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Get into a car anywhere in the world and you are pretty much guaranteed that you will understand how to drive it. Cars have the ultimate user interface and Formula 1 cars perhaps represent the pinnacle of this UI, with the most demanding requirements.As recently as 1992, F1 steering wheels were round with 3 buttons (neutral, drinking water supply, radio), but since the advent of paddle gear changes there has been a sudden explosion of electronics and feature driven complexity.The complexity is ubiquitous, all 11 Formula 1 teams produce cars with more or less the same multi button design allowing adjustment and tweaks of traction and aerodynamics from the wheel itself. Unlike a road car, space and focus constraints mean that the entire dashboard is on the steering wheel. This is something that will no doubt be copied, unnecessarily, in consumer cars in future, but would that be a UI improvement?Given that all 11 F1 teams have converged on a remarkably similar UI, independently, you would think that dashboard steering wheel style was a rational design, however its complexity possibly caused Lewis Hamilton the 2007 F1 championship, when he accidentally pressed the neutral button (top left of the 2007 McLaren Mercedes wheel).We have gathered together as many of the modern style wheel designs that we could find and put a date to, to demonstrate the UI pattern. What is clear is that there is no clear accentuation of features (color, size) by how often the are used, merely by position. Even if drivers like Hamilton are experts and fully familiar with the UI, there is a tiny percentage chance of error. Our guess is that this trend in car UI would be a mistake if it filters through to everyday cars, and that F1 cars will revert to a more simple UI over time.

formula 1 user interfaces

Its October 2010 and Chinese property booms while most of the Western world's houses have shrunk to more realistic levels. In the US, homes have ceased to be ATMs to buy oriental barbecues, but in Britain, a crowded island with a cultural attachment to carving out a personal defensible space are Englishmen's homes still castles, with prices to match.As US housing prices adjusted, UK ones, faltered then regained their losses smack in the middle of the recession. This time things look different, with last month seeing the largest dip in housing prices in history. Perhaps prices in Britain will go up forever, or perhaps Britain will be like Japan, another crowded island which had the same phenomenon and where eventual capitulation resulted in a crash where property is worth less than a decade ago?One way to judge judge this is to look at what a million dollars gets you in London and its hinterland - a place where an apartment recently sold for a quarter of a billion dollars during the biggest downturn since the Great Depression.

depressing million dollar london property

Although making a 3d image is more dramatic than increasing its resolution, say, the technology is fairly primitive. Because of this, stereo cameras are something of an interesting retro curiosity. These days, custom made stereo cameras with twin lenses at eye separation are usually replaced by custom rigs for digital cameras, with appropriate software.

stereo cameras

The name Chrysler will be remembered if no other car is produced, in the automobile inspired skyscraper that is the pinnacle of American machine-age design.The Chrysler building is the tallest brick (steel re-enforced) building in the world but it is fundamentally modern, a triumph of both technology and design. Steel gargoyles were modeled on 1929 Chrysler automobile hood decorations and radiator caps and the earliest stainless steel cladding covered the stepped, Thai Princess-like crown. The Chrysler's spire was unveiled in less than an hour, to make it the tallest building in the world and the first the first structure more than 1000ft high.Here are a selection of iconic views and details of the Chrysler, what I believe is America's most important building, and an important milestone in the history of technology.

homage to the chrysler

If you thought the Bullet train was the fastest thing on rails, you would be wrong - more than 6000 miles per hour wrong. Rocket sled test tracks were originally designed for the V2 in WWII and can reach up to 6400 mph.They were made famous in the 50s when Lt. Col John Paul volunteered himself to test a 200mph track designed for crash test dummies, called the Gee Whiz. The test was intended to show the effects of deceleration in a plane crash, where it was assumed that nobody could survive more than 18G. Strapp survived an unbelievable 35G.More recently a rocket sled was featured in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.However, the lasting legacy of the Gee Whiz test is Murphy's Law, coined after a real engineer called Murphy who worked briefly at Edwards Air Force Base on the test track.

Rocket Sleds

Nothing less than human made lightning. The massive fields generated by resonance between pairs of stepped up induced capacitors create potential differences greater than the resistance of air between the coil and a nearby conductor. This allows fractal currents to flow as the air itself conducts and ionizes.Although Tesla coils are largely created for fun by dedicated enthusiasts, they originally had a real purpose in mind. Tesla figured that he could create a wireless electrical grid and went as far as to build a tower on Long Island that would be its first transmitter. The idea was never realized, however in Russia really large scale wireless power networks were actually tried, as can be seen in this list.Vote for your faves.

16 crazy tesla coils

The fetish aspect of external, insect-like skeletons has made them a staple of science fiction. However, the utility is real, from the incredible Japanese Enryu rescue exoskeleton, which looks like a loader from the Aliens movie, to brain controlled limb enhancers for the para or quadraplegic.

exoskeletons

Thanks to an intrepid group of urban explorers, some of the most magnificent hidden engineering triumphs that lie, hidden, beneath the streets of the worlds cities are being recorded and posted on underground (no pun intended) websites.Here are some of our favorite sewers and drains, from Paris tourist attraction sewers to Londons Escher-like, arched, Victorian Gothic drains, to still working ancient Roman systems and the infamous giant storm drains beneath Tokyo. Vote for your faves.

Spectacular Sewers

The Zapruder film of the JFK assassination was shot on a Bell and Howell double 8 camera, at about the time of the introduction of Super 8, which created a ubiquitous format for affordable home movies. The difference in design between the Super 8 cameras and other 8mm cameras from as early as the 30s is clearly visible in this collection. The look changed from rounded shapes dictated by the film canister on early news reel devices, to a counter fashion for extremely orthogonal forms as exemplified here by the Star Trek like designs of the superb Bolex 150 from 1967.

20 classic 8mm movie cameras

Ray guns originated in the US in the 30s, from shows like Buck Rogers. What makes them a particularly interesting object is that despite, for all practical purposes, having never existed, there is an almost endless variety of designs for toy ray guns, from around the world.Here are some of the best we could find. Most are for sale, and are posted without description, since the images speak for themselves.

23 stunning ray guns

The history of computers is not all digital, from the humble slide rule to hydraulic models of the economy there is a rich history of both electronic and mechanical analog computers. Here are some of our favorite examples. These computers have certain advantages over their symbolic counterparts. They measure continuous variables in parallel and therefore their accuracy is limited only by the granularity with which their results are read and their speed is not limited by sequential operations.

Amazing Analog Computers

Inflatables are an obvious choice for space vehicles and satellites, a small sized payload than can be inflated once up, yet for some reason they aren't the norm.The first passive communications satellites were inflatable spheres, such as the Echo series, which mylar was developed for, and early prototypes for space stations were inflatable. More recently, funding for the inflatable replacement for the habitat unit on the space station was cancelled and a private company Bigelow Aerospace is now the pioneer in the field, having successfully launched an inflatable unit.My favorite in this list, however, is the grid sphere satellite which replaced the Echo ones which didn't stay up long becuase the suns heat would deform them and slow them down. A helium inflated plastic balloon expanded a signal reflecting hollow geodesic mesh, with the plastic then dissolving under the suns rays. The mesh could then stay up for 11 years or so.

12 space inflatables

Obvious the very word submarine implies something below sea level, so submarines on dry land are particularly weird. Here are some of our favorites, ranging from abandoned washed up submarines, like beached whales, to those which have been specially buried in the ground as museum exhibits.

10 dry land submarines

Ted Stevens was right, the Victorian Internet consisted, quite literally, of a ‘Network of Tubes'. Paris, London, Prague and Vienna had extensive networks of pneumatic tubes which delivered messages in capsules. In New York 5 million mail messages passed every day through an underground pneumatic system, and a network in Berlin delivered hot meals directly to people's homes suggesting that kitchens would no longer be needed in the future. Today these systems can still be purchased where they are used in places like hospitals where samples are passed between departments.

15 pneumatic message networks

When I was an architect, it was common for structural engineering books to have this image of two people effortlessly supporting a third to demonstrate the cantilever principal of the famous Forth Rail Bridge outside of Edinburgh. When I was looking for this picture, I noticed that the people were different. It turns out that this iconic image is not unique and here are the three variants I could find, making this the shortest (and one of the more obscure) oobject list to date.

3 forth bridge demos

Attempts by architects to create utopian communities usually have one distinguishing feature - they are not utopian and they fail. As such, they make great settings for dystopic fiction, such as the slightly kitsch and creepy Portmeirion in the Kafkaesque Prisoner TV series or Seaside, Florida in the Truman show.Some uptopias have been built and failed, such as Soleri's semi-inhabited Arcosanti and some were only half realized, such as Disney's Progress City, which ended up being watered down as Epcot. But possibly the most insane of all is Le Corbusier's utopian vision for Paris which consisted of bulldozing the city of lights and replacing it with what resembles the worst projects in the South Bronx. It says a lot for the profession that the vision of arguably the world's most famous architect was to destroy what is arguably the world's most beautiful architecture.

9 utopian architectural projects

Fingerprint scanners are a dime a dozen these days. But how about devices which can literally grant access by the way you walk, the way you talk, the way you type or write, bite or grip. Here is a chart of state of the art biometric applications, including futuristic devices like portable Game Boys which are ominously called HIIDE (handheld interagency identity detection).

18 futuristic biometric devices

The blackboard is a somewhat legacy item that has disappeared from classrooms and meeting rooms, to be replaced by screens and whiteboards, except that is for physicists and Hollywood movies. Walking around CERN and peeking into rooms many still have blackboards covered in equations.In celebration of the Higgs, here are 15 physicists in front of their blackboards. The apotheosis of ‘blackboard craft' is possibly John Wheeler who used to pre-prepare very elaborate boards filled with colored diagrams. In the list I've tried to pick those which have some relevance to the development of the standard model: Feynman; Gell-Mann; Glashow or the eventual discovery of the Higgs, such as Higgs himself or important CERN luminaries such as my personal hero, John Bell, author of what has been called the most profound theory in physics: that if quantum theory is correct, then either things communicate instantly at a distance, or they don't exist when they aren't being looked at or both. Brownie points if you can say what the equations on the blackboards are, in the comments

15 physicists in front of their blackboards

The picture of people hunched over radar screens is the ultimate image of the cold war. Here are a collection of various radar consoles, from land air and sea and from round analog displays with orange, green or blood red displays, to today's computer monitor versions.

12 radar consoles

Here is a roundup of collectible boomboxes, currently being auctioned on ebay. The mannerist nature of 80s ghetto blasters could not be more different from today's minimalist trends in consumer audio gear, lead by Sony and Apple. Because of this, these devices now look obviously obsolete and different and are starting to become collectors items. Ugly, but interesting, and representative of their time, some are perfect examples of pointless feature driven design, something which still plagues software.

12 monster 80s boomboxes

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Category: 'new'

Homefront’s Short Campaign Prompts Question: Is The Single-Player FPS A Lost Art?

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
PSM3, the PlayStation magazine, has reviewed THQ’s fancy new shooter Homefront. It got a respectable 83/100. What’s perhaps worrying, however, is that the single-player campaign clocks in at a mere five hours in length.

Twist360 holds your iPad in Lots of Ways

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
The iPad 2 is on the way with it hitting stores this week, but there are still loads of original iPads on the market that people want cool accessories for. For this crowd Bracketron has a new offering for you.

Australian Blokes Build Impressive Off Road Skateboard

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
It’s called the FiiK. If you think it’s an odd handle, so did we until we learned it stood for “Future Is In Knowledge.” You see, the Queensland natives (brothers actually) have been improving their motorized skateboard technology for the better part of 10 years.(...

Disposable Eco Can Puts Biodegradable Spin On Canned Drinks

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
The funny thing about the Eco Can is the manufacturers fashioned it after a well, can. Like a can, it’s disposable. Unlike a can, it’s biodegradable and can (that again) store hot liquid. If it does more than your average can, then why is it shaped like a can?

Google Instant Previews Now Mobile

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Google’s Instant Previews, which allows you to see webpage snapshots alongside text search results, is now available on mobile for Android (2.2+) and iOS (4.0+) devices. Google rolled out this functionality today across 38 languages.

No Comment: Viewsonic ViewPad 10 press image shows a familiar OS

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Good work, Viewsonic; you're now shipping the dual-boot 10" ViewPad tablet that features both Windows 7 and Android as OS choices. We at TUAW wish you every success with the product.

Nokia lands new MeeGo chief, vows ‘style-conscious’ device

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Nokia's MeeGo marketing lead said on Tuesday that the company had already picked a new head for the MeeGo team. Sebastian Nyström will jump from the top spot on the Qt team to head up the mobile OS. He replaces Alberto Torres, who left immediately after the Windows Phone 7 shakeup....

Core77 Hand-Eye Supply Curiosity Club Tonite with Katy Meegan, Em-Space Book Arts Center

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Tonight, Core77 welcomes Katy Meegan of Em-Space Book Arts Center to our bi-weekly creative speaker series: The Hand-Eye Supply Curiosity Club hosted at the Hand-Eye Supply store in Portland, OR. Come early and check out our space or check in with us online for the live broadcast!

DIY Pulse Laser Gun Actually Burns Holes in Things

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
When I was an undergrad, lasers this powerful were generally kept bolted down to equipment and you had to wear goggles when you were using them. Admittedly, you were only in trouble if you sat down right in front of one or held your hand in front while it was firing.

Smell Your Video Games with Sensory Acumen and Scent Science’s New Gaming Gear

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Smell-o-vision has been a long-standing joke about television technology: something that in the early days of television every futurist thought would come true, but simply never made it into reality, partially because it's a ridiculous idea.

M-Edge Launches e-Luminator Touch Light for eReaders

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
M-Edge has been pushing all sorts of cases and accessories for eReaders since the market really took off. The company has a full line of gear for the Kindle, Nook and other offerings that are on the market.

Nokia Aims for “Next Billion” With X1-00

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Looking to grab its next billion users, Nokia has launched a new, entry level mobile phone aimed at “growth markets”, or the developing world. The X1-00 will retail for less than €35 (or $48 bucks), and has special features that will make it appealing for those markets.

iPad 2: Where and when you can buy one

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Photo courtesy of Engadget If you're in the market for an iPad 2, you'll have a wide range of locations in the United States where you can pick one up on Friday. You'll just need to wait until 5 PM local time to do so.

Philips puts out 21:9 TV with passive 3D, 400Hz 16:9 sets

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Philips has just announced the upcoming release of a new ultra wide screen TV with the Cinema 21:9 Gold. Sporting a wider aspect ratio than traditional 16:9 HDTVs, the 50-inch set also gets passive 3D technology.

SK Telecom to get CDMA iPhone 4 on March 16

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
SK Telecom on Tuesday confirmed earlier tips and said it would carry the iPhone 4 on March 16. The Korean carrier will be the first outside of the US to get the CDMA iPhone 4. Its deal ends KT's technical exclusive for the iPhone in the country, which was dictated mostly by its use of GSM....

The Meglio iPad Stand Is Great For The Can

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Another day, another iPad handle from Kickstarter. However, I think this one, the Meglio, is special for one reason and one reason only – it’s creator Salman Paracha has allowed us to finally admit where we all use our iPads the most: in the bathroom.

The New Apple iPad

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
A much lighter and thinner iPad, this device is now qualitatively different and is arriving in stores on March 11. The new iPad has two built-in cameras; one for high-definition videos and photos on the back and one for video conference at the front.

Microsoft Will Release Hardcore Games For Kinect

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
The Kinect for Xbox 360 has turned into a rather lucrative property for Microsoft. Naturally, the company is pushing to have more games developed for the peripheral. . A handful of Kinect games for hardcore gamers will be released this year.

Samsung To Release Galaxy Pro For Professionals

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Samsung will release a new smartphone called Galaxy Pro for professionals who want more than just a smartphone. The Galaxy Pro features a 2.8 in touchscreen, 3MP camera, 800MHz CPU, QWERTY keyboard, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and 512 MB storage along with a SD slot.

HTC Tube Tablet And Smartphone Concept Design

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
As mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones become ever more an integral part of our daily lives, the ecosystem in which all devices work in harmony is very important.

Netbook with Sliding Keyboard Coming from China

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
At first glance, it looks like another tablet, but if you try to touch the screen…no response. No, it didn’t get bricked by a bad operating system download, it’s a netbook! The Shanzhai group in China has created a netbook with a sliding keyboard that folds underneath the screen.

Disk Drill protects your Mac disks, recovers files

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Many of the disk utilities available for Mac OS X have been around for quite a few years, so it's surprising when a new entry shows up in this very important class of Mac app.

Panasonic prices, dates new Lumix compact cameras

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
As promised, Panasonic has now revealed prices for its Lumix ZS10, ZS8 and FX78 point-and-shoot cameras introduced late in January, along with the rugged Lumix TS3. The four arrive late this month, and share Leica lenses, HD video recording capabilities and Panasonic's iA full-auto scene mode.

Google Instant Previews reach Android, iOS

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
Google today brought its Instant Previews to mobile devices for the first time. Both Android and iOS now see a magnifying glass next to search results that will shift them to a thumbnail view of pages in the search results.

Review: The Lorex LIVE Snap Baby Video Monitor

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
The Lorex LIVE Snap is amazing. It’s the gadget equivalent of spotting a narwhal dancing under a double rainbow. It’s without a doubt the most satisfying electronic device I’ve used in ages. It just works.

LimeWire settles music publisher lawsuit

March 8th, 2011 link to (permalink)

5 years ago
LimeWire on Tuesday said it had reached a settlement deal with major music publishers that had sued it for alleged piracy in June of last year. The two sides reached a secret deal that would see the lawsuit dismissed without the possibility of its return.

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