Core77 has a short post on The Hoffman Dovetail Key, what appears to be a simple, elegant and compact system for dovetailing wood parts together.
For those not grasping it right away, this system can enable an absolutely radical change in your production system. Consider that items joined with these HD Keys require no glue, no glue-up, no cleaning up the squeeze-out, no clamps, no drying time. Finished pieces can be stacked as soon as they’re together with no worries about glue squeeze-out from one piece marring the one beneath it, obviating the need for racks.
I’ve been saying “biscuit joiner” when people ask me what my favorite tool is (they do ask, I don’t know why). I might have to change my answer now.
Regenerative braking for bicycles and more. Intelligent power boost while you pedal, Wifi connection, API for developers… This is pretty great stuff, but now someone has to figure out a bulletproof way to lock your rear wheel.
Take a Kinect, capture topographic info and translate to a grid of fast-responding actuators to reproduce the 3d shape. Obviously limited to rolling landscape forms, but nice to see it in action. Basically, a robotic version of the classic pin-impression toy.
What if each column was made of individual cubes, and each cube could slide side-to-side in the XY plane? What if you made each column out of a flexible cable, able to be bent and manipulated by electric current?
Here’s a disturbing and fascinating book about the rise of the jellyfish. They’re destroying everything, which means, so are we. Stung! On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of the Ocean by Lisa-ann Gershwin. (Actually, the link above goes to The New York Review of Books.)
Gershwin leaves us with a disturbing final rumination:
When I began writing this book,… I had a naive gut feeling that all was still salvageable…. But I think I underestimated how severely we have damaged our oceans and their inhabitants. I now think that we have pushed them too far, past some mysterious tipping point that came and went without fanfare, with no red circle on the calendar and without us knowing the precise moment it all became irreversible. I now sincerely believe that it is only a matter of time before the oceans as we know them and need them to be become very different places indeed. No coral reefs teeming with life. No more mighty whales or wobbling penguins. No lobsters or oysters. Sushi without fish.
Her final word to her readers: “Adapt.”
I read this a few weeks ago and lost a few hairs off my head, others turned white, then I saw this what-could-possibly-go-wrong idea:
From San Francisco studio Bot & Dolly, this has got to be a new standard in projection mapping. Robotic arms move projection screens around, creating very convincing 3D illusions. The whole time I was watching it I kept thinking of the Arthur C. Clarke quote, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” and there it was on the screen at the end.
There is a recursive real-vs-reproduced phenomemon at work here. The illusion works, mostly, because the camera is also on a robotic arm, allowing the point of view to align with the projection’s perspective. Standing anywhere else would break the illusion (like in magic). So while we are in awe that this work of art is being captured 100% “in camera” (no post-processing), the whole work of art does not in fact exist outside of the camera. When you compare it to a magic trick–a fair comparison given the quote they show at the end–it actually comes out looking a little weak. If Lance Burton‘s tricks only worked if you stood in one place, would we think he was so great? Not conceptually any different from David Copperfield making the Statue of Liberty disappear. I felt swindled when I watched it live on TV and have always hated him for that.
Really: Must-See. An experimental method to extrude 3D shapes from 2D images by providing just a few hints to the computer. Watch the whole thing. It will give you the unmistakable sensation that the future is upon us.
The Aeroscraft is becoming a reality: an aluminum and carbon-fiber airship that uses a controllable helium bladder system to move up and down… and forward at a yawning 20mph. Cargo transport without the need for runways.
But c’mon, really what we’re looking at is someone’s childhood fantasy come true: Thunderbird 2. It’s green, even.