The holiday season brings two questions: "Isn't it time to put up the Christmas lights?" and "When do we take down the Christmas lights?" Edward Nauman designed retractable icicle lights that go up or down with a flick of a switch. He used rotating lengths of metal conduit to wrap up lights and keep them out of sight behind a facia board. Ed's invention brought peace to his holiday season. The design involves a bracket, a motor, micro-switches, conduit and a few other odds and ends, plus some metalworking experience.
The 2014 Ig Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Dr. Kiyoshi Mabuchi and his team members for their work measuring the slipperiness of banana peels. Turns out they're slipperier with the yellow side up.
Many scientists have been working battery-free ways to power wearable electronics that can replace bulky battery packs, particularly through the use of energy-harvesting materials. Now a team of researchers in China have upped the game by developing a lightweight and flexible solar cell that can be woven into two-way energy-harvesting fabric.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.