Engineering Newswire: DIY Railgun Fires At 27,000 Joules

This Engineering Newswire looks at redesigning the stethoscope, firing a DIY railgun and starting fires with drones.

HeartBuds: What’s Up Doc?

The stethoscope really hasn't changed since it was invented by French physician Rene Lah-ee-nic in 1816. Now a disruptive new portable device, called HeartBuds, may not only be a more sanitary option, but a more accurate one as well.

A little bit larger than a quarter, the device connects to a smartphone allowing doctors to now record, store and even share those deep heart palpitations that send you running for urgent care after a night of above average exertion.

Developed by David Bello, the department chief of cardiology at Orlando Health, the Heartbud is a small plastic replica of a traditional stethoscope head that allows your doc to listen to your heart and use a smartphone display to discuss the results in real time.

DIY Railgun Fires at 27,000 Joules

The railgun, which uses current to generate extreme magnetic fields that propel a conductive projectile to high speeds, is powered by 56, 480 joule capacitors for a total of 27,000 joules at 400 volts.

The YouTube user, Ziggy Zee, who warns DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME, explains that the railgun operates with a pre-accelerator. The trigger is pulled and Co2 accelerates the projectile to approximately 50 mph, which he admits it not very fast. With its power supply, the entire rail gun weighs 250 pounds, although the gun itself only weighs 50 pounds.

Drone Shoots Ping Pong Fire Balls

Researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are developing a new fire-starting quadcopter. The Unmanned Aerial System for Fire Fighting is designed to ignite and monitor controlled burns in remote areas to eliminate invasive species, restore native plants, and reduce the risk of wildfire.

The drone carries a container of ping pong-like balls filled with potassium permanganate powder. Right before being dropping through a chute, each ball is manipulated and injected with liquid glycol, which creates a chemical reaction-based flame after a few seconds.

The drone can drop the balls in precise patterns over the landscape, and it could even be programmed not to fly into areas that are too hot or windy for safe use.