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Inventors and Remarkable People

Wikipedia is celebrating its tenth birthday

Like "Google", "Wikipedia" has entered the common lexicon. I haven't yet heard anyone say they're going to Wikipedia something but I'm sure that someone, somewhere, is already doing it. Many of us have Wikipedia bookmarked as our "go to" site, the first port of call to get an overview of a topic. The free, online encyclopedia features roughly 17 million articles in 270 languages, all created by a volunteer community. On 15 January this year Wikipedia celebrates its tenth birthday – what had the potential to become disastrously chaotic has become a valued icon, consulted by more than 400 million people every month.  Read More

'Build Your Own Underwater Robot' teaches children - and adults - how to build the SeaPerc...

If you like gadgets, and you like the ocean, then you must like ROVs – it’s just that simple. For the uninitiated, ROVs (Remote Operated Vehicles) are small unmanned submarines that are used for underwater operations deemed too deep, dangerous or difficult for human divers. They’re tethered to a support ship, from which a human operator controls them in real time, watching a live video feed from an onboard camera. It’s all incredibly appealing to those of us who are fascinated by the prospect of what secrets lurk beneath the surface of the ocean... or of the local pond. A few dedicated souls go so far as to trying to create their own homebuilt ROVs, many of them turning to what has become the bible on the subject, Build Your Own Underwater Robot and other Wet Projects. Gizmag had a chance to talk to the two authors of the book, and found out what inspired them to pursue such an unlikely project.  Read More

Light Touch transforms a projected image into a virtual 10-inch touch screen

Light Blue Opitcs (LBO) has won the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Innovation Awards 2010 prize for Product Design with its Light Touch interactive projector. The device uses an infra-red touch sensing system that transforms a projected image into a virtual 10-inch touch screen. It allows users to interact with multimedia content and applications by touching the image, which can be projected onto any flat surface.  Read More

The first computer mouse was made of wood and featured two wheels to control X and Y movem...

Dr. Douglas Engelbart is perhaps best known as the inventor of the computer mouse, but when he unveiled that device at a computer conference in 1968 he also introduced additional technology that would profoundly affect computer-human interaction as much as the mouse has. During the "mother of all demos" at the Fall Joint Computer Conference held at the Convention Center in San Francisco, Engelbart and his team of researchers from the Augmentation Research Center at Stanford Research Institute gave a live demonstration of hyperlinks, remote collaboration software, on-screen windows, and even video conferencing.  Read More

Gas turbine model train looks (and sounds) incredible

Developed by Hidepon Works, this train is about as bad-ass as model trains can possibly get. It's powered by a gas turbine engine, thus giving it a very noisy and very sexy jet-like sound as it prepares to "take off" on its run. We took a closer look at Make Fair in Tokyo.  Read More

Haidar Taleb and his solar-powered wheelchair

United Arab Emirates (UAE) inventor Haidar Taleb has today set out from Fujairah on a journey that will take him across all seven of the emirates that make up the UAE. The journey is expected to finish in Abu Dhabi in 11 days time on the UAE National Day, but its not the route or the timing that is attracting attention, it's the means of transport. Taleb won’t be making the trip by train, car or even camel – he’ll be riding a solar-powered wheelchair.  Read More

The ingenious Anthony Emergency Housing System

The seeming increase in natural disasters such as tsunamis, earthquakes floods and wildfires around the world has continued to highlight mankind’s need for emergency housing. Gizmag has reported many clever designs for emergency housing over the last decade, but Peter Anthony’s collapsible, lightweight mobile platform is the most viable we've yet seen for airdropping and rapidly-deploying housing for large numbers of people. Each self-contained 8' x 8' x 8' living space is constructed of composite material, and hence weighs less than 200 pounds, folds flat and can be assembled with a single spanner by two people in less than 30 minutes.  Read More

Two thirds of the world's population now carries a mobile phone but this was state-of-the-...

In his book The Artificial Ape, Dr Timothy Taylor convincingly argues that humans are biologically a product of technology. If Taylor is correct, then the ground edge stone tool pictured is of enormous significance. Stone tool-use among our earliest hominid ancestors dates to 3.4 million years ago, but the use of grinding to sharpen stone tool edges is very recent. This is the oldest ground-edge stone tool ever found and represents bleeding edge technology 35,000 years ago.  Read More

Babbage's Difference Engine was completed from original designs in 1991... the task of bui...

Charles Babbage was the quintessential "man ahead of his time". In the mid 19th century the English mathematician and inventor developed the concept of a programmable computer and designed complex, steam-powered calculating engines that were never completed during his lifetime. One of these machines – the Difference Engine – was successfully constructed using Babbage's original plans in 1991 and now programmer John Graham-Cumming is on a mission to build a working replica of a second, more complex computing machine known as the Analytical Engine.  Read More

The remarkable progress of the record in the last 16 months.

Scottish brewery BrewDog has reclaimed the world record for the strongest beer in history with a 55% alcohol beer which it has named “The End of History.” Only 11 bottles will be available, and each bottle will come inside a stuffed animal – seven Stoats will be available at GBP500 and four grey squirrels at GBP700, making it also the most expensive beer in history. That's USD$1000 a bottle!  Read More

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