Category Archives: Invention

Nikola Tesla – genius and inventor

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Marble machines

This video is just plain fun… a whole collection of handmade continuous motion marble machines. It’s mesmerizing!

The “Time Eater”

The Corpus Clock is a large sculptural clock installed at street level on the outside of the Taylor Library at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, England.

If it looks like a clock from a nightmare, it’s because the inventor meant it to be scary, emphasizing his idea of time as a constant pressure on human lives.

The Corpus Clock, which has been called “the strangest clock in the world,” was conceived, designed, and funded by inventor John C. Taylor, and theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking participated in its public unveiling.

The horological masterpiece features a time-devouring grasshopper, or what the inventor calls a “chronophage,” or “time eater”, at its top that crawls forward one second at a time. As it moves, the 60 slits cut into its face light up to show the time. It took a team of eight engineers and craftsman five years to mold the clock. It is expected to run another 25 years on its current electric motor.

“Conventional clocks with hands are boring,” Taylor says. “I wanted to make timekeeping interesting.”

Holy human-powered flight, Batman!

A Canadian man has become the first human to fly by flapping wings, according to the Toronto Star.

Todd Reichert is an engineer, studying for his PhD at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies. He both designed and flew the craft, which is called an ornithopter. Ornithopters are flying machines that are heavier than air and powered with flapping wings, in imitation of birds.

Reichert named his ornithopter “Snowbird”. The machine is built out of balsa wood and carbon fiber – two very light substances. Although Snowbird has a 105-foot wingspan, which is just six feet shorter than the wings of a Boeing 737 jet, the ornithopter only weighs 94 pounds.

Snowbird was towed by an SUV to takeoff (much like you would run with a kite to get it in the air). Then, with Reichert peddling like crazy, the wing-flapping device sustained altitude for 19.3 seconds and carried him 475 feet with an average speed of 16 miles per hour.  The Toronto Star doesn’t say how he landed.

Reichert has now filed a claim for a new world record in human-powered flight.

Here is some historic footage of early attempts at human-powered flight: