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Cheap hi-fis sometimes come with lots of flashing lights and buttons, sound terrible and are difficult to use. Expensive ones often to come with not much more than an on/off switch and volume control, and sound great.One of things that happens in a mature market is that people go for quality rather than quantity – what this means in technology is less features and better design. Apple is the first technology company to go mainstream with a minimalist, mature-market design ethos, but there are others. Here are our current favorite (non-Apple) minimalist gadgets. This is a chart that we will be continually updating, over time. Vote for your favorites:

21 non Apple minimalist gadgets

Here are a range of videos of some bizarre automated drawing machines, from an instrument that draws mushroom clouds from the dust from nuclear test sites, a large industrial robot used to automatically draw what it sees and a variety of increasingly odd contraptions.

bizarre drawing contraption videos

Despite the title of this list, several of these housing projects were designed by some of the world’s most famous architects and lauded at the time. The undeniable squalor of 19th Century slums combined with modernism to produce and attempt to clean things up and create a crystalline utopia. The end result was often an anti-septic vision of hell, a place devoid of organic spaces and evolves social interaction.The architectural crime that started with Corbusier’s insane proposal to demolish the historic center of Paris and replace it with something like the worst of the South Bronx and culminated in the White and Black racially segregated human silos of St Louis’s Pruitt-Igoe, continues to this day and even as middle class, owner-occupied dwelling such as those in Hong Kong. Its principal feature is de-humanizing alienation. Vote for your worst…

15 housing projects from hell

Despite being a qualified architect, IKEA furniture assembly quite often defeats me. Hence this list of self assembling objects, from computer memory to swallowable medical procedure components to chairs, particularly appeals. Perhaps Sweden should have a dedicated research institute geared around the discipline.

videos of self assembling machines

There were justifiable fears of being buried alive, before modern medicine could safely identify the difference between certain types of paralysis or coma and being dead. Fears which were exacerbated by fiction such as The Premature Burial by Edgar Allan Poe. As a result a bizarre range of contraptions were invented to signal having been buried alive, from bells, whistles and even a spring loaded ejector coffin which might actually kill other people from the shock of seeing an interred body spring out of the ground in a cemetery.Added to this were ranges of hermetically sealed iron coffins and a device to prevent grave robbing consisting of a booby-trap subterranean torpedo.For more of these, check out: http://deathreferencedesk.org/2010/02/02/premature-burial-device-patents/

12 Safety Coffins

Long before periscopes became uniquely associated with submarines, they were widely used to peer over the trenches in WW1. Here are other uses from on board jet aircraft to golf courses, bank vaults and even to look underwater from dry land – the inverse of what we associate periscopes with.

9 non submarine periscopes

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WTF is That! Friday

April 10th, 2009 #link

wtf

As usual – the game is to say what (TF) is going on here. In some ways this is better left as a mystery, since the image is so odd.



9 Responses to “WTF is That! Friday”

  1. smutter Says:

    Its a device to continously feed porno directly into your eyes> Used by the CIA since 1972.

  2. joe Says:

    Is that Larry Flynt?

  3. asimmons Says:

    Its an ‘eyes in the back of the head’ rear view vision system for teachers.

  4. Ryan Says:

    Some sort of aerodynamic wind tunnel for military helmets… (why)

    Doesnt explain the metal shit stuck to his face though.

  5. Chris Says:

    Impact tester for military helmets to find out the survivability of IUD s and other shrapnel creating devices.

  6. Mel Phistopheles Says:

    Haven’t you people read 1984? It’s the torture cage that made Winston betray Julia. The rats go in the tubes at the one end, and…….

  7. Indiefab Says:

    Chris was close. Its a sweat simulator for military helmets to design more comfortable padding. Here’s the Oregon State website: http://oregonstate.edu/dept/ncs/newsarch/2007/Mar07/helmet.html

    As usual, I cheat. It was the second image result on Google using “military helmet wind tunnel”.

  8. admin Says:

    Good work, Indiefab. Spot on.

  9. Rb. Says:

    One-man cone of silence!