What is it with these people? How much did they spend developing that? Hadn’t they noticed that Segways haven’t exactly taken off? Just because you get pretty girls to demo the things doesn’t mean you won’t feel like a total prannet trundling down the street on your $5000 (or whatever it is) “walking aid”. It’s like wearing a hat with a great big arrow pointing downward and a sign saying “Look at me everyone. I want attention”
I used to know this guy who would visit the big art galleries in London… pretend to be disabled, so he could trundle about in one of the wheelchairs they provided. Now that’s a good idea… and less embarrassing than tootling about the place on a mobile-shooting-stick that causes people to forget about the paintings and look at you instead.
Tell you what Honda: give me a couple of million dollars and I will develop a machine for you that will change the world, and that loads of people will actually buy.
Because we all know that the first thing… THE very first thing, that anyone is going to do when they invent an antigravity device, is they’ll solve that problem that has weighed so heavy upon the human soul for so very, very long… they’ll solve the problem of getting up and going to the fucking kitchen to get a glass of water.
Although to be fair… if you’re the sort of person who’s so lazy they’ll actually go out and buy a flying tennis ball (or better still, get a flying basket ball to go out and buy one for you) so you don’t have to get up off the sofa to get a drink of water… well you’re probably not that into “water” are you? No, you prefer to drink coca-cola with an extra couple of table-spoons of sugar in it, or pure lard, straight from the mini-vat etc.
Still. Never mind. It’s the Electrolux Designlab Competition for inventing inventions that will never in a million years actually get invented. Oooh shiney etc. Products.
That said, I quite like this:
It’s a little robot made out of an upturned coke bottle, that carries a plant around until it finds a suitable spot, and then (presumably) it plants it. I’m rather enamoured of the concept that in the future, every tree will have its own gardener… and this goes some way towards that… or at least it would, if it weren’t just a cartoony drawing. Maybe I should make one myself. I’ve got an upturned coke bottle somewhere. The walky bit with the massive eye could be tricky, but what the hey. You’ve got to start somewhere.
So um… don’t get me wrong. I’m all for designers dreaming dreams etc… what really gets up my goat though is the way this stuff is replicated across the web as though it’s actually real. It’s link-bait… let me see…
… let me see… let me see if my favourite eco-bullshit-artist site has anything on it… www.ecofriend.org, the spiritual home of “made up stuff that might be a bit green”…
… oh yes, there it is… momentarily dipping its toe into the waters of uncertainty with “[designer] has tried to make”… (italics mine) but from then on in, it’s all present-tense as though this thing actually exists, and as though the energy required to make a ball fly around collecting raindrops is somehow less eco-angry than simply leaving a fucking cup out in the rain.
A quater-sphere projector screen for playing games in.
There’s a nice poetic juxtoposition between inventing a zorb who’s job it is to wander about… “watching” people in actual reality, and inventing another one who’s purpose is for people to sit inside their own little reality, and never see beyond the skin at all.
edit : further to the rant at the top, check out this video from Microsoft
From Craftzine – lots of conducting wires sewn close together that behave in different ways according to how they’re touched.
One of the ways that living organisms differ from machines is that we’re covered by a sensor-layer. The things above don’t work by tweaking hairs (unless you count whiskers) and even if they do, it’s not due to bare electrical wires (which will have trouble with water), but this (I think) is a step in the direction of increasing robotic tactile sensory resolution. I think what we’ll eventually wind up with is some sort of web of piezo cells embedded in a gel.
Solving problems you never knew you had. Their site has all manner of remarkable gadgetry, the bulk of which seems to be use-once, and about $20 US a go, so you wouldn’t want to bungle it etc. As you occasionally do.
Which is so cool, I can hardly stand it, even though it is from 2006. Was designed by an Australian apparently – there’s a PDF (which is the document format of the devil) of the construction etc on his site.
From Opera etc, who are one of my browsers of choice. They’re the Ferrari of browsers.
Face gestures are a variant on the WAAI (waving arms around interface) as popularised by Minority Report, with Tom Cruise in it, who is a bit of a ferret-face.
I wonder if you could use this for some sort of sex thing. I wonder what would happen if you sneezed. I expect it would have a conniption. So many things could go wrong. What if you yawned etc? Would your entire computer go into hibernation mode? Our faces are (on occasion) a bit ungovernable. I know mine is. I wonder what it would make of the cat.
And the notion, that no matter how crazy an idea is, someone, somewhere will have a perspective on it that makes it incredibly useful.
So. Spherical robots – and I must admit, there’s a bit of a fixation for them out there in the world-of-unreality-fighting-towards-the-surface… and I don’t know why, because there’s a major problem with robots that don’t have arms: they can’t solder. Hopeless. Still, there does seem to be this fixation – I think basically because we like the shape – there’s something about a sphere that just seems “right”, or complete, even though it’s not, because it can’t solder or tie shoelaces etc. Still never mind.
This one is coming from opposite directions – and is probably indicative of a wider pattern.
From one end we have high-tech solving problems we don’t actually have, but which looks cool and will probably lead on to the solution of problems we do have…
And from the other hand we have open-sourced low-tech solving problems we DO have, the technologies for which have been around for decades, but have been made unavailable to the people that need them the most – because under the aegis of “The Market”, poor people don’t matter.
Maybe one day these two will meet in the middle. I think they will – In fact I think the killer apps of the 21st century will be exactly that – high-tech that has become cheap and ubiquitous, combined with open-source ethics, solving real problems – as opposed to eye-candy for geeks.
So. That said, this is pretty cool:
Kindof like a giant reprap that grows plants. This pattern of a 2-axis thing hovering over a 3 dimensional space that it lowers in and out of to “do stuff”. This one is cool because it has multiple tools – and multiple tools is a key part of the evolution of reprappery. In fact really, there should be a standard 3D platform like this with tool “plugins” that can be developed by other people – not necessarily wanting to build an entire system from scratch. A bit like WordPress or Firefox – or any other plugin platform.
There’s more at Lady Ada’s site – Lady Ada being a tower of strength in the open-source hardware world. Top blog as well. Her site has a lot more photos and links and whatnot.
I don’t know if this answers a specific need though – maybe if you want to buy out at the bottom and can’t be arsed gardening… but there’s a lot of people out there who like gardening. I live on a hill covered in old people, and they seem to like gardening a lot – what they need is a way to do it without having to bend over all the time, not some robot to make them redundant.
I get a feeling a better solution to the problem that robot gardeners are ostensibly fixing, is some sort of social reorganisation so that people who like doing this stuff are valued a little more than they currently are. Do we need robots or do we need jobs? Who are “we” anyway?
Coming from the other direction is a new plugin for the Open-Source Tractor Project that allows two people to plant 200 hazelnut bushes in an hour. A post-hole driller. Ever tried doing this by hand? Ever tried using a petrol-powered hand-held driller? This is a massive, massive back-saver.
A low-tech solution to an actual problem. This tractor costs around 5,000 – about 1/10th of the price of a new proprietary tractor – and it may look clunky, but it’s rock solid. It’s lean and mean design rather than feature-rich bloatware. Again It could well turn into a plugin platform – but then I think everything should be a plugin platform.
I mean, really I am a plugin platform… but nothing plugs in at the moment, so all these enhancements like clothes or laptops or cameras or phones or knives or chainsaws with flame-throwers attached are all separate entities – there’s no direct brain-to-device interface… but there will be, oh yes, there will be.
“With Jonas Samson’s high-tech light-emitting wallpaper it’s possible to use a two-dimentional flat surface as light source instead of a 3D object. As long as the wallpaper is turned ‘off’, it is indistinguishable as a source of light. Instead, it is just what it appears to be: wallpaper.”
Not sure how long it would take to get fed up with it – but there may be uses other than decoration.
Also via – although I’ve had my eye on this one for a while. Like those 70s mood-rings but you can do your whole bathroom in them. There are quite a lot of colour-shifting things here – everything from cars to coffee-cups. This includes a service for permanently changing your eye-colour with implants, which seems like an amazingly bad idea to me, but there you go.
There’s no way this isn’t going to be used for pornography. In New Zealand in the 70s there was a bit of a furore because someone started selling “Wack-Packs” – which was basically an inflatable water-wing and a tub of vaseline. This shower thing may be art etc… but it does look a hell of a lot like a full-body Wack-Pack
I mean if there’s an entire genre of pornography devoted entirely to delivering Pizzas with… holes in them, then someone’s definitely going to dream up something slightly dodgy to do with this.