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"
Matt Denton of Hampshire, UK, built a huge hexapod walking machine that he operates by joysticks inside the cockpit. It took him four years and cost "hundreds of thousands of pounds" to make. Its top speed is one mph and, as you might expect, isn't particularly efficient. "It's not about miles to the gallon, it's about gallons to the mile," Denton told the BBC News.
Want to build a DIY version of the Hubble Space Telescope? I posted last year that the Vehicle Power Interface Console used at the Goddard Flight Center during pre-launch testing of the HST was for sale on eBay for $75,000. Well, now the seller has significantly sweetened the deal by throwing in this stately and elegant two-person HST control console presumably also used during pre-launch testing. "NASA ARTIFACT VPI Vehicle Power Interface Rack & Console Hubble Space Telescope"
Science Hack Day is a fantastically inspiring and creative 48-hour event where scientists, designers, artists, and developers get together to make and do science and science-related projects. You and your friends should start one! Chief instigator Ariel "Space Hack" Waldman created a guide to organize a Science Hack Day and now, she's announced the 2013 Science Hack Day Ambassador Program. Thanks to a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, five people who want to organize a Science Hack Day in their cities will be flown to Science Hack Day in San Francisco on September 28-29 to see how it's done. Applications are accepted until May 1.
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.)
Ray Gascoigne is a former shipwright. Well, he's still a shipwright but now the ships he builds fit inside bottles.
The Atlantic has a fascinating photo gallery about the DIY Weapons of the Syrian Rebels. Homebrew explosives are the norm, as are catapults (Reuters photo above) and tele-operated machine guns controlled with scavenged video game controllers.
Bitblox are wooden alphabet blocks inspired by our pixelated nostalgia. While pixels continue shrinking out of sight on our digital screens, they live on in full chromatic and tactile splendor in these one-of-a-kind alphabet blocks.$45 a set, available at glyfyx.com. Each limited-edition set includes 28 blocks, "featuring a total of 168 letters, numbers, symbols and quirky pictograms." They're "hand-manufactured in the United States from renewable, American grown, kiln-dried basswood," printed with non-toxic, child-safe inks, free of lead.
Steve Hoefer is a San Francisco-based inventor and creative problem solver with nearly 20 years of experience. He’s contributed projects to the pages of MAKE, including his Indestructible LED Lanterns, Secret-Knock Gumball Machine, and Haptic Wrist Rangefinder. He’s also active in the open source hardware and software communities and is a super nice guy.
One project you’re particularly proud of:
1. The Secret Knock Gumball Machine. A lot of the things I do are for a specific audience or solving a specific problem, but the Secret Knock Gumball Machine has something for everyone and it manages to make candy more fun. It has a feel of forbidden magic to it. It’s not immediately obvious how it works, but you get to see how the trick is done. It’s mechanically and technically pretty simple — you can build your own! I still regularly get messages from people, usually young people, who are inspired by it and have used it as their own springboard into making.
This week I visited BB pal Kirsten Anderson's wonderful Roq La Rue Gallery in Seattle where Casey Curran has hung a number of his exquisite kinetic sculptures. Each sculpture is a baroque ecosystem of wire plants, synthetic flowers, metallic creatures, faux feathers, and other ornate faux-naturalia. Gently crank the handle on each sculpture and these fantasy worlds come alive. At first I thought they would benefit from an electric motor but I quickly realized that cranking them myself not only made me a more active observer, but it required a physical proximity that immersed me in each surreal scene. You can glimpse still photos and videos of the show here: "Casey Curran: Dissymmetry" Also showing at the gallery is a series of beautifully dark paintings and drawings by Sam Wolfe Connelly, titled "Nocturne." Both exhibitions will be up through March 2.
Master blacksmith Tony Swatton of Sword & Stone is Hollywood's favorite weapons maker. Here he is forging Jaime Lannister's sword for "Games of Thrones."
(My independent research lab) Otherlab has recently received ARPA-e awards for two great projects in clean energy. ARPA-e is having a vote to have the best projects present at the ARPA-e showcase in a few weeks in Washington DC to get national exposure. We'd like to see both of these projects receive the attention they deserve to enable them to succeed as fast as possible.
You can vote for one, and in fact both, at the links below. Make sure to watch the intestine video beautifully drawn by Nick Dragotta and narrated by Tucker Gilman.
The app is available now, as a free download.
Like TMBGs original Dial-A-Song, the app has a different song every day. The app holds five of the freshest posted tracks at all times, and all are directly linked to iTunes. It also connects you directly to TMBGs social media and free MP3 club. From Don't Let's Start to Nanobots the app even includes brand new tracks, GRAMMY-winning kids music and TMBGs beloved television themes.