As robots get smarter, cheaper and more versatile, they're taking on a growing number of challenges – and bricklaying can now be added to the list. Engineers in Perth, Australia, have created a fully working house-building machine that can create the brick framework of a property in just two days, working about 20 times faster than a human bricklayer.
If you’re into electronics as
a hobbyist, technician, or professional engineer, you know that you can spend
many hours designing circuits, sourcing components, and breadboarding or
soldering a project all together before you find out if your creation actually works. Wouldn’t
it make life simpler if you could just start with a basic, multi-function
controller and a few plug and play peripherals to get something – anything – up
and running straight away and then which you could tweak and add to as you go?
The makers of a new electronic design tool thought that this would be a good
idea too and have created Cubit, a make anything platform that allows drag and
drop software control over snap together hardware. Join Gizmag as we try a few builds to test out it out.
Electrical engineer Charles Sharman noticed several years ago that as they got older,
the children he taught at Sunday School tended to migrate from Lego and
other building toys to video games. He wanted them to keep creating, so
he started a company called Seven:Twelve Engineering and began designing
a building toy that could hold the attention of these older kids. That
toy is called Crossbeams, and it can be used to design and assemble a
huge range of toys – including big, detailed, moving cars and
The UK's Crossrail project is said to be Europe's largest construction project
. What's more, the earth excavated to construct its tunnels is being used to develop one of Europe's largest nature reserves. Wallasea Island in Essex has recently received its final shipment of Crossrail earth.
Britain's lidos, or public open-air swimming pools, were once far more numerous and popular than they are today. In recent years though, they've come back into fashion to some extent, with several campaigns to re-open or renovate aging lidos proving successful. Riding this wave is the Thames Bath project, which has recently turned to Kickstarter to raise funds toward a new floating open-air swimming pool on the River Thames.
Preliminary construction work has begun on Staten Island's New York Wheel: a huge Ferris wheel that will rise 192 m (630 ft) above New York Harbor. Slated for completion in 2017, the US$500 million New York Wheel will have a capacity of up to 1,440 passengers at a time.
"Working at heights is risky," affirms Geoff de Ruiter when quizzed by Gizmag on the challenges he faced while building a tiny treehouse perched 5.1 m (17 ft) off the ground in British Columbia. Happily though, the University of Northern British Columbia PhD student recently completed the Raven Loft treehouse without incident for just US$8,200, plus land costs, leaving him with a mortgage- and debt-free tiny retreat.
The winners of this year's eVolo Skyscraper Competition have been announced. The annual contest was established in 2006 with the aim of recognizing outstanding ideas for vertical living. This year's overall winner, the Essence Skyscraper, contains a variety of diverse natural habitats.
Lionel Buckett squats barefoot on the stone outcropping that forms a natural verandah to his latest extraordinary creation. Weathered and weary with a shock of curly orange hair, he's looking out across a magnificent, pristine valley in Australia's Blue Mountains range, a view that probably hasn't changed in thousands, even hundreds of thousands of years. "It's an interesting thing with passive solar design," he muses, "that a cave facing north is probably the first passive solar building that humans ever lived in."