While talking about egg sizes in the context of the Eggbot project, we realized that while we have access to a few samples, we do not have a good understanding of the normal variation in the sizes of various bird eggs.
The sizes of chicken eggs are well understood and well regulated, but for other types of bird eggs (like the emu egg above) the sizes are not necessarily so standard. If you have access to other types of eggs or eggshells, we’d like your help in gathering data about the size and variation in these other types of eggs.
We’ve set up a survey form to collect egg size data and we plan to post about our results once we have collected enough data.
Photo by Camper English, Popular Science
Barbot 2013 was covered in Popular Science this week, and Drink Making Unit 2.1 made an appearance in the accompanying photo gallery.
The SPARK (Science Play and Research Kit) Competition is requesting submissions for what they are calling “Reimagining the Chemistry Set of the 21st Century.”
To be clear, we’re interested in science beyond chemistry. We borrow this term to capture the spirit and magic of what the classic chemistry set spawned in the 1940s – 60s. We’re looking for ideas that can engage kids as young as 8 and inspire people who are 88. We’re looking for ideas that encourage kids to explore, create, build and question. We’re looking for ideas that honor kids’ curiosity about how things work.
We’ve delved into that spirit with our posts on Vintage Chemistry Manuals and Vintage Chemistry Sets. We also see it in our community in groups like Public Lab, with projects like Thermal Photography. It is exciting to see this contest trying to promote that spark of curiosity. Submissions are due in January, and we’re looking forward to seeing the winners when they’re announced in February. In the meantime, we would like to hear what you want to see in science kits for the future.
This week on the NPR radio show Science Friday, our co-founder, Windell Oskay, will be talking with Ira Flatow about Halloween hacks and projects and will likely be taking calls from listeners. Find out how to listen online and what radio stations will be broadcasting in your area. The show airs live from 2-4 p.m. Eastern Time (11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Pacific) and Windell should be on around 3:30 p.m. Eastern (12:30 p.m. Pacific).
Our archive of Halloween projects and hacks can be found here.
Update: Here’s the audio from the segment:
DropBot is an open source Digital Microfluidic (DMF) automation system that was presented at the 2013 Open Hardware Summit by Ryan Fobel of Wheeler Microfluidics Laboratory at the University of Toronto.
In DMF, discrete fluidic droplets are manipulated on the surface of an array of electrodes coated with a hydrophobic insulator.
It extremely exciting to see the sciences embracing open hardware in new ways.
Kilobots are small, low-cost, open source vibrobots designed by the Self-organizing Systems Research Group at Harvard to study swarming behaviors. A group of these bristlebot-inspired robots were demonstrated at the Open Hardware Summit.
Photo by Michael Rubenstein.
Amazon today decided to remind me about some of our past projects through book recommendations. We contributed a bunch of projects to The Hungry Scientist Handbook and were interviewed for Cooking for Geeks. Well targeted, Amazon— perhaps too well…
The stent pictured above is an example of an Open Stent from NDC, makers of nitinol materials and devices, particularly for medical applications. In their introduction to the project, they write:
The first problem that we encounter when developing useful and practical educational resources for stent design is that every design we might want to use as an example is proprietary! That leaves us without much to talk about… So to solve this problem, the first step was to create a design to use as an example. The Open Stent is designed to be completely generic, but also realistic, and relatively easy to modify and extend to be useful for whatever purpose a designer intends.
In addition to publishing their draft of Open Stent Design, which they call “a practical guide and resource for design and analysis of a generic Nitinol stent,” NDC has provided extensive calculation tools and CAD files as well, to help others evaluate and create derivatives of the design.
The project is a fascinating open source hardware use case, where creating an open design provides a platform for education and discussion where none existed before. It’s also very exciting to recognize this as an early example of open source hardware in the field of medical devices— one of the places where open hardware can potentially make a very big difference in the world.
Remember those vintage chemistry sets that we opened up the other day? We left out one of the coolest things that came along with them: A thick stack of fantastic manuals, instructions, posters, and charts. Let’s take a look through them!
A good friend recently presented us with his estate sale find: two 1960′s era vintage chemistry sets. One set is big, white, and mysterious, the other is smaller but showier. Let’s take a look at what’s inside!