Awesomely dangerous snowboard made entirely of glass

Board looks dope but can you even use it?

Got your portable speaker attached to your snowjacket and ready to hit up the slopes to do some shred-nasty on the slopes this weekend? Before you head, you have to check this out: Signal Snowboards just demoed a plank made entirely of glass.

Glass snowboard

Gnarly stuff, right? No doubt the question that comes to mind is – how in the world is a piece of glass going to be able to withstand the weight of a person pounding on it mountainside? The answer: very careful manufacturing.

Making a glass snowboard

Signal traveled across the world to Italy to build the board. Italians, if you didn’t already know, are well versed in the art of glass making, and Signal found two companies who could lend their special expertise to their project.

First stop: Vetreria Aurora, a company that specializes in glass manufacturing for heavy duty glass applications (doors, wires, railings, etc.) Here, two separate pieces of the board were cut, melted, and custom-formed in a glass oven. Once that was done, the board was drilled for the inserts.

Manufacturing a glass snowboard

After that, the board was taken to Viraver Technologies to be tempered (same deal as a windshield). The two pieces went through a series of heat exposure and chemical salt baths to make them tough as $hit, and less likely to shatter. Once that was done, the pieces of glass were baked together with a graphic insert in a vacuum sealed bag.

Finally, after that was all done, the dudes were allowed to take the board out to test it out at Abetone ski resort.

Snowboarders going to Abertone ski resort

During the tests, the Signal folk found the board pretty much uncontrollable: with it being glass and all, it travelled at breakneck speeds going downhill but was slow as molasses going across more level areas. With such sharp edges, the board turned really well, but at the end of the day, it couldn’t withstand ALL of the pounding a typical snowboard takes, showing cracks similar to what you see in a windshield nicked up by stones and whatnot.

Broken glass snowboard

Too bad — would’ve been cool to see this work out and expand the thinking to include skis as well.

Air Gun Hits Paddle with Ping Pong Balls at Mach 1.2—and it’s as awesome to watch as it sounds

Engineers find fun way to experiment with old technology

Paddle hit by ping pong ball at Mach 1.2

Ping Pong’s fun to play, but it’s not a great game to watch. It’s all a bit, I don’t know, repetitive. But that’s what makes this video so great—it actually makes ping pong interesting. Here’s what went down.

Mark French, a mechanical engineering at Purdue University, along with graduate students Craig Zehrun and Jim Stratton got together and built a contraption called the “de Laval tube”. Basically, it’s a modern-day version of the de Laval nozzle, an hourglass tube used to accelerate a hot, pressurized gas to supersonic speeds. They put a ping pong ball in the tube in front of this gas and found that they could shoot the ball at speeds over 900 miles per hour, or Mach 1.2.

Diagram of de Laval tube

It’s enough to—as you can see in the picture above—put a hole through a ping pong paddle.

Ain’t science grand? Video of the gun in action below (about five minutes worth of explanation prior to the gun shooting – go to 5:50 to see it shoot:

Toyota teams up with Parlee Cycles — Debuts bike of the future at the 2013 North American International Auto Show

Car manufacturer has been working on concept bike for nearly two years

Prius Parlee bike at auto show

Here’s something you probably wouldn’t expect to see at a car show — the bike of the future. But hey, when you’re one of the world’s leading car manufacturers, I guess you can do things however you damn well please.

At the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Toyota officially put on display a concept bike it’s been working on since 2011. That’s when Prius Parlee originally posed the question, “What if the Prius were a bicycle?” Rather than ignore this hypothetical, the folks at Toyota teamed up with Parlee Cycles to answer this very question.

The result is impressive. The bike on display at the auto show features a fully carbon fiber frame to keep things light and make it easy for the cyclist to move around. The brakes are molded into the fork for better aerodynamics, and there’s a built-in dock for a smartphone to track riding speed, cadence, and heart rate.

Prius bicycle

Smartphone on bike rack

Normal stuff, I know, but here’s where the group really blows your mind: Also included (and demonstrated at the show) is a helmet that comes equipped with neurotransmitters to allow riders the ability to shift gears just by thinking about it.

Prius bike project has brain sensors

Gnarly, right?

“Embued with the spirit of Prius, this aero-road bike is also a purpose-built machine that blends simplicity with the complex to become a better, more efficient, version of something that already exists,” Toyota writes in a press release about the bike.

Since the whole thing’s still in concept mode, there’s no pricing available. All we have are the pictures above and the following video on the development of the contraption: