Any fluid that turns hard when pressed is resisting sheer (cutting/penetration). This works really well for fast high force objects. The more slow, low force, and dispersed it is the less this will work but some of the materials have a high window of usability.

This is a lot like oobleck, from childhood days. Non-neutonian fuilds turn hard when someone pushes on them because the substance inside locks up with itself. Sheer thickening fluids do this in general. One benefit is that these fluids are not all expensive ingredients but they get the job done.

The way sheer thickening liquids are often used is to augment Kevlar or other types of fibers which may be great for stopping a much faster and bulkier object, but fail at things like needles and spikes that find their way between then fibers. See the video:

It seems pretty simple to make a sheer thickening fluid, though I haven’t done it yet. What you need is a super fine sand of about 2 micron grains and some polyethylene glycol. Sometimes they use surfactants (dish soap is an example when it ‘takes grease out of your way’) and other items if you look at the patent online. This is usually pasted on the ballistic cloth and then sealed in somehow (probably by a fine mesh cloth of ballistics material?). The fact that this stuff can harden and help disperse energy as well as prevent penetration makes it useful for so many other applications besides protective equipment, especially given it’s relative ease of production and inexpensive nature. It can be used on drones or other vehicles, both to harden it as a target and in cases where cargo has to be protected. It would be interesting to see in a vehicle’s roll cage or as part of other safety gear. Currently they are researching use of this material in bike helmets. I wonder if it could be used to make a product called “Prevent A Flat” by putting a think layer of it on tough cloth outside of the inner-tube but just inside the tread.

Other possibilities? Structural reinforcement and padding of bridges and other items from car crashes, protection from tall trucks passing under bridges, or fast deployment to mitigate hail damage on a car, etc.


The concept of magnetic breaking came to mind and I thought I would share it with you.

It’s all about magnetic eddy currents. Magnets moving past materials that conduct electricity generate electric current. Those currents have their own magnetism until the electric field disperses. Magnets can, in moving past conductive materials, create these fields but the fields themselves make magnetic eddy currents as a response. These eddy currents then interact with the magnet that caused them and they create an attraction that resists movement without surface contact. This is sometimes referred to as frictionless braking and is used in applications like roller coasters where brakes would otherwise wear out too quickly with intense use ever day. The system can then be supplemented with normal brakes at the end since magnetic braking only slows things down because it stops working as well at lower speeds because it depends on the eddy current that the movement itself generates.

In depth explanation of magnetic braking with a simple demonstration:

Other applications? Well, how about for truckers on steep mountain passes that are always using up their brakes? Why not use frictionless braking to avoid stress on the gears and engine from downshifting to create resistance. And why not save on brake pads, too? Of course in vehicles sometimes it is far better to employ regenerative braking, but it is fairly impractical unless you are driving an electric vehicle (also know as an “e.v.”).

Roller coasters and basic magnet discussion for the newbies:


Generate power directly from your municipal water supply (see the disclaimer at the end of the article).

PROBLEM: The water supply coming into your house is usually higher than you need at a minimum of 50 psi in most cities. Some neighborhoods with collapsing pipes push up the pressure much higher to help maintain the pressure in the pipes. Unfortunately this energy stored as water pressure is lost when we release the pressure suddenly in the form of opening the faucet. Usually the water comes out much faster than we need it to and that energy is wasted.

SOLUTION: It’s time for regenerative braking to come to the water supply. If you aren’t familiar with this concept, it is common in electric vehicles and is responsible for much of their increased efficiency. When electric (or “e-vehicles”) stop, they use a generator to take power back from the wheels instead of using brakes which lose all the energy in the tires as heat and friction. This means that the batteries can recharge and get more mileage out of the vehicle than it normally would with drastic increases in efficiency that make e-vehicles much more feasible. BENEFITS AND HOW IT WORKS: Now if we apply this concept to our faucets, not only will this allow people to recoup the resources spent in kinetic energy wasted from the faucet as it comes out and goes down the drain, but it will also help maintain the pressure on the back end at the street level with a slower and more steady pressure fluctuation. This adds more longevity to the most costly part of the water company, the failing infrastructure. Fewer fluctuations in pressure decreases wear and tare on pipes on their end and on yours, which is more manageable for the power company and for you. This all results in what is a win-win situation. Now 50psi is the typical minimum pressure where the water comes into the house, but this is not the same as the psi as at the faucet since the pipes get smaller and add their own resistance. As a result, the water municipality has to blindly offer a generic pressure level which may be too high if your system isn’t designed for it. “50psi” from the street is a little misleading since that is the pressure level AFTER you put a pressure regulator (see the picture) on your house to reduce the pressure. The level before the pressure regulator may be much higher but I do NOT recommend putting this on the “street” side of the regulator since 50psi is plenty. Hydro electric generators often run on much less.

> From Home Depot

This system can also be programmed to alert you to a leak, saving precious resources. In a catastrophic flood, it might even buy you some time by slowing down the leak a little while it generates power during the flooding. Hydrogenerators are one of the most cost-effective and “clean” ways to generate electricity.

CONTROVERSY: One of the latest controversies is that in some states going off grid is illegal, especially if you have kids. This is a solution in those places where hooking up is too costly and you still need electricity. Maybe, since you are technically getting power from a municipality, this could be an alternative source of electricity and could supplement your independent efforts (where it is still legal). Put simply, what you are doing is putting a hydroelectric generator on your incoming tap water (though you might double dip with one on your outgoing water also). Generators vary resistance against the water pushing in them as you pull out more amperage (work) via the generator. If you set it up right, you can get an arduino or C.H.I.P. to monitor the cost-effectiveness of your electric bill to determine when it would make sense to get electricity from your water company instead of the power company (possible putting two “monopolies” unknowingly in competition with each other if the conditions are right). This is also interesting because generating your own power could also put the gas company or other municipality against your electric company. Of course the problem with regenerative hydro power is that you would store the water you bought for later use, preferably somewhere high up and then take energy from that water pressure later. Then again, you could always use this system only when the tap would normally be turned on and as a backup power source in blackouts. You probably only need a tub full to get enough power for LED backup lights around the house.

This is all experiment. I claim no responsiblity if you go into uncharted waters or find problems out there that I didn’t foresee, including but not limited to any legal issues. I don’t see why it would happen, but you never know. Do your research and findout your risks before you try this or before attempting to install anything of this nature. Consult plumbers and other experts that you might need to, etc. Just CYA. It isn’t just about being super cautious; I care about my readers.


Kickstarter has once again changed how we think about things! The old $100 laptop is a thing of the past. We have a $9 laptop. It surfs the web and does most of the stuff people want it to do.

This has got to be the greatest kid tech-toy and school supply item there is. It comes pre-loaded with programs and can use online word processors. Kids can learn programming on it and with a little youtube and searching online combined with sites like codecademy, in one summer your kids could be making webpages of their own!

These things are cheap enough to be disposable. That means that if it gets a virus (even though Linux is supposedly less targeted for viruses), you could go the easy route and just change out the computer like the disposable cameras at the corner drugstore. Or you could just send the old one in to someone who will fix it.

Windows and other companies are already adapting to these machines but you can get open source software or even use it as a thin client and do everything online from word processing to most of your memory storage!

Controversy: Why not just use an Arduino? This is easier for non-tech savvy people. You could but it isn’t built for the general market that just wants a “computer.”

C.H.I.P.:

They make a decent gift and may be a good way to send pre packaged information to other people who might be leery of computer viruses and such.

Not too hard to set up. You do need internet, a screen (HDMI is the easiest with these), a keyboard (bluetooth is included but you need to get a usb keyboard to set it up)

You can also make supercomputer banks out of these like they do with Raspberry Pi! Some use these banks to decrease the cost of mining bitcoin which is pretty competitive right now. It probably costs more for the electricity than people would make but if you can find electricty and have te data connection, this could be better in some cases than getting “credit” for feeding back into the distributed grid. Energy and information processing power are both interchangable commodities with $$ but $$ retains it’s value since it has a more dispersed model and since it doesn’t follow guaranteed depreciation like processing power (which devalues as tech improves and drives the value on the supply-demand curve down).

Raspberry Pi Bank:


http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2014/sc/c4sc01636j#!divAbstract

http://www.rsc.org/suppdata/sc/c4/c4sc01636j/c4sc01636j1.pdf

The basic molecule has two chromates though it can be can be made into a long chain protein/crystal. It is much more dense and can be used as both a sensor (presumably oxygen causes some sort of change either conformationally or in conductivity?) or for storage. Why not use it for exchange since it is reversible and dense? Why not make a type of external lung to absorb oxygen and release it to the human/animal/structure?

Practical Questions:
Does it absorb other materials?
What is the likelihood of toxicity?
How is it made?
Can someone do this at home to make prototypes for other applications?
Would this be useful for athletes and people in the military while working out or handling adrenaline situations to prevent lactic acid and muscle breakdown/soreness? Could it enhance performance? How do you control the dose so that the safety and efficacy is not diminished?

Impractical Questions:
Is this a potential cheap way of supplying air to underwater habitats (and possible tax havens, lol)? Start a community on this invention and name it “Atlantis.” Get it under the greek flag and territory and then charge money for people to visit as you homestead underwater. Be deep enough to avoid collisions and wake effects but not so deep there isn’t any light. Maybe fishermen could live underwater. The sci and sci-fi possibilities are endless!


It speaks for itself. Can be used to generate electricity without gasoline if hooked up to an alternator, brushless dc motor, or other e- generator.


Artificial muscle from fishing string 100x stronger than human muscle. Dirt cheap and ready for experimentation! More infor is available on Youtube.

Basically you twist it until it coils on itself like an old phone cord and then you weave it to stop it from untwisting and to give it greater strength and structure. The only thing you need is heat that can be brought from a gas, steam, electric or other source but this would likely require sheathing of the muscle.