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Bill's head

Make called Bill a "brilliant science-and-technology documentarian", whose "videos should be held up as models of how to present complex technical information visually" Wired called them "dazzling." Scientific American's blog called him a "smart, easygoing everyman with a firm understanding of the science." You can see 10 of his best videos below. He takes apart an LCD monitor, demonstrates how fiber optic cables work, rips up a hard drive, explains the wonder of a quartz wrist watch, solves the mystery of black boxes, blows up a light bulb filament, reveals how amazing a pop can tab truly is, shows why a cell phone looks like it does, and explains why you always seem to be in the slowest line.

Stories of Tech Failures Three videos on famous marketplace failures. How the Betamax disappeared, why the Dvorak keyboard didn't take over the world, and how Bell Telephone lost a half billion dollars on their Picturephone

 

bill Cover
line
harddrive

Hard drive teardown

Bill takes apart a computer hard drive to show how it's engineered to store data.

harddrive
fiber

Fiber optic cables

Bill uses a bucket of propylene glycol to show how a fiber optic cable works and to show how engineers used them to send signals across oceans.

fiber
quartz-watch

Quartz Watch

Bill takes apart a cheap watch to show how it works. He describes how a tiny quartz tuning fork keeps the time.

quartz-watch
black-box

Black Box

In designing an object an engineer must choose the proper material. Never is this more important than in the "black box" flight data recorder.

black-box
lightbulb

Filament

Bill takes apart a light bulb to show how engineers make its filament.

lightbulb
transistor-point-contact

Transistor

Bill shows how a transistor works by examing a replica of the first one ever build: The Bardeen-Brattain point contact transistor.

transistor-point-contact
lines

Queueing Theory

Bill introduces queueing theory and uses it to design the most efficient check out line.

lines
coffee-maker

Coffee Maker

To engineer an object means to make choices. Bill shows how a single choice required an interesting method for pumping water.

Garbage
pop-can

Pop Can Tab

Bill uses slow motion video to show the ingenious engineering design of the apparently simple tab of a pop can. He shows how it changes from a 2nd to a 1st class lever.

pop can stay-on tab
cell-02

Cell Phone Design

Bill uses a pile of mobile phones to illustrate the 7 basic constraints that shape them.

cell-02