Housefish has a writeup on Kagen Schaefer's pipe-organ desk, which hides in its drawers a pipe organ that doubles as a fluidic computer, and which has stolen my heart:
At first glance, it’s a relatively ordinary desk, albeit very finely made out of exceptional wood, and with an unusual number of small drawers. Open a drawer though, and there’s a surprise- each drawer operates a wooden pipe organ tube on the back. Opening different drawers plays different notes and lets you play songs. If I stopped right there, a wooden pipe organ desk would already rank among the most novel and impressive pieces of wooden furniture either of us has seen.
But there’s another secret. Inside the desk is a fluidic computer, operated entirely by the air pressure pulses created by opening and closing the drawers. This has been programmed so that playing a predetermined sequence of notes opens a secret compartment somewhere on the desk. It’s also reprogrammable, so you can set it to open when you play the theme to Star Wars, or whatever you want. And in case it wasn’t clear, this is made entirely of wood; there are no electronics of any kind. It is literally something that could have been built using technology available 500 years ago.
Ethan Zuckerman — formerly of Global Voices, now at the MIT Center for Civic Media — has spent his career trying to find thoughtful, effective ways to use technology as a lever to make positive social change (previously), but that means that he also spends a lot of time in the company of people making […]
If you’re a student journalist and want to attend HOPE XI, the Eleventh Hackers on Planet Earth conference (July 22-24, NYC) you can win free admission (and an interview with me!) by submitting an article about any of the topics come up at HOPE conferences! Get writing!
Experienced shutterbugs with DSLR cameras have boatloads of lens options for capturing the moment. Unfortunately, smartphone photographers often get stuck with their one crummy lens, which means limited zoom and focus for their final image.Step up your smartphone’s photographic power with the Acesori 5-Piece Smartphone Camera Lens Kit, now just $9.99 in the Boing Boing Store.Magnetic rings easily […]
Some truths are universal. For one, your phone will always run out of power when you most need it. For another, the charging cords that come packaged with your Apple device will fray, split, and rip faster than Usain Bolt in a game of tag.Instead, pick up a charging cord that anyone would have a tough […]
Some people say magic tricks are nerdy and best left to your 12-year-old asthmatic cousin. But others see value in perfecting the slight of hand and showmanship associated with a perfectly executed routine. We’re firmly in the latter camp. And now, we’re giving you the ability to put a few parlor tricks up your sleeve with the Penguin […]