Devices

Ever wondered how that thing works? Explore the inner workings of many common devices and inventions, as well as those that aren't so common, such as compasses, gyroscopes and bug zappers.


Learn all about BrainPort, a device for sensory substitution by electrotactile stimulation.

With the help of Q, James Bond can breeze through a security system that requires the villain's irises, voice and handprint. Biometrics isn't just for the movies. Real-life businesses and governments are using it. Check it out.

Rail guns leave gunpowder-based weapons in the dust (one can hit a target 250 miles away in six minutes). So why isn't the military using them? Find out how rail guns can be used and learn about the limitations of this technology.

I just saw a movie where the main character, a British secret agent has been "frozen." In the film, he is revived after 30 years on ice. My friend says scientists are actually working on this stuff. What's up with that?

CAT scans take X-ray imaging to a whole new level. Find out how a CAT scan machine uses "slices" to form a 3-D computer model of a patient's insides.

X-ray machines seem to do the impossible: They see straight through clothing, flesh and even metal, thanks to some very cool scientific principles at work. Find out how X-ray machines see straight to your bones.

A friend of mine told me that his watch flew off his arm and was sucked into the MRI machine at the hospital. Could this really happen? How strong are the magnets in an MRI machine?

I've heard that bug zappers can actually help transmit diseases -- how does that happen? Once the mosquito dies, how can a disease it was carrying be transmitted?

I've heard of bank robbers being foiled by a "dye pack" put in their money stash. What is a "dye pack"?

One of my co-workers has an interesting thermometer on his desk. It is a glass tube with different-colored floating things in it. What kind of thermometer is this, and how does it work?

Unlike a regular SCUBA regulator which creates bubbles when the person wearing the apparatus exhales, a rebreather produces no bubbles when someone exhales. What exactly is a rebreather and how does it work?

A friend of mine showed me this card that the image changed depending on the angle that you view it at. How does that work?

See "Back to the Future 2"? Drool much over those hoverboards? Find out how these devices will work and see one that already does!

Ultrasound lets us peek into the human body to see everything from heart valves to a moving baby. But how do sound waves give us a picture?

In a lot of movies you see windows that are "bulletproof." Does bulletproof glass really exist, and if so, how does it work?

I am curious about the ignition system in my lawn mower. I know that a spark plug creates a high-voltage spark, and I know in my car the electricity for the spark comes from the battery. My lawn mower doesn't have a battery, so where does the electricty come from?

I am entering a chemistry contest at my high school. The goal is to build the battery that produces the most watts for one minute. Our battery can't be bigger then 1 foot in any direction and can't use strong acids. What are the best chemicals to use, and what's the best design?

Why does air cool down when pushed around by an electric fan? You would think that air molecules in motion would be creating friction, and therefore increasing the ambient temperature instead of decreasing it. So why do you feel cooler?

A fascinating article that examines the variety of anti-shoplifting devices being used by retail businesses and how these systems and devices work!

Whether they're sorting out scrap metal or helping us unlock the secrets of the universe, electromagnets are pretty nifty devices. What's so great about magnetism on demand? We'll electrify you with the details in this article.

Did you know that airplanes and space shuttles use the utterly low-tech gyroscope for navigation? Discover the secret behind gyroscopic motion!