About Me

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I previously worked on Virtual Reality and other hardware at Valve.  I currently work at Google[x].

Prior to starting at Valve, I built computer peripherals such as keyboards, mice, and joysticks that were designed to be used inside MRI machines.  My company, Mag Design and Engineering, sold these devices directly to researchers at academic institutions who used them to publish scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals.

After work, I spend time on many different types of projects that usually involve circuit design, machining, material selection, and general fabrication/hacking.  My favorite place to be is my home workshop.

ben dot krasnow at gmail




Monday, November 10, 2014

Color-changing Zinc Oxide -- and submit your questions for Ben

Submit your questions for Ben in the comments section for a Q and A session next week.

Heating zinc oxide with a blow torch causes it to turn from a white powder into a golden yellow.  The process reverses when the substance cools back down to room temperature.  The heat drives out some oxygen from the ZnO lattice, cause some locations to have a Zinc metal ion.  This disruption in the lattice is able to absorb more blue and violet light, causing the overall substance to look yellow.

Monday, November 3, 2014

How a Crookes radiometer works

A Crookes radiometer is driven by a thermal gas effect, and not "light pressure" as often thought.  I demonstrate the radiometer in a vacuum chamber and explain its optimal running pressure.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Catalytic cigarette lighter

Demonstration of a New Method catalytic cigarette lighter:  The device uses a platinum catalyst to generate heat from methanol vapors, which in turn ignites the vapor.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Tire sealant chemistry and tire pressure monitors

Demonstration of how tire sealant works and how it can damage tire pressure sensors.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Car engine science: Ignition timing, emissions, mixture

I describe how ignition timing and air/fuel mixture affect car engine power, emissions, and driveability.