The power of flexibility

The standard way to add movement to an object today is to add more rigid parts and combine them with joints. But this is not a good solution because the more parts your mechanism has, the number of potential problems increases. Wouldn’t it be great if you could add movement to your mechanics, without adding any parts? This is where material elasticity comes into play. The people at Michigan Engineering knows all about the power of flexibility and talk about them in this video. Whenever functionality is incorporated into the structural material itself, reliability goes up, and the cost on manufacturing tends to go down. Also, since it is flexible, it will automatically handle any sudden impacts that would leave a more rigid part in pieces!

The power of Biomimetics!

Evolution has caused some impressive mechanics! Without a creative mind, it has come up with solutions that the most genius of humans would never had thought of. Robert Full did this talk at TED about the locomotive skills of cockroaches, and it is mind-blowing! Evolution, through million of years of trial and error, has resulted in a such versatile and resilient being as the cockroach! We think we are the most superior species on our planet, but just watch this video and you’ll be wondering if we really are the perfectly adoptable species we think we are….

How to program muscle wire

We love smart materials and especially “Muscle wire” also called memory wire. Usually made from nickel and titanium, these wires are very durable and remembers their preprogrammed shape! Bend it, twist it, deform it in any way and when it is heated up, it automatically returns to it´s predesigned shape. This can be used to make active springs and even tiny muscles that moves when heated up by an electric current. So if you need a completely silent and lightweight alternative to motors and actuators, you should consider using muscle wires. There are a lot of videos out there that demonstrates how they can be used for robotics and more, but how do you program the wires shape? Well we finally found this excellent tutorial from RimstarOrg where this procedure is explained in detail. Now you can design your own smart actuators to fill whatever need you may have! What project can you imagine making with this smart material?

Mistakes are valuable!

We really like this video, because it is so inspirational. In this lecture from Maker Faire 2014, Emiko Soroka walk us through her experience from knowing basically nothing about crafting, to making her own Portal turret robot and learning a lot from her mistakes. And no words we say can ever top her own youthful wisdom:

Emiko Soroka – “What i´m really trying to say is that everyone can be a maker. It´s ok if you don´t know what you are doing, because you can get help. It´s OK if you don´t have a proper workshop or fancy equipment, or a hackerspace down the street. It´s OK if you don´t have a college degree. You have the internet and somewhere out there is an expert, happy to share knowledge with you. So don´t say “I can´t”, say “I’ll try!” because chances are you´ll succeed!”

Advanced character costumes

Norm from Tested.com interviews Frank Ippolito about his finally finished Zoidberg ( character from the cartoon series “Futurama”). In this video Frank takes us through the process of making a highly advanced full body costume with lifelike mask, hands, feet and animatronics. The project has taken him many months, which really shows in the excellent result. While this project is too advanced for beginners, it is still very interesting to see all the processes, materials, parts, painting and more that goes in to creating an advance special effects costume like this.

If you want to see how the mask was painted, please watch Airbrushing 101.