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Engineering

— Bicycles

Czech engineers set to build six-prop Flying Bike

By - June 19, 2012 11 Pictures
From the Jetsons to Back To The Future, hopping onto or into a personal flying vehicle has been on the engineering "To Do" list for a good many years. We've seen a number of noteworthy attempts at defying gravity and taking to the skies here at Gizmag (many of which are featured in this roundup from 2010) and now another possible addition to that growing collection has landed on our desk. Known simply as the Flying Bike (or FBike), this collaborative effort from a bunch of Czech companies and enthusiasts is still very much in the early stages of development, but the proposal is to fit a number of electrically-driven propellers to the custom frame of a two-wheeler that will allow the pilot to rise above the traffic for as long as the batteries hold out. Read More
— Bicycles

New SplinterBike Quantum all-wooden bike launched in time for London 2012 Festival

By - June 15, 2012 5 Pictures
Around about this time last year, we featured an all-wooden bike named SplinterBike that went on to be viewed by over 320,000 visitors to the Power of Making exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. A second version was used to set a new speed record for 100 percent wooden bikes in August 2011 and now the creator of both, Michael Thompson, has built a special SplinterBike Quantum (SBQ) edition for the 2012 London Olympics. A few design changes have been made to allow a variety of visitors to the Adain Avion event at the London 2012 Festival to mount up and ride an all-wooden bike for themselves, including adjustable seat height and a different gearing setup. Read More

The century-old Edison-Puton Monowheel

The annual Cholmondeley Pageant of Power in the U.K. never fails to deliver something special and this year that exotic ingredient is a 1910 Edison-Puton Monowheel. Capable of being ogled by engineers for hundreds of hours at a time, the Monowheel was built in Paris in 1910, and bears testimony to human folly at its most ingenious. Read More
— Marine

Wavegarden takes surfing inland

Imagine you're hundreds of miles from the sea - you climb over a grassy hill and come upon a lake with perfect surf just waiting for you and your board. Spanish engineering firm Instant Sport is setting about making this scenario a reality with its custom-built Wavegarden. While artificial waves are far from new, engineer Josema Odriozola and sports economist Karin Frisch claim that their brainchild can bring an ocean-like break to land-locked surfers, body boarders and kayakers alike using less energy than any other existing wave generator to date. Read More
— Spy Gear

Batman-inspired wall-scaling system built by engineering students

By - April 25, 2012 7 Pictures
The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory wants to find a better way for airmen to scale tall structures or rock faces, so it did what just about anyone seeking new ideas does these days – it held a contest. Its 2012 Service Academy and University Engineering Challenge saw teams from 17 universities and three service academies showing off their wall-scaling systems, earlier this month at Wright State University’s Calamityville tactical laboratory in Fairborn, Ohio. One of the teams, from Utah’s Brigham Young University, devised an impressive system that was inspired directly by Batman’s grappling hook-shooting, power winch-equipped gun. Read More
— Science

Collapsible “Buckliball” turns failure into functionality

By - March 30, 2012 1 Picture
Taking inspiration from a toy, a team of researchers at MIT have developed a new engineering structure that is mechanically unstable, yet collapses in a way that is predictable and reversible. The structure, formed out of a single piece of rubber-like material, is fabricated so that it collapses in harmony to form a smaller structure that can then be expanded into the original shape. This structure opens up new potentials in everything from architecture to micro-medical applications. Read More

Evidence of Human Birdwings flying hoax piles up

"Human Birdwings" creator Jarno Smeets and his Android-powered, mechanically-assisted flying machine are creating a stir again. Gizmag originally reported on Smeets' effort to fly like a bird when he posted a video of his first test flight, in which he appeared to hang in the air a few feet off the ground for a second or two. In the video of his latest attempt, he's shown soaring around in the air, and a lively debate over the validity of the video is already heating up. Read More
— Science

New tech could allow production lines to automatically adjust to changes

By - November 2, 2011 1 Picture
Factories are a bit like living things. They are made up of a number of individual systems, and a change made to any one of those systems can have an affect on other systems down the line. In the case of living things, however, all of the systems are united by the organism’s DNA – if a change is made to one system, the others adjust automatically. Such is not the case in factories, however, where humans must go in and make all the changes manually. Not only is this costly and labor-intensive, but it can also result in errors. Researchers from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation are addressing this problem by trying to make factories more like living things – as they put it, they’re trying to decode “factory DNA.” Read More
— Urban Transport

Levytator – the curvy, energy-saving escalator

By - October 10, 2011 6 Pictures
For over a century, escalators have followed a fairly straight path – with the exception of a few spiral and curved escalators found in cities including Reno and Osaka. Now a researcher at City University London has developed a new type of escalator called the Levytator that is capable of following freeform curves. This is achieved by replacing the traditional rectangular steps with curved modules that also allows the modules to be placed in a continuous loop. Not only does this open up the design possibilities for architects, it could also cut energy usage in half compared to conventional escalators. Read More
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