ISS printing wrenches, High tech bicycles and Heat vision


NASA emails socket wrench to ISS


3-D Printing is all the rage these days. People are using the innovative technology to print all kinds of stuff, some useful, some interesting and even some bizarrely unusual ones. In fact, it’s so popular, it’s out of this world.. literally.

Astronauts aboard the ISS (International Space Station) have even used their 3-D printer to fashion a wrench from instructions sent via an email. In other words, they literally got sent hardware by email.

Usually if an astronaut requires tools and equipment, they have to wait till on NASA schedules a supply run which in some cases can take months. So when ISS Commander Barry Wilmore needed a socket wrench, Mike Chen, who is the founder of Made In Space which is the company behind the 3-D printer stepped in and decided to make a model of the tool via CAD and email the file to the ISS.

NASA hopes that one day, 3-D printing could be at a point where they or other space agencies can send requests for tools and equipment to be printed which would enable not only the creation of hardware for the ISS, but also for equipment to be deployed beyond the ISS (satellites for example). In addition, Made in Space says they’ve been testing out a new material that is similar to lunar soil. So theoretically, a 3-D printer on the moon could dig into its surface, dig out the regolith or loose layer of rock and then proceed to transform it into elements for a moon base.. Well.. That escalated fast.

Netherlands produce bicycle that warns of danger


The Netherlands have launched what they like to call their first-ever intelligent bicycle which comes equipped with an set of electronics which are designed to decrease the rate of accidents among elderly citizens. The bicycle, running off electricity, sports a forward-facing radar located under the handlebars and a camera in the rear mudguard. These are not exactly going to be your average run of the mill bicycle so expect it to be a tad pricy with availability within the next 2 years and a selling price of around $1,800 and above.

The forward faced radar and rear camera work in collaboration which is linked to the bike’s onboard computer which sends a signal to either the handlebars or saddle and vibrates accordingly to let the rider know of danger from the front or rear.

According to Maurice Kwakkernaat, one of the researchers in the project, the bicycle would be useful for cyclists who are driven by its electric motor, which can reach a top speed of around 25 kilometers per hour.

According to statistics in the Netherlands, the number of bicycles outnumber the population of 17 million by at least one million and there’s around 25,000 kilometers of bicycle path in the country.

The current prototype weighs a hefty 25 kilograms (55 pounds) but researchers are working on making the on-board systems smaller.

Heat Vision now one step closer


Predator vision, we’ve all dreamt of what it would be like. Well dream no more, because we’re on the verge of getting it, if you own a Arduino or Raspberry Pi that is. The board, available for around $350, is one of the more expensive Arduino accessories purchasable. The price may seem a tad high but that hasn’t stopped its sales. Just hours after launch, the board had to be reordered.

As with anything too good to be true, there are a few catches. In this case of course the image quality With a resolution of 80×60, the images are not exactly top of the line

Some assembly is also required with attaching the thermal camera to the breakout board. Just make sure you can handle a soldering iron without burning yourself too much.


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