Gravity bike

This bicycle has no pedals and really nothing that resembles a seat. It’s not so much a way to get around as it’s a way to get down. Down from the mountain, and down low to the pavement. This is a gravity bike built by the guys at S.I.N. Cycles.

The frame is a long triangle which stretches the wheel base to make room for the rider. After getting the layout just right and welding the frame together they added the rather unorthodox building step of pouring molten lead into the hollow frame tube. This bike is used to descend a mountain road with the force of gravity, so the extra weight will help pull it just a bit faster. There’s one thing you’ll want to make sure is working before you climb aboard — the single front brake which you’ll need when coming into the curves. Check out some ride footage on this thing in the video after the break.

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Taking GPS where no man has gone before

[Willem] has a friend that wanted to take a GPS datalogger up an unclimbed mountain the wilds of Kyrgyzstan. The GPS logger built for the expedition made it to the summit of Eggmendueluek, but it didn’t work the whole way up. Since the logger came back to London, [Willem] was able to do a complete teardown and failure analysis.

The data logger was built around a Jeenode with a GPS unit and MicroSD card reader added on. A few breakout boards were made and two of these bad boys were ensconced in water and dust proof enclosures. Powered by four AA batteries, the data loggers were able to handle the rigorous testing of being thrown down a staircase and also the harsh temperatures of London. Things changed in the wilds of Kyrgyzstan, though.

The data retrieved from the mountaineering expedition wasn’t the greatest – a few wires came loose after being thrown into the back of a Russian truck and jostled around. The AA batteries only powered the data loggers for three days, compared to the 12 day battery life in London. There are a few improvements needed for the next trip – some thermal insulation and not using solid core wire – but not that [Willem] has figured out the bugs he’s ready for his friend’s next expedition.

Head-to-head mountain climbing from the safety of your game room

Why risk frostbite and altitude sickness when you can marvel at the view from atop your own mountain climbing game?

[Jeff] built this delightful piece which you can see in action after the break. he combined several very simple ideas and he did it really well. The climbers are both mechanical. They grip the mountain’s face (which is covered with of carpet) with a tack pointed downward on the end of each limb. Their motion is provided by two tiny servos that make up the body of the climber. The two potentiometers in each controller directly affect the movement of the top and bottom limbs. The game plays music during the contest, and precisely detects a winner by sensing when an arm comes in contact with the metal snow cap at the summit.

Obviously weight was an issue during the design process. After some hemming and hawing [Jeff] decided to tether the climbers in order to avoid rolling a battery into each. But he overcame the issue with weighted cable management on the inside of the mountain.

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10,000 year clock sounds like an Indiana Jones flick – makes us wonder if we’re being trolled

So you hear that someone is building a clock that will run for 10,000 years and you think ‘oh, that’s neat’. Then you start looking into it and realize that it’s being built on a mountain-sized scale in a remote part of the US and things start to get a bit strange. As much as it might sound like a Sci-Fi novel (or some creative trolling), the Long Now Foundation is in the process of building and installing a clock that will chime once per year for the next ten millennia.

The clock, currently under construction will be over 200 feet tall, residing in a shaft drilled in a limestone mountain in West Texas. The allusion to [Indian Jones] sprung to mind when we read that the shaft will be drilled from the top down, then have a shaft with a robot arm installed to mill a spiral staircase into the stone walls. And this isn’t the only clock planned; a second site in Nevada has already been purchased.

There are a lot of interesting features, not the least of them is a ‘chime engine’ that plays a unique tune each year that will never be repeated again. [Alex] sent us the original tip to a Wired article that covers the project in incredible detail. But we also found a SETI talks video that runs for an hour. You’ll find that embedded after the break.

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