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oobject: 'daily user-ranked gadget lists'
Flying helmets are interesting because they demonstrate the rate of technological progress over the 20th century, from primitive, almost medieval looking leather caps to sophisticated cyborg like devices packed full of electronics. They also show different air force cultures, from spartan Soviet styles to individualistic, decorated and painted US fighter pilot helmets.

flying helmets

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

There is something fantastically hellish about fiery steel manufacture, nothing seems more gigantic or obviously dangerous looking. The instruments used to transfer molten iron, steel and slag are massive solid items made of the same thing they contain in liquid form and are objects of wonder.Particularly interesting are the torpedo ladle railroad cars, which transfer hot metal from blast to oxygen furnaces. They are dramatic and interesting enough that despite their obscurity they are available in several forms for model railroads. Vote for your faves.

giant molten steel handling equipment

Papercraft, knitting, gardening and weapons.

craftsy weapons

1927 to 1959 was the golden era of General Motors. This was the period when Harley Earl started as Vice President of the Art and Color Division and gave birth to the modern notion of car design.Earl eschewed the purely engineering driven practicality of Ford to take inspirations from aircraft and space age concepts and add them to cars, turning them into works of art. The designs ranged from the highly futuristic Firebird gas turbine concept vehicles to the wildly successful production Corvette.Like almost all product design and architecture, the stamp of authorship is not clear cut and nor should it be. Many designs that are associated with him were produced by people working under him, but it was Early himself who created the school and he deserves a place alongside Frank Lloyd Wright and Charles and Ray Eames as one of America's most important designers.Vote for your favorite.

top 12 harley earl designs

Not long till the awesomeness of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Oobject has some ideas for alternative inflatables. Vote for your choices.

14 macys parade ideas

BASE jumping is much more interesting than ordinary skydiving, for us, because it involves architecture. Here are some videos of people jumping off notable structures, such as Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, Nervi's influential Pirelli tower in Milan and the enormous Burg Dubai. We have also included a jump off the end of a blade on a wind turbine (because they are beautiful structures) and an indoor jump inside a cathedral like, converted airship hangar. The Macau tower bungee jump is notable because its a similar height to the Eiffel tower and is a legal amusement ride that anyone can pay for. Our favorite, however, is the jump off Calatrava's Turning Torso building in Malmo, Sweden. Although Calatrava can sometimes appear willful in his focus on structure rather than space, revealing himself to be more of a creative engineer than an architect, the Turning Torso is his best work to date. Similarly the jump itself is spectacular, involving two parts: jumping from a plane onto its roof and then from the roof to the ground. In the rather obscure and narrow overlap between extreme sports and architecture this is a definitive piece.

jumping off notable architecture (and surviving) videos

Creating the illusion that a staircase is floating in mid air has become a recent design trend. It can be achieved using a glass balustrade and hidden bolts, hanging the treads from above, cantilevering the stairs from a concealed beam or by using the structure of a spiral shape to make the entire staircase self supporting. Here are some of our favorites.

12 floating staircases

The image of former Rodeo performer Slim Pickens riding a nuclear bomb as he would a wild horse in the 1964 movie, Dr Strangelove, is a cinema classic, but it has a long history.For decades, people have posed, sitting astride dangerous bombs. It’s a strange thing to do, but extends, sense-of-irony free to kids toys, like the image shown here of a hobby horse bomb.Most people think that the image of Pickens riding the bomb comes from WWII pinup straddled bombs on airplane nose cone art, however, the Comiccoverage blog has put together a great list of comic book covers, showing that they were using this iconic image before the US entered WWII, most notably with Captain Marvel in 1940.

people riding bombs

Britain is probably the only country in the world where electric vehicle use is declining, due to the rapid disappearance of the electric milk delivery vehicle, or milk float.Until recently it was common place for milk to be delivered to almost every house in the UK, daily. Presumably in order to secure the national flow of tea. To achieve this a vast army of distinctive, cheap looking, sluggish, electric utility vehicles paraded suburban streets.Here are some different varieties, including new concept vehicles and milk floats from movies, all preserved for posterity.

typology of milk floats

Architect of the Lego House built for Top Gear presenter James May, Barnaby Gunning, has sent us pictures of the construction progress so far. We'll post more as we get them.

pictures of the lego house construction progress

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

Spot the man made fakery from the bizarre but real. For April Fools Day Oobject becomes Zoobject and is all about animals rather than machines, with a cunning cryptozoology quiz. Vote for your faves and click to see which are real or fake.

zoobject cryptozoology quiz

Heart rate monitors connected to an ink plotted graph are a staple of movies and TV and they usually come in beautiful portable versions by companies such as Lafayette Systems, making them a classic spy suitcase gadget.Polygraph lie detectors are widely believed to be useless quackery, no more effective than a Scientology Dianetics machine, but they are commonly used by law enforcement and government agencies, usually in the US and are an anachronistic cultural legacy of the cold war.Today, the classic analog polygraph is being replaced by much less interesting computer versions.

10 Vintage Analog Lie Detectors

Considering that super thin, flexible, touch-screens and large capacity solid-state storage are just around the corner we expected to find many more examples of interesting concept designs for laptops. Here are the best that we found, however this is one case where we think the realized products will outstrip the concept designs.

17 best concept laptops

A perfect example of nothing dating like the future, the garbage can robot is a retro-futuristic cultural icon. Some of these were cheap props for cheap movies, but others were serious visions of the future. If nothing else they demonstrate quite how imaginative the Metropolis robot that stands the test of time was.

12 primitive b movie style robots

Obviously the design criteria for four wheeled vehicles are somewhat different on other planets. This has yielded some of the most bizarre and fascinating vehicles ever proposed, from the giant Mobility Test Article test driven by Wernher von Braun to todays rovers which have ditched the most expensive component of all, the driver.Here are a variety of some of both classic and unusual space rovers from prototype to flown.

cars in space

The earliest wrist watches were made for soldiers, where fumbling around for a pocket watch was dangerous. The very earliest examples were from the Boer War, however the idea caught on in the first World War.Some of these watches were actually designed to be worn around the leg (for airmen), and many have the distinctive protective grille that gives them a medieval look.

9 earliest wrist watches

Want to see some more impressive glass stairs than those at the Apple Stores? Despite the fact that Apple actually has a patent on the glass stairs at some of its stores, their glass staircases are actually not all that innovative. The glass stair at the Carre D art in Nimes is more adventurous and was designed 20 years ago, and Ove Arup have engineered a purely glass stair with no steel fixings.

Transparent Glass Stairs

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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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