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The Whirlydoodle Project Makes Fun, Spinning Things (Video) 34

Posted by Roblimo
from the round-and-round-she-goes dept.
There you were, one evening in Ann Arbor, MI, looking at a bunch of crazy spinning pinwheel-type things on light poles that seemed to change speed, colors, and light patterns with each minor wind shift. You were seeing Whirlydoodles. Slashdot met Whirlydoodle creator Timothy Jones at the 2012 Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire and shot a quick video of him and his colorful "micro-electric wind turbine" in action.

Timothy Jones: Hello. My name is Timothy Jones, and I’m the creator of the Whirlydoodle. Instead of giving you a numerical number for wind speed, I’m giving you kind of a color value. Now, it’s not perfectly linear, but it’s somewhat linear. And they’re a lot of fun. You could learn a lot about the wind based on observing the patterns of the wind and the direction of the wind.

Our design is a tailless wind-mill design, which tracks the wind, it ends up down wind, and it’s visible from 360 degrees. So you can tell the wind speed, you can tell the direction.

What we have here is an illustration of all the components in a generator. And so, we have them laid out in different ways. We have different cross-sectional views. We have an exploded view. And here we have a modified exploded view with all the components laid out.

Then you can also generate electricity with this. And what this is, is we have three identical generators with different amounts of load on them. This generator has no load, so you get an idea what kind of friction is involved in just rotating a generator without load. This has about maybe a 1 watt load. This has twice that load there, so maybe 2 watts. And you can tell the difference between how much force it takes to rotate the generator to generate electricity.

Slashdot: Cool. Thanks a lot.

Timothy Jones: You have some questions or you want to play with this? You can turn these generators if you want.

Bystander: Yeah, I’ve seen these all around Ann Arbor. I read an article about your invention – you are the inventor, right? – in AnnArbor.com. It’s really an interesting article.

Timothy Jones: Yeah, cool. Thanks. Yeah, there is a lot of cool things with components and things. I like taking things apart.

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The Whirlydoodle Project Makes Fun, Spinning Things (Video)

Comments Filter:
  • Is it possible to have a more broken link? Yes.
    Is it likely? No.
    • Re:editors, please (Score:4, Insightful)

      by fm6 (162816) on Friday September 28, 2012 @12:56PM (#41490063) Homepage Journal

      Broken isn't a comparative concept. Stupid and sloppy, on the other hand.... I mean httpio:wwwannarborcomentertainmentwhirlydoodle-projectUGI3U41lTnh, that doesn't pass even the most basic sanity test.

      What do editors do? They clearly don't edit!

      Hey, underemployed technical writer here! Gimme a call.

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        Broken isn't a comparative concept. Stupid and sloppy, on the other hand.... I mean httpio:wwwannarborcomentertainmentwhirlydoodle-projectUGI3U41lTnh, that doesn't pass even the most basic sanity test.

        Hell, that's something that can be tested by computers! A basic sanity test could just run curl or wget on every link to verify that it's correct and that there's something there (it oculd be completely wrong, but at least you know it's reachable.).

        You'd think they could test it using slashcode or something.

        • by fm6 (162816)

          Huh, you're completely right.

          I sometimes have jobs that require me to edit HTML by hand. (Once my team wrote a whole goddamn book that way [amazon.com]; yes, I know it's lame, we inherited the workflow from a simpler age). For obvious reasons, I used a Firefox plugin that color coded all my links based on the HTTP codes they returned. Anyone know a Chrome plugin that does the same thing?

          But all that requires planning and motivation.

      • by rastos1 (601318)

        What do editors do? They clearly don't edit!

        They've been replaced by a script. Broken script to be exact.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      This [annarbor.com] may (MAY!!) be the correct link. Gees, I've never seen such a botched URL. Does the submitter not know how to copy a URL from the address bar and paste it in the submission? And why did it get past the "editor"?

  • I know we have a reputation for not R-ingTFA, but that is no reason to completely botch a URL.
  • Look Maa, a whirly circle of light!
  • But my Linux box refuses to show me the marvels at "httpio:wwwannarborcomentertainmentwhirlydoodle-projectUGI3U41lTnh"!
    Any chance to have a real URL?

    • by fredrated (639554)

      This message has been sent as ripples into the electromagnetic field.

      So you are the one sending the ripples, stop it now, I am getting sea sick!

      • by aglider (2435074)

        This message has been sent as ripples into the electromagnetic field.

        So you are the one sending the ripples, stop it now, I am getting sea sick!

        Magnetic sea sick, you mean!

  • It looks so insignificant ...

  • ... but it's just a silly, useless toy.

    I am so getting one!

    • The buy link is just as broken, in its own way. Doesn't show in the status line where it is taking you. Displays nothing on my 750k hosts file machine. Apparently destination is wazala.com. And a mere $50. Think I'll buy six for each of my mansions.
      .

      And how bout them spiffy _pictures_?! Must suck pretty bad for them to not have video.

  • Spirogragh? On a computer? Has it already been patented?

    By the way, it there a picture or something to see what the story is about?

  • I found this to be generally uninspired. You can do a lot more with wind if you're reasonably gifted in math [youtube.com] and imagination [youtube.com].
    • That was my first take on it too-- and he's charging $50 for what is essentially a pinwheel with LEDs, that if made in China would come free in your Rice Crispys. It really needs some more interesting motion paths, and/or some interesting means of strobing the LEDs...
  • Transparent spinning blades with lights on them attached to light poles. I wonder if moths and other insects end up getting attracted to the light and then get whacked by the blades. Hopefully birds are smart enough to stay clear.

    • by skids (119237)

      If this were the case (it isn't, mine had no guts on them), then this would constitute a renewable powered bug zapper.

  • Dear Slashdot editor,

    What exactly do you do? You clearly don't check hyperlinks in summaries, which are just about the most important concept on Slashdot (and the entire internet).

    And no, for once, I'm actually not being facetious. I'd appreciate an answer.

Never test for an error condition you don't know how to handle. -- Steinbach

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