Posts about Great Inventions

Gadgets

Gadgets: Synthesising the sound of bananas

29.03.2016

Assumedly, the main purpose of a banana (cucumber, zucchini, etc) is to be relished at some stage. Yet, young American inventors Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum have contrived a new means of putting them to use: by eliciting from them authentic musical sounds, like for instance, those of a piano.

A dollop of wobbly jello does work as well and a great number of other materials also prove to be conductive: most fruits and vegetables, shrimp or pizza pie (although some may consider that a bit yucky). Plants will do fine and play-doh (given a certain degree of moisture) and metal objects such as foil, cutlery or pots. Even simple thick lines drawn on a smooth surface with a soft graphite pencil can do the trick – so can live people. What in God’s name are we talking about? A kit called MaKey MaKey.

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Reading time: about 2 minutes
Humour: Tricky translation engines

Sense of humour required: Beware of translation engines!

21.02.2016

When looking for the easy way out, people come up with the most ludicrous of excuses to warrant their hornswoggle doing: house on fire, dog dead, car stolen, wrong place/time/mood, worst bad-hair day ever, princess all of a sudden. Once the procrastination pole has inevitably run out of length, the dreaded task just has to be tackled, no matter what. Translations, for instance, can develop into a painfully tedious exercise. Isn’t it perfectly legitimate then to employ one of those servile robots available online in order to alleviate detested assignments? It is – if you can live with the results. We have put some of these practical computerised interpreters to the test, feeding them with stretches of German articles published during the early stages of goodmeetings.com’s young history. The English-speaking majority of our readership will have to think in meanders to unravel and realign the contorted texts back to meaning. Even though some of the pidgin might remain a secret forever: as long as no-one has been harmed, reading complete nonsense once in a while can be a great pastime.

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Reading time: about 3 minutes
Halfpipe and bikers: Sounds of the city captured virtually everywhere.

City tourism: Sound-hearing soon enhancing Sight-seeing?

15.12.2015

What are the sounds usually associated with a city? The irritating ones issued from cars hooting, tyres screeching, trams rumbling, from air-conditioning units humming relentlessly? From ambulances swishing by with sirens amplified by the Doppler effect that hurts our eardrums and sets our minds on alert? When embarking on a trip to a busy metropolis, an undistinguishable concoction of man-made noise will have to be tolerated as an inevitable part of the package. Positive connotations are asking for more pleasant experiences, though.

Conquering an urban jungle by mapping it out via the typical sounds it exudes, is an idea temporarily put into practice in Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam during an “ambient marketing” campaign: from interactive audio billboards, the “Sounds of the City” could be tapped by means of a personal headphone plugged into jacks directly embedded in the “neighbourhoods” of choice.

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Reading time: about 2 minutes
Biogas resources:
Hop on the bus, Gus!

Powered by the people: Britain’s first Bio-Bus

4.10.2015

How many facets there really are to sustainability respectively to the options of a new raison d’ être for recycled waste of varyingly appetising origin, is being demonstrated by a treatment plant located in the South-West of England. The company’s core objective is to „develop environmentally sustainable waste treatment processes and to increase the production of renewable energy“ in an „innovative and cost-effective“ fashion. Should your argument be that most treatment plants offer similar solutions, perhaps you are right. But this one has been awarded an ‘outstanding’ status in the Times Top 100 UK Companies listings. And it is taking its environmental efforts to new realms – by providing the first public biogas bus with fuel derived from food waste and human sewage.

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Reading time: about 2 minutes
The Doppler Effect is with us.

The Doppler Effect: Mysterious wavelengths

12.05.2015

Zzzzzzzzzzp! Flash! There you go! A spiteful and cowardly camouflaged radar trap has lashed out at you once again, and another costly and questionably handsome snapshot is on its way into your post box. Fuming traffic offenders are said to have clandestinely returned to the place of crime to take revenge – fortified by a bunch of best-friends’ hercules’s and in order to punish the wicked contraption out of its wits. Ignoring, that there’s sure to be another invincible clone around the next corner. Instead of adding up on the offence front, avoiding speeding and/or respecting red traffic lights may actually do the trick fairly well and entail far less trouble: It allows short tempers to lie dormant just a little while longer and lends bank statements a so much more encouraging appearance. Similar to police records …

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Reading time: about 2 minutes