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oobject: 'daily user-ranked gadget lists'
Lighthouses are extreme and iconic buildings. Remote, intrinsically conspicuous and built to withstand extreme environments. For this list I've picked some interesting lighthouses themselves, such as the transparent latticework hyperboloid structure by Russian engineer Vladimir Shukhov or the haunting abandoned soviet nuclear powered polar lighthouses. In addition I've chosen some interesting elements from the giant fresnel lenses lamps to the traveling libraries that the predecessor to the US coastguard used to pass around to lighthouse keepers to keep their sanity.

the extreme architecture of lighthouses

Metal plate armor is one of the few technologies that emerged, disappeared in the 18th Century then re-emerged briefly during World War 1. Because of the this, WW1 armor has a particularly creepy, anachronistic look, from chain mail fringed splatter masks to body armor which looks decidedly Roman.

ww1 armor

Several star architects such as Herzog and de Meuron and Rem Koolhaas have produced building designs that have jutting out and cantilevered components that give the overall impression of a giant game of Jenga. The New Museum on the Bowery in New York, is the latest addition to this genre of minimalist deconstruction. But the most interesting Jenga building is an obscure, former Soviet ministry in Georgia, which is quite mad.

12 real life jenga buildings

What do you do when you have lots of cash and cheap oil, but mess around in expensive cars in a manner not much different from America in the 50s. Arab drifting is the name given to handbrake slides, perfected in places like Saudi, where Arabian Stallions have been replaced by metal Mustangs. Here it refers not just to the videos of the stunts which are interesting in of themselves, but the cultural drift, as exemplified by the range of music that accompanies the videos, from rock to rap to house. This list is contains not just Arab Drifts but clips of car culture n the Arabian peninsula, proving Youtube's worth as an anthropological treasure trove.

arab drifts (videos)

One of the most odd objects we’ve ever seen these items are sometimes confused with spy gadgetry, but the truth is stranger. Jailers’ keys were apparently filled with gun powder to create a primitive gun that could be detonated if there was any trouble when opening a cell door. We found several original versions that back up this claim, dating from the 17th century and of various complexity.

jailers key guns

Although there are many ironic underwater technologies that got there by accident, such as planes and trains or by design, underwater escape training helicopters, there are also mail boxes, telephone systems, cars, motorcycles, kayaks (yes underwater kayaks) and air conditioning units that are there just to mess with us. Here are the most surreal we could find, vote for your faves.

surreal underwater technology

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

As gas prices increase so do oil profits and expensive kitsch. There is a correlation between increase money made from carbon deposits such as oil and the availability of horrible diamond or Swarovski encrusted objects. One form of carbon (oil) is swapped for another (diamonds), in exchange for silver (money). Damien Hirsts $100 Million diamond skull doesnt make this chart on account of its priceless irony. Similar lists have been done by others, but we couldnt resist an updated version.

oil boom diamond kitsch

Phoropters, the gadgets used by opthalmologists to test your eyes look like the most spectacular binoculars you have ever seen.The traditional complex mechanical versions are technological works of art made by lens makers such as Bausch and Lomb and have the design quality of a classic vintage Leica camera. Only now are these marvelous gadgets slowly being replaced by simpler looking, wireless, digital versions which relay data to a computer for image analysis.

15 spectacular eye testing gadgets

New York, a city which is defined by its skyline, existed as a metropolis well before skyscrapers and has gone through several distinct architectural phases.I’ve picked this collection to demonstrate these, from the earliest known photograph of New York in the 1840s which shows the Upper West side as rural, to the Brooklyn Bridge dominated skyline of the mid nineteenth century.A postcard from 1904 is labeled ‘New York Skyscrapers’ but shows very few of what we would call skyscrapers today, consisting of the early steel framed buildings epitomized by the flatiron.Between the 1920’s and 1930’s the machine age skyscraper city of masonry-clad, art deco splendor grows at breakneck speed and remains similar in texture until the emergence of curtain wall, glass and steel buildings in the 1950s, after the completion of the Seagram in 1958.The 1973 opening of the iconic World Trade Center coincides the building of other inferior block like buildings along the periphery of lower Manhattan, notably at Water St., which destroy the hill like collection of spires.

evolution of the New York skyline

Five of so architects have produced much of the most famous modern furniture. Here are 15 different chairs by 15 different famous modern architects. Vote for your faves.

15 architects 15 chairs

If you want to build a Steampunk - Victorian - Dr. Frankenstein lab in your garage this weekend, here are some suggestions of where to 'get that look'. Suggestions always welcome.

12 diy frankenstein lab items

I normally try and avoid military stuff unless there's an ironic design twist, and there is here. Somehow, these crude, mechanical ‘remote control' rifles, used for shooting over trenches manage to emasculate the phallic nature of guns and turn them into something worthy of Rube Goldberg himself. Nevertheless, they are for killing people sneakily, something to remember, while admiring their weirdness.

12 periscope rifles

The same giant multi-axle machines that are used in shipyards to transport impossibly large bits of half built ships are also used to wheel into place pieces of bridges, radio telescopes and, of course space vehicles. Here are 15 different varieties.

15 giant transporters

The tanning devices here may not be perceived as light therapy devices, but the concept of sun bathing morphed from scientific and quasi scientific light treatments at the end of the 19th century, where people would immerse themselves in light baths - hence the term sun bathing.Abuse of sun bathing as recreation has created a backlash, masking its genuine benefits in moderation and how it is perceived has obviously changed over time, as witnessed by my favorite item here which shows four congressmen in suits bathing in the light shower baths of the Turkish baths of the House of Representatives.

12 light therapy devices

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)

Our favorites here are the food based instruments of The First Viennese Vegetable Orchestra and the spectacular Atlantic City Convention Hall Organ which is practically the 8th wonder of the world.

15 strange musical instruments

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

Robots often look insect like, largely because of their jerky movements and exo-skeletal look, both of which are a result of them often being works in progress at the individual and overall state of the art. Making them climb walls and hang effortlessly off a ceiling just adds them looking particularly bug like.There are a variety of movements and gripping mechanisms, from electromagnetic to air suction, however our favorite is the friction based tree climber.

15 wall climbing robots

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Category: 'news'

Sciphone N12 Android Phone

June 22nd, 2009 link to (permalink)

7 years ago
Sciphone N12, an Android powered smartphone is ready to hit the market this month.The Sciphone N12 support both quadband GSM and WCDMA (3G) networks. Sport a 3.2 inch topuchscreen, N12 boast CMMB TV support while for connectivity, beside its 3G support, a Wifi module is packed too.

Nevada Lightning Laboratory Experiments

June 21st, 2009 link to (permalink)

7 years ago
The Nevada Lightning Laboratory were recently trying many experiments, such as what would happen if you flew a small radio controlled helicopter between two Tesla coils, could a small vehicle big enough for one person be powered using a Tesla coil. Watch the videos below for the cool answers.

Vintage Tech archives in Bay Area seek moving volunteers today.

June 21st, 2009 link to (permalink)

7 years ago
Phil Lapsley, vintage computing history buff, writes: VintageTech, the organizers of the Vintage Computer Festival, are moving their warehouse of historical computers, equipment, software, and documentation from Livermore, CA to Stockton, CA.

Novatel Wireless MiFi 2352 HSPA review

June 21st, 2009 link to (permalink)

7 years ago
Novatel Wireless’ MiFi intelligent personal hotspot was one of our top 5 gadgets from ShowStoppers back in April, and had floored us a few months earlier in Barcelona.

Feel freedom with the Montague Paratrooper tactical folding mountain bike

June 21st, 2009 link to (permalink)

7 years ago
If you feel like adrenaline rush cycling, this model of super bicycle appears to have been designed exactly for you. Called the Montague Paratrooper Tactical Bike, this mountain bike is a unique bike with its unsurpassable feature to withstand 1000 foot parachute jump.

Far-reaching Cykle Dual System Bike concept

June 20th, 2009 link to (permalink)

7 years ago
This whimsically looking bicycle christened Cykle is a project constructed on the Bike Share system to become a well recognizable in Europe. The Cykle offers an operation based on a combination of both electric power and your muscle power.

Hands-On With the Smart, Retro Olympus E-P1

June 20th, 2009 link to (permalink)

7 years ago
This first look at the Olympus E-P1, aka the ‘Digital Pen,’ is by Wired UK editor Holden Frith. The Olympus E-P1 is a handsome camera, and it takes handsome pictures.

FH001 Transparent Eco Friendly Speakers

June 20th, 2009 link to (permalink)

7 years ago
The FH001 is a new design from Ferguson Hill that produces 3 to 50 watts. It was made of clear acrylic and have a ultra high efficiency design. The spherical subwoofer retails a hefty $26,000.

CATS.i: The tracking device that’s the size of a cellphone battery

June 19th, 2009 link to (permalink)

7 years ago
This is the CATS.i. It’s a tracking device that its creator says is so small it’s “almost undetectable when being worn.” I could see paranoid parents putting it in their kid’s pocket to make sure he doesn’t wander off.

SBG Labs shows off prototypes of full-color heads-up wearable displays

June 19th, 2009 link to (permalink)

7 years ago
You know we love reporting on technologies that still seem futuristic, but are either here today or very close. Sunnyvale CA company, SBG Labs, has a working prototype of a wrap-around heads-up display that provides for a clear, full-color display via a lightweight pair of eyeglasses.

IPhone Camera Remote Gets Improved UI, Nikon Support

June 19th, 2009 link to (permalink)

7 years ago
Are you a Nikon shooter? And an iPhone owner? Are you jealous that those pesky Canon fanboys get to remote control their DSLRs directly from the phone itself? Are ya? Then calm down. We have good news.

Minifit XL: moveable Laptop Fan

June 19th, 2009 link to (permalink)

7 years ago
Most under-notebook cooling panels have a fixed-position fan. You may move this one around, to better hit the hot spots on your particular model.'

The iPhone 3G S splayed out on the operating table

June 19th, 2009 link to (permalink)

7 years ago
Happy iPhone 3G S Day! We’ve got the tear down of the latest iPhone here so you don’t have to spend all day sitting and staring at your new phone, wondering how it ticks. Oh, and there is a small, and geeky, surprise hidden within the iPhone 3G S that might reveal upcoming features.

AT&T tethering to cost $55?

June 19th, 2009 link to (permalink)

7 years ago
Gruber found some information that the AT&T tethering plan would cost $55 a month and suggests - but cannot confirm - that this will be in addition to the unlimited data plan already in place, potentially hitting the $85 per month for data.

Samsung AMOLED RFID e-passport video demo

June 19th, 2009 link to (permalink)

7 years ago
Samsung have been demonstrating their latest AMOLED concept, an e-passport that embeds a 2-inch QVGA resolution flexible display into an identity card.

Node power outlet: how come nobody thought of this before?

June 18th, 2009 link to (permalink)

7 years ago
Probably because there are a few design issues with it. Although the Node outlet is very stylish-looking and certainly an elegant solution to the too-many-plugs problem, a moment’s reflection brings up a few serious issues.

3D Conferencing System

June 18th, 2009 link to (permalink)

7 years ago
If your Wii boxing buddy or Star Wars light saber duel partner moved to a different town, technology can help bring you together for just one more game.

Bluedot BSP-S20K 19mm thin flat speaker

June 18th, 2009 link to (permalink)

7 years ago
Bluedot presenting its BSP-S20K, a 19mm thin flat speaker. Come in a 125×155x19mm dimension, Bluedot BSP-S20K offer a 2Wx2ch output. This battery powered speakerhas 5 hours operating time before the battery runs out.

Verizon Launches USB1000 Global Modem

June 18th, 2009 link to (permalink)

7 years ago
Verizon Wireless today launched their first truly global USB modem, the USB1000. Designed by Novatel Wireless, the USB1000 combines - get this - CDMA EVDO Rev A on 850/1900 MHz, HSDPA/HSUPA on 850/1900/2100 MHz, and GSM/EDGE on 850/900/1800/1900 MHz.

You can buy gold from a vending machine in Germany

June 18th, 2009 link to (permalink)

7 years ago
You’d usually find the best vending machines in Japan… until now! There are plans to introduce vending machines in Germany that sell gold. That’s right: 100 percent pure gold. There’s already a prototype machine at the Frankfurt airport.

i-Aroma: Japan wants to add fragrances to the web experience

June 17th, 2009 link to (permalink)

7 years ago
Releasing odors in movie theaters to enhance the viewing experience is an idea that’s been around for decades now.

iPhone OS 3.0 walkthrough

June 17th, 2009 link to (permalink)

7 years ago
Filed under: Software, iPhone, iPod touch It's official: The iPhone 3.0 firmware is now available. As you wait for your copy to download and install, you'll need something to read -- and we've got a complete walkthrough of the new software.

Panasonic’s iPod merge: In-flight entertainment for Very Important People

June 17th, 2009 link to (permalink)

7 years ago
Now, the smart thing to do when faced with the prospect of a long aeroplane flight is to load up on Benadryl (or Ambien, if you have money and a cooperative doctor) right before boarding. That way you sleep for the duration of the flight—no having to worry about crying babies for you!

Phosphor E-Ink Watch

June 17th, 2009 link to (permalink)

7 years ago
Phosphor E-Ink Watch Phosphor have created a nice looking watch that doesn’t use the traditional LED or LCD screen that we find in most digital watches. Instead they have used E-Ink to display the time on the face of the watch.

Cute Old-Style Radio Looks Like Crushed Cigarette Butt

June 17th, 2009 link to (permalink)

7 years ago
Radio Valerie is an almost impossibly cute little radio, a squat curved cylinder with a speaker squashed into the end which is tuned by an inventive combination of aerial and dial.

The Evolution of Cellphones, Russian-Doll Style

June 17th, 2009 link to (permalink)

7 years ago
From Motorola Dynatac to Apple iPhone, Karl Bean’s amazing matrioshka models detail the history of cellphone design from 1983 to what looks like 2007 (that’s a first-generation iPhone if we’re not mistaken).

Garmin announces new Foretrex wrist GPS units

June 17th, 2009 link to (permalink)

7 years ago
Garmin announced a new wrist wearable GPS today, which I think looks remarkably like military tech seeping into the civilian sector. Considering that GPS technology itself was originally military, this doesn’t come as a great shock.

Ultrasn0w iPhone 3.0 OS Jailbreak

June 17th, 2009 link to (permalink)

7 years ago
The iPhone Dev Team has released more details about the latest jailbreak for the new iPhone 3.0 OS, the new jailbreak will now be called ulstrasn0w.

Analog to Digital Converters – Round Up

June 17th, 2009 link to (permalink)

7 years ago
Here we have a furious round up of some of the many analog to digital converters we’ve featured over the years to persuade you to digitize your precious analog collections of audio cassettes, vinyl records, photographs, slides/negatives and VHS tapes. Let’s go!

Stealth Computers WPC-500F Waterproof Mini Desktop

June 17th, 2009 link to (permalink)

7 years ago
The WPC-500F waterproof desktop from Stealth Computers is waterproof and completely fanless, so I can be sure this computer is silent. The mini-desktop comes equipped with special cables for power, networking and peripherals which are also completely waterproof.

Samsung SyncMaster 50 Series Elegant LCD Monitor

June 8th, 2009 link to (permalink)

7 years ago
After release SyncMaster 43 Series, now Samsung announce the new Elegant SyncMaster 50 Series. It’s P2050G (20-inch) and P2350G (23-inch) which has Samsung ToC Crystal Rose black bezel. The dynamic contrast ratio is 50,000:1 with 2ms response time with Full HD resolution.

High-altitude floating wind harvesters may replace your local windmills

June 8th, 2009 link to (permalink)

7 years ago
There have been some rumblings, so to speak, of the so-called low-frequency noises that windmills are said to produce. I’m don’t buy into them, but a bunch of spinning machines in your backyard isn’t desirable whether they cause nightmares or not.

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