Ah, the Marx generator. I have fond and not so fond memories of building my first one. It worked very well, I knew this because of the sort of out of body feeling I had when I got zapped by it. Anyway, it works by charging up a bank of capacitors in parallel and then are discharged in series. It will turn a few wimpy volts into something that will quite literally take your breath away. This site has a nice semi tutorial on how one is built. Go have a read and start scrounging in your junk box for some parts (mind you, keep a hand in your pocket to avoid making a dead short across your chest and through your heart. It’s not a sure thing but it helps)
I went to the bi-monthly hackerspace meeting last night. They had a guy there giving a talk about an open source 3D printer that he and his company is working on. I posted photos of it on Flickr. The thing is called ‘Cube.ly‘ and will, once finished, print 10cc of volume per hour, cost under $1000, takes a weekend to build, and is made of off the shelf parts. The frame is made of this stuff called ‘80/20′, think adult sized Erector set and the other bits like motors are available from McMaster-Carr or the guys that build the Makerbot (electronics).
We live in amazing times.
…If Microsoft founder Bill Gates unleashes more mosquitoes at this year’s Technology, Entertainment and Design conference, Nathan Myhrvold will be ready for him. Myhrvold demonstrated a “Death Star” laser gun designed to track and kill mosquitoes in flight. The device was crafted from parts purchased on eBay by scientists at Myhrvold’s Intellectual Ventures Laboratory. As Myhrvold explained, a child dies every 43 seconds from malaria. Current methods for eradicating the disease aren’t working very well. There’s no viable vaccine yet, and although mosquito nets work, people don’t always use them. When given free nets by public health organizations, many people in the developing world use the nets for fishing instead. So until the time comes when malaria can be controlled, Intellectual Ventures thought it might be a good idea to try to control mosquitoes. Myhrvold’s team demonstrated the system onstage using a green laser light rather than a real laser for safety reasons. They let loose mosquitoes in a glass box rigged with a camera on one side of the stage, then pointed the laser device at the box. The laser lights quickly located the mosquitoes in flight. After the live demo, Myhrvold showed a video depicting mosquitoes being zapped for real in flight. They’re currently examining how cost effective it would be to deploy the device in places like Africa.
Brighten up your desktop with stunning shot of science imagery. Over 80 to choose from at various dimensions to fit even the most ’embiggened’ of monitors. There are even instructions on how to apply this as a desktop to your computer if you were wondering how that sort of thing was done. Space craft, planets, satellite pictures of Earth, there are enough pretty pictures to make most everyone happy.
Very nice, I like the part about the propellant being frozen while it’s being loaded into the motor.
Researchers are developing a new type of rocket propellant made of a frozen mixture of water and “nanoscale aluminum” powder that is more environmentally friendly than conventional propellants and could be manufactured on the moon, Mars and other water-bearing bodies.
I seriously doubt that you will be playing Super Mario Brothers on this any time soon but it would be fantastic for a self operating chemical analysis machine.
Each pneumatic valve is operated by changing the air pressure in a small chamber below the air channel, separated from the circuit by a flexible impermeable membrane. When the lower chamber is filled with air the membrane pushes upwards and closes the valve, preventing the binary signal flowing across one of the processor’s junctions.
Sucking out the air from the chamber reopens the valve by forcing the membrane downwards, letting the signal move across the junction.The two researchers used the valve-controlled channels to produce a variety of logic gates, flip-flops and shift registers, which they linked together to create a working 8-bit microprocessor. That means that the longest discrete pieces of data it can handle are eight binary digits long, like the processors used in 1980s consoles such as the Nintendo Entertainment System.