Posts Tagged ‘Inventions

23
Feb
10

The story behind QWERTY

Ever wondered why keyboards had to be so cumbersome. Why couldn’t they simply list down the letters in an alphabetical order or any other order for that matter. Here’s the scientific explanation

The QWERTY design is based on a layout designed by C. Latham Sholes in 1874 for the Sholes and Glidden typewriter and sold to Remington in the same year, when it first appeared in typewriters. It was designed to minimize typebar clashes.

The “Type Writer” had two features which made jams a serious issue. Firstly, characters were mounted on metal arms or typebars, which would clash and jam if neighboring arms were depressed at the same time or in rapid succession. Secondly, its printing point was located beneath the paper carriage, invisible to the operator, a so-called “up-stroke” design. Consequently, jams were especially serious, because the typist could only discover the mishap by raising the carriage to inspect what he had typed. The solution was to place commonly used letter-pairs (like “th” or “st”) so that their typebars were not neighboring, avoiding jams. While it is often said that QWERTY was designed to “slow down” typists, this is incorrect – it was designed to prevent jams while typing at speed, yet some of the layout decisions, such as placing only one vowel on the home row, did have the effect of hobbling more modern keyboards.

After a lot of trial-and-error QWERTY layout evolved.

06
Feb
10

Terrafugia

Got pictures of this as an email forward, the concept however impressed me.

Terrafugia is a small, privately held corporation that is developing the Transition, a roadable aircraft. Their general aviation airplane is designed to fold its wings enabling it also to operate as a street-legal road vehicle.

Taking off

At a Gas Station

Some stats and details from the official Terra Fugia Website

Performance

Cruise: 100 kts (115 mph)
Rotate: 70 kts (80 mph)
Stall: 45 kts (51 mph)
Range: 400nm (460 mi)
Takeoff over 50′ obstacle: 1700′
Fuel burn: 5 gph
Fuel tank: 20 gallons
Useful Load: 430 lbs
On road: 30 mpg, highway speeds
Light Sport Aircraft (LSA)

Convenience
Front wheel drive on the ground
Automotive-style entry and exit
Two place, side by side
Automated electromechanical folding wing
No trailer or hangar needed
Cargo area holds skis, fishing poles or golf clubs

The Transition light sport aircraft is expected to be released in 2011. The estimated purchase price is US$194,000. Owners will drive the car from their garage to an airport where they can take-off to fly within a range of 400 nmi (740 km; 460 mi). It will carry two people plus luggage and will operate on a single tank of regular unleaded gas.

03
Feb
10

Fisher Space Pen

Got the idea of this post, after watching 3 idiots.

There exists a common urban legend claiming that the Americans spent millions of dollars developing the Space Pen, and the Russians used a pencil. In fact, NASA programs have used pencils (for example a 1965 order of mechanical pencils) but because of the danger that a broken-off pencil tip poses in zero gravity and the flammable nature of the wood present in pencils a better solution was needed.

The Space Pen (also known as the Zero Gravity Pen), marketed by Fisher Space Pen Company, is a pen that uses pressurized ink cartridges and is claimed to write in zero gravity, upside down, underwater, over wet and greasy paper, at any angle, and in extreme temperature ranges.

There are two prominent styles of the pen: the AG7 “Astronaut pen”, a long thin retractable pen shaped like a common ballpoint, and the “Bullet pen” which is non-retractable, shorter than standard ballpoints when capped, but fullsize when the cap is posted on the rear for writing.

The ballpoint is made from tungsten carbide and is precisely fitted in order to avoid leaks. A sliding float separates the ink from the pressurized gas. The thixotropic ink in the hermetically sealed and pressurized reservoir is claimed to write for three times longer than a standard ballpoint pen. The pen can write at altitudes up to 12,500 feet (3810 m). The ink is forced out by compressed air at a pressure of nearly 35 pounds per square inch (240 kPa). Operating temperatures range from -30 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit (-35 to 120 degrees Celsius). The pen has an estimated shelf life of 100 years.

Referenced Wiki.

You could place an order for Space pen at this official website.

03
Nov
09

Ball point pen

All of us have used a ball pen at some point in our life (I use the word All instead of most here)… Its has a cylindrical body filled with ink and a roller ball which when moved against paper (or other surfaces) creates a mark on the surface. Its become such a commonplace now. What would be interesting to know is its history and evolution.

The manufacture of economical, reliable ballpoint pens resulted from a combination of experimentation, modern chemistry, and the precision manufacturing capabilities of 20th century technology. Many patents worldwide are testaments to failed attempts to make these pens commercially viable and widely available. The ballpoint pen went through several failures in design throughout its early stages. It has even been argued that a design by Galileo Galilei (during the 17th century), was that of a ballpoint pen.

The first patent on a ballpoint pen was issued on 30 October 1888, to Kayleigh frost Loud, a leather tanner, who was attempting to make a writing implement that would be able to write on the leather he tanned, which the then-common fountain pen couldn’t do. The pen had a rotating small steel ball, held in place by a socket. Although the pen could be used to mark rough surfaces such as leather, as Loud intended, it proved to be too coarse for letter writing and was not commercially exploited.

In the period between 1904 and 1946, there was intense interest in improving writing instruments, particularly alternatives or improvements to the fountain pen. Earlier pens leaked or clogged due to improper viscosity of the ink, and depended on gravity to deliver the ink to the ball. Depending on gravity caused difficulties with the flow and required that the pen be held nearly vertically.

The invention of the “Biro” pen

László Bíró, a Hungarian newspaper editor, was frustrated by the amount of time that he wasted in filling up fountain pens and cleaning up smudged pages, and the sharp tip of his fountain pen often tore his pages of newsprint. Bíró had noticed that the type of ink used in newspaper printing dried quickly, leaving the paper dry and smudge free. He decided to create a pen using the same type of ink. Since, when tried, this viscous ink would not flow into a regular fountain pen nib, Bíró, with the help of his brother George, a chemist, began to work on designing new types of pens. Bíró fitted this pen with a tiny ball in its tip that was free to turn in a socket. As the pen moved along the paper, the ball rotated, picking up ink from the ink cartridge and leaving it on the paper. Bíró filed a British patent on 15 June 1938.

In 1940 the Bíró brothers filed another patent, and formed Bíró Pens of Argentina. The pen was sold in Argentina under the Birome brand (portmanteau of Bíró and Meyne), which is how ballpoint pens are still known in that country.




So what’s this blog about?

Another attempt? Well yes. Attempting to figure out another sustainable model (there are some other attempts going on parallel-ly). Well, we have a lot of questions in mind. we read up stuff, we do some research to find answers to these questions. This is an attempt to publish that little 15-20 minute research.
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