Whether you're a researcher wishing to study living insects in conditions requiring a lethal vacuum, or you're that insect in the vacuum simply wishing not to die, scientists have found a solution to your problem. Using only a common chemical and a scanning electron microscope (SEM), a team at the Hamamatsu University School of Medicine developed a process that allows insects to survive in a vacuum of about a millionth of atmospheric pressure. Not just a new technique in biologists' toolkit, this research adds a small piece to our understanding of how life – insect, human, or otherwise – might be sustained outside the narrow constraints our bodies demand.
If you’re like me and have kids and dogs, then a day out can leave the car looking as if the interior was marched through by a battalion of crisp-munching soldiers. To help deal with this everyday reality and eliminate the need to hunt down a hand vac, Honda has installed a built-in vacuum system into its 2014 Odyssey Touring Elite.
A launch event in Sydney, Australia, this week was the latest stop on Sir James Dyson’s world tour introducing his company’s new line of Airblade hand dryers
. While the dryers and the new digital motor that powers them were the main focus, the billionaire British industrial designer also confirmed that his company is still working to perfect an autonomous vacuum cleaner.
If you own a dog or cat, you might wonder why people who don’t own one even need
a vacuum cleaner – after all, aren’t pet fur and paw-dirt pretty much entirely what vacuums are used to clean up? Well, if that were
the case, you’d think that it wouldn’t be so hard to get them to pull the fur out of your carpets and upholstery. That’s where Bosch’s new Zoo'o ProAnimal vacuum comes into the picture. As its vaguely Irish-sounding name implies, it’s optimized for sucking up animal hair.
In the 1800s, when pneumatic tubes shot telegrams and small items all around buildings and sometimes small cities, the future of mass transit seemed clear: we'd be firing people around through these sealed tubes at high speeds. And it turns out we've got the technology to do that today – mag-lev rail lines remove all rolling friction from the energy equation for a train, and accelerating them through a vacuum tunnel can eliminate wind resistance to the point where it's theoretically possible to reach blistering speeds over 4,000 mph (6,437 km/h) using a fraction of the energy an airliner uses – and recapturing a lot of that energy upon deceleration. Ultra-fast, high efficiency ground transport is technologically within reach – so why isn't anybody building it?
Every now and then, we here at Gizmag like to take a look at how the other half (or one percent) live. And why not? It's nice to occasionally fantasize about say, waking up in a private, underwater hotel room
, to be chauffeured in a Mercedes-Benz
to a weekend getaway on your own personal floating island
. But does that fantasy involve personalized, gold-plated cleaning appliances? If it didn't before, it sure can now with GoVacuum's GV62711 vacuum cleaner and it's US$1 million price tag.
After a decade on the market, the Roomba
has become the most well-recognized brand in robotic vacuum cleaners and a staple of many households. But while iRobot has improved the Roomba's filtering, suctioning, and collision detection over the years, actually controlling the vacuum has been left to its automated systems. Now iRobot has released the Roomba 790, which gives you direct control of the robo-vac's movement and settings remotely with a new Wireless Command Center.
Last month we told you about a team of Brigham Young University engineering students, who created a clever Batman-inspired wall-climbing system
. They were competing in the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s 2012 Service Academy and University Engineering Challenge, in which teams had to design gadgets that would allow soldiers to safely and quickly ascend vertical surfaces. Given that the Brigham Young entry didn’t take first place, however, we thought it only made sense to take a look at the entry that did
... and that would be a little something known as the Personal Vacuum Assisted Climber (PVAC), designed by a team from Utah State University.
When an anesthetized obese patient is lying on their back on an operating table, the weight of their abdominal fat can make it difficult for them to breathe. It can also press down on and displace their organs, making certain procedures more challenging. Mehdi Razavi, director of electrophysiology clinical research at the Texas Heart Institute, had encountered such problems first-hand, with patients of his own. He decided to turn to Houston’s Rice University, to see if its students could come up with a solution. In response, a group of bioengineering seniors created something called the R-Aide, which uses vacuum-powered suction cups to lift up patients’ bellies.
Although there are similarities to the Startram
concept we looked at recently, this take on maglev-like transport is all on terra firma
and, if it ever eventuates, would take passengers from New York to Beijing in just two hours. Advocates of Evacuated Tube Transport (ETT) claim it is silent, cheaper than planes, trains or cars and faster than jets.