Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!


 SFSL Podcast Roundup: Robots! Compost! Worms!

Like most males of my demographic, I've been playing a lot of "Red Dead Redemption" of late on the old Xbox 360 and am suffering from a severe hankering to use excessive cowboy speak at work. So I'll go ahead and say it: If you kind folks wanna catch an earful about worms, dirt and some right clever tin cans, then I reckon these here podcasts will suit 'ya fine as cream gravy. See more »

 Stuff from the Science Lab Roundup: Road Trip to FIRST

Did you know that some high schools give out a varsity letter in robotics these days? And that some schools send off their robotics teams to matches with a hearty pep rally? You get what you celebrate, says FIRST President Paul Gudonis, who was kind enough to talk with us the weekend of the FIRST Championship, held here in Atlanta, about a month ago. And this podcast, we were celebrating the sport of competitive robot building. See more »

 More Robots to Manhandle Human Corpses

Yes, if the prospect of corpse-eating warbots wasn't enough, Swiss engineers are keeping the dream of a horrifying and ghoulish robotic future alive with Virtobot, which will "not only study dead bodies virtually, but create a digital copy of the cadaver so that it might be studied years down the line." What's not to love? See more »

 My Favorite Organic Farmer Is a Robot

With increased focus on smaller farms, slow food and organic cultivation methods, it was only a matter of time till the robots shook hands with hippies and got serious about growing some arugula. Enter the GrowBot: A partnership between the Georgia Institute of Technology and Atlanta's independent food community, rogueApron, GrowBot explores the robotic possibilities for local organic farming. According to founder Lady Rogue, there's a misconception that organic farming is inherently anti-technology. You know what she means: bike-riding, sun tea-drinking treehuggers who prefer actual dirt to an episode of "Dirty Jobs." See more »

 Six Real-life Giant Robots

Giant robots have thrived in our popular culture for decades, rampaging through our comic books, video games, movies and Queen album covers. Their appearances in fiction are generally pretty easy to explain. After all, what else are you going to use to battle giant monsters (or other giant robots)? In reality, of course, we simply don't have to contend with rampaging, mutated monsters -- and I cannot stress enough how useless a giant robot would be against a hurricane or meteor. Yet at least six giant robots do in fact exist -- and we developed each of them with a particular purpose in mind. See more »

 Robots Bone Up On Human Anatomy

So just why did European researchers build a robot with bones and muscles? And why is Josh Clark picking a fight with the machines? In this post we'll watch Eccrrobot in action and answer these pressing questions. See more »

 Electronics-Free, Chemical Robot Paves Way for Shoggoth Hordes

OK, so maybe not -- but when I read that scientists at Tokyo's Waseda University have created a mindless automation out of a polymer-based "color-changing, motile gel," forgive me if I grab an H.P. Lovecraft anthology and start flipping through some of my favorite tales for talk of blasphemous, amorphous horrors. See more »

 Robots and Teens Invade Atlanta for FIRST Championship

The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) World Championship brought more than 10,000 students and 533 custom-built robots to Atlanta's Georgia Dome this week. Friday morning, my wife and I braved the horrors of Atlanta commuter traffic to make the witness the FIRST robot parade in all its geeky splendor. Check out the photos! See more »