Inflatable Stickies Make Building Robots as Easy as Arts and Crafts

In recent years, taking a simpler approach to science and engineering has paid off handsomely in certain fields. It's part of the reason there are now rovers exploring Mars, and many feel it will be the easiest way to make robots more commonplace. After all, what could be a simpler way to build an automaton than with… » 1/28/15 9:25am Yesterday 9:25am

A Brief History of the Rubber Band

Cheap, reliable, and strong, the rubber band is one of the world's most ubiquitous products. It holds papers together, prevents long hair from falling in a face, acts as a reminder around a wrist, is a playful weapon in a pinch, and provides a way to easily castrating baby male livestock… While rubber itself has been… » 1/20/15 7:36am 1/20/15 7:36am

Four Ideas to Fix Beijing's Smog Airpocalypse, And One That Will Work 

The worst smog of the year so far swept into Beijing this week, coating the city in a grainy, deep grey murk on par with what the city endured in 2013, pictured above (though you'll see it's popping up again today). China is trying, hard, to get its air quality problem under control, and is considering some seriously… » 1/15/15 1:35pm 1/15/15 1:35pm

Brooklyn's Best NYE Tradition Ends Tonight 

If Times Square is too gaudy, crowded, and frankly insane for you, then there is another New York tradition worth your New Year's Eve—one that is, in fact, ending tonight. For the past fifty years, the Pratt Institute has set out its amazing collection of big old steam whistles out on the lawn of its Brooklyn campus.… » 12/31/14 5:30pm 12/31/14 5:30pm

How Facebook Is Hacking Together a Better Data Center 

Data centers are boring. They have to be; these are spaces of control, consistency, security. You wouldn't expect to find much creativity inside the plain facades of these highly-regulated structures—much less hacked-together experiments involving robotic Blu-ray storage systems and thousands of Mac Minis.
» 12/03/14 1:20pm 12/03/14 1:20pm

A New Super-Thin Coating Could Cool Buildings Without AC

When it's hot out, buildings have a hard time staying cool: bombarded with ambient heat and generating yet more inside, their air conditioning systems have to work hard to keep temperatures down. Now, a new super-thin coating developed at Stanford could be applied to buildings to help them cool themselves more… » 11/28/14 7:00am 11/28/14 7:00am

The Surpisingly Old Origins of the Fax Machine

Today, we mostly think of the fax machine as an outdated piece of technology. While there are still some uses for it in an office-setting, technological advances are sending the fax machines to the same pasture as pagers, land-line telephones, and disposable cameras. Even if this is the last we hear of the beeps and… » 11/20/14 8:00am 11/20/14 8:00am

How NASA Deals With Odor Inside the International Space Station

Space may be a vacuum, but at least aboard the International Space Station, smells still have plenty of room to waft. And considering the ISS has 6 living, breathing, excreting human beings living in such close proximity, some of those smells could get to be a major problem. Fortunately, NASA's accounted for that. » 10/21/14 4:00pm 10/21/14 4:00pm