After eight years of development and a successful Kickstarter, BB pal Mitch Altman's Neurodreamer sleep mask is ready for shipping! You might recall that Mitch is the inspiring maker behind the TV-B-Gone, Trip Glasses, and a bunch of other delightful gadgets. The Neurodreamer is an open source light/sound machine integrated into a memory foam mask. Mitch says:
The NeuroDreamer sleep mask is an advancement over prior entrainment* devices which attempt to entrain the brain with only a single brainwave frequency at a time. The NeuroDreamer sleep mask uses up to four brainwave frequencies simultaneously (mixed at different amplitudes), to more closely replicate the full spectrum of frequencies present in a person who is falling asleep.
* "Entrainment" is the the process of externally presenting brainwave frequencies to the brain, allowing it to synchronize to those frequencies.
It's available for $69.95 in three different versions designed for Sleep, Lucid Dreaming, or Meditation. Mitch is having a sale right now: Entering the coupon code THANKS gets you 10% off everything in Mitch's Cornfield Electronics shop, including the Neurodreamer. I want one!
Cartoonist Rube Goldberg’s absurdly complex mechanisms for achieving easy results are so ingrained in popular culture that the artist/engineer’s name appears in the dictionary as an adjective. A new book highlights his happy mutant approach to engineering.
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Royce Hutain made a wonderful "stick person" costume for his toddler from LED lights and a body suit.
Kazuhiko Kakuta made a terrific flying ornithopter model of a Flaptter from Hayao Miyazaki's "Laputa: The Castle in the Sky" (1986). Details here. And below, video of Kakuta's radio-controlled Totoro. (via The Kid Should See This)
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Harry Harwood Garrison of Cincinnati, Ohio died last week at age 77. Sounds like an amazing guy; wish I'd know him! From his obituary:
Sole proprietor of the Player Piano Shop, enthusiast & restorer of all variety of automated musical instruments, life-time entertainer performing magic acts & smoke-ring blowing, including an appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson…
Harry Harwood Garrison obituary (Cincinnati.com, thanks Gil Kaufman!)
Raconteur, gourmand, fine-arts supporter & lover of music, particularly traditional & Dixieland jazz, boogie-woogie piano, blues, bluegrass, & opera. Historian of Hamilton County, Cincinnati, Westwood, & Colerain Township; craftsman, traveler, latter-day renaissance man, noted by many friends & colleagues for having a remarkable memory & his ability to recall detail.
Above, one of the exquisite hand-made acoustic/electronic instruments played by the late, great Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson of Coil and Throbbing Gristle. Many more at Pacmasaurus's Flickr set of "UnkleSleazy's Instruments
." (via @chris_carter_)
Sarina Frauenfelder, an heiress apparent to the Boing Boing fortune, created this custom Barbie complete with pink coffin. I like that Barbie's flesh has totally decomposed except for her plastinated face.
In memory of computing pioneer Douglas Engelbart, who died last night, please watch this 1968 video of his "Mother of All Demos." Thank you Doug for helping augment human intellect.
"The key thing about all the world's big problems is that they have to be dealt with collectively. If we don't get collectively smarter, we're doomed." - Douglas Engelbart (1925- 2013)
In this terrific video, Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey talks about how his interests in the arcane, magic, and showmanship were inspired by the mentalists at old time carnival midways. He also recalls his experiences as a professional calliope player in the 1940s-1960s and plays a few delightful tunes. (Thanks, Jenny Hart!)
UPDATE: BB pal COOP says, "This footage is from a documentary by Nick Bougas. These keyboards were set up in the kitchen of the Black House. I spent many nights in that kitchen listening to Dr. LaVey play. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of popular music, and could play almost any song that came up in discussion."
Marc Freilich made an R2-D2 birthday cake for his son's sixth birthday. He integrated a pico projector into R2's dome to project the Leia "hologram" and a special birthday message. He's posted the baking and build notes online. "Just another R2D2 Birthday Cake Build"
MIT is rightfully proud of alumna Limor Fried, the superhero hardware hacker behind AdaFruit Industries, creators of fantastic DIY, open source electronics components and kits. We're proud of Limor too! From MIT News:
Apart from selling kits, original devices and providing hundreds of guides online, Adafruit works around the world with schools, teachers, libraries and hackerspaces — community technology labs — to promote STEM education, designing curricula in circuitry and electronics, among other initiatives.
The company has released an online children’s show called “A is for Ampere.” On a weekly Saturday night program, “Ask an Engineer,” anyone can ask Fried questions online or show off their original devices.
One of Fried’s favorite stories, from a young viewer of “Ask an Engineer,” illuminates what she sees as the growing diversity of engineering. “A parent emailed us after watching the show with his daughter,” she says. “I had another engineer on the show with me — my friend Amanda — and this parent’s daughter asked, ‘Dad, are there boy engineers too?’”
"Meet the maker
In 1952, LIFE published an article about Louie Matter, a gearhead who tricked out his 1947 Cadillac with a shower (seen at right), drinking fountain, tape recorder, washing machine, stove, "and a bar with spigots for whisky, water and soda." Oh yeah, and a dashboard hookah too. This, my friends, is the definition of "bow-tie classy." "Shower? Check. Washing Machine? Check. Hookah? Check. Let’s Ride"
Today at Institute for the Future's Ten Year Forecast conference, my friend Kal Spelletich's "Huggerer" pneumatic robot is delivering free hugs. Here is a video of Kal demonstrating the machine. It's very satisfying.
On Thursday (3/28) at 3pm ET, Boing Boing pal and White House innovation advisor Tom Kalil is hosting a Google Hangout to talk about the maker movement! Tom has been instrumental in helping President Obama and the administration understand the value of maker culture in sci/tech education. Joining Tom in the Hangout will be folks like MAKE founder Dale Dougherty, Super Awesome Maker Show's Super Awesome Sylvia, and Ford future tech lead Venkatesh Prasad. "White House Hangout: The Maker Movement"
(Above, President Obama checks out a soccer-playing robot built by Blue Bell, PA high school students. Photo by Pete Souza.)
Ticktock Showroom's handmade "Timing Chain" clocks are a really appealing way of telling time. They run $100, and you'll need 26" of clearance below them for the chain-hang.
Innovative chain driven clocks suitable for home or office. These clocks feature laser-cut acrylic numerals and motor mounts. They keep accurate time by using industrial synchronous A/C motors, featuring a visible gearset. Designed to be wall-mounted, each clock is about 44 inches tall, and the number chain hangs 26 inches below the drive sprocket. The clocks are pre-assembled, as the assembly of the chain requires tools that are not commonly found in most homes. The numerals and motor mounts may be ordered in any color available on the ponoko material list.