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oobject: 'daily user-ranked gadget lists'
In the movies, spook equipment equals high tech and futuristic, but the reality of the external product design design is often anything but. Product design will eventually no longer be an issue. This is one of those lists where as technology improves the items become less interesting, to the point where they disappear, as encryption technology becomes software only, as with the NSAs secure version of Google’s Android OS. Nonetheless standard secure phones are still provided to government officials, by the NSA, the latest model being introduced in 2008 and with hardware that looks distinctly antiquated compared with consumer technology such as an iPhone. The odd one out in this list is the US/Soviet hotline, which is arguably as much a reaction against the time it took to decode secure messages, being introduced after the delays in doing so during the Cuban missile crisis.

9 secure phones

Bunker architecture is often better by accident than the deliberate attempts to create an aesthetic based on massive elements, through brutalism. Paul Virilio famously published a book of some of the more extreme versions of the 12,000 bunkers that formed the Atlantic Wall in WWII and Albania has an incredible 700,000 bunkers in a population of 3M, created by its mad leader, Enver Hoxha. Perhaps the strangest of all are the concealed bunkers that litter the Swiss countryside either as fake chalets or as mountains that literally open up to reveal jet fighters.

The architecture of bunkers

If there is one kind of hammer that you don’t want to get your thumb stuck under, its a steam hammer, a giant hellish machine that defined the industrial age.There are several claims to its invention in the mid 19th century, to hammer steel into shape and smash out impurities. One of these is Creusot, who exhibited a version at the Paris Universal Exposition of 1878.Looking at the Creusot Hammer, I would argue that it was the inspiration for the Eiffel tower, ten years later.Here are a variety of hammers including the mechanical or hydraulic versions that replaced steam, but still have the same titanic look.

10 massive steam hammers

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

Flying helmets are interesting because they demonstrate the rate of technological progress over the 20th century, from primitive, almost medieval looking leather caps to sophisticated cyborg like devices packed full of electronics. They also show different air force cultures, from spartan Soviet styles to individualistic, decorated and painted US fighter pilot helmets.

flying helmets

Heart rate monitors connected to an ink plotted graph are a staple of movies and TV and they usually come in beautiful portable versions by companies such as Lafayette Systems, making them a classic spy suitcase gadget.Polygraph lie detectors are widely believed to be useless quackery, no more effective than a Scientology Dianetics machine, but they are commonly used by law enforcement and government agencies, usually in the US and are an anachronistic cultural legacy of the cold war.Today, the classic analog polygraph is being replaced by much less interesting computer versions.

10 Vintage Analog Lie Detectors

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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!