Recent lists... view all »
oobject: 'daily user-ranked gadget lists'
A bus stop is perhaps the simplest form of shelter and therefore the simplest form of architecture. As such it is a surprisingly rich area for design innovation, from complex organic concrete shell structures to minimalist glass and steel modernism.

bus stops as architecture

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

RIP Google Phone, long live concept phones. A roundup of the best cellphone concepts and prototypes. Vote for your fave.

22 best concept cellphones

The first early warning systems were large concrete dishes which focused the sound of incoming Zeppelins towards listeners wearing stethoscopes, during WW1. Today’s nuclear attack early warning systems are largely satellite based infra red detectors and airborne dishes, mounted on planes and helicopters. They have made a vast array of geodesic domed, Cold War radar installations obsolete, where they remain abandoned in some of the most isolated places on earth such as Greenland and Northern Canada.

early warning systems

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

Russian oligarch, Roman Abramovich donated money for a giant tunneling machine to build a tunnel between Russia and Sarah Palin’s house, when he was governor of the adjacent region to Alaska. The Wikipedia entry for Tunneling Machines and the entry for Civil Engineers in the UK Yellow Pages have something in common, they both read: ‘see boring’. Doubly ironic, since boring is one of the most interesting projects for civil engineers, and the machines used to do the job are spectacular. The set here includes a variety of shield tunnel boring machines, TBMs, including those for celebrated projects such as Yucca mountain or the Channel Tunnel. Perhaps the most ironic of all is the Air Force TBM, a machine for digging deep underground, owned by the people who defend the skies.

20 interesting boring machines

oobject header image

OObject 2013 Gift Guide

December 11th, 2013 #link

There’s no messing around with this year’s oobject gift guide, almost nothing is affordable. But it’s a lot better than a list with stuff that is. Everything is actually purchasable and prices range from a few thousand to a $6.75 million for the fully immersive centrifuge.

Exact Replica Space Shuttle Space Suit
$8,998 will get you one of these beauties.
$8,998. Buy it

1920s Bank Vault Door
I find these things absolutely stunning. Like an enormous precision watch mechanism.
$50,000. Buy it

Exact Replica of Sputnik
Get this to hang over your kid’s bed, instead of some crappy glow stars.
$22,995. Buy it

Disneyland Main Street Showcase Coffee Table Train Set
Someone should buy this for Cory Doctorow.
$15,000. Buy it

Cinelli Laser Crono Strada, 1985. W-Campagnolo-Record
A beautiful Italian bike from an era before poncing around on fixies.
$20,000. Buy it

Mir Commander, A Volkov’s actual working Suit
No contest at next year’s Halloween if you rock up in this. Also no contest if you wear it all year to work.
$3,895. Buy it

Museum Quality Replica of St. Mark’s Square in Venice
The Doge’s bollocks.
$1 Million. Buy it

1971 Lusse Bumper Car Carnival Amusement Ride
Iconic and reasonably priced, if not exactly shippable.
$1088, Starting Bid. Buy it

JFK’s Chess Set
Game of thrones.
$475,000. Buy it

Carousel Organ
Like a 20 foot wide music box, a machine that has the type of mechanical complexity that is now missing from electronic devices. Baroque in every sense.
$225,000. Buy it

Braun SK5
One of my favorite Dieter Rams designs and one that shows how ahead of his time he was because the turntable itself looks technically so obsolete.
$1,499. Buy it

Bullet Train Model Railroad Set.
Another piece of retro futurism that doesn’t look at all retro, really.
$10,919.99. Buy it

Olympus 320 Jet Engine.
Aside from the fact that this is an actual jet engine that you can buy on Ebay today, what makes this interesting is that it is the forerunner to the engine used by Concorde.
$165,000. Buy it

Rack Console From the Hubble Space Telescope.
Amazing how old fashioned this rack looks. A nice opportunity to own a bit of history.
$75,000. Buy it

1873 Pig in a Suit Automaton.
I had to include one automaton in this list, with the principal criterion being: would I be uneasy sharing the same room with this thing after dark? Clearly.
$3,680.55 Buy it

Decommissioned Remote Control British Submarine.
An actual yellow submarine.
$55,000 Buy it

Centrifuge Flight Motion Simulator – Fully Immersive.
Like the things in James Bond movies, except real and just shy of $7 million.
$6,875,000. Buy it

5 Responses to “OObject 2013 Gift Guide”

  1. Gift guides for millionaires | maybellemorrison1951 Says:

    […] guides for millionaires DEC 16 2013 For the Oobject gift guide this year, “almost nothing is affordable”. Items include a bank vault door from the 1920s […]

  2. Gift guides for millionaires | Charlotte's Ideas Says:

    […] guides for millionaires DEC 16 2013 For the Oobject gift guide this year, “almost nothing is affordable”. Items include a bank vault door from the 1920s […]

  3. Samian Says:

    I want a war/ between the rich and the poor/class war/class war/class wae

  4. Weekend Reading LI : Blogcoven Says:

    […] But what would you get such a person for Christmas? […]

  5. Calamity Jones Says:

    Cool guide!