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Something as utilitarian as a tractor is not usually designed any differently from any another tractor, unless there is a reason. But because tractors have a such wide a varied use, often very specific, such as towing aircraft or harvesting grapes, there are a huge variety of designs that are neither willful nor spurious. Here is a non-comprehensive selection of some of our favorite designs, from a Porsche designed coffee plantation tractor to the futuristic looking KLM tow tractor.

20 unusual tractor designs

From double amputee, Aimee Mullins, who modeled for Alexander McQueen on a pair of beautiful hand-carved wooden prosthetic legs made from solid ash to amputee soldiers who would not have survived without advances in combat medical care and who are returning to active combat at a rate which is 7 times higher than a generation ago (2% – 16%) to athletes such as Oscar Pistorius, whose carbon fiber prosthetics help him compete at a level which calls into question the separation of ‘special’ athletic competition, the way we view prosthetics and disability is changing. 3d printing, advanced composite materials are enabling this from an aesthetic and design standpoint as much as the more obvious technical advances through electronics and bio feedback systems.

Aesthetic Prosthetics

After having been traveling for more than 7 months in the last year, the combination of neck strain and carpal tunnel from using a laptop requires a really good stand.I needed one that is compact and portable for travel and one that is highly adjustable at home. Being super anal about these things, I looked through hundreds of web sites and so put together an oobject list. The list covers everything from wheeled out units to a truckers cab laptop stand and a wearable harness that actually manages to look undorky but several items are based on the simple premise of a compact or flat folding cheap and simple stand.In the end I chose both products from the same company, the Evo floating laptop arm, which is most like a task light adjustment system and the mini, tripod-based Cricket laptop stand.

the perfect laptop stand

Complex dangerous machinery isn’t the first choice for a home-brew project, unless you are rural farmer, apparently. Some of these look like remnants of a cargo cult, and most of them received stern warnings from the relevant civil aviation authorities to not even try firing them up, but a couple actually flew.

homemade helicopters

Fixed-gear bicycles, without gears or brakes were created for the controlled environment of a velodrome. This environment could not be more different from hilly San Francisco or car ridden New York, but their appeal as being both stripped down and minimalist as well as requiring considerable risk and commitment to learn to ride has made them fashionable in hip neighborhoods of large cities, such as New York’s Williamsburg.This has lead to an interesting morphing of a classic post-war track bike design, to city fixies which inevitable become like beefier road bikes to be ridable and more recently to celebrity endorsed and/or fashion branded, limited edition products.The stunningly beautiful 1950′s Cinelli, Italian team bike, best represents the classic track bike and the solid titanium saddle and merlin frame captures the road-bike-in-denial urban fixie (albeit, without the current vogue of sawn off straight handle-bars). The fashion house branded versions include graffiti artist, Futura’s Colnago track frame, a Kid Robot bike a Fuji and Obey fixie and the surprisingly nice Nike AF1. The fashion bikes are particularly odd, because they are created by designers rather than bike enthusiasts and mix and match components purely on the basis of how they look. In this sense the transition of fixies from track to urban messenger to fashion designer is a continuous trend away from ergonomics to superficiality.Vote for your faves, ours is the 59 Cinelli.

the genealogy of fixies

Famous French industrial designer, Roger Tallon recently died, leaving something of a design mystery. Newspapers universally credited him as the designer of the iconic French high speed train, the TGV, but that was almost certainly the work of Jacques Cooper. Tallon did take over from Cooper to do the TGV Atlantique, but this was an evolutionary rather than a revolutionary design. Perhaps Tallon’s influence was more on the interiors? For me, Tallon’s best work was his 1960′s M400 spiral stair which seems to be the direct inspiration for some of Ross Lovegrove’s best work.

9 Roger Tallon Designs

Several star architects such as Herzog and de Meuron and Rem Koolhaas have produced building designs that have jutting out and cantilevered components that give the overall impression of a giant game of Jenga. The New Museum on the Bowery in New York, is the latest addition to this genre of minimalist deconstruction. But the most interesting Jenga building is an obscure, former Soviet ministry in Georgia, which is quite mad.

12 real life jenga buildings

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WTF is that? #6

May 8th, 2009 #link

wtf is that

Any guidance as to what this is? Answers in the comments



9 Responses to “WTF is that? #6”

  1. jason Says:

    its a nuclear weapon core

  2. nick Says:

    A robotic game of boules?

  3. Michiel Says:

    Looks a bit like a “diamond machine”, which they use to create artificial diamonds.

  4. Jeff Says:

    I think I recognize it as the core of the inertial guidance system of an ICBM. Thus the pun “guidance”…

  5. admin Says:

    @Jeff Correct! It is indeed the guidance system from a missile. There is a terrible beauty to it.

    It’s part of a very sinister photo series by Martin Miller of WMDs:
    http://www.photographyserved.com/Gallery/Weapons-of-Mass-Destruction/56260

    Via the excellent, Darkroasted Blend: http://www.darkroastedblend.com/2009/03/how-to-destroy-world-with-scientific.html

  6. Brian Says:

    obviously, it’s a pokeball

  7. Glen Says:

    it is indeed a gyroscope but not out of an aircraft or missile. It is more than likely from a inertial navigation system from a sub or ship. In a sub there are usually 4 of these 2 in the front 2 in the back and gravity anomaly meters, and accelerometers near them. Any way they with these they can stay under water and know where they are with fairly good resolution. They do drift but even after a few weeks under water they still are with in a foot or so of where they really are. I saw the picture that is titled that it is from a MX Peacekeeper but the MX used Honeywell Ring Laser Gyros this is much older.

  8. Calvin Says:

    It sure looks like GLadDOS to me :-)
    If you don’t get this Portal joke, you can see it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgP4kT5-9Cc

  9. Rex Says:

    That is a ring-laser gyro. The heart of an inertial navigation system used for ICBM’s