2D Rubens’ Tube Visualizes Sound in a Plane of Fire

German physicist Heinrich Rubens became a god among nerds in 1905 when he invented a tube that uses fire to visualize standing sound waves. When there is no sound fed into the tube, the flames rise to the same height. When a sound is added into the tube, the waveform actually affects the amount of gas that is fed through each hole.

At the point of maximum displacement on the wave (the anti-node), the gas pressure varies. The pressure is highest when the wave crests and the gas is pushed closer to the hole, which forces more fuel out and causes the flame to grow higher. When the wave pushes down into the trough, it can’t really suck the gas back in. The flame has enough gas and oxygen to remain burning higher until the wave crests at that point again.

The part of the wave which crosses the midline and remains unchanged is referred to as the node. This area in the Rubens tube doesn’t have the pressure fluctuation and remains relatively low.

Of course, volume plays a big role on how these flames appear. The above description applies when the volume is high, but if the incoming sound is quiet, the crest of the wave isn’t enough to overpower the opposite pressure of the trough, and the anti-nodes actually appear smaller than the nodes.

Derek Muller from Veritasium traveled to Denmark in order to check out an updated version of the Rubens tube. These physicists and chemists have developed an apparatus with 2,500 holes in the top. The key difference is that these holes are not all in a line like a traditional Rubens tube, but actually cover an entire plane.

The results are pretty amazing. Check it out:

Read more at http://www.iflscience.com/physics/amazing-2d-rubens%E2%80%99-tube-visualizes-sound-plane-fire#9RzZpOl4iyy94qrr.99

Micro-robots Making Things!

I’m always a sucker for tiny things but also have a great love for robots, so when I learned about these micro-robots, I really got excited. We’re all familiar with ant colonies, where every tiny creature is running around doing just what it needs to. Well it looks like SRI International has taken inspiration from the giant mounds of insects, to create their own swarms of tiny worker robots that can put together mechanical assemblies and electronic circuits.

Diamagnetic Micro Manipulation (DM3) uses tiny magnets that move under a circuit board, to get the micro-robots to follow a set pattern based on a set of preprogrammed instructions. The system can be set up so just one or a couple of robots are working together, or you can have giant groups of them moving together in sync like some bizarre gymnastics routine. Despite their tiny size, the robots can move up to a foot in a single second, so they can haul around your micro manufacturing supplies pretty swiftly.

SRI says that DM3 can be used for prototyping parts, electronics assembly, biotech lab-on-a-chip experiments, and assembling small mechanical systems in hostile environments. Eventually they plan to scale up the technology, by developing a manufacturing head containing thousands of the little buggers that can build much larger assemblies.

As you might expect, the funding comes from the military, and is part of DARPA’s Open Manufacturing program.

Check out the video of the tiny robots in action, you’ll be surprised by how fast and accurate they can be:

Source – Original written by Michael Trei

Thermal Power: Use Your Body Heat to Power Wearable Tech

There’ll soon be no need to ever take off wearable technology as your body heat will be able to run a generator to keep it powered-up.

Thanks to a new invention by scientists in Korea heat that escapes the body can be converted into energy using the generator that can be curved along with the shape of the body.

The researchers developed the glass fabric-based thermoelectric generator to be light and flexible which could help to further commercialise wearable technology.

Byung Kin Cho, who led the team in creating the generator, said that with more development the technology could be used on a large-scale to stop heat energy not being used.

At present wearable technology, such as the activity tracking Fitbit Flex wrist band, is developed with long-lasting battery life – the Flex has a battery life which can last up to five days.

However the latest technology would remove the need to ever take wearable technology off, which can cause some users to stop using their gadgets.

It also comes with the benefit that using thermal energy to power and recharge wearables would not need to use any energy created by non-renewable forms.

The small generator was created and tested on small bracelet and it is said it can be able to provide power in a stable and reliable way.

Cho further described how the generator could be used, he said: “Our technology presents an easy and simple way of fabricating an extremely flexible, light, and high-performance TE generator.

We expect that this technology will find further applications in scale-up systems such as automobiles, factories, aircrafts, and vessels where we see abundant thermal energy being wasted.

So far only two types of thermal energy generators have been developed, these have been based on either organic or inorganic materials.

Until now the organic generators have been able to work with human skin but have not been able to generate enough power to be put to practical use.

While those made of inorganic materials have been able to generate enough power but have been too bulky to be able to be used with wearable technology.

Cho came up with the a concept and design technique to build a flexible TE generator that minimizes thermal energy loss but maximizes power output.

The new concept uses liquid like pastes of thermal electronic materials printed on to a glass fabric.

When using the generator, with a size of 10cm by 10cm, for a wearable wristband device, it will produce around 40 mW electric power based on the temperature difference of 31 °F between human skin and the surrounding air.

Images 2 and 3 courtesy of KAIST


Heifer Heist – A Cow Abduction Boardgame

Board Close-Up

I haven’t been posting recently because I have been working on this boardgame called, Heifer Heist! In a nutshell,

Heifer Heist is a classic story about aliens, cows, and a great escape. The players are aliens who have crash landed on a planet and “borrow” cows to power their motherships to return to space. During their cownapping quest, they must dodge the angry farmer, who’s got beef with them!

If you like this game it would be awesome to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and sign up to be notified when our Kickstarter launches!

Heifer Heist


Cards Close-Up

This is possibly my favorite project that I have worked on with my friend, Jess. We entered it into the Champaign-Urbana Design Organization’s (CUDO) boardgame competition and won the award for Best Visual Design and Most Marketable.

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We have had the awesome opportunity to show and play our game with several designers at Deep Silver Volition, and now in the process of creating a Kickstarter for it!

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Check out the design process!