‘Mother nature as the ULTIMATE engineer!’
Wallace and Gromit are at it again. This time, the world-renowned inventor, Wallace, and of course Gromit (he seems to be doing most of the work), hosts a six-part series directly from his basement of 62 West Wallaby Street. Instead of navigating his own inventive mishaps, they both accompany viewers on visits to some of the world’s most brilliant minds. In Wallace and Gromit’s World of Invention, the duo take an enthusiastic look at some real life “cracking contraptions,” from gadgets that help people around their homes; to the fantastic world of space travel and other adventures that go on in between!
Nature Knows Best!
Fish and wildlife as inspiration for invention? This episode features scientists from around the world developing ways for robots and other ecomachines to function by using bio-mass as energy. James Auger is one scientist who created a robot that can get it’s energy from “eating flies,” just as the Venus fly trap does in nature! Auger’s robot can run for 12-days on just 8 ordinary house files!
The natural design of manta rays are naturally aerodynamically efficient, that a group of scientists adapt their natural design to create energy efficient airships and underwater robots, that would be a safe an effective method for animal observation.
Wallace takes an enthusiastic approach to introducing inventors and even adds comedy to his own nature inspired inventions. He powers his studio using methane gas that is produced from Kevin, his nearly 12,000 pound elephant!
Reach for the sky!
When it comes to inventing, the sky is the limit! Steve Bennett, toothpaste technician turned rocket engineer. Bennett, leader of Starchaser, a company involved in space development and tourism, started building rockets at a young age. Now he wants everyone to be able to voyage to the stars!
Professor Dava Newman, Aerospace Engineer, MIT designed a more form fitting a ‘space suit’ that will allow astronauts to have better mobility while on space missions. The suit allows for proper compression and protection. The suit acts like a ‘second skin’ that has a system of wiring that squeezes the body snugly, maintaining earth-like pressure on the body! Additionally, Fred Furguson, Magnus Effect Expert has been creating designs, for the last 30 years, for huge high-altitude balloons that spin to stay up in the air creating energy–wind energy caused by the magnus effect!
Wallace & Gromit – Getting from A to B in six episodes
Wallace and Gromit’s World of Invention is featured in the duo’s home studio with an emphasis on relevant inspirations in science. Some of the creations are a bit peculiar, mostly since during the intermissions of each technology built episode (one invention utilized a large plastic bag as transport across water) to Wallace’s own mind-boggling contraptions; a motorized chair, his own homemade rocket, and Gromit trying to help Wallace not make a mess of it all.
One of the most interesting invention is by engineer Charles Osmond Frederick. His invention – a flying saucer. Frederick owns the patent design for his own space vehicle, using laser energy! But it would be an additional 30 years to allow Frederick’s idea to spread. Dr. Leik Myrabo, a Lightcraft Scientist, invented a flying saucer powered by laser beams. The future of transportation.
“If things go well,” states Myrabo, “we could be transporting the first person by 2025. We could have a fully mature, green transportation system for planet earth.”
Imagine being able to travel anywhere in the world in 45-minutes or less. According to Myrabo, it is a real possibility to see this type of travel technology within the next 15 years or so!
Inspires a lot of ways to get you inventing!
It’s near impossible to cite each brilliant invention featured on the disc but I tell you that it’s been quite an exciting DVD to review. There are other segments to the episodes that offers viewers a wealth of information: inventor of the week; contraption countdown; and curiosity corner, where Wallace introduces those extra historical facts behind many of the inventions hosted in each episode. What more are the extras. There are a total of 6 do-it-yourself tutorials to make your own ‘cracking contraptions,’ each tutorial host is Ricky Martin (not “the” Ricky Martin), but an ordinary inventor just like yourself.
Note: please utilize adult supervision and safety gear when attempting to make any of these inventions:
1. The Atmospheric Railway – inspired by Brunel’s atmospheric railway create one using a drain piping, vacuum cleaner, styrofoam, energy drink can, some duct tape, rope or strong string, hot glue gun and glue.
2. Wind-powered Sprinkler – inspired by William Kamkwamba‘s invention that harnessed wind energy and brought electricity to his village in Malawi. Martin utilized Kamkwamba’s invention and applied it towards making the sprinkler. There are water hose bans in parts of Europe due to there being a lack of rain in parts of the year. He built a reservoir to collect the water and use the wind to create a sprinkler to distribute the water, using centrifugal force.
3. Air Rocket – inspired by Fred Furguson and the work he has done using the magnus effect concept.
4. Spy Camera – using only a couple of toothbrushes, duct tape, electrical tape, a rubber ban, and an instant camera.
5. Upside-down-o-scope – inspired by the human eye, using a large cereal box, duct tape, and two magnifying glasses.
The inventing and ideas doesn’t stop on the DVD, you can also find neat things to do on the “World of Invention” website. Overall, Wallace and Gromit’s World of Invention is a completely engaging masterpiece of information that is not only a mental motivation, it is also a practically useful series as well that comes highly recommended.
This will do nicely, indeed.
Source: Wallace and Gromit, Lionsgate