Dead Media: War Tubas

How freaking amazing are these? That’s Japanese Emperor Hirohito touring his war tubas. No, they weren’t a deafeningly loud section of the military marching band, they were a pre-radar acoustical listening technology, designed to pick up the distant rumble of aircraft engines. I wonder if any of them survive?

[Via The Proceedings of the Athanasius Kircher Society]

Thanks, Alberto!

Geek Fight Club

Gawd, and here I thought geeks were supposed to be smarter than everybody else. According to a piece on CNN, a group of techies — software engineers, IT types, etc, get together twice a month in Menlo Park and beat the rivets out of each other:

“Kicking, punching and swinging every household object imaginable — from frying pans and tennis rackets to pillowcases stuffed with soda cans — they beat each other mercilessly in a garage in this bedroom community south of San Francisco. Then, bloodied and bruised, they limp back to their desks in the morning.”

WTF!? Listen up, my pencil-necked brothers, that high dome of yours just doesn’t have the same hit points as a meat head. That’s why he carries the battle axe, chain mace, and wears the big furry boots, and you wear a shiny mu-mu and a pointy hat and cast spells. Are we clear now?

Thanks, JT!

Goofy Office Gadgets

TechEBlog has a list of the Top Ten Strangest Office Gadgets. Some of them you’ll likely recognize, such as the USB Aroma Therapy bot that we blogged here, and the USB powered air dart launcher, which was blogged everywhere else. But how about “Programmable Soda,” with different flavor capsules along the bottle that you press to release the flavors you want into the drink? Or the Wearable Sleeping Bag that has arms and legs? Or the EEG-driven Mental Typewriter? And then, there’s our favorite, the one that makes us certain there is a God (and she has a wicked sense of humor): The AOL CD Thrower. Okay, it throws ANY CD, but we like the idea of it exclusively destroying the giant pile of this vile little platters we still have on top of our filing cabinet.

BTW: Here’s a direct link to the Web page for the LEGO CD Thrower.

Thanks, Mr. Townsend!

How Do You Debug An ACTUAL Bug?

This is too funny (as long as it’s happening to somebody else’s overpriced Apple Cinema Display). This poor sap has a bug living INSIDE of his. He writes on his site:

I never realized that the image of what’s displayed on an LCD is actually projected onto the glass surface. The bug can crawl deeper into the picture, looking translucent and barely visible, or right up to the surface where it’s so noticeable that I fight the urge to swat it… I have no idea how to get him out, so for now I just have to hope that when he dies, he’ll die off-screen, Leo McGarry-style.

Thanks, Jay!

Gecko Tech on the Rise

We’ve covered the work being done at the Stanford RiSE Project here in the past and the Poly-PEDAL Lab at Berkeley and its study of geckos and how they grip surfaces. This reverse engineering of gecko tech continues apace, the latest effort being this little fella, Stickybot, who can climb on glass. Pretty cool.

Opus Dei/Apple Mash-Up

Here’s a funny (enough) spoof of Opus Dei, Da Vinci Code, and Apple. Nice to see Ellen, the stoner chick from the old Apple ads, still getting her props.

Thanks, Jay!

Steampunk Robots IRL

Who knew that steam-powered robots were going to be an up and coming thing? Last week, we gave you the steam-powered robotic arm, now there’s a walking steam-powered robot toy from Germany, a US$300 robot toy from Germany. The e-tailer listing it, Robot Island, doesn’t give any other details (like how much bot for your buck), but there are a couple of additional pictures. Allegedly due stateside this summer.

[Via Engadget]

Interaction Artists Interviewed

The amazing and wonderful Regine Debatty (of we make money not art) has an interview with Blendid, a fascinating group of Dutch interface designers/new media artists. From her introduction:

Among the works of the Amsterdam-based studio is Demor, an immersive outdoor game experience for visually impaired children; Robotract, an augmented reality game; TouchMe, an interactive installation that allows the public to leave a personal imprint in the public space. Experimenting with the whole body of a dancer as an input device they also created the Mocap Performance

Read the entire review.