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For sheer baroque complexity of appearance, planetarium projectors are among the most amazing gizmos ever built. They range from enormous machines more than 20 ft. high to a soccer ball sized $300 home version.Their purpose is a bizarre reversal of a large optical telescope, taking an internal view of the the universe and projecting it on a dome, rather than creating a view from peering outside of one, but the aesthetic is somewhat similar. Another curious similarity is how much they look like some early satellites.Our personal favorites are the original Zeiss, Mark I and the truly amazing machine built by the Korkosz brothers for the, appropriately named, Seymour Planetarium.

16 incredible planetarium projectors

It is no accident that very few production gull-wing door cars have ever been built. It is a design gimmick that looks superficially interesting but is highly impractical. Most gull wing cars are concept designs, and the company that made the most famous of all, the De Lorean DMC 12, went bankrupt. The Mercedes 300 SL is a lone example of a wonderful looking gull wing car, but even that was deemed dangerous, and nicknamed ‘the widowmaker’.The gull wing’s marginally less impractical sister, the scissor door, has actually become a signature feature for Lamborghini. How fitting that a symbol of bad design should represent a, once great, car producer that has reduced itself to churning out expensive kitsch, since the mid 80s.Somewhere in between a scissor and a gull wing are the doors on the cheaper Toyota Sera, which is a car that looks like someone’s grandmother trying to be cool.Vote for your very worst.

bad design gull wing cars

A three year challenge to recreate the equipment used by Mallory and Irvine in their ill fated attempt to climb Everest in the 1920s revealed that they were adequately clothed, wearing an unbelievable number of layers, as shown in this list. Today, the number of layers has changed as have nearly all the materials used for Everest kit, with high tech, breathable yet waterproof fabrics and lightweight alloys. The extreme requirements of Everest are a good way to demonstrate technology and design innovation through history.

equipment to conquer everest through history

The excitement over commercial sub-orbital space tourism masks the reality of real commercial space venture through orbiting satellites. Obviously these are splendid complex objects to drool over, but you only get to do that while they are being assembled on the ground. Here are some of our favorite images including the giant clean rooms where surgeon-like technicians in white overalls piece them together.

12 satellites on the ground

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then Apple is getting it in spades.For those that worry about Apple blazing a trail for others to copy less expensively, its not that simple. A product like the iPhone is heavily tooled rather than fabricated. The hole for the headphones is actually drilled. To do this, Apple have hogged the world’s supply of the type of high tech, multi-dimensional machine tool needed.While companies like Nokia may copy, they may not be able to get the same build quality, even if they want to. Vote on the most blatant copy and post tips in the comments.

12 biggest apple design ripoffs

The invention of the digital watch made accurate timekeeping a cheap commodity. This meant that expensive watches were a quixotic anachronism in terms of pure design. However, this very fact meant that designers were free to innovate timepiece designs for fun. In addition, the development of watch sized miniature electronic gadgetry meant that the wrist watch form factor could be used for other gadgets. For things like phones and MP3 players this has proved to be a failure, however included here are some interesting concepts for other uses for wrist devices such as insulin dosage, braille watches and health monitoring

16 concept watches

Gerry Anderson is a cult TV figure because he took the unfashionably low tech world of puppetry and applied it with such skill and design flair to science fiction subjects that the results were highly original and imaginative. From the late sixties to late seventies, Dinky Toys produced die cast model toys of some of the more memorable Anderson craft from Joe 90, Captain Scarlet, Thunderbirds, UFO and Space 1999. They are now highly collectible. Vote for your faves.

10 classic gerry anderson scifi toys

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WTF is that? #21

July 19th, 2010 #link

wtf

What is this machine – or far more interestingly, what does it make?



5 Responses to “WTF is that? #21”

  1. brian ehni Says:

    Heart lung machine? Makes oxygenated blood…

  2. caspar Says:

    the location it is standing in means it is probably art. so the thing it is monst likely to produce is shit…

  3. Rich White Says:

    Casper is right. It’s a work by Vim Delvoye. It accurately replicates the human digestive system – producing shit.

  4. Rich White Says:

    Casper is right. It’s a work by Wim Delvoye. It accurately replicates the human digestive system – producing shit.

  5. David Galbraith Says:

    @caspar and @rich, yes you insert food and it produces shit by replicating the human digestive system. It is designed for cafeteria left overs but for its first ingestion was cooked a 5 course meal. More here: http://technabob.com/blog/2009/02/04/art-cloaca-no5-machine/