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August 2006 Archives

August 19, 2006

Launch 5 will be helping out at Gadgetoff 2006

The story of Launch 5 is compelling. Named after Patrolman Henry A. Walburger, a hero who was shot in the line of duty, the boat has a rich history. It has now been lovingly restored and participates in many missions - from search and rescue to training and river cleanup. We are proud to have the folks from Launch 5 assisting with the Gadgetoff 2006 regatta.

Fireboat John J. Harvey to participate in Gadgetoff

The historic 1931 fireboat will participate in this year's Gadgetoff regatta. The boat has frequently greeted ocean liners with dramatic displays of spraying water. The John J. Harvey provided major assistance in the World Trade Center disaster and continues to be restored to this day.

August 23, 2006

Ron Patrick's Street Legal Jet Powered Beetle

Our friend Ron Patrick has been busy: "This is a my street-legal jet car on full afterburner. The car has two engines: the production gasoline engine in the front driving the front wheels and the jet engine in the back. The idea is that you drive around legally on the gasoline engine and when you want to have some fun, you spin up the jet and get on the burner (you can start the jet while driving along on the gasoline engine). The car was built because I wanted the wildest street-legal ride possible. With this project, I was able to use some stuff I learned while getting my fancy engineering degree (I have a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University) to design a street-legal jet car without the distraction of how other people have done it in the past - because no one has. I don't know how fast the car will go and probably never will. The car was built to thrill me, not kill me. That doesn't stop me from the occasional blast on the highway though."

Mikey Sklar's: The High-Lighter

Our high-flying pal Mikey Sklar is way up in the air again: "The High-Lighter is a trampoline based flame effect. The installation involves a volunteer from the audience jumping on a unmodified trampoline. An ultrasonic sensor placed below the trampoline measures the changes in the height of the trampoline canvas as the user jumps up and down. A microcontroller notes the changes reported by the sensor and triggers a single solenoid valve to open and close. Based upon on the amount of force being applied to the trampoline the solenoid valve will behave differently. The harder someone jumps on a trampoline the longer the solenoid valve will stay open producing a reasonably sized fire ball. LP-Gas will be released through the solenoid valve while it is open and ignited by a nearby pilot light covered in steel wool. A RFID reader is included used to prevent the trampoline from being used without proper authority present."

VideoRay is An Amazing Sub Camera System

Several months ago, I had the pleasure of going out to the docks with the New Haven Police Department rescue squad divers.They were testing out an amazing remotely operated underwater vehicle, the VideoRay. Most sub systems are furiously expensive and difficult to operate, but this joyous camera system was a snap. Within no time, I was surveying the bottom of a Coast Guard vessel and looking for strange things in the water. Perhaps everyone doesn't "need" their own submersible camera platform, but I just had to get one. Come and operate the latest versions of VideoRay at the Gadgetoff on Governor's Island!

New Segways Are Coming to Gadgetoff!

Last year's Gadgetoff featured the fabulous Segway Boyz who brought down the amazing Centaur from their secret research lab, a four-wheel Segway prototype that can wheelie over anything. Riding around in Mickey's house was a challenge, but Segway designer Doug Field did a heck of a job and didn't bust anything. I took it for a nice wheelie ride out on the rainy sidewalk, but we all thought let's get this outside for everybody at the next Gadgetoff! Now that Segway has re-worked their Personal Transporter in revolutionary design of the i2, we plan on having some of these new Segways joining in for Gadgetoff on Governor's Island....
The question is, will the i2 give special advantage against Segway Polo purists when we come to play in the First "Wozniak Wheels-of-Zeus Center of the Universe Segway Polo Invitational?"

iRobot Means "I Love Robots"

"Robots of the World, Unite!" Our terrific friends at iRobot, especially Helen Greiner, Colin Angle, and Rod Brooks, always bring something special to Gadgetoff. Two years ago, Helen let a 7-year old drive the Packbot up a flight of stairs. When the inexperienced driver (Teddy Dubno) got to the top of the stairs, he didn't know what to do, so let the tough robot fall back down the stairs. No robots were injured in this experiment!

That's because iRobot builds these babies tough. We will always have iRobot Roombas and Scoobas cleaning up (or warring) somewhere at the Gadgetoff, but this year, what iRobot is bringing is a secret. (That's probably because they're so busy they haven't figured out what they'll do!" I hope they bring the Military R-Gator, among other things!
But they're capable of anything, which is why we love them!

Bluefin Robotics Has Underwater Wings

New friends to Gadgetoff, Bluefin Robotics, do it deeper! They have a range of dynamic new underwater robotic unmanned submarines. We'll be seeing some of their coolest new designs and we can't wait! I hope they bring Bluefin's new Spray Glider:
"Spray was developed at Scripps under the guidance of Dr. Russ Davis.
This buoyancy-driven underwater glider autonomously profiles the water column in a specified region, over deployment periods as long as 6 months.

Spray changes its displacement using a hydraulic pump, enabling it to glide up and down along a see-saw glide path at descent (ascent) angles that can exceed 20 degrees.
In 1,500-meter-deep water, Spray can conduct over 800 profiles while traveling 4,000 kilometers across the sea bed.
Spray’s light weight (only 52 kilos) enables launch and recovery from small boats."


Walking on Water


Yoav Rosen is an inventor who, I think can be fair to say, is a little sick of his most famous invention. He invented a pair of shoes, elegantly balanced that let him walk on water. But Yoav decided making these media-friendly but consumer-challenging shoes wasn't in his busines plan. Instead, he's developed a much more accessible "WaveWalker" W Kayak boat that features a unique standing design. We hope Yoav will bring one of his newest and most fun inventions to the Gadgetoff... and no matter what he does, we'll always think of him as the "Man Who Walks On Water."Surfing_01_22.jpg


Hoberman Unfolds

Chuck Hoberman is one of the most delightful people I have ever met. His playful designs expand our minds and the toys, tents, buildings, and sculptures he creates. He's been designing remarkable unfolding designs for about two decades yet he retains the most whimsical, joyous quality which is reflected in his entertaining design work. We look forward to seeing an amazing "unfolding" of one of Chuck's latest surprises at the Gadgetoff on Governor's Island! Iris_Dome_Render.jpg


About August 2006

This page contains all entries posted to Gadgetoff - Things We Like in August 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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