Wednesday, December 18, 2013

This air-powered, life-size, Lego car is brilliant or insane or both

This air-powered, life-size, lego car is brilliant or insane or both.  First of all, just look at it!  It is made of more than 500,000 Lego pieces.  The entire engine is made of Legos, has 256 pistons and it runs on air pressure.  It can attain a top speed of 20 MPH.  Apparently some of the load bearing parts, tires and the drive train aren't made of Legos, so if you are making a pure Lego car, you don't need to worry about this project.  Still, the engine in particular is quite an achievement.  Well done Steve Sammartino and  Raul Oaida.  See the video to watch it move.

What other little bits of informations there are can be found at SuperAwesomeMicroProject.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Comparing the Renaissance to the maker culture/movement - please help Digital Diner

Hi Digital Diner Readers,

Widdakay is writing a research paper comparing/contrasting the Renaissance to the modern day maker culture/movement.  He can't interview people from the Renaissance, but he can question people now about the maker movement as it happens.  That is where you come in.  He has created a short questionnaire for makers and non-makers alike to help collect information about makers and the maker movement.  It only takes about 10 minutes to fill out and it would help him immensely if you would take a moment to answer the questions for him... and maybe even pass the questionnaire on to your friends.

Answer questionnaire here.

Thanks one and all.  Your opinion matters.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Ah yes, the food extruder is finally coming...

Ever since a few years ago when I saw a sugar-based 3D printer, I've wondered when we would have a 3D food printer.  Finally, a company called Natural Machines is taking the leap to build such a device (see the video above).  They can print interesting shapes in chocolate and pasta.  It is a sort of a step beyond the Play-doh fun factory for food.  It's still in early stages of development, so the food in the video doesn't look too appetizing at this point, but the concept is good.

I really think they should apply a little more food science.  Just look at what we have learned from sous vide and the interesting results when you have exacting control of temperature of your ingredients.  Since 3D printers have heated nozzles, don't you think we could do some really accurate cooking at the same time.  Extrude your runny egg mixture, but then cook it to just the right texture as it leaves the nozzle (click here to learn more about exact egg cooking temperatures).  Maybe we could even include some frickin' lasers to do some spot cooking.  The printer should be the oven as well as the extruder.  I think with the right set of technologies you could create beautiful and delicious culinary art.  I feel a Kickstarter campaign coming on...

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Instant Delivery Race

Amazon Prime has been an amazing thing for us.  It definitely changed our shopping habits by making it so easy to get online goods.  Amazon Prime's two day delivery is pretty amazing too.  It certainly is something that one gets used to pretty quickly.  Now, for a small fee, you can have your Amazon Prime packages delivered the next day.  Of course, all the competitors are getting into the act as well.  Google Shopping Express delivers goods the same day.   eBay Now promises delivery in about an hour.  This escalation has gotten ridiculous, to the point where Amazon has announced Amazon Prime Air.  We love the idea of using multi-rotor copters to do delivery, but it seems like there are a lot of practical issues to resolve before you put this into practice.  For instance, you are sending out a device with whirring blades into the public.  What could go wrong?  I would imagine that these multi-rotor copters will be expensive, so what is to stop someone from stealing it?  What if the weather turns bad while it is enroute?  There are quite a few difficult problems to solve.  This video shows Amazon's vision of how the system would work.

If this race escalates much more, things will really get out of hand.  One potential scenario is shown in this video.

This video is not serious, but it's harder than one might expect to tell it apart from the real one.

My advice?  Settle down everyone.  Patience is a virtue.