MIT engineer builds a remotely operated snowblower
From CBS Boston:
A Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineer isn’t a fan of New England winters. So he came up with an innovative snowblower that was turning heads following the latest snowfall. A Twitter user shared video from Danehy Park on Bay State Road in Cambridge. A snowblower was clearing a path in the park, but no one was at the helm.
WBZ-TV tracked down the machine’s owner. Dane Kouttron said his remotely operated snowblower is a “labor of love” that took him about three months to build starting last winter. “I don’t terribly enjoy being out in the cold, so this is a remotely operated snowblower,” he said. “It features a vision system, obstacle avoidance, and it is purely electrical.”
“There is no engine on board. So this can operate for up to four hours by itself outdoors. (It can) take in a bunch of GPS positions and take care of cleaning a parking lot by itself.” The snowblower has light up eyeballs attached to it. “The googly eyes are just for show,” he joked.
Could this on-site power source take buildings off the grid?
From CBC News:
Craig Clydesdale is the founder and CEO of OOM Energy, an Oakville, Ont.-based company that has developed a new way of providing electricity to customers. “You’re looking at the next big thing,” Clydesdale said. What he’s referring to is his company’s Integrated Energy Platform (IEP), an on-site power system that aims to take buildings off the sometimes unstable electrical grid while also reducing their carbon footprint. Oh, and it’s portable.
OOM’s unit shouldn’t be confused with a generator, which creates mechanical energy and delivers it only as a backup when existing systems fail. What Clydesdale’s company provides is private, continuous electricity with no upfront cost for the unit. The customer just pays a regular bill directly to OOM each month.
So what’s in the unit? The current version uses natural gas, a battery and an inverter. While it’s not a zero-emissions solution, Clydesdale said the system can be modified to include greener energy as it develops and becomes more affordable — such as solar panels or hydrogen, which he believes to be the future.
The unit only generates power when it has to. That’s unlike power lines that deliver electricity to your home, which have to be constantly running just in case. OOM uses artificial intelligence to calculate a building’s power requirements, so its customers only get “what they need,” Clydesdale said.
The Swiss Guards forgo metal for 3D-printed helmets
From Fast Company:
After more than 500 years and 40 popes, the Swiss Guard is dropping its classic metal helmets and adopting 3D-printed ones made of plastic–PVC, to be exact.
Why 3D-print such a long-standing part of Vatican tradition? The Swiss Guard has been around since the 1500s, after all. For starters, the new PVC helmets are lightweight and UV resistant, which makes them more comfortable than the traditional steel version — which could heat up during the hot Roman summers and burn the guards. They’re water resistant too, so they don’t need to be polished constantly to avoid rust.
The new helmets were created using HP’s “Multi Jet Fusion” tech, which is the company’s commercial 3D-printing product aimed at enterprise customers who need to fabricate final manufactured parts quickly. At almost $1,000 a pop, they are not cheap. But they are cheaper than the traditional model, which cost $2,000 to make and took 100 hours of forging. In contrast, the printed model materializes from molten PVC in just 14 hours, complete with the coat of arms of Pope Julius II, also known as “the Warrior,” who founded the guard in 1506.
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