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The Segway took the idea of the two wheeled vehicle and made it require thousands of dollars of electronics to remain as stable as an ordinary two wheeled bicycle. The Apple Newton was a personal organizer that required a personal assistant to carry it around for you.The common thread in the choices here is people mistaking sophisticated engineering for sophisticated design. Many were and still are technical triumphs.The Space Shuttle, for example, still bathes in the reflected glory of the Apollo missions, yet its design was largely a mistake based upon the PR potential of a plane-like craft, rather than practicality. Its replacement will look much more like a Saturn 5 rocket and it forms part of the hardware for what Nasa refer to internally as the ‘crude missions'.Below is our chart of the biggest all time tech. failures. Vote for the biggest loser or suggest some alternatives in the comments.

10 biggest tech product failures

Ever since Evel Knievel attempted to jump Snake River Canyon, by sitting in a rocket powered bomb, dressed like Elvis, Darwin Awards contenders have tried to create inappropriate rocket powered items. These days we have YouTube to show us 10 thousand varieties of rocket powered skateboard. Here are our favorites, vote for yours.

10 inappropriate rocket powered items

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

Climbing walls are both functionally and aesthetically fascinating. They often have beautiful abstract shapes reminiscent of Kurt Schwitters Merzbau or are just plain intricate and impressive.Included in our collection here are interactive musical climbing walls, enormous artificial ice towers, surreal climbing forms and a huge climbing wall inside a disused Texan grain silo. Vote for your faves.

Great Climbing Walls

Many of the organic shapes in product design are a function of CAD modeling tools. This makes these orthogonal stick like or slab like lamp designs look all the more timeless and counter cyclical.

Over on Cribcandy: Stick & Slab Minimalist Lighting List

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WTF is that? #18

March 1st, 2010 link to (permalink)


This object has some relevance, considering recent news. What is it?

5 Responses to “WTF is that? #18”

  1. nathan Says:

    its the internal dampener in the taipei 101
    ~ i recognised this too fast

  2. Bryan Says:

    Guessing seismometer

  3. Mark Says:

    It’s a seismic dampening weight for a high-rise building.

  4. George Says:

    It is a seismograph.

  5. Gaijiniji Says:

    I believe this is a pendulum used in the top of a skyscraper to counteract the buildings sway from high winds and earthquakes. Im guessing the building is Taipei 101?

  6. admin Says:

    @mark @gaijiniji yes indeed its the massive earthquake damper in the Taipei 101, which weighs more than 700 tons.

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