The Airform Archives presents the story of Charles and Ray Eames' Do Nothing Machine, a delightful solar-powered whimsy-maker from 1958.
in the late 1950's, as part of the alcoa company's "forecast collection", the eames office created the solar toy. this toy was unique in many ways; but the most unique aspect (particularly in light of the way things seem to be done today) was the fact that charles eames was interested in creating a toy that did nothing. in terms of "doing nothing" he didn't mean that it would be a static and mute object -he was interested in an object that didn't direct one towards specific answers (or in the case of the work of a designer, towards a specific "use"). it followed an ideology found in much of his works, where the power of play is valued as an experience that can be quite powerful in and of itself - and where a sense of wonder can lead to a depth of thought and a kind of expansive understanding (think powers of 10).
in alcoa's 1959 publication "design forecast 1" (the first image above is from this book), oscar schefler elaborates on the ideas behind the eames's solar powered "do nothing machine"..."there is little pertinence in asking what the toy is supposed to do. it is not supposed to do. it is supposed to be. its whole function is in its being." eames adds "we now have a moment in time which is very precious; but this is valid only if the toy does nothing".
Alan Turing and the codebreakers of Bletchley Park invented modern crypto and computers in the course of breaking Enigma ciphers, the codes that Axis powers created with repurposed Enigma Machines — sophisticated (for the day) encryption tools invented for the banking industry — to keep the Allies from listening in on their communications.
In 1948, the Institute of Applied Science commissioned an unknown illustrator to depict a fistful of squirming, terrified criminals caught in an authoritative fist, under the headline “CAUGHT BY THEIR FINGERTIPS” — they were advertising a home Criminal Investigation and Identification course.
Larkin Jones is a hardcore Pokemon fan who loses money every year on his annual Pokemon PAX party; he makes up the shortfall from his wages managing a cafe. This year, Pokémon Company International sued him and told him that even though he’d cancelled this year’s party, they’d take everything he had unless he paid […]
The Lytro Illum dares to be different, boasting even more robust features than its first generation predecessor and a sleek design reminiscent of professional DSLRs. What’s so cool about it? Most cameras capture the position of light rays, producing a statoc 2D image. But the Illum’s cutting-edge technology records the direction of these rays, generating […]
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