Boing Boing 

Real Myst "linking book"

Mike Ando created a replica Myst "linking book" with an embedded screen to play realMyst. "A 'real' Myst book"

Custom Star Wars bacta tank scene


Mick Minogue mood this fantastic carved-wood bacta tank scene from The Empire Strikes Back. Una Mullaly commissioned it for her partner, Sarah, who had suffered a running injury. "Sarah loves peanut butter so I made the tank from an old peanut butter jar and the rest from what was at hand In the studio," Minogue writes. "There's a switch on the bottom to make the whole thing light up with 3 different settings so makes a funky night light." Sarah Strikes Back

Contest to build a human-powered helicopter

NewImage Since 1980, hundreds of young engineers have entered the Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition. Nobody has won the grand prize of $250,000 for demonstrating "a one minute hovering time, a momentary achievement of 3 meters altitude, and controlling the vehicle within a constrained box -- all in the same flight." But damn, they're sure trying. "Straight Up Difficult" (NPR)

Bastard chairs of China



Years ago, photographer Michael Wolf became fascinated with improvised, DIY, and haphazardly-repaired chairs that he encountered in China. He called them "bastard chairs" and compiled them into a 2002 book titled Sitting In China. You can see a selection of those chairs at his Web site. "Michael Wolf: Bastard Chairs" (via Accidental Mysteries)

Electric guitars made from old oil cans

E1029PT 03

Bohemian Guitars turns empty cans of paint thinner and motor oil into handsome electric geetars. You can hear their sound here. The guitars start at $230 and with every guitar sold, Bohemian donates one instrument to a non-profit for children in need. Bohemian Guitars (Thanks, Gabe Adiv!)

XOXO: Maker Love, Not Thwart

I have fallen in love with a building, hundreds of people, a MakerBot, a portable toilet trailer, food trucks, and two men each named Andy. Is it possible to fall in love with a conference? If so, I have. The organizers named the conference XOXO for hugs and kisses. This was presented without hipster irony or marketing-speak. They meant it. They delivered.Read the rest

Maria Del Camino, a mutant excavator mated to a 59 El Camino, with the face of Maria from Metropolis

Maria Del Camino is Bruce Tomb's magnificent mutant vehicle. It started out life as the body of a '59 El Camino, and was then riddled with thousands of hand-drilled holes, turning it into a meshwork. On the hood, the holes form a pointillist portrait of Maria from Fritz Lang's Metropolis. The whole thing was then mounted on an armature supported by a hydraulic tracked excavator, giving it the ability to rumble along at an angle, or poised many feet above the tank-treads, or vertically.

Bruce is one of my Burning Man campmates at Liminal Labs, and he brought Maria out again this year, and took her out early in the morning to the deep playa -- the area of the desert well away from the main action -- and used a GPS and the excavator blade to carve and burnish a huge piece of vector art out of the desert surface, with the intention of having it captured by the Google satellite flyover. He plans to make this process fully automated in future years, giving Maria the ability to turn herself into a giant, diesel-powered mutated Etch-a-Sketch.

Bruce has just updated Maria's blog with some beautiful photos and videos from this year's burn, and a report from the burnishing experiment:

The maximum deviation of the GPS unit is stated as 33 feet and can be as accurate as 3 feet. The graphic deviation showing in this satellite photo, is purely me following instructions from the device, setting aside my perceptions and judgement. This makes evident that there are greater inaccuracies than stated, and illustrates the inherent paradox of this civilian down market version of an ultra precise technology developed by and for the military. I would be wary of relying on this particular device alone to keep a boat off the rocks.

The western edge of the drawing is on hard playa almost like asphalt, so the line is very shallow. Here, Maria’s blade mostly burnished the playa. The east west lines were especially dramatic and reflected the lavender light of the sunrise. Photos by Anne Klint will be posted soon to show this, but here with this photo, the lines are virtually illegible. The strongest track is the north/south line on the eastern edge of the square. This was due to both the conditions of the playa and the GPS signal/device. The playa in this area was covered with drifts of dust, 6” deep or more, not unlike snow drifts, very soft, and difficult to traverse, even with Maria’s 18” wide rubber tracks. While driving this particular track the signals were quite different than all the rest, perhaps a product of a slower speed. If the resolution of this image were higher, you would see a very tight, regular, serpentine or sinusoidal line with an amplitude of about 15-20 feet and a period of about 50 feet. The noodles at the corners are me following directions from the device to land on a precise waypoint. As I approached a corner, I would slow down and make minor adjustments as needed, inching along to left, to right, back again, then sitting there for about 15 minutes to let the signal settle down to 0 degrees of travel angle and 0 feet distance from my destination.

Maria Del Camino (Thanks, Bruce!)

(Photos by Anne Klint)

Timelapse movie of building a shed

Building the Shed from RH on Vimeo.

Ryan Haskell says:
I'm trying to install the maker ethos in my kids. When the need came up for a garden shed, rather than buy a pre-built big-box store job or have a contractor come in, I enlisted the help of my 3 and 5 year-olds (and some backyard chickens) to build one from scratch. 32 lbs of screws and 4 weekends later, we had a nice 160 square foot shed. I documented the effort using a homemade arduino-controlled dolly platform to capture 15,500+ digital photos with my DSLR, assembled here into a 9 minute timelapse video.
My favorite part of this video is watching his adorable kids crawl and run around.

USB indicator light can be used to alert you to almost any online event

Mike Kuniavsky of the electronic projects studio ThingM says:

When we designed the BlinkM we took the old school Unix philosophy of making it simple and focused, a useful component in a larger system of interlocking pieces.

blink(1) is our idea of what that same philosophy would be like, when mapped to a consumer electronics products.

It's a USB indicator light, and we think it's the best one, ever. Or at least the one that is the best compromise between flexibility, simplicity, utility and cost that we could come up with. It's easily programmed and can be connected to both local events and to things that happen out on the net. It's Open Hardware.

It's on Kickstarter.

We think people might want a new little indicator light their lives, or maybe they want to support us because we're treating this as a Lean Startup project, and will pivot the design based on how people use it.

Also, since we have a pretty good track record of making and shipping products in volume, we are confident that if we make our goal [Ed note: they met their goal!], we will actually ship these things in a couple of months, unlike many Kickstarter hardware products that have long wait times.

blink(1), the USB RGB LED

Dead cat helicopter upsets people on internet (video)

[Video Link. Warning, may totally creep you out if you love cats. ]

Dutch artist Bart Jansen had a cat named Orville that he loved very much. When Orville died, he did what any cat-loving guy would do: transformed his deceased kitty pal's corpse into a radio-controlled DIY taxidermy helicopter. WAIT WHAT

The Orvillecopter, half cat, half machine. Named after the famous aviator Orville Wright. He was killed by a car. After that he received his propellers posthumously. This is Orvillecopter's first test flight, Soon to be flying with the birds. Oh how he loved birds. He will receive more powerful engines and larger props for his birthday. So this hopping will soon change into steady flight. For the catlovers: it is a tanned hide, just like the shoes you're wearing. For the RC lovers: it's a Lotus T580 (still)

People are upset. Daily Mail, LA Times, NPR. (thanks, Antinous!)

3D-printed "Death's Head Hawkmoth Skeleton" sculptures, inspired by The Silence of the Lambs

Joaquin Baldwin, whose animated films and 3D-printed sculptures we've featured here before a number of times, has completed a new work. I love these. Joaquin explains:

I created the skeleton of a skeletal Lepidoptera. The Death's Head Hawkmoth (Acherontia atropos), seen in The Silence of the Lambs, has a skull marking on its back. I made a full human-like bone structure for the moth, with the grinning skull protruding from its back. The model is very thin, yet sturdy and flexible. Detail level is fantastic, and the natural texture of the 3d printing process gives it a bone-like appearance that works wonders. Yes, moths don't have endoskeletons, that's the whole point...

You can buy one in white, black, or red, for $15. More photos below, including details that show off the creepy little skull.

Read the rest

Pentagon declassifies Styrofoam model of bin Laden compound, at last

A styrofoam-and-acrylic model of Osama bin Laden's compound that was used to plan the May 2011 raid that killed the al Qaeda leader has been declassified by the Pentagon.

CNN reports that the model of OBL's building and surrounding farmland in Abbotabad, Pakistan was built over a six-week period, and then was taken to the White House to brief President Obama on plans. After the raid, it sat on display in the lobby of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency in Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

Until last week, the model was considered classified and only those working or visiting the building could see it.

Now it is declassified, and agency officials wanted to bring it over to the Pentagon for a brief time to show it off to Department of Defense "customers" to highlight what the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency can do for them, according to an agency information sheet.

The to-scale diorama helped the Navy Seals literally measure the steps it would take to get to bin Laden.

More photos and background here: The very model of a successful bin Laden raid

(, via Kristie LuStout).

Rocking Horses of the Apocalypse

Artist Carrin Welch's first foray into sculpture is a marvellous set of "Four Rocking Horses of the Apocalypse," made from wood. They're nearly finished, and eminently ridable.

My interpretation of these horsemen from Revelations in the Bible is very loose, it's an artistic idea based mostly on how I want them to look, and less on the many academic and theological interpretations. I want them to appear ominous and imposing, but the catch is that they are giant toys. They are meant to be fantastic and absurd, but also beautiful and magical. You cannot ride one of the mammoths without feeling a little joy. With this world feeling so unstable, and all the theories of its end, the rocking horses bring light to a dark time.

All four horses are expected to be completed by end of May 2012, when they will travel to Burning Flipside for their collective debut. After that I will be collaborating with fellow artists to produce some fun, fantasy images of the rocking horses, and seeking opportunities to show them and let people interact with them.

Welch completed the horses during a period of unemployment, thanks to funding provided by her fans on Kickstarter.

The Four Rocking Horses of the Apocalypse (via Neatorama)

Ripped skull tee

A nice t-shirt mod from the folks at Hurley -- the rip-skull. I don't expect it would survive a lot of washings, though.

DIY SKULL T-SHIRT (via Crazy Abalone)

Vinyl LP AT-AT clock

Here's a nice twist on the traditional vinyl-LP-as-a-clock craft: a cut-out AT-AT mod. From Etsy seller NotByLaser (which implies that this was not cut by a laser!).

Star Wars AT-AT: Hand Crafted Vinyl Record Clock - Made To Order (via Neatorama)

To do in LA this Sunday: Organize a kid-friendly hackerspace

My friend Tara is organizing a meeting at Crashspace this Sunday for interested parties to discuss the possibility of creating a child/family-friendly hackerspace in the greater Los Angeles area. They're seeking volunteers, looking for an appropriate space, and brainstorming sustainability models. You can bring your kids to the meeting!

Programmable 3D printed kalimba

This video shows Shapeways user EYEDEA with his prototype hand-cranked programmable, 3D printed kalimba sequencer: "Pegs can be set to produce different 16-step sequences of 5 tones."

3D Printed K5 Programmable Auto-Kalimba is a Hand Cranked 16 Step Awesome Analogue Music Machine

Decades-long project to port Star Castle to the Atari 2600 finally complete (and an accompanying Kickstarter)

D. Scott Williamson is a former Atari employee with a decades-long obsession with the game Star Castle, once a popular stand-up arcade game. In 1981, Howard Scott Warshaw, a well-regarded Atari programmer, gave up on porting Star Castle to the Atari 2600, calling the job impossible (Warshaw ended up making the beloved game Yar's Castle instead).

Decades later, Williamson dug out his old Atari development materials and set to work trying to port Star Castle to the now-defunct 2600 platform, trying to cram the game into 8 kilobytes, and accommodate it to the quirks of the Atari hardware and TV linkup. After a false start or two, he produced a genuinely delightful and playable port.

Having perfected his code, he undertook to produce a fitting physical medium for his game. He made his own scratch-built Atari 2600 game-cartridge, one that could show off the blinkenlights he included on the circuit-board. And to make sure those lights were visible during gameplay, he also produced a transparent perspex Atari 2600 clone. Also, he made a beautiful box to accompany his cartridge, shelf-ready and perfect for displaying at one of the many non-existent Atari 2600 retailers that don't dot the landscape.

Now he wants to mass produce his delightful atemporal anachronism, and he's running a $10,000 Kickstarter to fund the production of cast cartridge shells, custom-programmed circuit boards, CDs (containing versions of the code that can be played on modern hardware), manuals, and boxes: "I was inspired by one of the greatest and most influential game programmers of all time to make something that he said was impossible. I don't consider this a game development project, rather an alternative history art piece*, a demonstration that it could indeed be done."

If you are a collector you can get a cartridge and play it the way it was meant to be played: on an Atari, with a joystick, in front of a TV (preferably an old one).

If you're a casual player you can play it on just about any PC. Many people prefer playing Atari 2600 the games on the Stella emulator because it's easy, convenient, the emulation is indistinguishable from the real thing, and the picture and sound are perfectly crystal clear.

If you are a developer or just interested in programming, the game comes with all the source code and art on the CD, everything you need to build your own copy of the game (you have to download the free compiler, but the link is on the CD). You can look it over if you are just curious, or you can modify it and make it your own. The game comes with Stella which includes a full Atari 2600 graphical debugger that allows you to step through each instruction, line, or frame of the game and graphically shows all of the registers in real-time.

This may be the only chance you have to get Star Castle 2600, after this Kickstarter campaign there are no plans to produce or make available any additional cartridges, CD's, or materials.

Star Castle 2600, the Story (via Make)

Barbiebot and pals

Tal sez, "Tal Avitzur has updated his website with new robot-related night lights made from scrap metal and other urban salvage: Barbiebot, Snork, Work in progress. Tal has been invited to show his work with the Applied Kinetic Arts group this year at the Bay Area Maker Faire."

Working machine gun for kids!

From the Dec 1941 ish of Mechanix Illustrated, a jim-dandy shop project to make Junior his own dowel-firing machine-gun!

ANY small boy will want, and be delighted with this toy submachine gun, which holds fifteen shots in the magazine and fires them continuously, until empty, as the “tromboning” action is worked. Made entirely from wood, simple of construction, and employing no “hard to get” parts, this gun would make an excellent mass production product for any guild club doing such work for gift or sale.

The body of the gun, housing the mechanism, is built up on the side plate having the projection to which the magazine is secured. If the modeler makes up a set of full sized drawings of all the parts on light card or heavy paper and makes cut-outs from them, much of the fitting and adjusting may be done before actually cutting the parts, from wood. This minimizes the chance of error caused by working from small drawings.

The short dowels which project through the firing pin and cocking bar should slide freely, but not too loosely in the tracks formed by the small rippings, which are bradded and glued to the side plates. Punch pin holes through the full sized drawing of the side plates, at the exact location of these rippings so both plates are identical.

MODEL SUBMACHINE GUN Performs Realistically (Dec, 1941)

Original Prince of Persia source-code discovered, posted as free software

Jordan Mechner, creator of the classic bestselling video-game Prince of Persia recently discovered the floppies with the game's original sourcecode in a closet, where they'd sat for more than 20 years. He'd long believed the discs to be lost. Jubilant at their rediscovery, he's released the game as free/open code, with the source available on GitHub. The source awaits your download and remixing!

Prince of Persia Source Code Released On Github

(Images: Prince of Persia Source Code — Found!,; Original Prince of Persia game (screenshot), Softpedia)

America, cake yeah!

Love and Lots of Sugar has documented some of the creation of a remarkable Captain America fourth birthday cake that, in cross section, displayed the stars-n-stripes. It's a really sweet bit of topology-based baking, and, judging by the photos, was a smash-hit.

The last picture I posted hit it big on Reddit. Some really nice things have been said. (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)

Caine's Arcade raises $164K for scholarship; $164K more for other creative kids

A followup to the wonderful Caine's arcade story Mark blogged two weeks back: the Internet's many users were so impressed by Caine's ingenuity that they raised $164,000 for his college fund. The funds are matched 1:1 by the Goldhirsh Foundation, and these matching funds are earmarked to fund the Caines Arcade Foundation "which will help find, foster, and fund creativity and entrepreneurship in young kids."

Recreating Super Mario Bros with Lego

Zachary Pollock is looking to raise $26,400 on Kickstarter to buy "a lot of [Lego] bricks" for use in a 780,000-piece re-creation of the entire first level of Super Mario Bros. Once completed, it will be exhibited in Portland and Seattle, with possible side-trips to PAX and SDCC.

In 2005, I rediscovered my passion for building big. I realized that as an adult I have much greater access to large supplies of LEGO bricks now than I ever did as a kid. Since then, my projects have hovered between 6,000 – 15,000 pieces. By recreating Level 1-1 of Super Mario Bros. in LEGO bricks, this project trumps all of my other work by leaping to almost 780,000 LEGO studs. No one that I am aware of has done a LEGO mosaic on this scale before. Only a small number of people have done work with this number of bricks. The final project will stand over six feet tall and over 90 feet wide.

Epic Mario (via Engadget)

Clothes-iron modified to scorch Virgin of Guadalupe into your clothes

"Everything is coming up roses" is an electrical sculpture by Robert Weschler: it's a clothes-iron that's been modified to scorch images of the Virgin of Guadalupe into any garment upon which it is rested.

The steam holes of a working iron were re machined to mirror the iconic aura of the Virgin of Guadalupe. When cloth is scorched by the iron an image of the Virgin appears in the burn. The text on the T-shirts (everything is coming up roses) accompanies the burns and refers to the Virgin of Guadelupe's first appearance when she caused roses to grown on a barren hillside for the lone peasant Juan Diego.

Everything is coming up roses (via Neatorama)

How to Sharpen Pencils: A Practical and Theoretical Treatise on the Artisinal Craft of Pencil Sharpening

On the surface, David Rees's How to Sharpen Pencils: A Practical & Theoretical Treatise on the Artisanal Craft of Pencil Sharpening for Writers, Artists, Contractors, Flange Turners, Anglesmiths, & Civil Servants is just a protracted mockery of the mania for "authenticity" and "artisanship" -- poking fun at the pretense of snobbish reworking of everyday objects and tasks into extremely precise and expensive amusements for the bourgeoise (ultimate milkshakes, high-priced hand-roasted coffee beans, small cask liquor).

Read the rest

Teacup chandelier

Spotted in Valencia, Spain by La Petite Nymphéa: this beautiful teacup chandelier. Designer unknown, but it begs for a remake.


Yachting team uses staple-gun to fix up slashed sailor, completes race

Nat sez, "You're on a racing yacht, 650 miles from the finish line of the fifth leg of an around-the-world race. Your mast breaks, you send a team member up to cut free the sail. He slashes at the rigging but also himself, and blood drips down the mast. He comes down white with blood loss and with a massive wound. What do you do? 'After talking to our team doctor we decided to staple him together. We took out the staple gun and put five staples in him and now he's as good as new, I think.' Nope, that's not what I would have reached for either. I wonder whether the team doctor is also the ship's carpenter?"

Groupama completed leg 5 last night with 20 points for third place, ensuring they remain in contention for the overall prize.

The French boat leapfrogged leg 5 winners Puma into second place overall, 20 points behind Telefonica, who are facing a hearing into allegations they carried an extra sail on leg 4 into Auckland.

Yachting: NZ sailor aboard Groupama seriously injured

Only in India: ill-advised bodges from the subcontinent

Aurovrata Venet's Only in India blog is a bit like a subcontinental version of There I Fixed It, a catalog of improvised (and sometimes absurd) bodges and fixits, salted with funny malapropisms on signs, and downright dangerous "fixes" for everyday problems.

Only in India (via Beyond the Beyond)

Handmade wooden coffee-table resembles giant NES controller, functions as same

Etsy seller TheBohemianWorkbench combines fine joinery with fine nerdery and comes up with a beautiful, handmade wooden coffee table that resembles a giant NES controller, and which functions as a NES controller as well. It's available for $3,500 from his Venice, CA studio (pickup preferred).

Nintendo NES controller coffee table. Made from maple, mahogany and walnut with dovetail joinery and mid century modern legs.

This table fully functions as a Nintendo NES controller and can be used to play games with the glass removed. The cord is retractable from underneath. The demonstration video is currently being produced and will be posted soon.

Nintendo Controller Coffee Table - FUNCTIONAL (via Neatorama)