World’s Strangest

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Robotic Teddy Bear Smacks You When You Snore

Robotic bears are kind of a thing in Japan. This one is called Jukusui-kun, which means “deep sleep.” You lie on top of it while sleeping. If you start to snore, it’ll brush you across the face with its paw (claws are optional) to suggest that you stop. Watch a video of it in action [...]

Surgical Robot Peels a Grape

(Video Link) We’ve seen the revolutionary Da Vinci Surgical System do amazingly precise movements before, including folding paper airplanes and playing Operation. In this video, surgeons at Southmead Hospital in the UK demonstrated its ability to make delicate cuts by peeling a grape. So far, there are only 1,032 Da Vinci robots in service around the [...]

Cat Vanishes from Colorado, Appears Five Years Later in New York City

Willow, a calico cat belonging to the Squires family of Boulder, Colorado, disappeared five years ago. Because she was microchipped, animal control authorities were able to identify her when she was found on a street in Manhattan: How she got to New York, nearly 1,800 miles away, and the kind of life she lived in the [...]

When Geodesic Domes Were All The Rage

It’s hard to believe that people once thought we’d all be living in domes by the year 2000, but this delightful retro article from Popular Science confirms that the future is a lot squarer than people in the 60s and 70s thought it would be. The geodesic dome was the brainchild of R. Buckminster Fuller, [...]

Space Shuttle Docking with Space Station as Seen from Earth

Sure, we’ve all seen pictures of a space shuttle docking. But this one was taken from Earth using a fairly ordinary telescope guided by hand: This remarkable picture was taken by Rob Bullen on Saturday February 26 from the UK, using an 8.5? telescope. I’ll note that’s relatively small as telescopes go! But the ISS is [...]

When an Industrial Designer Breaks His Foot, We All Get Better Crutches

Jeff Weber, an industrial designer, broke one of his heels in 2005. He found the crutches that he used while recuperating inadequate, so designed new ones: His new crutch would employ an articulated mesh saddle that remained parallel to the armpit even as the angle of the column changed with the gait of the user. The [...]

Knife-Wielding Robot Taught to Repeatedly Stab Meat

(Video Link) Until recently, robots have been unable to replace human workers at the task of deboning meat due to the differences between individual pieces of meat. But the HAMDAS-R built by Mayekawa Electric can now debone ham effectively: HAMDAS-R has made it possible to automate the processing of irregularly shaped, soft foods like meat. Until now, [...]

2 Square Meters of Sunlight, When Focused, Can Melt a Rock

(Video Link) Bang Goes the Theory is a popular science show on BBC One. In this clip, host Jem Stansfield visited the Solar Furnace Research Facility in France and witnessed how much power can be generated from 2 square meters of sunlight when it’s all focused on one small spot. via Make

Inflatable Helmet

The Hövding, developed by Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin, is an inflatable helmet. It’s designed to protect a bicyclist’s head without mussing his/her hair: Hövding is a discreet collar that the cyclist is wearing around his neck. The collar contains a folded airbag which is visible only at a collision. The airbag is designed as a [...]

The Science of Prohibition

Popular Science has a gallery of articles the magazine published during Prohibition addressing alcohol, the laws against it, and the ways people got around those laws. Some read like “how to” guides, and some detail law enforcement methods as if warning people how to avoid getting caught. This “scientific” look at how stills work was [...]