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Szymon Klimek fabricates some of the most amazing miniature electromechanical artwork you ...

A hobby is what you do with the rest of your time. It tends to feed a deep-seated need of which you may not even be aware - to be your best self. Some people golf, some swim, some quilt, some travel, some climb mountains ... there's no end to the list. Then there's Szymon Klimek, who makes some of the most incredible miniature electromechanical sculptures imaginable.  Read More

The MAGDRIVE project is tasked with developing a touchless transmission

Satellites and other spacecraft, like most machines, have parts that move against one another. Unlike most machines, however, they operate in extremely cold conditions, their power source is often very limited, and lubricating or repairing them are not exactly easy tasks. It is for these reasons that researchers at Spain’s Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) are coordinating the three-year MAGDRIVE project – an international effort to create a mechanical transmission with no touching parts, that doesn’t need any lubrication.  Read More

The 2011 Chevrolet Corvette

There are businesses that let you glaze your own pottery, cook your own steak or pick your own strawberries, but when it comes to the hands-on experience, a new offer from General Motors has them all beat. If you order a 2011 Corvette Z06 or ZR1, you have the option of traveling to GM's Performance Build Center in Wixom, Michigan, and hand-assembling your car’s LS7 or LS9 engine. It’s called the Corvette Engine Build Experience, and is believed to be the first program of its kind (if any readers would like to dispute that claim, please do so). If you don’t like the idea of providing GM with your mechanical expertise for no cost, don’t worry - you’ll have to pay an extra $US5,800 for the privilege.  Read More

The teeny tiny chessboard designed by the Texas Tech team for Sandia Lab's annual MEMS stu...

Anyone who subscribes to the view that good things come in small packages would no doubt be impressed by the winners of this year’s design contest held at Sandia Labs for novel and educational microelectromechanical systems (MEMs). The big, or should I say exceedingly small, winners were the world’s smallest chessboard, which is about the diameter of four human hairs, and a pea-sized microbarbershop that is intended to service a single hair.  Read More

Clayton Boyer's Celestial Mechanical Calendar and Orrery - are you up to the challenge?

For most of us clocks are a purely utilitarian device. They tell us the time and we don’t generally give a second thought to their inner workings. But the mechanical wooden clock designs of Clayton Boyer put the inner workings of clocks on full display resulting in conversation starters that are not only functional, but beautiful as well. And, if you’re feeling up for the challenge, you can build your own.  Read More

Geoffrey Cooper's Geocentric Watch concept tells time via two rotating rings

When it comes to timepieces I’m firmly in the camp that thinks the digital watch is the pinnacle of time telling technology. It imparts its information at a glance with no need to waste time adding or subtracting minutes in multiples of five, or estimating if the big hand is two or three minutes between markers – if there are markers at all. I will concede, however, that for many people watches are as much a fashion statement as a means to tell time and as such designers are always looking to redefine the humble watch in different and interesting ways. The latest eye-catching timepiece to catch our eye is the Geocentric concept watch that uses a motion similar to planets rotating around a sun to tell time.  Read More

A piece of silicone rubber imprinted with super-thin material that generates electricity w...

Engineers from Princeton University have developed power-generating rubber films that could be used to harness natural body movements such as breathing or walking in order to power electronic devices such as pacemakers or mobile phones. The material, which is composed of ceramic nanoribbons embedded onto silicone rubber sheets, generates electricity when flexed and is highly efficient at converting mechanical energy into electrical energy.  Read More

Diagram tracking the movement of gears turned by the bacteria (Image: Igor Aronson/Argonne...

Researchers have discovered that common bacteria suspended in a solution can be made to turn microgears. This opens up the possibility of building hybrid biological machines at the microscopic scale. The researchers say the discovery demonstrates how microscopic swimming agents, such as bacteria or man-made nanorobots, in combination with hard materials, can constitute a "smart material", which can dynamically alter its microstructures, repair damage, or power microdevices.  Read More

The nanoscale resonators developed at Cornell can exert relatively strong forces on tiny p...

Scientists at Cornell University report they can now use a light beam carrying a single milliwatt of power to move objects and even change the optical properties of silicon from opaque to transparent at the nanometric scale. Such an advancement could prove very useful for the future of micro-electromechanical (MEMS) and micro-optomechanical (MOMS) systems.  Read More

There is a surprisingly close match between the energy storage requirements of an urban bu...

It seems that the lessons learned in developing a mechanical KERS system for F1 may yet hold the key to a low-cost, high-efficiency hybrid system particularly suited for the stop-start patterns of buses, which are quite similar to the distances between capturing and delivering energy of those of a race car. Torotrak will deliver a paper at the SAE Commercial Vehicle Congress in Illinois next week showing how flywheel KERS for buses can offer more than 30 percent fuel saving over the London bus test cycle, yet package around an existing transmission.  Read More

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