Engineer Guy

Bill Hammack takes a humanistic approach: from the trial, tribulations, and triumphs of inventors and scientists to the effect of technology on our daily lives.

The IBM selectric typewriter

Slow motion video shows how the mechanical digital-to-analogue converter of IBM's revolutionary "golf ball" typewriter works

How a smoke detector works

Bill takes apart a household smoke detector, showing how it uses a radioactive source to determine the presence of smoke. He also discusses the MOSFET used in the detection circuit.

LCD monitor teardown

Bill tears down an LCD monitor to show how it works. He describes how liquid crystals are used, the structure of the glass panes, and the thin film transistor that allow for active matrix addressing.

Hard Drive Teardown

Bill tears down a hard drive to show how it stores data. He explains how smooth the disk surface must be for the device to work, and he outlines the mathematical technique used to increase data storage.

The Light Bulb Filament

Bill takes apart an incandescent light bulb to how the filament is made. He shows extreme close-ups of the filament, and he discusses the materials processing need to make the ductile tungsten used.

How A Quartz Watch Works

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