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Inventors & Remarkable People

World's biggest fish gets a black-box flight recorder

This year the secret life of one of the Earth’s largest and most mysterious creatures, the whale shark, will be laid bare for the first time when some of the gentle giants off Western Australia’s coral Ningaloo coast are equipped with "black box flight recorders". The project is the result of a collaboration between two Laureates of the Rolex Awards for Enterprise – Australian Brad Norman who set up the world’s first photo-ID system for identifying whale sharks and Briton Rory Wilson, who has developed the world’s most sophisticated device for monitoring the activity of animals in the wild. With capabilities beyond those of GPS-based animal tracking systems, Wilson's logger monitors changes in an animal’s acceleration in every direction – forward/back, up/down or sideways - at a rate of up to 32 times a second, and, combined with a compass, determines the animal’s speed, direction and position. Julian Cribb and Graeme O'Neill report.Read More

The Electric Super Tipper Truck

Most of us first encountered the concept of a tip truck in the sand pit as toddlers – and they’ve been pretty much all the same basic concept since then. The electric-powered Super Tipper Truck is not confined by traditional thinking as it does not require a traditional power train and with no problems about storing lots of heavy batteries for delivering massive electrical power to each in-wheel motor, the Haishan Deng-designed Super Tipper delivers more unloading and loading options, greater accuracy, greater worker safety and more efficiency to the construction industry. “I set out to find a ‘new way’ for this important equipment of construction,” said innovative designer Haishan. “The concept concentrates on enabling more possibilities for the loading and unloading process. Common trucks can only unload to backward or sidewards”. Read More

Remarkable inventor pioneered human-powered flight

September 6, 2007 The aeronautical world is mourning the loss of visionary inventor, designer and engineer Dr Paul MacCready, who passed away on 28 August 2007. Among his very long list of accomplishments, he was most widely known as the "father of human-powered flight". Using a craft he created, the Gossamer Condor, MacCready made the first sustained, controlled flight by a heavier-than-air craft powered solely by its pilot's muscles. Read More

Happy birthday to the WWW

August 7, 2007 The invention of the Internet cannot be pinned down to any specific time, place or person as it was developed primarily for military and scientific applications throughout the 60s and 70s in the US. The World Wide Web on the other hand, the basic software building-block that makes access and categorisation of the billions of documents that sit on the Internet possible, can be attributed to one person - Tim Berners-Lee. The world wide web turned 16 yesterday – here’s the original post that started it all.Read More

13-year old CEO seeks $100k in venture capital.

May 21, 2007 Thought YOU were ambitious? How's this from a 13-year-old: "Our goal is to achieve 1 million dollars in revenue by the end of middle school, which is next year." The surprise hit of this year's TiECON, the Elementeo chief has already booked 450 sales of his upcoming first product. His whole executive team is around the same age, including his 11-year-old sister, VP of sales. He's looking for US$100k in investment capital, or 2500 pre-orders, to start production of Elementeo - and with his ability to deliver an elevator pitch like this on demand, you'd have to back him to get it. Via VentureBeat. Read More

HP Garage gets listed on National Register of Historic Places

May 18, 2007 The garage-start-up that becomes a global company is part of every budding entrepreneurs dream. In America, the HP Garage has become a symbol of what can rise from humble beginnings with hard work and determination. Now the National Park Service has begun listing the famed HP Garage and house at 367 Addison Avenue, Palo Alto on the United States National Register of Historic Places. Recognized as the birthplace of Silicon Valley, the garage was the building in which Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard set up shop in 1938. One hopes that they’ll subsequently consider the Cupertino garage where Wojniak and Jobs kicked off Apple in 1976 and the rented Menlo Park garage where Sergei Brin and Larry Page set up Google in 1998.Read More

Scientists move a step closer to being able to make objects invisible

May 4, 2007 A computer model designed by a mathematician at the University of Liverpool has shown that it is possible to make objects, such as aeroplanes and submarines, appear invisible at close range. Scientists have already created an ‘invisibility cloak’ made out of ‘metamaterial’ which can bend electromagnetic radiation – such as visible light, radar or microwaves – around a spherical space, making an object within this region appear invisible. Until now, scientists could only make objects appear invisible from far away. Liverpool mathematician Dr Sebastien Guenneau, together with Dr Frederic Zolla and Professors Andre Nicolet from the University of Marseille, have proven - using a computer model called GETDP - that objects can also be made to appear invisible from close range when light travels in waves rather than beams. Scientists predict that metamaterials could be of use in military technology, such as in the construction of fighter jets and submarines, but it will be some years before invisibility cloaks can be developed for human beings.Read More

Scientists Develop New Tool To 'Freeze' Crime Scene Memories

April 27, 2007 The Crime Scene Investigation TV writers regularly impress us with their rapid deployment of new technologies, so it’ll be interesting to see how long it is before we see Gil Grisham or Horatio Kane employing the latest innovation developed by scientists at the University of Portsmouth. It’s a self-administered interview that 'freezes' the memory of crime scenes in the minds of witnesses. The tool - a self-administered interview applied by witnesses at crime scenes - combats natural memory decay by using the latest research in cognitive psychology techniques. It 'freezes' images and details of crime scenes and perpetrators in the minds of witnesses, particularly small and seemingly insignificant details that provide major leads for detectives that turn out to be crucial in solving cases.Read More

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