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Henry Ford’s car assembly line is a symbol modern manufacture, yet the town where it originated has become a ruin and Toyota is now worth ten times the value of both Ford and General Motors combined.Car manufacture moved to the next level with the widespread introduction of robotics, by the Japanese, however German car factories have recently created a truly futuristic vision of manufacture, where both architecture of the factory and the machinery within it, have become an integrated work of art.The Autostadt visitor center at the VW factory in Wolfsburg, which involved commissioning over 400 architects, features 200 foot tall robotic silos at the end of the production line (reminiscent of the people farms in the Movie, the Matrix), where customers can pick up their newly manufactured cars. In Dresden the VW assembly plant, designed by Hann is an eco-friendly, transparent building right in the center of the city, with glass walls and maple floors, where tourists are encouraged to view the cars being put together in pristine surroundings. Leipzig features possibly the world’s most architecturally significant plant, a stunning building designed by the folks working at Zaha Hadid.

futuristic german car factories (videos)

Watching Wii time lapse is a socio-anthropological experience, if Warhol were alive today perhaps he would be making videos like these. A collection of our favorite videos, proving that not everyone gets off the sofa, and that Wii is so addictive some people will continue to play it while holding their new born child. Vote for your fave.

Time Lapse Wii Videos

Since Le Corbusier, celebrity architects realized that they needed to get a look, to be an icon. But being anal retentive this often resulted in the slightly reticent gesture of sculptural eyewear, like a miniature building hanging on your nose. Philip Johnson had Cartier make a copy of Corbusier’s glasses for himself in 1934, thus cementing the trend for architects in architect glasses.Here are a dozen famous architects and their specs, with a description below of what their glasses say about them.

12 architects with architects glasses

Here are clips of some of Steve Job’s legendary speeches. From the original introduction of the Mac to the triumphant return to Apple from the iPod to the iPhone launch and the famous Stanford speech after surviving cancer. People are expecting something great as a follow up to last years iPhone sermon. Vote for the all time best.

15 best steve jobs speeches ever – videos

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

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

A collection of ‘personal helicopters’ and flying machines.As the T-shirt says – ‘the is is the future, where is my Jetpack’. It seems that Jetpacks are basically dangerous, and since the appearance at the Los Angeles Olympics, nothing much has happened. Still, there are two manufacturers that will actually build one for you, for $250,000, and you can buy a glorified fan that will propel you on an ice rink at the same speed as a puck.If you want rotor blades rather than rockets, the current options are a bit cheaper and more practical, but are still less cool than the Soviet Fold-up helicopter, from the Cold War era.

12 flying machines

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WTF is That? #7

May 15th, 2009 #link

mystery object

What is this, what does it do? Can I have one for my birthday?

Answers in the comments



11 Responses to “WTF is That? #7”

  1. jeremy Says:

    Looks like some kind of giant solenoid.

  2. louis Says:

    Nuclear Fission Reaction?

  3. louis Says:

    No its nuclear fussion!

  4. louis Says:

    heres more info

    largest superconducting stellarator in the world
    This Japanese fusion research device consists of intertwined coils of superconducting material, and is designed to contain a 100-million-degree nuclear fusion plasma. The research aims to solve the many engineering challenges that must be overcome in order for fusion reactors to produce more energy than they consume.

  5. james Says:

    pretty cool guy louis

  6. admin Says:

    @louis

    Yes! Its the ‘Large Helical Device’.

    What I find interesting is that it demonstrates that the extreme engineering requirements of high energy physics can produce objects which are more beautiful than most product design, and without any deliberate aesthetic intent.

    More here: http://www.lhd.nifs.ac.jp/en/

  7. John Says:

    @admin

    It’s a purely functional expression of mathematics based upon the natural world. Two things we already know to be beautiful in their superficial simplicity and fascinating in their deep complexities.

    When everything is in its place for a reason and based around nature you inevitably end up with something inspiring, i think.

  8. robert Says:

    Oddly reminiscent of a nightmare I once had, except it was all in constant motion!!!

  9. robert Says:

    Actually, the Japanese Large Helical Device…

  10. Dave Says:

    Looks like an air conditioning system designed by H. R. Geiger…

  11. Sullivan Says:

    That is beautiful!