Robotic rat torments and depresses real rats

robotic-rat-torments-real-rats

Animal testing has always been a subject of much debate. On one hand, it allows us to determine if something is probably safe for humans. On the other hand, it’s injuring and killing the very animals that help us escape that same fate. Any way you look at it, be thankful you’re not a lab rat. Being a mammal, they share a similar physiology with us. They are also easy to breed and easy to dispose of. These characteristics make them the prime subject for testing the safety of drugs and treatments that might one day be used on humans. Scientists at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan, have created a new rat nemesis – the WR-3, a robot designed specifically to stress and depress lab animals in the name of science.

Depression isn’t normally something rats have to worry about in the wild. So, the WR-3 tries to instill it upon them. The robot has three functions: attacking continuously (relentlessly rams the victim), attacking interactively (attacks for 5 seconds whenever the victim moves, then stops), and chasing (stays right next to the victim but never attacks). The scientists found that the best way to make the rats depressed was to attack them continuously in their youth, then attack interactively as they get older.

With the data the scientists gain from these new experiments, they hope to learn more about human depression and hopefully come up with more successful treatments. There isn’t a lot of specific information we could find about the WR-3, but we’ll keep you posted.

[via Gizmodo]

AC vs DC human pain test

AC-vs-DC-human-pain-test

Ever wondered just how much being zapped by electricity hurts? Curious if AC is worse than DC? Want to know just how many volts a human body can take? Although many people might cringe at the shear thought of it, [Mehdi Sadaghdar] is an electrical engineer who decided to turn himself into a human guinea pig and find out.

[Mehdi] measured the electrical resistance of his dry skin, his wet skin, and finally his tongue.  He found that his tongue had the least resistance, so it would feel the electricity at much lower levels. Using a bench power supply, he then used his tongue as a testing ground – slowly turning the voltage up and up until he could no longer take the pain. He tested the levels at which: he could first feel the electricity, when it began to get annoying, when it felt like torture, and when he could no longer stand the pain. He tried both AC and DC, and reports that AC is much worse.

Check out the informative, yet admittedly hilarious at times, video after the break. [Mehdi] seems like one awesome engineer! Remember – don’t try this at home.

[Read more...]

Oil truck transforms into giant mobile grill

Oil-truck-transforms-into-mobile-grill

When the truck rolls up, everything seems normal enough. It’s a generic oil tanker. But when the theme from “2001: A Space Odyssey” begins to play and the side of the tank starts to open, you suddenly realize things are not what they seem. This is no mere tanker truck, it’s a massive meat cooking monster dubbed the “X Grill”.

[Ken Foster], owner and creator of this $40K+ beast, worked with welder [Gary Webb] to custom design and fabricate every component of the vehicle, from hinges to hydraulic systems. They claim not a single part came from a box. The cooking area, complete with speakers and spotlights, has storage cabinets, stainless steel prep counters, a four burner stove, and a 42 inch grill. If that’s not enough, there are three more grills you can set up beside the truck and hook into the system. All the appliances are run off a 65 gallon propane tank that’s mounted to the side of the truck.

Although the “X Grill” is available to rent for private parties, [Ken] says they spend most of their time at community and charitable events. He donates his equipment and cooking services, and the host group supplies the food and gets to keep any profit.

Good work guys!

[via Neatorama]

Human powered emergency cell phone charger

Emergency-human-powered-cell-phone-charger

Power outage? For the average citizen it’s very easy to take electricity for granted. Go a few hours or more without it though, and you’ll suddenly be reminded just what a luxury it is. During an emergency situation, sometimes you have to come up with alternative methods to get the job done. This human powered cell phone charger is a great example.

Using just a few ordinary around the house items, [The King of Random] turned a cordless electric drill into a human powered electrical generator. If the drill is run in reverse and cranked by hand, the generated energy can be transferred through the battery terminals to a connected device.  So, he cut a USB charger cable in half and wired it up to the terminals to be able to charge his cell phone. Some yarn, a salad fork, a mixing beater, a scrap 2″x4″, some aluminum foil, and scotch tape were the only other materials he used. Using this technique, a totally dead phone battery was charged in around 3 hours.

Remember that this method is only intended to be used in an emergency, not as every day practice. Using these methods could potentially overheat or damage your gear, so be careful.

Check out the MacGyver worthy video tutorial after the break.

[via Neatorama]

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Real multifunction “Sonic Screwdriver”

dr who sonic screwdriver

“I don’t understand, you don’t have the technology.” OK, so it’s not actually a futuristic tool with the same capabilities as the one off the hit TV series Dr. Who, but this homemade “sonic screwdriver” is a multifunction device that’s pretty cool nonetheless.

Created around an Arduino Pro Mini, [Gunther] really one-upped the last screwdriver we featured. Built in functions include: brown note tone generator, dog whistle, EMF meter, flashlight, IR universal remote, laser pointer, ohm meter, sound level meter, voltage detector, and a voltage meter.  You can also have an electromagnet or output voltage supply if you want. If that wasn’t enough, it can even play the theme song from Star Wars! Whew. That’s a mouthful of functionality.

Although he has posted the Arduino code, you’ll have to keep an eye on his site for more details if you want to create your own. He’s mentioned that he’s working on blue prints and a full parts list… Awesome. Now where’s that lock pick function?

Check out a video showing off some of the features after the break.

[via Make]
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DIY space experiments within a ping pong ball ‘satellite’

Pongsat space satellite

Ahhh space. The final frontier. While many people dream of one day becoming an astronaut (and possibly battling aliens or cylons), it’s a select few who actually make it their reality. Fortunately for us, there’s a middle ground that allows the masses to still have some fun in the sky. Enter the “Pongsat” program – space experiments within a ping pong ball.

Created by JP Aerospace, this free program allows anyone to create their own mini experiment and send it off to the edge of space. The imagination is the limit. Curious if a marshmallow will expand? Interested what the temperature would be? Wonder if you can charge a solar battery? Stuff it inside a ping pong ball and find out!

Check out the PDF Users Guide to get started, then their Blog and Facebook page for more up to date information.  Now go out there and get your experiment to Mars! (Or at least 100,00 feet)

Watch a video of in flight footage after the break.

[via adafruit]
[Read more...]

Quick and easy rocket stove

Quick-and-dirty-rocket-stove

[Simon], a gardener in the United Kingdom, created this super cheap and easy to build rocket stove. The great thing about this little guy is that the methods and materials used to create it are so basic, anyone should be able to quickly make their own for just a few bucks. If nothing else, this is a good introductory project for people wanting to experiment with these stoves.

The only materials required are a metal 5 gallon cooking oil drum, a few scrap pieces of chimney liner pipe, and some sand. That’s it.

[Simon] cut off the top of the oil drum and made a hole in the front to fit the pipe. He then trimmed the scrap pieces of pipe to form a 90 degree elbow and positioned that in place inside the drum.  Sand poured around the pipe acted as the insulator. Finally, he cut and flattened a scrap piece of pipe to use as a front loading tray for the wood.

Simple as that. Party on.

[via The Flying Tortoise]

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