Programmable Self-Folding Origami

Programable matter Only a matter of time until technology like this becomes common in everyday items. I want a bed that will make itself when I get out of it in the mornings. 🙂

(The device)… consists of a thin sheet of resin–fiberglass composite, just a few centimeters across, segmented into 32 triangular panels separated by flexible silicone joints. Some of the joints have heat-sensitive actuators that bend 180 degrees when warmed by an electric current, folding the sheet over at that joint. Depending on the program used, the sheet will conduct a series of folds to yield the boat or airplane shape in about 15 seconds. The folding-sheet approach is an extension of the field of computational origami, the mathematical study of how flat objects can be folded into complex, three-dimensional structures.

Shifty Science: Programmable Matter Takes Shape with Self-Folding Origami Sheets: Scientific American.

Multimeter Clock Is A Multimeter

Multimeter clock
… Well a bunch of multimeters to be exact. I found this in  my mailbox today:

Your readers are sure to get a kick out of my latest clock project. The clock consists of three multimeters, the first meter displays hours, the second displays minutes and the last displays seconds. A 16F628A PIC microcontroller keeps track of time and outputs a calculated current to each meter to display the current time.

Heck yeah, that’s pretty darn cool!

I thought it would be cool to have a clock that looks like an old Simpson 260 multimeter. The clock consists of three multimeters, the first meter displays hours, the second displays minutes and the last displays seconds.

Check out his project on his page:

Multimeter Clock – Styled after the Simpson 260 Multimeter – Hacked Gadgets – DIY Tech Blog.

US Army To Fly Airships Over Afghan

I’ve been a fan of airships for years and I think it’s great that their unique functionality is once again going to be used.

The airships – which have been dubbed Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) systems – will be deployed in just 18 months.
“It is critical [for] our warfighters [to be] equipped with more enabling integrated ISR capability to tackle today’s and tomorrow’s conflicts,” explained Northrop spokesperson Alan Metzger.
“[So], we have designed a system with plug-and-play capability to readily integrate into the Army’s existing common ground station command centers and ground troops in forward operating bases.”
According to Metzger, the LEMVs are expected to be capable of sustaining altitudes of 20,000 feet for a three-week period.

US Army orders hybrid airship for Afghan deployment.

LED Wireless Communication Nodes In Our Future?

LED lights could transmit dataSounds like a great idea, this would solve the low (or non existent) wireless data rates that are found in the core of large buildings. Should be inexpensive to implement as well. So when can I get my LightFi lamp and alarm clock combo?

The objective of the initiative is to use visible light for communication between wireless devices and LED-based lighting fixtures. The LED-based scheme could also be used to communicate between automobiles, which are increasingly being equipped with LED lamps. The overall goal is to build new communication capabilities into all LED lights and reduce congestion in current RF bands.

LED lamps could serve as wireless communication nodes

Phoenix Mars lander Killed By Ice

Landing on Mars in May of 2008, the NASA Mars Phoenix Lander worked remarkably well until November of the same year. It sent back hundreds of images and did soil testing that found calcium carbonate and perchlorate. The mission was only supposed to last for three months but like other NASA missions the service life of the lander exceeded expectations and only ended when the winter sun could no longer charge the probes batteries. When the Martian winter had passe it was hoped that the lander might have survived the deadly cold (-87C) and contact could once again be established. However it was not to be. The lander was no longer responding to commands issued from NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter as it did a number of passes over the landing site in multiple listening campaigns. Eventually an image was obtained from the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter the that confirmed the speculation that an estimated 100 pounds of icy buildup has damaged the delicate solar panels.
Phoenix Mars Lander is Silent, New Image Shows Damage.

“NASA’CAR” Rocket Racers Take Off

I’ve been waiting a while for news of this. It’s fantastic that a demo has finally made it off the ground, please pardon the pun… Not too sure about the ‘play in the stands’ notion, that might be too much of a gmick for the spectators to handle.

A single rocket racer flew in front of the aviation crazed crowd at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in 2008 with its short bursts of rocket power allowing the pilot to climb and maneuver unlike a traditional airplane. As one of the test pilots explains in the video after the jump, it’s full throttle or nothing at all, giving pilots a boost of power…

Video: Rocket Racers Roar Over Tulsa