The Steampunk Contraptors

Hardware hackers are creating fantastical machines from a Victorian age that never was

5 min read
Photo of Sean Slattery

Top-Hatted Tinkerer: Sean Slattery, whose steampunk persona is that of a 19th-century inventor named Jake von Slatt, holds one of his creations, a telegraph sounder that clacks out text feeds from the web.

Nathan Perkel

Sean Slattery puts on his goggles and starts up the engine of his Frankenstein’s monster of a car, its fiberglass body imitating that of a 1929 Mercedes SSK, its chassis taken from a 1972 Volkswagen Beetle. He bought it on eBay for US $1500, and after major repairs he is now ready to add his own hack. He plans to paint the machine black with gold filigree, mount brass headlights and a slanted grille, and install a compact boiler to drive the vehicle with the fiery might of steam. Call it the Steampunk Car.

Steampunk is a burgeoning subculture that draws on the elaborate aesthetics and romantic worldview of 19th-century England to envision how things might have looked had a few key technologies been developed further. It conjures a gaslit cityscape filled with steam-powered robots, mechanical computers, ray-gun-toting aeronauts, and monocled mad scientists.

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Stretchable Artificial Nerves Help Restore Motion in Mice

New neuroprosthetic approach is more flexible and less power-hungry than other designs

2 min read
illustration of a paralysed mouse and a moving mouse

A paralyzed mouse with a spinal cord injury or motor neuron disease (left) and a mouse that

has recovered voluntary motor function by using stretchable artificial nerves (right).

Stanford University

Conventional neuroprosthetic devices that aim to help patients bypass nerve damage are often rigid and power-hungry. Now scientists have developed stretchable artificial nerves that helped paralyzed mice run on a treadmill and kick a ball while consuming less than one-hundredth of the power of a typical microprocessor. The scientists suggest these artificial nerves may one day find use in the human body.

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3 min read
A black and white humanoid robot lies face down on dirt after appearing to have just fallen

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Explore the basics of digitizers, pulse detection, peer-to-peer streaming, and more

1 min read

Dive into the world of digitizers and explore how they can benefit your application. Explore the basics of digitizers, pulse detection, peer-to-peer streaming, and more. Whether you are a scientist, engineer, student or if you want to know more about Teledyne SP Devices deep knowledge base there is something for everyone. Register now for these free webinars!