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Never mess with CMOS

CMOS for imaging is the technology behind billions of cameras ( smartphones,....). Yet that technology simply did not exist 19 years ago. Eric Fossum started its development within NASA's and Caltech's Jet Propulsion Lab but he also shepherded that technology through the Technology Readiness Level ladder from a single item to its current market thereby reducing then incumbent technology (CCD) to a niche market. That story is recounted in one of his recent video presentation entitled CMOS Image Sensors: Tech Transfer from Saturn to your Cell Phone.
posted by IgorCarron on Mar 17, 2014 - 28 comments

Hedwig? Hedy? Hedly?

Scandals of Classic Hollywood: The Ecstasy of Hedy Lamarr - Science! Fascists! Orgasms! Libel! Escapes From Literal Castles! (SoCH previously and Anne Helen Petersen previously)
posted by The Whelk on Aug 8, 2013 - 18 comments

BECAUSE HE GODDAMN WELL COULD, THAT'S WHY

'News of impending fatherhood affects men in different ways. Some guys pump their fists. Others light cigars. A few flee. When 33-year-old Colin Furze learned that his girlfriend was pregnant, he channeled his paternal excitement into building the world’s fastest baby stroller.' The twin-exhaust, 10-horsepower, gasoline-fueled pram has four gears. And cupholders. And it can accelerate to 50mph in less than 30 seconds. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 17, 2013 - 28 comments

Samuel Morey: an American inventor

If you've been along the Connecticut river in eastern Vermont, you may have crossed the Samuel Morey Memorial Bridge, relaxed at Lake Morey, or seen some road markers mentioning Samuel Morey. Besides being the second person in the world to be in a car accident, who was Samuel Morey? [more inside]
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike on Nov 30, 2012 - 8 comments

I have tested Love Jet on 10,000 women

Meet the most famous inventor you’ve never heard of – whose greatest invention may be himself.
posted by juv3nal on Nov 21, 2012 - 11 comments

A brief history of Bulletball

In 2006, aspiring inventor Marc Griffin appeared on the show American Inventor with a table game he had invented called Bulletball. Convinced he had created the next Olympic sport, he had spent 26 years of his life on the idea. He'd quit his job, sold all his possessions including his wife's wedding ring, and was sleeping in his car. The judges hated the idea – and his gut-wrenching experience on the show went viral. [more inside]
posted by dontjumplarry on Nov 14, 2012 - 59 comments

Nothing is withheld from us...

Two things about working in coffee shops. First, don't assume everyone else in there is a hipster. Second, don't assume that the elderly person who befriends you is a crazy old man telling tall tales. Else you may miss out on the meeting experience of a lifetime.
posted by Wordshore on Aug 8, 2012 - 71 comments

Disrupting The Period

When Arunachalam Muruganantham hit a wall in his research on creating a sanitary napkin for poor women, he decided to do what most men typically wouldn’t dream of. He wore one himself--for a whole week. [...] It resulted in endless derision and almost destroyed his family. But no one is laughing at him anymore, as the sanitary napkin-making machine he went on to create is transforming the lives of rural women across India.
An Indian Inventor Disrupts The Period Industry. [more inside]
posted by Foci for Analysis on Dec 19, 2011 - 51 comments

The multi-talented Hans Reichel, 1949-2011

Hans Reichel, of Wuppertal, Germany, maker of exquisitely beautiful guitars, on which he made exquisitely beautiful and idiosyncratic music, inventor of the delightfully expressive daxophone, on which he made delightfully expressive and often humorous music, creator of elegant fonts and architect of one of the most endearingly creative flash websites you'll ever see, has died at the age of 62. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Nov 23, 2011 - 25 comments

Tom Scholz

Donald Thomas "Tom" Scholz (born 10 March 1947) is an American rock musician, songwriter, guitarist, pianist, inventor, and mechanical engineer, best known as the founder of the hard rock band Boston. He is also the inventor of the Rockman guitar amplifier. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Sep 15, 2011 - 59 comments

Dr Fad... Dr Fad... Dr Fad...

In 1983, Ken Hakuta's mother in Japan sent him some toys in the mail for his kids. They were octopus shaped, and when you threw them against the wall they "walked" down the wall. Seeing some marketing potential, he bought the rights to the toys for $100,000, and the Wacky Wall Walker was born. It became a HUGE success after a slow start, being offered as a prize in Kellogg's cereals and even inspiring a Christmas special on NBC. Eventually they ended up (according to Hakuta) selling a over 240 million units! Sometime during this wildly successful period, Dr. Fad was born. Ken wanted to everybody to invent and create. From 1988 to 1994, the Dr Fad Show featured a Wall Walker-covered-sweater wearing Hakuta as "Dr Fad" in a kids' gameshow format, with contestants coming on and showing off their inventions, the winner being judged by an applause meter. The show also had a "Golden Gizmo" segment, honouring the great fads of the past - a young Rodney Mullen accepted the Golden Gizmo for skateboarding, while other "famous" folks responsible (or in some other way related to) the fads appeared to receive the award in other segments. [more inside]
posted by antifuse on Jul 28, 2011 - 35 comments

Nuclear-Blast Resistant, and Also Hard to Negotiate Over.

Starlite: Ineffective for Car Bonnets, Great Against Nuclear Blasts. In the late 1980s, an English amateur inventor and hair-dresser released a plastic which, he claimed, had unusual heat-resistant properties. BBC Television demonstrated the material, dubbed Starlite, keeping an egg cool despite a five-minute onslaught from a blowtorch; here the inventor provides links to the footage. After initial skepticism, the reception from industrial and military players was rapturous. But while Starlite apparently stood up to the heat of 10000 Celsius lasers, its inventor, wary of being cheated, proved equally stubborn in negotiation, and Starlite seems never have been brought to market or mass production. [more inside]
posted by darth_tedious on Jun 11, 2011 - 62 comments

Bell's-lettres

Alexander Graham Bell's Delightfully Weird Sketchbooks . You know him as the inventor of the telephone, but Graham Bell also came up with horse-pulled kites, really sweet airplanes, "ghost effects" with an "elliptical reflector", and a better seesaw. More of Bell's papers from the Library of Congress.
posted by twoleftfeet on Mar 11, 2011 - 24 comments

Fighting crime is surely not far behind

Once, there was a boy named Yves. He lived in the mountainous country of Switzerland, and he dreamed of flying. He loved the idea of being free to soar through the air so much that he became a pilot. Later, he went on to fly bigger planes. Perhaps he's even been your pilot. But being a pilot was never quite enough. Yves still dreamed of soaring through the air, like a bird. And now, he does. Meet Jetman. Previously
posted by anigbrowl on Nov 7, 2010 - 6 comments

Inventor Portrait

David Friedman, the guy behind sundaymagazing.org, has created a fascinating series of short docs and photos he calls Inventor Portraits. I particularly like the installment on life long inventor Brent Farley, and the man behind the Wilcraft.
posted by rageagainsttherobots on Jun 20, 2010 - 5 comments

Dr. Zworykin's Secret Experimental RCA Photos

The Personal Photographs of Dr. Vladimir Kosma Zworykin, Television Pioneer. The screen images are time exposure photographs of the picture on the kinescope in the monitoring rack in the main control room. Some were taken with stationary frames of moving picture film projected upon the iconoscope by a standard moving picture machine. Others are actually the pictures transmitted with the iconoscope camera in the studio and outdoors.
posted by tellurian on May 3, 2010 - 9 comments

Martin Cooper

Interview with Martin Cooper, inventor of the first handheld cellular phone.
posted by snoktruix on Mar 28, 2010 - 5 comments

Frances Gabe and the Self-Cleaning House

Everyone has fantasized about it, usually while scrubbing a floor or cleaning a toilet. Well, Frances Gabe did something about it: she invented the self-cleaning house, the one the future has been promising us for years. (This 2007 Weird America Interview/Tour mocks her, but it's the only video of the house I could find.) Just imagine: You put your dirty dishes back in the cabinets which double as dishwashers; the closets are laundry machines. Every room has wash, rinse, and dry buttons. [more inside]
posted by julen on Jan 24, 2010 - 28 comments

Tuesday night [his] gradfather died. He invented rewinding.

Tuesday night [his] gradfather died. He invented rewinding.
posted by GuyZero on Aug 14, 2008 - 58 comments

We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims.

Today is R. Buckminster Fuller's 113th birthday. Visionary, designer, inventor, engineer - 'Bucky' continues to inspire us. Known as the grandfather of sustainability, even today we discover that we've barely scratched the surface of his thinking and still have far to go and much to learn about managing Spaceship Earth. [ previously]
posted by infini on Jul 12, 2008 - 24 comments

Who really invented the telephone?

Who really invented the telephone? Was it this guy?, or did he just win a foot race to the patent office with this guy or was it really... [more inside]
posted by Rafaelloello on Apr 18, 2008 - 5 comments

Hacker, inventor, and former Microsoft Program Manager trains crows to do his bidding.

Josh Klein is a novelist, hacker, and inventor whose Crow Vending Machine trains crows to pick coins off the ground in exchange for peanuts using Skinnerian training principles. Previously. So far, he's only succeeded with trained crows and banded crows, but he hopes to teach wild crows to use the device and collect some of the $215,000,000 in change lost in the United States each year. [more inside]
posted by arnicae on Mar 5, 2008 - 48 comments

thermal appliances for the poor

Turbo stove busts the inventor. A handy stove that promises to save remaining forests can me made simply and cheaply for people who cook indoors with gathered wood. Others show how to make it yourself.
posted by Brian B. on Feb 20, 2008 - 10 comments

Hmm, good idea for long drives

The Bladder Buddy. You can thank ABC's American Inventor for this.
posted by metasonix on Jul 13, 2007 - 30 comments

A Frog Too Far

MacRobertson's Confectionery were, in the 1930s, trialling new ideas for their children's range. An employee suggested that as "women and children were afraid of mice," rather than a chocolate mouse, a chocolate frog would be more popular with children. Three days later, what would become Australia's most popular children's confectionery, the Freddo Frog, was born. Its supposed creator, Harry Melbourne, died last week, having never received a cent in royalties. However, to this day there remains confusion as to whether he, or rather the inventor of the Cherry Ripe, Lesley Atkison, was in fact responsible. Those that only know him in chocolate form may be surprised to find out that Freddo was also the star of Australia's first cartoon.
posted by Mil on Jan 29, 2007 - 22 comments

The future of single-wheeled transportation!

The Electric Unicycle makes transportation a breeze: "You lean forward to accelerate, lean backwards to brake, and gyrate your arms wildly to turn." (Invented by the man who thought his own homemade Segway had one wheel too many)
posted by Robot Johnny on Jul 7, 2005 - 14 comments

Invention Pioneers of Note

History of the Flame-broiled Burger! It's Flashy, it's Trashy, it's satirical, it's Fun-- it's The History Channel's Invention Pioneers of Note!
posted by Devils Rancher on Jul 6, 2005 - 4 comments

Autism & Animal Behavior

In her new book written with Catherine Johnson, Animals in Translation (NYTimes), Dr Temple Grandin, an animal behavior expert and inventor of the squeeze machine, uses her experiences with autism to explore the intricacies of animal behavior. She argues that animals do have consciousness, that language is not a prerequisite and other theories that bring insight into both animal and human behavior. (More)
posted by effwerd on Jan 11, 2005 - 34 comments

The housewives of 1962 are weeping.

H. David Dalquist, the inventor of the Bundt pan, has died. Did he even dream of the extensive potential uses of his product? About the logical extension of his invention?
posted by mudpuppie on Jan 6, 2005 - 26 comments

The Future of the Car

Obsession: Mr. Singh’s Search for the Holy Grail American visionaries, cranks and con men have long sought the simple key to boosting the efficiency of the gasoline engine. Now a barefoot tinkerer in India believes he has unlocked the door. Is he for real?
posted by Shanachie on Jan 2, 2005 - 14 comments

Why The Shoe Fits

Meet Charles Brannock. In 1926, he invented a foot-measuring device that has become an industry standard and a landmark of American innovation, now preserved in the Smithsonian.
posted by anastasiav on Dec 16, 2004 - 18 comments

Only 12 were built.

The GM Futureliner It began with the Streamliner and GM’s 1936 Parade of Progress, the brainchild of inventor Charles F. Kettering. The show was a tremendous success. Redesigned in 1941 and again in 1953, the 12 Futureliners and its band of Paraders were ready to hit the road, set up shop in a town near you, and showcase the marvels of science. Of the original 12 built, 9 have been found, 2 are being used for parts, 1 is for sale, and 1 is being lovingly restored by a group of volunteers. [more inside]
posted by snez on Dec 21, 2002 - 11 comments

"As of November 2000, I will no longer respond to questions concerning this subject."

"As of November 2000, I will no longer respond to questions concerning this subject." So says frustrated inventor of the UPC barcode George J. Laurer. You know, the question about barcodes, 666 and the Mark of the Beast. "It is simply a coincidence like the fact that my first, middle, and last name all have 6 letters. " Sure thing, George, we really believe you...
posted by lagado on Dec 8, 2000 - 8 comments

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