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In this kind of space, no one can hear you scream. Anechoic chambers use spiked walls to eliminate echoes, the end result might literally sound dull but the visual effect can be stunning, such as at the enormous anechoic hangar. Vote for your faves.

Anechoic Chamber Architecture

Beautiful working model Stirling engines are a favorite of the Steampunk style, because these efficient engines use external flame heat as an energy source, combined with Victorian brass or steel mechanisms.But they have an added benefit, in that their workings are entirely intuitive and help people easily understand the principals of cylinder engines in things like cars. Here are a collection of videos of some of our favorites, some, but not all, 'Steampunky', in action.

12 steampunk stirling engines (videos)

Inflatable structures have the advantage of being able to be deployed very quickly, and the disadvantage that they are vulnerable to failure, over time. This makes them ideal for temporary shelters, from mine accidents to military deployment, festivals and even on the moon.

8 inflatable shelters

After having been traveling for more than 7 months in the last year, the combination of neck strain and carpal tunnel from using a laptop requires a really good stand.I needed one that is compact and portable for travel and one that is highly adjustable at home. Being super anal about these things, I looked through hundreds of web sites and so put together an oobject list. The list covers everything from wheeled out units to a truckers cab laptop stand and a wearable harness that actually manages to look undorky but several items are based on the simple premise of a compact or flat folding cheap and simple stand.In the end I chose both products from the same company, the Evo floating laptop arm, which is most like a task light adjustment system and the mini, tripod-based Cricket laptop stand.

the perfect laptop stand

As technology companies oozed slowly from San Jose to San Francisco, the architecture morphed from purely university campus, to a hybrid between this and a South of Market warehouse, complete with loft living accoutrements such as foosball tables. The new Facebook HQ is a perfect example of this, looking something like a Wholefoods, whereas Google looks more like the place full of plastic balls that you leave your kids when shopping at IKEA.

technology hq architecture

The design history of snowmobiles starts with propeller driven sleds, including the amazing Russian combat version and migrates to half track vehicles with rear engines. Today's front engine vehicles were pioneered by Polaris, and are represented here by the Arctic Cat F6 600, which is driven by Sarah Palin's husband. This list of personal snowmobiles also contains two state of the art concept single track motorcycle style vehicles by Keller and Schlootz.

snowmobiles through history

Before there was Lego, there was the Erector Set. This was an altogether different type of toy that resembled genuine engineering construction with trusses and girders, rather than plastic, primary color pixelated, objects.Although Erector Sets are sold today, they are re-branded versions of a different toy. The original Gilbert sets were made from 1913 till 1967 and are an iconic toy for gadget aficionados that can be picked up relatively cheaply on Ebay. Here are 10 favorite vintage kits that are currently for sale.

vintage erector sets to buy

A roundup of video clips of some of our fave products at CES.

CES Video Roundup

Seven US Presidents may have been born in a log cabin, but only one is shown here. Alongside are some of the more unusual ones, few were born in cities or apartments and few grew up in grand houses. Click through to reveal who was born where.Nothing symbolizes the concept of the rags to riches American dream more than Lincoln's enshrined log cabin.

12 US Presidential birthplaces

Microphones are a classic gadget because, even today, their design is often based upon Art Deco or Machine Age styling. Here is a chart of vintage and vintage style microphones designed to show how that style evolved and how it is still copied today. Vote for your faves.

24 classic microphones

There is a strange beauty to slow motion videos of car crash test dummies and airbag deployment, but these don't compare to the similar, but far more extreme safety measure of a fighter jet ejection. Here are videos of various aspects of their deployment testing and training. Some of these are absolutely mesmerizing.

10 videos of ejection seat tests

There were justifiable fears of being buried alive, before modern medicine could safely identify the difference between certain types of paralysis or coma and being dead. Fears which were exacerbated by fiction such as The Premature Burial by Edgar Allan Poe. As a result a bizarre range of contraptions were invented to signal having been buried alive, from bells, whistles and even a spring loaded ejector coffin which might actually kill other people from the shock of seeing an interred body spring out of the ground in a cemetery.Added to this were ranges of hermetically sealed iron coffins and a device to prevent grave robbing consisting of a booby-trap subterranean torpedo.For more of these, check out: http://deathreferencedesk.org/2010/02/02/premature-burial-device-patents/

12 Safety Coffins

Apple's refresh of the Macbook line this fall is more evolutionary than revolutionary. In terms of design they have continued the trend, which started with the iPhone (see the drilled headphone jack hole on the original model) towards machining directly from block metal. This has lead to the latest Macbooks as being described as having monocoque structures, something which may not strictly be false but which is meaningless in the context.A monocoque is a single piece shell structure, it is a nice sounding word and is often used in marketing literature because it sounds technical. Because of this, and because of the fact that things like commercial airliners are hybrids of frame and shell structures almost anything can be described as such. There is a perfect geodesic truss in the list below which is described as a monocoque shell structure (the opposite), while an ordinary soda can is a monocoque. The use of machining for Apple parts has more to do with tolerances and finish and almost nothing to do with structure, so the term is not relevant.Below we discuss the merits of things which are described as monocoque - but as for the Macbook, not really

Apple monocoque or not

Henry Ford's car assembly line is a symbol modern manufacture, yet the town where it originated has become a ruin and Toyota is now worth ten times the value of both Ford and General Motors combined.Car manufacture moved to the next level with the widespread introduction of robotics, by the Japanese, however German car factories have recently created a truly futuristic vision of manufacture, where both architecture of the factory and the machinery within it, have become an integrated work of art.The Autostadt visitor center at the VW factory in Wolfsburg, which involved commissioning over 400 architects, features 200 foot tall robotic silos at the end of the production line (reminiscent of the people farms in the Movie, the Matrix), where customers can pick up their newly manufactured cars. In Dresden the VW assembly plant, designed by Hann is an eco-friendly, transparent building right in the center of the city, with glass walls and maple floors, where tourists are encouraged to view the cars being put together in pristine surroundings. Leipzig features possibly the world's most architecturally significant plant, a stunning building designed by the folks working at Zaha Hadid.

futuristic german car factories (videos)

Here are some of the best finds from the last month, that didn't fit into any particular category but were special, nonetheless. From the workshop where the Statue of Liberty was being made, to a Chinese factory with people working inside a steam press, a mockup plane for taxiing practice and an impossibly thin air tensegrity structure bridge, vote for your faves.

best of oobject jan 09

Watching Wii time lapse is a socio-anthropological experience, if Warhol were alive today perhaps he would be making videos like these. A collection of our favorite videos, proving that not everyone gets off the sofa, and that Wii is so addictive some people will continue to play it while holding their new born child. Vote for your fave.

Time Lapse Wii Videos

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

Famous French industrial designer, Roger Tallon recently died, leaving something of a design mystery. Newspapers universally credited him as the designer of the iconic French high speed train, the TGV, but that was almost certainly the work of Jacques Cooper. Tallon did take over from Cooper to do the TGV Atlantique, but this was an evolutionary rather than a revolutionary design. Perhaps Tallon's influence was more on the interiors? For me, Tallon's best work was his 1960's M400 spiral stair which seems to be the direct inspiration for some of Ross Lovegrove's best work.

9 Roger Tallon Designs

A Sky Hook is an impossible item that interns were traditionally sent out to buy , as a prank. These eight flying cranes, seven helicopters and one blimp, are as close to reality as sky hooks can get. The blimp proposal is actually named the Sky Hook.

8 Sky Hooks

P.J. O’Rourke observed that when someone digs up Manhattan in 2000 years, they’ll wonder what kind of hideous torture the civilization inflicted on people there because of the amount of gym equipment. The same could be said of this stuff which, despite its bizarre appearance, is generally quite benign.Most interestingly, these devices were the work or Dr Kellog, now better known for his breakfast cereals which were part of his health regimen as medical head of the Battle Creek sanitarium.A big thank you to John EverBlest at Healthexhibits.com who provided me with these pictures from his wonderful collection.

15 Dr Kellog Contraptions

The most impressive neon districts in the world include Tokyo's Ginza and Shibuya, Osaka's Dotonburi which was the inspiration for Blade Runner, the worlds largest shopping street, Nanjing Road in Shanghai and, of course, Vegas and Times Square. Bangkok's Soi Cowboy district (named after an American who opened one of the first go go bars in the 70s) deserves inclusion on account of its unpleasant strangeness, with live elephants paraded up and down the pink neon streets.Most dramatic of all, however is Hong Kong where the entire skyscraper cluster is animated for 15 minutes as part of the worlds largest light show.Vegas and Times square deserve double mentions as they are more famous for iconic signage which has since been demolished or taken down. We have included footage of both past and present.Although the classic welcome to Vegas sign by Betty Willis has been preserved, many of the famous signs lie in the Vegas neon boneyard and we have included a movie made by urban spelunkers who broke into the yard to explore it.

The 10 most important examples of neon signage

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Category: 'new'

Apple defends in-app subs, claims One Pass is web-only

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

4 years ago
Apple during its shareholder meeting on Wednesday was put on the defensive and asked to justify its toughened in-app subscription rules. The company insisted it had to maintain the 30 percent cut since the App Store was run at "break even."

Samsung’s Galaxy S II Will Have MHL Port for USB and HDMI-out

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

4 years ago
Good news, Samsung fans. The Galaxy S II will not lack for HDMI. While the new flagship Android smartphone has no HDMI-out, it will be the first smartphone with an MHL port. This port is capable of acting as both a USB port, and HDMI-out.

Apple: NC datacenter for iTunes and MobileMe, due in spring

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

4 years ago
Apple during a Q&A session at its shareholder meeting confirmed some of the role and timing of its North Carolina datacenter. The facility is targeted at supporting both iTunes and MobileMe, the copmany said, and is due to go live during the spring.

CBS Content Coming Soon To Netflix For No Extra Charge

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

4 years ago
Don't you just love competition? It's usually for the best when it comes to the consumer, and with the media streaming landscape becoming more heated than ever before, that's definitely the case here.

Sony drops NEX-3 in Japan

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

4 years ago
Sony's entry mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, the NEX-3, has now been discontinued by Sony Japan and is no longer in the company's webstore. Reasons for the 14.2-megapixel camera's demise aren't being divulged, but the exit is comprehensive.

DIY workshop mash-up at Machine Project this weekend

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

4 years ago
The folks at Machine Project are hosting what sounds like a delightful and confusing workshop this weekend, called Confuse-a-tron: This Friday, February 25, as part of our L@TE: Friday Nights @ BAM/PFA series, we’re hosting an event called Machine Project Presents Confuse-a-tron.

Adult Swim App (With Full Episodes!) Hits App Store

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

4 years ago
iPad and iPhone users, rejoice! A universal app for Adult Swim has just landed in the App Store. It allows for streaming clips and full episodes of certain shows. Meaning you’ll never be more than a click away from the latest episode of Venture Brothers.

Olympus May Announce New Micro Four Thirds Cameras March 2nd

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

4 years ago
Fans of the compact lens system may be getting some new cameras next week if rumors are true. 43 Rumors is reporting that three new models from Olympus may be landing on March 2nd.

Automower 305 Is Latest Mower From Husqvarna, Will Help Win Neighborhood Contest For Best Lawn

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

4 years ago
It’s still winter, but once spring comes, it’ll be time to cut the grass again. If you’re too lazy, then let a robot do it — oh yeah the future is here. Husqvarna has been around for a while, but today are better known garden items instead of dirt bikes.

App Review: Reiner Knizia’s Labyrinth leads us to a solid puzzle game

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

4 years ago
Reiner Knizia's Labyrinth [US$1.99, universal, trial version available] is one of a number of iOS-only games the prolific game designer has created (the others being Monumental -- here's our review -- Roto, Yoku-Gami and Teocalli).

Proliferation Of PGP Complicates Job Of Federal Investigators

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

4 years ago
Given that enabling PGP encryption is as easy as ticking a few boxes in both Mac OS X and Windows, it’s no surprise that the authorities are now increasing their efforts to combat the scourge of people wanting to keep their private data private.

PS3 Gets NTFS Support

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

4 years ago
This isn’t big news to anyone but PS3 hackers, but I wanted to include it just as a “ahhh yeah” shout-out to all the people fighting to use their hardware however they like.

Newest Farmville Crop Is…Watermelon Babies?

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

4 years ago
Popular game Farmville has a new crop you can try, but its appearance can be a bit off-putting. Farmville China now has Watermelon Babies. You read that correctly. The crop looks like a regular watermelon, save for the fact that it has a pink baby-looking creature poking out the top.

Get A Little Less Dumb Every Morning With The IQ Calendar

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

4 years ago
Word-a-day calendars are neat and all, but who the hell uses paper calendars? Oliver Shal has designed a brilliant, brain teasing calendar that’ll start your day with the confusion you need to excel.

Atrix 4G’s laptop dock may have had multi-touch dropped

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

4 years ago
A user on the XDA Developers forum, theproskater, reports having purchased the dock for the Motorola Atrix 4G smartphone and being disappointed that multi-touch input doesn't work.

AT&T may have limited HSUPA 3G only to iPhone 4 users

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

4 years ago
AT&T's apparent disabling of HSUPA 3G on some of its phones may have been a temporary measure that didn't affect the iPhone 4, insiders suggested on Wednesday.

The MacBook Air: A professional photographer’s best friend

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

4 years ago
It's good to see that it's not only the geeks here at TUAW who are in love with the MacBook Air. Photographer and blogger Derrick Story at Macworld also has a great fondness for the lightweight Mac, although he's using it for more than just blogging.

OmniVision 8MP cam not ready for iPhone 5, Sony jumping in?

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

4 years ago
OmniVision shares were shaken on Wednesday after unofficial supplier checks by Baird analyst Tristan Gerra suggested it might lose out on supplying cameras for the iPhone 5.

Apple’s North Carolina data center to go live this spring

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

4 years ago
The cloud is the future and the future appears to be arriving this Spring, as Apple's North Carolina data center is finally due to go live, according to reports from today's Apple annual shareholder meeting.

Feeling Naughty? Motorola Atrix Gets Naked

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

4 years ago
Who out there is in the mood for some gadget fetishism? That’s basically what the folks at iFixIt offer, with their regular and ruthlessly thorough teardowns of hot new gadgets. They recently cut into a Motorola Atrix, and what they found inside was glorious.

BookArc for MacBook Air: Make Your MBA Stand Up And Take Notice

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

4 years ago
Twelve South makes cool, if simple, laptop gear. We’ve covered their BookArc before and this is an improved permutation of the version for the latest MacBook Air.

TUAW TV Live: The Android flu cancels today’s show

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

4 years ago
Well, whatever it was that knocked TUAW Talkcast Host Kelly Guimont for a loop on Sunday night has apparently crawled through the Interwebs and infected me. After a rough night with a fever, I can barely speak, never mind get through a one-hour show without coughing every few seconds.

Dell Streak 5 on AT&T, Rogers gets bump to Android 2.2

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

4 years ago
Dell on Wednesday began sending out the over-the-air Android 2.2 update for the Streak 5 tablet sold through AT&T and Canadian provider Rogers. The update brings with it Flash support, Dell's Stage UI and support for apps that require Android 2.0 or later software.

Eurocom Adds Intel Core i7-990X Extreme Processor Option To Panther 2.0

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

4 years ago
Eurocom is adding a new processor option to its EUROCOM Panther 2.0 performance notebook. Now, customers will also be able to choose Intel's new high performance i7-990X Extreme Edition Processor. The processor comes unlocked and runs at 3.46GHz with a 3.73GHz Turbo Boost.

Engraved Plastic + Black Crayon = High Contrast Panels

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

4 years ago
Effective, easy, inexpensive process from Briton James Williamson. James starts with laser-engraved panels, rubs them with black crayon, and removes the excess by buffing with paper soaked in mineral spirits. A few minutes in a low-temperature oven seals the deal. Nice work, James!

iRun Does Portable Livestreams, Makes You Look Like a Jerk

February 23rd, 2011 link to (permalink)

4 years ago
Joseph Tame will be competing in the Tokyo marathon this month, and yes, he will be dressed like that. It's all part of the British runner's plan to live stream the event.

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