Recent lists... view all »
oobject: 'daily user-ranked gadget lists'
Unlike today's universal cigar shaped commercial airliners, early aircraft took lots of design forms as people experimented with different principals. This is a normal trend in design, however the image of multiplanes (those with many wings) collapsing as an icon of naive understanding of flight masks an ironic truth.The most ridiculous looking items in this list are the three flying ‘venetian blinds', constructed by Horatio Phillips between 1883 and 1907, the last of which, with more than 50 wings, looks more like a wooden building frame than an aircraft. Phillips, however, was the first person to truly understand the science of flight and aerfoil shapes, so these mark one of the more rational developments in aviation history.

15 aircraft with lots of wings

And you thought the matrix was fiction? Robots designed to access hostile areas such as radioactive areas are also used beneath the streets to clean or repair sewers or to lay cables. They were among the first things on the scene after 911 or Katrina and have a particular rugged beauty. Vote for your faves.

12 super sewer robots

Nothing seemed as modern as the space race, gleaming white rockets and cutting edge technology. Except that that was decades ago, and some of the most spectacularly important pieces of technology have been left to rot. Soviet shuttle prototypes have been spotted in the most unlikely places, from the wind swept deserts of Bahrain to a river side dock, full of scrap metal, in a Moscow suburb.The NASA LUT-1 launch tower that sent the first men to the moon was described as 'the modern day equivalent of the dock from which the Santa Maria sailed for the New World'. It lay in a rusting pile of collapsed metal until it was broken up for scrap four years ago.

abandoned space technology

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

Flight simulation is quintessentially high tech, the inspiration for Virtual Reality, so I went looking for early examples and found some delightfully quixotic alternatives to modern day immersive environments. These include the wooden mockups of the Apollo capsules, the stunted Link simulator, used during WWII, which looks like a kids ride outside a supermarket and the very early pre-WWI training rig for the Antoinette aircraft, which principally consists of two half barrels on top of each other. But the best of all are the incredible Convair trainer which has an extra cockpit attached to its front and the celestial navigation trainers which are masterpieces of pre-electronic navigational complexity.

12 Retro Flight Simulators

oobject header image

WTF is that? #21

July 19th, 2010 link to (permalink)


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:

Have you an opinion, used or been to this object or place? Tell us what you like don't like about it, or post any specs/info about it: