time two years ago, we looked at the efforts of Miles Lightwood and the Thingiverse community to 3D print shells for hermit crabs, but Tokyo-born artist Aki Inomata has been creating artificial shells for hermit crabs since 2009. Her most recent efforts are intricate and ornate, incorporating ideas on the theme of national identity through depictions of city skylines and vernacular architecture. The hermit crabs seem to like them too.  Read More

Scott Carpenter on the phone with President John F Kennedy after the Aurora 7 mission (Ima...

Scott Carpenter, one of the last surviving Mercury 7 astronauts, has died at the age of 88. The second American to go into orbit and the fourth Mercury astronaut to travel into space, Carpenter is also remembered for his contributions to oceanography.  Read More

Easton LaChappelle demonstrates his prosthetic arm to President Barack Obama at the third ...

Advanced prosthetics have come a long way in the last few years, but the costs have also skyrocketed. A cheaper alternative may be on its way thanks to Easton LaChappelle, a 17-year old high school student from Colorado, who is using free online resources and the boom in inexpensive 3D printers to develop a functional prosthetic arm and hand. His projects have already earned him an invitation to the White House, and he's now working at NASA on the Robonaut team.  Read More

Bond is well known for his Walther PPK, but a particular .45 Colt revolver reveals more ab...

It's one of the most memorable moments in perhaps the best James Bond film, From Russia with Love: SPECTRE agent Rosa Klebb, posing as a hotel maid, drops her gun, and appears to be at a disadvantage as she goes toe to toe with Sean Connery's imposing Bond. That is until she deploys her iconic poison-tipped dagger shoes, which have gone on to be copied in other notable action films … and Wild Wild West. But as kitsch as Klebb's cleaver clogs might seem, the CIA attempted to replicate them, and another classic Bond gadget, in real life, according to research by Dr. Christopher Moran of Warwick University. At the heart of the story is the close friendship of Bond author and Ian Fleming and former CIA Director Allen Dulles. Gizmag spoke to Moran about 20th century Intelligence, and its peculiar relationship with the fictional British spy …  Read More

The Nerf Vulcan Sentry Gun automatically locates targets and unleashes a stream of foam da...

Anyone who plays video games will know that few things protect an area like a well-placed sentry gun. In the real world, though, even a person's bedroom or office could use a little protection sometimes, which is why one designer has built the Nerf Vulcan Sentry Gun. Using a custom program and some servos, the sentry can automatically locate targets and unleash a stream of foam darts at over seven times the usual speed, while keeping its owner out of the crosshairs.  Read More

Douglass Engelbart gives his revolutionary presentation in 1968 that saw the first public ...

Douglas Engelbart, the man who made point and click possible with his invention of the mouse, has died aged 88. When he first demonstrated his invention to a computer conference in San Francisco, California in 1968, it was basically a wooden shell with two metal wheels for registering movement along the X- and Y-axes. Ahead of its time, the mouse wasn’t popularized until the release of the Apple Macintosh in 1984.  Read More

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