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.

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All eyes are trained on you at halftime as you make slow sweeps across the rink, leaving sparkling smooth ice in your lumbering wake. The fans cheer. You tip your head slightly in modest acknowledgement. This is the life of the Zamboni driver.

By Kate Kershner

Most of the world uses the metric system for everyday measurements, but only three countries in the world use the imperial system as their official system of measurement.

By William Harris & Sascha Bos

Fractals produce fascinating and intricate designs. Browse through this gallery featuring pictures of a variety of fractals like Mandelbrot and Julia sets and find out why nature is loaded with fractals.

By Holly Frey

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An MRI scan is the best way to see inside the human body without cutting it open, but that may be little comfort to you when you're getting ready for the exam. Lying perfectly still on a tiny slab in a narrow hole, you might wonder what's happening to your body.

By Todd A. Gould, RT-(R)(MR)(ARRT) & Molly Edmonds

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?

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.

By Marshall Brain, Chris Pollette & Yara Simón

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

By Marshall Brain & Desiree Bowie

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Did you know that the Internet was originally invented for military purposes? It’s true. So too were cell phones and the Humvee. In fact, many of society’s biggest technology breakthroughs have been adapted for civilian use from their original military application. And when it comes to military technology, particularly weapons, there is no end to […] The post 10 Crazy Military Weapons That Actually Exist appeared first on Goliath.

By Jack Sackman

It's common knowledge that Thomas Edison invented the incandescent light bulb and the phonograph, but did you know he also developed concrete furniture and a phone to communicate with the dead?

By Martha Barksdale

What if a scan could not only help diagnose diseases of the brain, but maybe even determine what we're thinking and feeling? A noninvasive fMRI test could do just that.

By Stephanie Watson

Ever heard of a little unit called a femtometer? Can you tell us how much you weigh -- in petagrams? We know you can't, so hurry up and start reading. We have work to do.

By William Harris

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Windmills and wind turbines work on the same core principle to convert wind into energy, but one creates mechanical energy while the other creates electricity. Here's how they work.

By Trevor English

First developed in the 1920s, Geiger counters still use the same basic technology to detect radiation, but today can be the size of a smartphone.

By Patrick J. Kiger

They keep our miles and miles of unruly cords untangled and out of the way. But how do they work?

By Patrick J. Kiger

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

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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.

By Tom Harris

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.

By Tom Harris

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?

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?

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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.

By William Harris

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.

By Tracy V. Wilson

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago introduced a new bionic arm that can be controlled by reading a person's thoughts. How does this technology work? Can you control a machine with thoughts? Learn about the bionic arm in this article.

By Julia Layton

The crossbow, a weapon popular with Wookiees, vampire slayers and some modern hunters, looks like a cross between a bow and a rifle. Read about it’s fascinating history and uses.

By Tracy V. Wilson

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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?

By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D.

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?