Sometimes the world can feel like elementary school; you’re either enduring taunts for being in the only girl in the class without pink jellies, or stuck with the dull anonymity of being “Emily F.” or “Tommy B.” in a class full of other people with your name. As humans, our fascination with “different-ness” can be exhausting. Thankfully, there’s this video to set the record straight. Turns out, the chances of you being you are incredibly slim—and being different isn’t so unique after all.
When Nathan Seidle was gifted a locked safe with no combination from his wife, he did what any puzzlemaster—or, rather, what any engineer with a specific set of expertise in locks and robotics—would do: He built a robot to crack the safe. Seidle is the founder of SparkFun, an electronics manufacturer based in Denver, and this gift seemed like the perfect opportunity to put his professional knowledge to the test.
The process of building a safecracking robot involved a lot of coding and electronics, but it was the 3D printing, he said, that became the most important piece. Seidle estimated that it would take four months to have the robot test out different combinations, but with one major insight, he was able to shave off the bulk of this time: While taking a closer look at the combination dial indents, he realized that he could figure out the third digit of the combination by locating the skinniest indent. Thanks to this realization, he was soon able to trim down the number of possible combinations from a million to a thousand.
Watch the video from WIRED below to see Seidle's robot in action, which effectively whittled a four-month safecracking project down to an impressive 15-minute job.
This Puzzling Math Brain Teaser Has a Simple Solution
BY Kirstin Fawcett
July 25, 2017
Fans of number-based brainteasers might find themselves pleasantly stumped by the following question, posed by TED-Ed’s Alex Gendler: Which sequence of integers comes next?
1, 11, 21, 1211, 111221, ?
Mathematicians may recognize this pattern as a specific type of number sequence—called a “look-and-say sequence"—that yields a distinct pattern. As for those who aren't number enthusiasts, they should try reading the numbers they see aloud (so that 1 becomes "one one," 11 is "two ones," 21 is "one two, one one,” and so on) to figure the answer.
Still can’t crack the code? Learn the surprisingly simple secret to solving the sequence by watching the video below.