Author Archives: Nick Vu

Meet the New Olfactometer


Some mosquitoes are unfortunately highly anthropophilic, meaning they seek out humans for their blood meals rather than other animals. But how do these insects find us in the first place? How do they distinguish between a human and a shrub? There is evidence that odor may have something to do with it.

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Story Carding Your Way to TED

TED2010 has long past. The presentation went off without a hitch, and that can be attributed to oodles of preparation. A dozen people were tapped to ready the Photonic Fence for its first public demo. There was a ton to do: finalizing the software with a handsome interface, constructing custom casing and mounts for the […]

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Blue Swirl

Just a quick 2 AM camera test before heading to the last Gadgetoff. Take a beaker of water, a stir plate and one drop of blue dye, then slow it down…way down. Free vortexes, like what we created here, swirl more strongly at the center with decreasing velocities as you move outward. These differences in […]

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Grant and the Oobleck

What do quicksand, liquid body armor and silly putty have in common? They are all a particular type of non-Newtonian fluid know as dilatants, also called shear thickening fluids. With common Newtonian fluids, temperature is the only factor affecting viscosity. This is a flow property you’re likely familiar with if you’ve ever warmed up thick […]

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Chatting about Future Tech

Word on the canal is that over the next few days Pablos will be speaking at the web conference TNW2011 in Amsterdam, immediately followed by the media conference SIME in Vienna. Boris from TNW had a brief pre-show chat (yes, on instant messenger) with Pablos, who shared a snapshot of his vision of the future. […]

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Diabolo at the Sea of Galilee

When brainstorming the future of the internet, you need diverse and abundant sources of inspiration: drum circles, wacky homemade vehicles, Guitar Hero robots, stuntmen diving head first out of trees, you get the picture. Two weeks ago 3ric and Pablos attended Kinnernet, an unconference at the Sea of Galilee, Israel. With them was their trusty […]

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The Medical and The Culinary

What does it take to be an inventor? Lots of bad ideas and failures! Is it really so surprising? Inventors are on the lookout for not so obvious solutions, which is intrinsically a hit or miss process. Yet as you continuously engage problems, every once in a while you’ll find something big. Back in October, […]

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The Wizard of Menlo Park

Energy, telecommunications, research and development (R&D); these are some of the fastest growing and highly funded markets of the day. Yet all can be traced back to one man, over 100 years ago. Thomas Edison was the quintessential inventor with game changing contributions in many different fields. As a young telegrapher, Edison’s earliest tinkerings were […]

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Inventive Fundraising

Some call it the season of giving, and we’re not about to say otherwise. There are plenty of people in the Seattle area who are struggling to get by and the Lab wanted to pitch in a little during the holidays. There is a great local nonprofit called Hopelink that has been doing exactly this […]

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Self-Sterilizing Surfaces

Every year in the U.S., there are 1.7 million in-hospital infections, resulting in 99,000 deaths. That’s more U.S. casualties than the Vietnam War (58,209) and the Korean War (36,574) combined, and exceeds annual U.S. deaths caused by both breast cancer (40,230) and prostate cancer (32,050). Even though hospitals go out of their way to keep […]

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