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Inventors

Inventors & Remarkable People

Douglas Engelbart, inventor of the mouse, dies aged 88

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
Inventors & Remarkable People Feature

Dambusters 70 years on: Barnes Wallis – an engineer ahead of his time

It's seventy years to the day since No. 617 Squadron of the Royal Air Force returned from Operation Chastise, in which specially designed bouncing bombs were dropped in an attack on the Möhne, Sorpe and Eder Dams in Germany during World War II. Though the bouncing bomb is without doubt the invention for which Barnes Wallis is most renowned (thanks in no small part to its depiction in the film Dambusters) Wallis' other work before, during, and after World War II was of great importance, and in some cases, far ahead of its time. Gizmag spoke to Dr. Andrew Nahum, Principal Curator of Technology at the Science Museum where many of Wallis' papers are archived, about swing-wing aircraft, earthquake bombs, improbable mathematics lessons, and the geodetic Wellington Bomber.Read More

Good Thinking

2012 James Dyson Award winner announced

For the past month, the judges have been casting a discerning eye over the 15 finalists of the 2012 James Dyson Award and they’ve now made what no doubt was a difficult decision. Taking out the major prize is Dan Watson, who will receive £10,000 (US$16,000) for his SafetyNet system that tackles the problem of overfishing by providing escape exits for juvenile and non-target fish caught up in commercial fishing nets. Read More

Good Thinking Feature

And then there were 15: James Dyson Award 2012 finalists announced

This year’s James Dyson Award provided potential entrants with a pretty broad brief – develop a problem solving invention. The international jury has now whittled down the 501 entries received from university students hailing from 18 countries around the world to 15 finalists. We take a look at the projects still in the running to claim a slice of the £20,000+ (US$32,385+) prize pool up for grabs.Read More

Environment

Pedal-powered washer could make a big difference in developing nations

In the developed world, we forget that there was once a time when washday meant “day” rather than “toss it in the machine and come back in 20 minutes.” In many parts of the world without access to electricity and clean water, that time is still now. Design students Alex Cabunoc and Ji A You of the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles visited the the slums of Cerro Verde, Peru. There they saw women spending days on end hauling water and washing clothes by hand and they came up with a solution. They created the GiraDora, a foot-pedal washing machine that’s inexpensive and portable.Read More

Good Thinking

TechShop provides inventors with the tools of the trade

We got to do some fun things at last month’s Go Further With Ford conference, such as test-driving the new Mustang and the purpose-built Police Interceptor. On the final night of the event, however, us conference-goers really got to enjoy ourselves – we got to make stuff, at the Detroit branch of TechShop. In business since 2006, the company now has five shops located across the U.S., all of which provide inventors and other people with access to advanced tools and know-how. We spoke to CEO Mark Hatch to learn more about what the group has to offer, and to whom.Read More

Medical

iBrain to allow Stephen Hawking to communicate through brainwaves alone

Tech startup Neurovigil announced last April that Stephen Hawking was testing the potential of its iBrain device to allow the astrophysicist to communicate through brainwaves alone. Next week Professor Hawking and iBrain inventor, Dr Philip Low from Stanford University, present their findings at the Francis Crick Memorial Conference in Cambridge, England. In anticipation, Gizmag spoke to Dr Low about the potential applications of the iBrain.Read More

Inventors & Remarkable People

Indian inventor creates children's science toys from trash

Children in the First World have a lot of choice when it comes to scientific toys. In fact, there are whole stores devoted to selling things like robotics kits, ant farms, and simple microscopes. In the developing world, however, such fancy toys are relatively scarce. So, what's an adult to do if they want to get the local children interested in the sciences? Well, in the case of Arvind Gupta, they show the kids how to make scientific toys from trash. Read More

Inventors & Remarkable People Feature

3D printing, Kickstarter and old-fashioned perseverance: The tools of the modern inventor

The near concurrent rise of Kickstarter and semi-affordable 3D printing means we live in a time when it is easier than ever to be an inventor of physical things. Gizmag spoke at length to David Alden, whose spring-loaded Recoil Winder cable management device clearly struck a chord raising more than 14 times the original US$10,000 investment target. Both Kickstarter and 3D printing may have been essential to the development of the Recoil Winder, but Alden's story also demonstrates the need for good old-fashioned perseverance.Read More

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