05
Jul
09

Five Cool Real-life Science Projects

These are too cool to keep to myself. It’s amazing what man’s big brains come up with. There is no fiction stranger:

  • A fish that can be used to power a clock. It must be an electric fish (like the Amazon’s Black Ghost. The most familiar is the electric eel), a specific type of fish that produces low-frequency electric fields around their bodies to detect prey or predator.
  • A material that can make anything invisible. These are called ‘metamaterials’ and are all the rage in scientific circles right now. Successful tests have been run at Duke University, University of Tokyo and other places to hide an object behind a material that takes on the appearance of the background (thanks to light waves and such). They’re also working on hiding sounds the same way. Think military. Hello Star Trek Klingon cloaking device
  • A robot that’s almost human. This is mine: Put Otto’s brain into the mechanical body of a sophisticated robot–wirelessly. Easy if they’re close by. Harder the further away they get. Check out Otto’s page on this blog to find out more about him. Check out my last project with Otto to see how he operates (it’s only an excerpt because the rest is classified)
  • A virus (yes, like the flu) that can power a battery. This comes from MIT. They think they’ve developed a technology that can recreate batteries using viruses. They say this could hold the promise of relatively inexpensive, nonpolluting, lightweight powerful batteries—a holy grail for the Green generation
  • A device that can read your thoughts. It taps into your brainwaves. No, they don’t stay inside your skull; they seep out like light from a shaded window. The University of Pittsburgh got two rhesus macaques to feed themselves using mentally controlled robotic arms. They used robotic arms controlled mentally—no joystick required. Think: I want that food. The robot gets it for you. How cool is that?

Sounds unbelievable, but it isn’t. The human brain loves solving puzzles. Never tell it something’s impossible. Want more on the excitement of science? Read my post, How to Kindle your Child’s Interest in Science.

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What’s in this blog

Discover the sizzle in science. It's not that stuff that's always for the smart kids. It's the need to know. The passion for understanding. The absolute belief that for every problem, there is a solution. The creative mind seeking truth in a world of mystery. The quest for the Holy Grail.

That's science.

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Great Science Books

Assembling California
Born On A Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant
The Forest People
Geology Underfoot in Southern California
The Land's Wild Music: Encounters with Barry Lopez, Peter Matthiessen, Terry Tempest William, and James Galvin
My Life with the Chimpanzees
Naked Earth: The New Geophysics
Our Inner Ape: A Leading Primatologist Explains Why We Are Who We Are
The Runaway Brain: The Evolution of Human Uniqueness
Sand Rivers
The Singing Neanderthals: The Origins of Music, Language, Mind, and Body
The Tree Where Man Was Born
The Wildlife of Southern Africa: A Field Guide to the Animal and Plants of the Region
The Worlds of a Maasai Warrior: An Autobiography


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