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Many of today’s most notable collections, such as the British Museum started off as wunderkammer, or cabinets of curiosities. These started in the 16th century are were somewhere between Ripley’s Believe it or Not and the Smithsonian, eclectic collections of man-made and natural objects of wonder. These were either rooms or spectacular intricate cabinets.Today there are deliberate attempts to re-create the very particular feel of these collections, such as at the museum of Jurassic Technology in L.A, which combines the real and fake or the British Museum’s Enlightenment Gallery.

the wunderkammer through history

This is a video roundup of currently available or prototyped 3D printers, a gadget which has been sitting on the sidelines for a while, but hasn’t become mainstream yet. 3D printing machines are fairly simple in their operation, building any 3D shape, no matter how complex, as a series of contour slices which are hardened as a printer head slides back and forth across. But the results look like magic, real objects, in color, with moving parts, direct from a CAD model. The main reason that 3D printers, still remain a professional niche product, used by design firms rather than end consumers, is that their output is small and slow. In addition, more people know how to create text files for 2D printers than a CAD design, and this is unlikely to change in the near future. As a result of this small market, some of the marketing videos of 3D printers shown here look distinctly old fashioned for such a futuristic product. We long for the day when we will be able to print a full sized chair in ten minutes.

video list of 3D printers in action

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

Although we previously did a list on diving helmets, the variety of strange diving outfits warranted another list. Having spent hours pouring through these to pick my favorites, it occurred to me that the inspiration for early science fiction robots and space suits, before the age of actual space travel, clearly comes from this pre-space age technology.Deep sea diving equipment needs to be solid and heavy it has a very different aesthetic from aviation and space equipment which needs to be light, so there is a market difference between the look of space things in science fiction, between the 50s and 60s.

12 diving suits

The interior design of Sweden’s giant nuclear bunker.In the mid seventies, when ABBA topped the music charts, Sweden was just putting the finishing touches on its giant civil defense nuclear bunker outside Stockholm, called the Elephant.Traditionally neutral Sweden made this a priority due to its close proximity with Russia, but the Elephant is unlike any other cold war bunker – because it looks rather like an underground IKEA.In order to prevent claustrophobia, fake horizons were painted on the walls of recreation areas, with green below and blue above, representing sky and grass. Even lamps were painted yellow to represent the sun. In the business parts of the bunker, such as briefing rooms and control rooms, shades of gray relieved by red were used.Unlike other bunkers which used the same tactics, with murals of mountain or countryside scenes the obsessive schematic nature of the Swedish bunker is like a children’s bedroom in hell.Urban explorers have visited and documented the Elephant bunker. Here are our picks from a wonderful set by Bill_R on Flickr. Click through any of the pictures for more.

IKEA in Hell

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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